When I first announced my pregnancy, I had a message from a client and friend where she said 'But who is going to "Daisy" you?'
While it's true that in terms of birth preparation there is very little that I need from another person, there is still that desire for support and care during my pregnancy. When I did my doula training we discussed the different 'hats' that we all wear. My concern was how I was going to combine newly single-motherhood, teaching, consulting AND doulaing, exchanging these different hats many different times in a day.
I am busier than ever and I yet I am finding my attention drawn further and further inwards, as all pregnant women do, retreating from the other concerns and winding the processes down. Unlike with my first pregnancy, I am dreading going on maternity leave and taking a break from this job I love so much. This time, the only thing I wanted more than another child was to do my job. A baby I wanted in my heart and yet at the time wasn't quite ready for.
I have been guilty of neglecting the mother role in my life. It is hard to be self-employed with a child who is not yet in full time school. Yet it has been exactly a year since I stopped breastfeeding and bed-sharing, my son is never carried in the sling and sometimes is now away seeing his father. It feels like this role has been on the backburner even as I frequent soft plays and answer work emails on my phone, or chat to Google analytics as my son falls asleep next to me on the sofa. I find it harder and harder to relate to mothers of newborns. Judah has been accepted to the local primary to start from September, then full time from January.
It feels right. I have spent my time this pregnancy doing the things I never got to, or thought to do, with Judah. Taking weekly pictures, announcement photos, finding birth music, planning a mother blessing. I've treated myself to two new carriers in anticipation. I think once you have had one pregnancy you know how precious and fleeting it is - I feel like I want this one to last forever. We don't know how often we'll get to experience it.
How to transition from mothering other mothers to focusing on yourself? I thought I was prepared when pregnant with Judah but really only now do I feel fully informed. I am not the same person who prepared nothing for her home birth and didn't have a birth plan, believing instead in blind optimism and positive thinking. Do I have a stronger belief in my body's ability to birth now? Perhaps, as this belief has been affirmed by Judah's birth. But I am also far more aware of the various emergencies in birth that do not discriminate between women. I am aware of coerced consent and the various bullying behaviours that can occur at a birth.
I am having a doula for this birth. I could talk about oxytocin and endorphin and the proven benefits of doulas, but why I really want a doula is because birth work is tiring. I want some of that mothering for myself. I want somebody who is just there for me, with no agenda, who I respect and admire as a colleague and a friend. I want this transition into motherhood again to be as gentle and empowering as I know that it can be. I want to share the burden of birth support that has landed on my partner with somebody else, to allow us to relax and enjoy our child entering the world. Before I begin again with breastfeeding, bed-sharing, babywearing, nappy changes, weaning, first words, first steps and immerse myself in motherhood once more. It will be a shock to me to find myself back there.
This is my gift to myself, the mothering of my own mother. Taking time, reflecting, and asking for the essential help that so many consider a luxury, but I know is priceless.