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“You can make anything by writing.” ― C.S. Lewis

Posts for spirituality

A Mother’s Blessing

We had all had rough days.

Some of us had had rough weeks, some of us were ill or in pain, or had emotional issues troubling us.

When I first realized this, getting ready in our bedroom in the early evening, I — of course — worried. Worried that we would all be too tired to enjoy ourselves. Worried that my dear ones had stressed themselves out, trying to pull together this Blessingway in my honor. Worried that our hearts would be in the right place but our bodies might not cooperate.

I dried my hair, and after I finished, I heard car doors slam shut outside. My girls were here. I didn’t bother with mascara — I knew there would be some sort of tears at some point in the evening; tears of emotion or joy or laughter or overwhelmed gratitude. I threw on the dress I’d worn for maternity pictures, earlier in the week, figuring I might as well get some more use out of it than just that one single occasion, and then I headed out the front door to the front porch.

Already, my ladies had hung a bright tie-dyed sheet of Lauren’s, blocking most of the party space from view. They would allow me behind it, but they wouldn’t let me help with anything, so I decided to park it in a chair outside the curtain and let myself be surprised when they’d finished setting up completely.

I didn’t feel great, I’ll admit it. I’d had an emotional day, more stress than I’d expected, and my hormones ready and rarring to escalate every emotion to its highest level, even when it wasn’t called for. Physically, I had pushed myself a bit farther than I should have. My back was killing me, my carpal tunnel was causing both my hands to ache, and my poor pregnant feet were certainly reacting to doing chores all day and the summer heat. Worst — my Braxton Hicks contractions were really amped up that evening — I was trying to catch up on my hydration, and sit still to let my body rest — but they were intense, and frequent. Not regular, or painful — never quite enough to make me actually worry about actual labor — but close enough that one or two times throughout the evening, I had an inward moment of, if this keeps up, we might turn this Blessingway into a Birthingway. (Luckily, that didn’t end up happening, and at the end of the night, with plenty of water and my feet propped up, everything returned to normal.)

So I sat, and listened as my friends called to each other, working together to transform the porch into a little wonderland for a few hours. Lauren turned on some music and it spilled out into the evening air.

Suddenly, I felt a sense of peace wash over me. Whatever I had been upset about all day, whatever I apprehension I had for the evening’s festivities — it all faded away. The sun was not yet quite beginning to set, but the hour drew nearer. Beyond the porch and the trees of the neighborhood, the sky flared from blue to rose and amber, and the last of the afternoon sunlight cut angles across the porch, shining through that tie-dye sheet. Suddenly, everything felt exactly as it should. I was happy to be there, happy to have my girls there to celebrate with me. Happy to have my husband inside enjoying some dude time, happiest of all to have my daughter kicking and wiggling in my belly as I waited.

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“How to Be Zen AF During Your First Trimester or Die Trying”

In part-interview and part philosophical discussion, fellow first time mama-to-be and all-around inspiring lady friend Shadea took some time to have a talk with me about pregnancy, vulnerability, identity, support, and options. 

 


E: HI SHADEA.

S: HELLO EMILY!

So, first — will you tell anyone reading a little bit about you and your lovely husband, and basically about becoming pregnant for the first time?

Ah well. This will be hard not to run down a romantic memory lane and gush all over everyone in the most sickening way.

DO IT.

GAH
IT IS SO GROSS.

NO, it’s lovely!!! You two have such a luminous relationship. I went there, I said luminous.

*Blushes*
I’ll try to be brief because we have a lot to talk about – Davis and I met in college working at the same coffee shop.
I was madly infatuated with him and we fell in love in the winter during a snowstorm. My power went out and I stayed with him for a week.
OMG IT’S SO SAPPY.

Within a few months of dating, we made plans to travel together in the summer. We went to few countries in Europe and then lived in Morocco for a month while I studied Arabic and did some research for my senior thesis.
See, I can’t start from anywhere but the start!
Anyway – Long story short, we hit all the major testing points before getting married – we traveled together, lived together and lived away from each other.

Right — I think that’s why you want to start at the beginning — you formed such a deep, strong relationship before babies or even marriage were on the table — that’s super important, and I feel similarly about Shaun and me. It’s so important to have a strong foundation to build upon.

And you got married when?

We’ve been married for 3.5 years (4 in May).
So 2012.
JESUS. Time flies.

Good, you remembered your anniversary. Points.
So — now you’re knocked up, like me — which to me is a really cool experience to have together since we’ve known each other so long.

For background to anyone reading– you and I have known each other since fourth grade which GOOD LORD.

Here is my favourite elementary school memory of you and me —

Competing over how many books we read?
Because I was thinking about that last night.

The only reason I eeked out a win in 5th grade was because you had *literally* read every book in the library and there were no more left for you to take tests on.

For some weird reason, we were the only ones in 5th grad Social Studies GT, and on Thursday afternoons, we scampered off to GT all by ourselves — and I was SO AWKWARD that year, with the Horrible Glasses and Tragic Bangs and a tacky church camp beaded necklace I would never take off. And you had that — knee thing? The issue with your knee and you wore a knee brace that made your one leg straight all the time, so you had to hobble?

And you were super tall and I was super short, and I would help you hobble off to GT where we tried to convince Mrs. Brown to let us email the White House.

OMG. OMG OMG
I completely forgot about that!
We were such an amazing pair.

We really were — I think we were the quintessential Weird Eccentric Girls who grow up to be Cool, Empowered Women. (I hope, anyway.)

For the record – I was mostly in awe of you, because I thought *I* read a lot.

My other favourite memory is EVERY TIME someone cast us in the high school play together and we couldn’t get through ANY SCENE without laughing, and on dress rehearsal, we laughed so hard, your mom yelled, “SHADEA!” from the audience.

I cannot even with this reliving shit. I’m crying over here.

I KNOW, it makes me weep thinking about it.

Anyway — back to babies — so you started messaging me shortly after I announced that I was pregnant. Which — you are actually 2 or 3 weeks ahead of me, correct? But you announced later than I did. What week are you/what’s your due date?

I’m in week 17, so I’m like 2 weeks ahead of you.

Yes, good. (I’m 15 weeks.)

And going back to that (hopefully) Cool, Empowered Women thing —  we’ve had a lot of conversations about being pregnant/birth/parenting, and it’s been nice because we’re similarly minded on a lot of topics, which can sometimes be hard to find.

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