Last week was my twenty week benchmark. Considering that I was largely unaware of my first trimester, I feel like the pregnancy is really starting to take form and reality for us. There are the tangible signs of pregnancy. For example, I have a visible little pouch. I have a little more energy and less indigestion. I’m starting to feel the little Raggamuslim move (especially when I’m tired). How fun is that! 😉 However, the spiritual reality of this journey has recently dawned on me. While I was watching a Youtube clip about a natural home birth, there was something in the face and reaction of the mother that really touched me. She reached down to receive her daughter with her own two hands, pulled her close to her bosom and her face communicated such awe, amazement and joy. At that moment it dawned on me…Ya Allah! (Oh God!) I’m going to be a mother! I was in the cyber cafe at the time and I just started to cry. Somehow the reality of how big and important this experience is really hit me and made feel so privileged and honored. I wanted to stay longer to peruse more pregnancy sites and videos but my bladder was bursting. (I can’t be too far from a bathroom at any given time) After using the restroom, I prepared to pray the afternoon prayer and just wept and wept and wept. I felt so grateful for this opportunity and somehow my spirit now seems fully aware, not just my mind, that I’m nurturing a little person that I will mother for the rest of my life. Now that this little one is moving, it’s a bit easier to communicate and talk. I imagine that he or she is trying to get my attention or remind me that he or she is there. Even to see the look on Urbndervish’s face when I tell him “Your little one’s been moving alot today” reminds that this journey is very unique and monumental for the both of us and it’s a true blessing to share it.
To prepare myself for what’s ahead I’ve gleaned some advice and resources from others. One of the many blessings of having so many friends older than myself is that they can give me tried and true advice from their experiences. I’ve actually been asking for advice about wifehood and motherhood for the last five or six years. What can I say; I like to be prepared. Anyway, one of my dear sister friends, who happens to be a mother of five, offered the following pregnancy websites. I recently discovered that one of my mom’s cousins is also pregnant (Congratulations, Cuz!) and I thought others my benefit from these sites as well.
Here we go:
Pregnancy Yoga: Yoga during pregnancy can really help your body prepare for birth. There are particular positions that actually help relieve backpain, improve your circulation, widen your hips, and other great activities that can ease both labor and delivery.
Hakima Midwifery: This is the blog of a midwife in the Bay Area who studied in Senegal and writes encouraging posts about homebirths, nursing, natural births, etc.
Mother Ease Cloth Diapers: My friend says that these are the best and most affordable on the market. Hey, if a mother of five gives that kind of advice, how can I ignore it?
Useful Herbs for Pregnancy: There are many herbs that can help to alleviate difficulties and aid your body from both a nutritional and physiological perspective.
Natural Birth and Baby Care: This site has useful tips for preparing for natural births.
Maya Wrap: (I added this website) When I used to work as a live-in nanny for a friend of mine, I often carried her daughter in one of these wraps. I found the wrap very easy to use and I’m a big advocate of baby carrying. It just makes sense to me and seems the most natural way to carry a young child. A simple piece of fabric will get the job done too but I found this wrap very easy to use and adjust, especially while wearing a back pack, carrying groceries and boarding the bus simultaneously. ***FYI- Maya Wrap has an outlet site where they sell discounted wraps, so save about $20 and shop at the Maya Outlet.***
As for spiritual preparation, it’s always a good idea to increase in your God consciousness and awareness through prayer, good company, and mindfulness of your environment and influences. More specifically, I’ve been advised to frequently read Surah Maryam, a chapter in the Qur’an that recounts the birthing experience of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus (peace be upon them both). It’s really amazing to read about the miracles she witnessed at the time of her labor. It affirms for me that birth is a special time in which you can witness God and yourself in an enlightening way, if you embrace the process, not run from it.
Other than this, Urbndervish and I are packing our bags and preparing to leave Algiers. We’ll be visiting the U.S. for about a month and then it’s off to our next destination. We’ll let you know once we get there and what we discover along the way. Until then…