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these days, pregnancy is getting me down. all the happiness, all the excitement, all the dreams seem far away. where is the energy i had just discovered from making the decision to quit my present career? where is the delight in spring? i´m tired. most days, i collapse after dinner, which is also the time when i feel most sick. i don´t even have cravings anymore, all food seems equally uninteresting and even appalling. and though it may even sound silly, this complete loss of interest in pretty much everything in life is really getting me down. why even bother to do my morning pages writing if i live in a constant state of fogginess. why meditate if clarity is a distant memory. why even get up.

i try to accept how i´m feeling. i try to thank my body for growing a baby. but then i feel the anger bubbling up that something so wonderful can make women feel so rotten. i try to be thankful that i´m not nearly as exhausted as during my first pregnancies. i try to appreciate that i´m not feeling the same degree of sickness every day, all day. but it all helps little.

today, i´m thankful that it´s the first of may and i have the day off. i use the stillness in the house to water my poor neglected plants and to catch up with some writing – making another attempt to break this block. in a way, i am starting to see that like in so many instances of past problems with depression, mood or mental well-being is a complex mix of physical and psychological factors. in a way, i am seeing clearer today.

just as i am writing this, a feeble ray of sunlight lifts the fog outside my window, reminding me that behind it all, there is always a clear, blue sky. i look at the lilac bushes across the park. such beauty.

time then, to make an attempt to clear some things away. to hang up the washing and feed the birds. time to allow the sun into the house. time to allow the sun into my heart.


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today is easter and i´m alone in an airport, flying out very early tomorrow morning. this is my crazy job routine. from this week, i will be commuting every other week again until the end of july. end of month 5… i´m a practising buddhist, but it just felt awful being too tired and sick to do anything special for easter with the children, and to leave them today. but such is my life at the moment. we all know i´ll be back, we all know things will get back to normal after a while (well, the girls don´t know yet they are going to have another sibling before christmas, and that that´s just why mummy is soooo tired at the moment), and it just makes me happy every time i think about the fact that my time running madly into directions i don´t want my life to go…

yesterday, the dance troupe i am part of had a performance at a lovely intercultural neighbourhood festival in the gallery where we rehearse. yes, i did skip the practice in the morning, but i performed twice. it was lovely to have a bunch of really little girls (older daughter among them) perform in colourful costumes, all decked up. for many of them, it was their first performance. there were two of us mature students and i must say though i´ve performed this piece (a radha-krishna ras) more times than i can count, this was a one of the loveliest performances. it is just great to get a good vibe from the audience who were packed in the actual exhibition space. even more, it is lovely if you feel you achieve a nice flow together with your co-performer. this happened this time. we didn´t have a lot of space, but i never felt we were going to bump into each other, because our movements flowed together. it is really nice that i can also feel that i´m improving with my lines and expression, even though i started learning kathak only at 31 years and i´ve not been able to give it a lot of time in terms of practice.

actually, i was a bit worried about dancing pregnant. but some of my friends had done it, and i´ve been to a couple of practices and it felt alright. still, i´ve always given up the other indian dance style i do when i was pregnant before, but that is a lot more forceful and requires a lower basic position than kathak. i still wouldn´t do that now. but it is nice, as with music, to carry a passions into the pregnancy, to pass it on to baby even before birth. and that is what it felt like: sharing what i love with my unborn baby. making baby part of my life. inviting baby into my world. into what it beautiful in this world. music, dance and friendship.

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last week, we went to yorkshire for three days. we drove all the way to the yorkshire coast, one of my favourite places in this country. having grown up by the sea, i miss it when i’m not near. and when i am, it fills me with an immediate sense of homecoming and well-being. it starts even when the sea comes closer and the landscape and the sky get that look that the boundary of the land is close. and when i catch the first glimpse of a stretch of blue water. when we arrived at boggle hole, a youth hostel near robin hood’s bay, i filled with happiness (sun was shining too…). little daughter was at first fearful of the water. older daughter headed off blissfully, bucket and spade in hand. the tide is out and we stay for a while by the brook. my eyes are soothed by the calm water. the gentle waves are surreally beautiful, breaking in perfection out at sea. i close my eyes. my breath goes in and out. the waves come, break, and retreat. the tide comes and goes. the moon rises and falls. the sun falls and rises.

i’m alive.

we decadently get a cappuccino from reception and put the tray in the sand. older daughter ventures out, every so often turning back, calling out to me, smiling. i smile back. our smiles on the wind. sunshine in our faces. i whisper to the tiny pearl inside me about the beauty of the earth. i collect shells and line the water’s edge.P1060299

after a while, i take my shoes off. it’s the ninth of april and i put my bare feet on the sand. if feel the moist sand and the rocks. the water is so cold, it hurts. the children don´t care. what bliss. we walk out to the tideline, find sun-warmed rock pools and hear the waves. rise and fall. in and out. breathing. clouds float across the blue sky.P1060292

as we walk back up to the room, primroses and violets sit pretty in the grass. i have the beautiful feeling of sun in the face and the breath of the sea on my skin.P1060302

