This is a bowl of homemade congee (rice porridge) with shiitake mushrooms, roasted sweet potatoes and cashews. This is a post about how to practice self-care during a period of doubt.
Right now, this baby is anywhere from 1-7 days overdue. This is completely normal. Most first-time moms are at least a week overdue. Honestly, it's not so much that I want to have the baby right now (I know I'll have quite a long stretch of motherhood soon enough), it's that I want to end this moment of waiting.
Yes, it's physically uncomfortable in a way I haven't been expecting - everything aches and my acid reflux is so bad I could barely digest this soothing food bowl.
But more than that, I'm emotionally uncomfortable. I don't have much to keep me busy as I wait and wait. This gives lots of space for thoughts and feelings to float to the surface. I realize how much my pride is flaring up. This isn't going along with my idea of having a perfect birth and as crazy as this may sound, I feel like I'm disappointing the people around me by not already having the baby. I worry about the baby's health and whether or not I will be a good mom or if I will even like motherhood.
When all these feelings come up, all I want to do is watch TV and eat french fries (oddly the one thing I can digest). I want to hide from the world and from myself. Yet this makes me feel worse.
For the past few days, I've been wondering how to practice self-care when very little feels stable. I wonder for myself and for the people affected by Harvey, for all the refugees in the world and anyone who doesn't know how life will happen next (and of course I don't consider my problems to be problems at all compared to those other groups - I'm just curious if there are common answers we can discover).
Right now what's working for me is honesty about where I'm struggling and super small steps in the direction of self-care. This morning that meant rose water spray on my face, a walk in the rain with Poncho and oatmeal on the stovetop.
It means being extra gentle with myself and letting others support me. It means surrendering to life as it wants to come and saying quiet "thank you's" as I take the next tiny step forward.