This year was a little different, as I found I had poorly planned my 9th month of pregnancy to coincide with the January revelry. While I remain in good health and relatively comfortable considering, I did have to admit my need to slow things down, both physically and mentally. My phrase-that-pays this month has been, "is that the best use of my resources?".
- What I didn't do: Attend a single event at the Sydney Festival.
What I did instead: Saw a lot of movies, taking extra advantage of the luxury of the giant recliner seats at Gold Class.
- What I didn't do: Visit with the giant Rubber Duck at Darling Harbour.
What I did instead: Caught a couple of glimpses of the duck from the car on the way home from midwife appointments. Opined gratuitously from the comfort of home to anyone who would listen (i.e. - Partner in Crime, as he is the only other person who lives in the comfort of my home) about the absolute absurdity of the duck exercise.
- What I didn't do: Attend any sessions of the outdoor cinema.
What I did instead: Streamed a lot of movies and television on Netflix. May I recommend Jiro Dreams of Sushi and the 7Up series.
- What I didn't do: Attend the Australian Open.
What I did instead: Braved one hot day at the Sydney tournament and watched the Aussie Open unfold from a prime seat on my sofa (Djokovic!).
- What I didn't do: A single thing for Australia Day.
What I did instead: Slept and read books all day.
|I didn't go to the Australian Open, but I did get to sit front row to see Sara Errani - who went on to win the Aus Open Doubles championship - work some serious tennis mojo in Sydney.|
It's true that I didn't partake in, well, pretty much any of the amazing goings-on January has to offer, but I exaggerate my level of laziness this month. I've actually come to despise the stereotype of pregnant ladies as achy-mentally unstable-bloated shells of their former selves who sit on the couch and bitch at their husbands to go to the grocery and get them ice cream at midnight. It's true that I've been more tired and had more discomfort than usual, but I've actually been quite active and positive this past month, hardly a shell of my former self or a moody witch. In fact, post-Christmas/New Year's/finishing work, I launched on what I've been referring to as my personal pre-baby retreat, where I've seen the "best use of my resources" as staying physically fit, eating well, meditating, preparing our home for the baby, and basically just doing everything I can to calm my mind and create the right mental space for labor & delivery and bringing a new baby home soon. I feel so lucky to have had this time, as I know so many women in the U.S. who have to work right up to their due date.
While it's true that I did see a greater than average number of movies and increased the quantity of afternoon naps I took (as prescribed by my midwife ... am I going to ignore professional medical advice?!?), here's what my January "retreat" actually looked like.
|Still feeling like a sturdy tree.|
- Yoga: I started practicing pre-natal yoga at home via downloaded classes so that I would be prepared for what poses I should and should not do at Yoga Aid, which I did at 5 months pregnant, and had been doing those classes at home almost daily ever since. This month, I decided that I would be well-served to get in an among some other pregnant ladies and found a studio that specializes in pregnancy and family yoga. I started going to class 4 days a week, and expect to continue until I give birth. This has been the single most sanity inducing activity of my retreat.
- Meditation: My midwife suggested that I read about hypnobirthing. I told her that something called "hypnobirthing" sounded far too new-agey for me. She, in turn, gave me this stern, practical look, told me I had it all wrong, and suggested that I at least give it a try. So, I got the book and - whoa - she was right. Some of it is kind of new-agey, but the essence of the practice is breath work and relaxation. I have been practicing daily guided hypnobirthing meditations ever since. While I do think (hope, at least) that the techniques will help me in labor, the real benefit has been creating a calm and quiet mind for this final month before the baby comes. The breathing work actually perfectly compliments the yoga and I bring techniques from one into the other practice. (A great blog that sums up my journey with understanding hypnobirthing and all its new-ageyness better than I could have said it here).
- Eating well: Ben & Jerry's cravings? Forget it. Practically all I've wanted this month is healthy food. The best part of being pregnant in the summer (for which there are many, many disadvantages, admittedly) is all the fruit that is in season. Peaches, cherries, grapes, not to mention juices, smoothies, salads and crunchy veggies have been my preoccupation this month.
- Nesting: I said to a friend the other day, "this 'nesting' business is real and it is serious." As someone whose housekeeping motivation is typically pretty much on the bottom end of the Zero to Martha scale, I have found a startling drive for homemaking this month. Dishes, laundry, dusting, everything in its right place... check, check, check and check. Not to mention all the baby related projects. We are bringing the baby home to our one-bedroom apartment, so we had to do some rearranging to make it work. I made a scale drawing of our bedroom with moving pieces of furniture to determine the best arrangement. (Ironically, I once tortured myself over a scale drawing of my bedroom as a project for my college Stagecraft class, and I don't think it was completed with nearly the same precision as this one). All the baby clothes and accoutrements have been washed, dried and put away in the newly arranged closets and drawers. 20 servings of crock pot meals have been pre-mixed and frozen. Labor music playlist has been compiled, thanks to selections from Surfing Friend, who also happens to be a yoga instructor. Hospital bag packed. I'm just looking for more projects to do at this point.
- Communing with Grown Ups: My social calendar has slowed under the "best use of my resources" directive, but I have also been anticipating that grown-up time will be at a premium for awhile after the baby comes, so I have managed some low key dates with friends (even a final child-free trip to Cockatoo Island where I got to live vicariously through my girlfriends' stories of recent trips to Thailand and Antarctica) and, in particular, plenty of quality time with P-i-C.
Clearly, it hasn't been a very expat-experiential time to report about here, but a uniquely productive period, nonetheless. We expect our little Australian citizen to join us anytime in the next two to four weeks (or sooner, if it wants to), and I'm sure that there is going to be plenty of having-a-child abroad experience to post about when that comes to pass. Or, perhaps a period of radio silence from me as the January retreat comes to an end and the real work begins in February. In either case, I promise to at least introduce you to our Hushpuppy, who is set to come home from the hospital in a surfing-inspired onesie and will undoubtedly cry in an Australian accent.