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the weekend is over and we’re trying to maintain some sort of work ethic with the children at home for the easter break. i didn’t want to delay it too long, so i phoned our gp practice yesterday morning to find out how to start my ante-natal care. my last two pregnancies were in a different part of the country where you just made an appointment with the midwives when you found out you were pregnant. when we moved here, i was already in my third trimester and went to our new gp, all my care documents with me, to make an appointment. i mean, i was visibly pregnant, and the reception lady says: no, but the doctor has to confirm the pregnancy. to be fair, she then realised that this would be ridiculous, and referred me to the midwives. so, this morning, i called. i said my little verse, and the lady at the other end said: “hang on a minute”. it took at least a minute until she came back and said, “ok, you need to come in and fill in a form which we can send to the midwives.” this is not the first kind of encounters with the nhs like this, and as usual, i am so stunned how professional, friendly and skilled they are, that i can barely say anything, so i said, “oh, thank you very much indeed.” as i hung up, i felt like – come in and fill in a form? i totally see this could be a useful procedure, but what i really heard in those words was: “what do we care? we’re not going to make it easy for you to get ante-natal care, because that costs the nhs a lot of money, and, essentially, we don’t want you to get ante-natal care.” yeah. what do they care about babies. what do they care if women go through pregnancies filled with anxiety and fear. what do they care if the pregnancy goes wrong (oh, of course they do – one costly birth less on their account). the number of full-term stillbirths we have heard of within a fairly close circle of acquaintances in this country is shameful for a country which likes to believe it is one of the advanced, industrialized and developed nations in the world. oh, of course, you can get better care. if you can afford it. if you can afford it, you can, even in this country, find a clean swimming pool, a good school, good medical care. yes, i am angry. i am sick and tired and angry. angry how a single phone-call can make me feel so disempowered.

and this is not about me – yes, i would prefer to feel empowered, positive and supported. but at least i have family and friends to provide me with those feelings, and i’m fluent in english (i just don´t speak the language of the system). everytime something like this happens to me, i think of those women who are alone. who are scared. who don´t know english. first-time mums, single mums, teenage mums. as a society, we make a big fuss around baby bumps and babies. but for the health system, each pregnancy and birth is an unwanted expense.

in a moment of sarcasm, i remembered my last phone call to the lufthansa service centre. in spite of the reason for my call being entirely my own stupidity, i felt that i was talking to real person on the other end of the line, and they made me feel like a real person. rather than feeling more embarrassed at my stupidity, i hung up feeling positive about my ability to sort problems and rectifying a mistake. well, i guess i pay lufthansa rather better than the nhs. and yet. in a situation that is about myself and my body, it doesn´t seem right to feel powerless and negative.

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all the insecurities

today, the sky is overcast. even the birds are quiet. it’s the end of the week. my head is spinning with worries now. should i find a doctor here for antenatal care, or just get all that over in the uk, where i will be giving birth? how do i tell my employer? (and will they tell my boss?) what if i show really early?

it just doesn’t help to find a host of sights cautioning against travel by plane in the first trimester when i will have to do about 4 return flights before 12 weeks… at least i found out that i should be fine until the end of my contract and the last conference lined up, which will both be just before 30 weeks… it only just works out, i guess, but it seems to me that it might be a bit of a tightrope walk, and if anything goes wrong… will it be ok to continue dancing? how am i not going to get out of breath, may i ask – something most sites recommend watching out for? i feel very stupid today. come on, this is my third pregnancy, i should know that my body will tell me what it can do. so i will continue running and going to my kathak classes until it feels i should stop. what ever is meant to be, will be.

the daisies are keeping their heads closed today.

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as i left work, i touched every soft leaf i could lay my fingers on. touching leaves, tree bark, rocks and water makes me feel alive. i connect with the earth, the elements, the forces that are.

and while a thunderstorm was brewing, it occurred to me how strange it is that his is my first pregnancy where i am actually in a job. this will make things a lot different – not only that i will be traveling right into the last trimester, but i will also have more time on my own. and yet in those weeks where i am not working from home, i won´t be able to organize my days as freely, i won´t have the chance to do my pregnancy yoga, or to cook the things i crave.

during the day, i have been feeling quite queasy. more than the dizziness and even the positive test, this makes the pregnancy suddenly very real. and suddenly i feel a bit scared. more than a bit scared. i feel tired, too, and i long to sleep, to curl up around my precious centre.