This week was a big week, mentally: My third trimester has begun, and all of a sudden it seems like no time at all before I won’t be pregnant anymore… and I’ll have a baby. That’s a pretty significant transition — one I haven’t really considered much until now. Perhaps it’s because I’m two-thirds of the way there and so am finally getting used to being pregnant. Perhaps it’s because, after seven months, I finally look pregnant. But ain’t that the way? Just as you get used to one change, life throws another one your way. And though a baby was the inevitable conclusion of this pregnancy, my mind hasn’t fully wrapped around the fact that in three short months I’ll be somebody’s mother.
This past week, as I’ve been unpacking (a slow going process, let me tell you) I look around my new home, in all its chaos, and have one “wow” moment after another: Soon, here in this very place, I will be in the company of a small human being. I inevitably then begin to think about that little human — what she’ll look like, what kind of temperament she’ll have, what kind of woman she’ll become. When I start to consider all the possibilities my mind starts to whirl and I’m filled with the sort of nervous yet hopeful optimism that I imagine most new parents feel. I want her to have it all.
About two months ago I was on the train after a long weekend of classes in Philadelphia. A young boy — maybe seven or eight years old — sat a few rows ahead of me, contentedly chatting with an elderly woman across the aisle, telling her all about his school and his dad who was from France and was a chef. “Well, what do you want to be when you grow up?” she asked him. After pausing for a moment he said a most wonderful thing: “An architect. Or a door opener. You know, like a hotel door opener.” I died in my seat — his statement was perfect in so many ways. The juxtaposition of the two choices, his decidedness, just the fact that somewhere in his life he had an experience that led him to the conclusion that being a hotel doorman was just the cat’s meow.
Now, where my former, un-pregnant self would have just been bowled over by the cuteness of that candid moment and stopped there, my pregnant self ran away with it. Will my little one be infused with the same sense of endless possibility? Will she be happy? Well adjusted? Will I be a good mom?
Of course, I’ll probably grapple with these questions for the rest of my life — I know my daughter’s health and happiness will be the epicenter of my universe. It already is. But some things aren’t as tangible as what food to eat or products to avoid. So what do you do with those things? In Macrobiotic Pregnancy and Care of the Newborn, Michio and Aveline Kushi suggest that every night as you’re falling asleep you focus your attention on your womb, sending love to your little one, letting them in on all the things you wish for them in their life. They suggest that these moments of mindfulness and intention are as important to your baby’s potential as a good diet. It may not be as simple as that, but it’s a good place to start (and maybe to end, too).