January is the final month of maidenhood as I’m a few days shy from my due date. Not only does it feel like this pregnancy has gone by so quickly, but also the start of this year feels like it’s moving at lightning speed. To think any day now my newborn will be in my arms just blows me away.
The days ahead may be blurry. As the saying goes the days are long but the years are short, that’s a wild concept to consider. My goal as a parent is to be as present as possible but as a first-time mom, I also understand most of my learning happens on the job and so being present may prove more trying than realistic.
In an attempt to make the most of this life-changing year, I’ve been journaling each day to savor the most precious moments. Writing has always been my favorite form of release, communication, and reflection especially when done consistently. Usually, I bite off more than I can chew, but this year I’ve found the sweet spot of answering 3 simple questions at the end of every day:
What excited me today?
What exhausted me today?
What did I learn today?
Each month of 2023 I’d like to share the highlights of my life with you, the exciting ones, the exhausting ones, and the ones that offered me lessons to take forward. Partially because it’s important to me that I maintain my love for writing, even if it’s simple journaling. But also I love sharing my experience with those interested, especially as I embark on new territory with mindful intentions. So here are my highlights of January and what I’ve taken from them.
Highlights of Excitement in January
Getting a bedframe for the first time in 5 years
My husband and I are minimalist by nature, or maybe just lazy I’m not sure, either way we don’t need much to be happy. We’ve lived together for 5 years going on 6 and this month bought our first bed frame. Until now we’ve had a mattress on the floor and have had no complaints.
However, since I’ll be having a baby any day now we’ve been preparing for the postpartum period and all the ways to create comfort and support for me and baby. The more I thought about getting out of bed with my knees higher than my hips the more I realized it was time for a bed frame. It has been a HUGE change, I’m not used to being so high off the ground but it’s been an amazing improvement for the multiple bathroom runs throughout the night.
My father’s 72nd birthday
My family lives a little over an hour away and ver since hitting 9 months of pregnancy I stopped taking long trips outside of town. So although I wasn’t able to physically see him, hug him, and grab a slice of ice cream cake, what a blessing it was to call my father on his 72nd birthday this year.
It’s exciting for all the obvious reasons, celebrating life is always exciting. But this year is super special for me because my baby will have a grandfather, something I didn’t have the priveledge of growing up. The thought of my little one making precious memories with him in the garden or listening to old school wisdom swells my heart.
My grandmother’s 95th birthday
A few days after my father’s birthday is his mother’s, my grandmother’s, and this year she turned 95. That entire week felt like on gigantic blessing to be celebrating so many decades of life. My grandma lives in North carolina and it’s been nearly a year since I’ve seen her, I really miss her.
Thankfully she’s surrounded by love all the time and never alone. Her friends and family threw her a party with upwords of 120 people showing up to shower her with gifts, loving speeches, and gratitude for all that she’s offered throughout the years. My grandma’s heart is so pure, I can’t wait for my baby to experience all of that love.
Washing my newborn’s clothes
Those tiny socks and mittens are honestly too cute to explain. The smell, the size, the cute little designs. My heart began to swell. I wasn’t ready for how emotional it would make me to wash, dry, and fold those little outfits.
It allowed me to start fantasizing about late night feedings and getting them dressed in the morning, as I started to pack a diaper caddy that will sit next to my bedside. As I counted and organized the clothes according to months I prayed for time to slow down just a little bit. This baby isn’t even here yet and yet it all feels like it’s going too fast.
Purchasing home-birth materials
I’m so excited to be setting up our home-birth essentials in the baby’s room. We’ve got the tub and hose ready to be used, positive affirmations ready to be written on a giant white board, and the essential oil diffuser ready to set the tone. All that’s left is the set up when the time comes. I’m in no rush but I am getting eager.
Highlights of Exhaustion in January
Starting the year off with the worst congestion
The most frustrating part of this year was starting it off so congested that I couldn’t breathe through BOTH nostrils. I literally pulled back to back all nighters because laying down felt like drowning, and I couldn’t find comfort with my big belly. On top of the congestion I had a few hours of Braxton hicks contractions that I had to mouth breathe through, would not recommend, but you do what you’ve got to. Although the congestion hasn’t gone away 100% I have since become very grateful to breahe through both nostrils again.
Releasing pent up resentment under the full moon
Two of my spiritual friends and I like to get together under full moons to align our energies with higher frequencies. This one was very important to me because it was the last one before I became a mom, and I’m not sure when we’ll be getting together again. Once we got together, lit the incense, and started sharing intentions, I began to feel lighter. I had no idea just how much heaviness, resentment, and anger I had been holding onto for so long.
