My dad always used to say this to me when I would get anxious about something. Then as a teacher I found the whole saying, which goes like this,
"Patience is a virtue. Virtue is a grace. Put them both together and they make a pretty face."
I don't think my dad meant for me to end up with a pretty face at the end of that lesson, but I certainly understood that patience was a desirable quality to have. What I didn't understand as a child was the depth of patience that is possible when a person is pressed into some situations.
My current situation happens to be that I am well past when I, and apparently everyone else, thought that my baby would have made an entrance into this world. There have been multiple inquiries per day as to when this child will be born. My favorite question, once I answer how far along I am is, "Well, what are you going to do about it?" The simple answer is, "Nothing, it's not up to me."
It's true that in this day and age I could easily go to a hospital and be given an artificial hormone, Pitocin, to jumpstart this birth. I could have done that weeks ago. At this point I could even ask a doctor for a cesarean-birth. There are also other less invasive actions I could take, a few include: walking (check), squatting (check), spicy food (check), various activities with my husband (check), eggplant parm (eww eggplant), pineapple (check), house cleaning (check), acupuncture (check), chiropractic adjustment (check), hypnosis (check) or even a Castor oil cocktail. To that last one, knowing the effects of Castor oil and how it works, I'm leaving that to a pretty dire circumstance. So what to do you ask?
Same as before, NOTHING, it's not up to me. I am a firm believer in my body's ability to conceive, grow and birth a baby all by itself. I find myself to be quite normal, making babies is included in this belief. My preferred method of primary care is with wonderful and highly skilled midwives. No doctors or hospitals for this baby or me, at least if I can avoid them. If you know me, you know I'm an alternative girl in the birth arena. What I have come to learn is that in nature we humans have no control, not over the weather, the tide, or the seasons. By default, I have no natural control over when this baby is born. This has tested my patience immensely.
There is a battery of emotions that I have gone through in the past five weeks ranging from: jubilation and content, to depression and sadness, to even a little fear that maybe I'm not really pregnant and this baby is a figment of my imagination. Some tender feelings and some not so tender feelings. What I have learned is, by having patience I am forced to live in this moment. Dwelling on the last few weeks and months gets me nowhere and trying to figure out when my time to birth will happen is futile. So where does that leave me? In the here and now.
There are so many things to appreciate here and now: my husband's kindness and love, my family’s support, my caring friends, every movement my baby makes, cuddly cats, health, wealth, warmth during this cold season, the sun staying longer everyday. I may not have traveled to an ashram in India to learn about mindfulness, but this journey to motherhood has been a creative act nonetheless. It's pretty incredible that my child has taught me such a valuable lesson in patience before even leaving my body.
Until that time comes I will continue to repeat positive affirmations: Pregnancy is normal. My baby is healthy inside my body. I have patience, faith and courage. And lastly, I promise that I will notify the whole world when this baby makes it's arrival, please just have patience.
Follow up: My son was born 5 days after this piece was written. A healthy baby at 11 pounds 2 ounces, 23.5” long, born into his father’s loving hands at what was then The Baby Place in Meridian, Idaho. My midwives and doula attended us after an entire weekend of very uncomfortable, primal, and normal labor.