by Liz Koch
I knew with both children I was pregnant at the time of conception. It took the second time to realize I had no reason to confirm it. I simply knew — I could trust that I knew and that time would show my knowing. I did not need a pregnancy test. During my second pregnancy, I also trusted that I really did know how and what to eat, without constantly counting protein and calcium, weighing myself or forcing down foods to please someone else. But here we must take care, for many of us are out of touch with our body’s needs. We may eat to keep emotions at bay or we may have a fixed mental idea of the right diet or necessary foods to eat. So we must decipher our cravings clearly. The proverbial craving for ice cream and pickles, for example, might be translated as a need for calcium and then satisfied in a more appropriate, healthful form.
For myself, I knew the quality of food I was selecting was the best and the quantity seemed right. I took the time to eat and feed myself well, but I did not force myself to eat. Now with my children, I must once again set boundaries and then trust them to listen and respond to their own inner voice.
During my second pregnancy, I felt a foreboding that my child would be born damaged. When I discussed my fears with my midwife she assured me that what was to come would be revealed to me. That very evening I had a dream — a baby girl born with a plug in her throat. After reflecting on the dream, I felt it revealed my own need to open more fully and express myself. Possibly it was a warning too of food allergies. My daughter had a lot of mucus caught deep in her sinuses and chest when she was born.
Our “insights” are too often discarded as being untrustworthy if they prove wrong or inaccurate. Instead, I’ve come to understand that it is my interpretation which is in need of refining. Cultivating a sensitivity to my inner voice, to the multiple levels of meaning and an ability to quiet myself fine tunes me to really hear, so to speak, “between the lines.”
If we do not trust our intuition while pregnant, what can we expect of ourselves as mothers? For it is in responding to our deepest knowledge of ourselves that we clear a way toward truly responding to our babies and children. There are so many ideas and opinions available — how are we to know who to listen to? I have found that with each attitude or idea encountered from outside of myself I am forced back upon my own gut feeling. Modern mothering trends emphasize the importance of getting away from our babies and children as soon as possible. So that we can be free to be “good to ourselves” and thus be “better” mothers; more fulfilled women. Yet from every pore of my body I feel a pull to be with my baby and young child. It is being good to myself to feel my own and my baby’s need for each other. To nurture intimacy is not really familiar in our culture. Separation is the norm and we’ve grown to believe separateness is ideal, even necessary for healthy growth. Separateness does come as a natural part of a person’s growth, but in it’s own time. Our bodies show signs of mourning when separated from newborns. It is our biological, if not our personal/psychological need to keep our babes close to us. A clash comes when our conditioned thoughts don’t match our gut feeling. Which inner voice do we listen to ? I believe our heart can mediate if we allow our love to flow through. Taking a few moments even in the busiest of places to sense oneself and allow or image a flow of light or energy moving through us — flowing in through the top of our skulls, deep into our bellies and up, opening our hearts — out our arms and hands — helps to refocus, relax and quiet our talkative minds.