When I became pregnant with my daughter I instantly morphed into a pregosaurus – career woman remixed with baby naming websites, Amazon baby wishlists, and a long library list of pregnancy books. It became my full time hobby to think about what was happening inside my belly. Was that a flutter? What is the best thing to eat? How can I tell if I’m on track or not? Everything became a question.
I took pride in the fact that I was educating myself on the ways to have a safe, healthy, and fun pregnancy. My husband and I joined a Centering midwifery group. Centering is group-based prenatal care : meeting monthly with other couples that are expecting in the same month to exchange information and build relationships with other parents-to-be. I had done my research on Centering and felt like it would allow us to soak up information in a more tangible way. Over the months, I started to see our bellies change at different rates. I know. I know. We all carry differently. Each pregnancy is different. But when we were sitting in our conversation circle, I felt like I was in a police lineup with the nurse midwife walking around to see who was guilty of not being on track. Then it came. I was singled out from the lineup and taken for a doppler behind a screen. The attending midwife told me that I wasn’t gaining enough weight. I went to the restroom immediately after our two hour class and cried in the bathroom stall. What was I doing wrong?
Tears aside, I came to a sense that everything was going to be alright and that I would find my way back to being on this now elusive track. A month passed. Another month passed. Then I was told I was gaining weight too quickly. At that point, I saw how restrictive it was to be paying too much attention to the growth curve chart. My pregnancy was a dynamic process start to end – like some women’s and unlike others.
Another one of the midwives within the program passed on some sage words. She told me that people are conditioned to tell you when something seems wrong, and somewhat less likely to tell you that you are spot on doing a-okay. My husband and I started to see that nurse midwives would be bound by certain protocol within their hospital system. We couldn’t get a woman-to-woman opinion and certain answers were too generic for our liking. At six months, we opted to switch to a naturopathic midwife with a private practice. We were on a path to pursuing a home birth. It felt right when our new midwife greeted my belly with a smile and a hug and a “welcome beautiful mama and beautiful baby.” I stopped trying to stay on track and found a healthy path made for me and my baby.