March 2007

Monthly Archive

drugs vs natural: why a competition?

Posted by lynn on 30 Mar 2007 | Tagged as: pregnancy

Now that I’m firmly in my third trimester, I’m noticing a trend.

It seems whenever the topic of birthing comes up with soon-to-be or new moms, women tend to fall squarely in one camp or another. Either: “They offer the drugs for a reason, I’ll take whatever I can get!” or: “I want a natural childbirth at all costs.”

I’m much more of a pragmatist. I’d love to have a natural childbirth – I’m not crazy about possible drug side effects on the baby or myself. Plus, this is a natural event, right? But I also have no idea what I’m getting into, what I’ll feel at the time of delivery, or what complications might arise that would benefit from medical intervention.

A few months ago my prenatal yoga teacher announced her upcoming hypnobirthing workshop. Since I was still on the fence about drugs, I asked if hypnobirthing was compatible with both natural and drug-aided childbirth. “Absolutely,” she said without hesitation. “The whole point of hypnobirthing is to condition you for the most relaxed, enjoyable childbirth possible, period.”

The hypnobirthing philosophy is based on relaxation and letting go, mostly of the fear that western culture has built around childbirth – what should be a natural event and not something to be “labored” through. The idea is that the more relaxed you are, the less tense your muscles are, and the easier it is for your baby to move down the birth path and into the world.

Joey and I took the workshop, and for the past six weeks have been practicing regularly. He leads me through breathing exercises and visualizations, all with the purpose of training myself to go into a self-induced trance (another word for what is simply deep relaxation).

Someone from our workshop shared the recent hypnobirthing story of a friend: She began to focus in a dimly lit room as soon as she arrived at the hospital. 90 minutes later, her baby was born! I’m not expecting labor that brief, but it’s still quite inspiring.

We’ll see what path our little one decides to take when joining us in the world, and if medical involvement is absolutely necessary, we won’t hesitate to take it. I feel like what we’ve practiced will be invaluable with or without drugs, and really, in many situations in life.

As a side note, I finally found someone with the same pragmatism around childbirth. Jennie (new friend from yoga) is expecting in just four weeks, has gone through a hypnobirthing workshop, and as a former nurse feels “I might very well go for the drugs once I’m there!”

the things people say

Posted by lynn on 20 Mar 2007 | Tagged as: family, pregnancy

Now that my belly is really showing, I’ve started to experience what I’m sure every new mother goes through: The tactlessness of people’s comments, especially when those people are strangers. Luckily they’ve all been harmless and kinda funny. To share a few from the last week or so:

The clueless store clerk. I recently walked into REI, minding my own business in (maternity-sized) jeans and t-shirt. Instead of a standard greeting from the clerk near the front door, this girl with braces and long disheveled hair practically exploded with “Wow! You’re about ready to pop!” I just shook my head and said “Nope, another couple months.” Obviously she’s never paid heed to a woman who’s nearing term.

The well-meaning co-worker. A co-worker I don’t really know (but who also just had a baby) innocently asked when mine was due. I said end of May, and her immediate reaction was “OH… MY… GOD!” followed by a long pause. I had no idea how to take this, and probably looked at her in silence or mumbled something about how “yeah, it’s coming up quick.” Luckily she finally clarified herself, saying “You’re so tiny! How could you be in your third trimester?”

My super excited stepson. We picked up Kai at preschool, where he’s been telling his teachers, friends, and even parents of friends all about the new baby and how much he’s going to help. After chatting with his teacher and gathering belongings from his cubby, we walked to the door to say goodbye. But before we could leave Kai lifted my shirt to bare belly, shouting, “Miss Shannon, Miss Shannon, look! It’s the baby! Look!!” Miss Shannon smiled and said “Yes, Kai, that’s great!” while I’m sure I blushed before pushing my shirt back down. We’re ecstatic about his excitement, but know very well it might change once the baby arrives and turns all our worlds upside down!

a different kind of day in the writing life

Posted by lynn on 08 Mar 2007 | Tagged as: writing

Some may wonder how my writing is going, since I’ve been working part time for the past few months in an attempt to create some space for this creative endeavor. In a nutshell, I’d say it’s going ok, but not quite as I had expected.

To illustrate, here’s a snippet of my “writing life” from a couple weeks ago. All this happened in one day, not a bit of it involved actual writing, but it all (even the stalls and the rejections) felt like an odd sort of progress.

  • Received by email the revised manuscript of a short story due to appear in a forthcoming anthology. Very exciting!
  • Followed up on a wedding-themed submission to a local magazine and was told they’d get to it “next week” but were still possibly interested. (As a follow-up, I heard from them again a few days ago. They liked the piece and are definitely interested – as long as they do a wedding issue in June. Yippee! Even with the caveat, huge confidence booster.)
  • Followed up on a submission to a travel anthology and was told by Out of Office message that the editor had left the company. Contacted him directly (he’s a personable guy who I’ve met) and found he has to shop around for a new publisher but would be happy to hold onto my essay in the meantime. Hmmmm.
  • Got word that a second personal essay was rejected by an online magazine. Have a feeling it just wasn’t a good match.

In December I had an incredible burst of creative productivity, due partially to feeling healthy again but mostly to some very real deadlines: I wrote over 20 (first draft) pages of my novel and worked on character development with the support of a workshop, and I completed an essay around the theme “the trip that changed my life.”

These days I continue to refine my characters and write short sketches for my novel, while also trying to put my completed work out there as much as possible. I think I’ve been in the corporate world too long. It’s all a much slower process than I ever expected! The good news is that, ironically, this alleviates some of the pressure and allows me to let my creativity work at its own pace. Ok who am I kidding… a deadline is always the most successful motivator!