The days that followed felt like being hungover, a healthy hangover where I had let go of burdens and baggage, but a hangover nonetheless. I was left with lots to think about, exhausted from all I was still letting go, and working to accept how to move forward from all of that. It was powerful, overall great for my spirit, but man it was exhausting.
Nesting non-stop for 3 days
From waking up with the urge to scrub a toilet all the way to my need to start freezing meatballs for postpartum, nesting hit me hard. It came in a strong wave and stayed for about 3 days before I suddenly crashed. It was empowering and exhausting all at once, and I hear it could come once more right before baby arrives. This time I’m ready for it.
Dealing with swelling of my legs and feet
One thing I wasn’t prepared for was the swelling of my lower body. Swelling is one thing but the “fluffy discomfort” that accompanies the swelling really threw me. I’d describe it as having server’s feet, if you’ve ever worked in a restaurant setting you know what I’m talking about.
The crazy thing is I didn’t need to be on my feel for hours or do strenuous work. This exhaustion was challenging to get around because it was simply apart of pregnancy, something to work with, accept, and learn to rest through. I guess this doubles as a lesson learned too.
Working through 12 hours of promordal labor contractions
This sounds more painful than it actually was, it felt more uncomfortable and inconvenient than anything. What was exhausting was being awake for it the entire time and not being able to sleep the next day. It was interesting to feel the waves varry in intensity, time, duration, move from my abdomen to my back, and suddenly subside. It was like a dresss rehearsal of what could be expected, but from what I understand x10.
Highlights of Learnings in January
The importance of slowing down for my mind and body
I (re)learned that slowing down is a precious gift to give myself, one that continues to serve me long after I’ve begun to pick up the pace again. Whether it’s to slow down and take a deep breath during a challenging moment, or slowing down my body after a lot of activity, it’s the choice itself that I keep learning from.
I keep learning that I have the option to slow down, that urgency may be my first go to but it doesn’t have to be the end decision. Each time I slow down I remind myself that I can always slow down, it’s always a choice, and it’s always MY choice to make, no one else’s.
There is someone on the otherside of the anger I feel
As I began to release anger and resentment under the full moon I realized how strong that hold was over me. I was holding on so tightly to how wrong someone else was, how much they were hurting me, and how their actions were impacting those around them.
What I wasn’t thinking of was the person on the otherside of my anger and resentment, what they may be feeling and going through. The more I humanized the person the less power those emotions had over me. My resentment didn’t fade entirely but it doesn’t control me anymore.
Consistency is truly a superpower when it comes to making an impact
Each week this year I’ve been emailing my subscribers which may not seem like alot but I’ve really struggled with consistency in the past. As a result I’ve had a couple of people reach out in gratitude for what I’ve been sharing.
It’s been reassuring that when I stick to something there’s someone on the otherside building an expectation to receive from me. Instead of allowing that to transform into overwhelming pressure, I’m learning to allow that to help me sustain my consistency. Rather than striving for perfection each week my goal is progress, to keep showing up as I am even when it’s not pretty.
My husband is the best support system I could ask for
During the most painful, uncomfortable, and challenging moments of my 9th month of pregnancy my husband jumped into action. This isn’t something that surprises me at all but I’m learning just how supportive he could really be. Doing the heavy lifting, putting the dishes away, putting together the baby furniture-these are things I expected.
But sitting on the floor in the bathroom with me, rubbing my back through the contractions, buying my favorite ice cream without prompting, these took me by surprise. I learned he really wants to support me in anyway he can. I decided to make a word doc with suggestions to take out the guess work so when it’s crunch time and I’m focused on my breathing, he’ll have a little cheatsheet.
Time For You To Reflect
This simple practice has helped me reconnect with what’s important in my life and allowed me to start practicing gratitude for the little things each day. I’m a firm believer that the little things one day become the big things by snowball effect, and I’m really excited to look back each month on just how much life changes each day.
May this monthly highlight blog invite you to become curious about the life you’re living, what feels good, what drains your energy, and overall what lessons you’re learning along the way. Life is being lived whether you pay attention or not, but the more you pay attention the less it feels like it’s slipping away. This way you’re actually living it with your eyes wide open.
Start where you are, with how you’re feeling, and all that’s going on within you. It’s a perfect time.