I’m writing today on a pretty personal note just to share that my partner Joe and I are expecting a baby! We are elated, and we expect our little munchkin to arrive somewhere around the end of January or early February, 2019.
I am about 20 weeks along. Finally feeling pretty good after battling minute-to-minute nausea for almost four months. This experience has already been wildly eye opening. I was oh-so-naively S H O C K E D that women have been going through the little phase evilly dubbed “morning” sickness since the dawning of humanity and that there are women among us right now keeping mum about their early pregnancies whilst they pretend not to be the queasiest, uneasiest they’ve ever been in their lives. Around the clock too (don’t let the condition’s name fool you).
Heroes!, the pregnant mums who go in to work every day pulling off the ruse that all is well. Or who take care of a freshly ambulating toddler whilst their digestive systems wage warfare on their well-being. All I could think of when I was glued in a semi-reclined position to my bed or sofa was, “How would I do this if I had other little bebs around?” Could it even be done? (Apparently so. Mom, you’re amazing. [I’m one of five.])
Don’t get me wrong here. The most salient feelings I have are awe, gratitude, excitement and elation. It does help that the cloud of around-the-clock-sickness has mostly passed. At 39, I really didn’t know if I’d be able to conceive easily, and over the years I have watched dear friends struggle to conceive, turn to medicine to conceive, fail to conceive, and/or be gifted with twins or triplets after taking a medically assisted route. I am beyond lucky, and beyond grateful, that I was able to conceive relatively easily — and I have not forgotten that for a minute.
Still, I see a real need for women to speak more candidly, openly, and unashamedly about the realities of pregnancy, birth and post-partum life. There is such cultural pressure for women to play so nice, to say all the right, polite things, to be meekly martyr-like and never disclose anything that might be labelled “TMI” — and the whole mannerly practice is just not doing us any favors! For THE BEST, FUNNIEST take on all of this, watch both of Ali Wong’s Netflix specials. You will not be disappointed.
The U.S. is still way behind when it comes to understanding why maternity leave, and gasp — yes — PAID maternity leave is so humane and essential. Women still often face the pressure to hide pregnancy in work environments for fear of being passed over for responsibilities and raises, for fear of not being taken seriously, and for the very real fear that they’ll be thought of as somehow not as valuable, efficient or productive as their non-preg counterparts. They’re also often rushing back to work before their bodies have fully healed.
I can’t help but believe that some of this backwardness is attributable to the fact that we’re collectively failing to vocalize our needs. Holy hell! Some pregnancies are magical, but just as many S U C K ! Admitting that does not mean we won’t be dedicated, loving, nurturing parents. It’s a simple honoring of a truth. And yet it’s hard to swallow because it’s been so taboo.
Let’s de-taboo pregnancy TMI shares — please. I would have been so grateful if just one woman in my life had mentioned, “Oh, by the way, morning sickness doesn’t just happen in mornings. Oh and yeah, forget about getting anything done for a while.” (If you have women who spoke these things to you, kiss them! The beloved women in my life spoke so saintly-like about their pregnancies I was SURE my own would be a non-stop bliss trip. Doh.) If I had heard a candid, ugly truth I could have prepared mentally and emotionally. And when morning sickness came to wreak her havoc on me, I might have felt less like a totally useless lump.
We could take it a step further and introduce the culture of celebrating “pregnant goddesses,” as one of my teachers Shiva Rea likes to call them. Do you know someone who is newly pregnant? Imagine bringing her a meal. Or a gift box. Or giving her a foot rub. Or braiding her hair while she rests on her mattress throne. As many women as I know and speak to on a daily basis, in my circles we are all too good at maintaining our own very private, pretty isolated domains. It’s not quite acceptable for us to truly, organically shower one another with support and close-up, hands-on loving care. I might not be surprised to receive a gift or to share a tea date, but I don’t have a single friend whose hands on my feet or comb in my hair would feel, er, not weird.
If you and your girlfriends take care of each other this way, I salute you (and I’m a little jealous). But I know I’m not an anomaly. It’s been cool in this culture to be independent. Self sufficient. Unstoppable. Tough. To not need anyone. What have we been thinking?
Let’s re-cool reliance on one another.
Speaking of reliance — and I’ll end this here — I’ve been so grateful that I have a partner who has taken up so much of my slack when it comes to meal making and house tidying. He was tired too: we have a full house with my two step-daughters, Joe’s disabled brother Alfred, and of course Huck… but he kept coming through. If you are going it alone, REACH OUT to your circle, woman. And keep reaching out. People love to help if only they know that their help is of value.
Thanks for reading thus far. I can’t wait to share more of this journey with you and for you to meet baby. More yoga coming soon now that I’ve returned to the land of the living.
So much love,
Love that story ❤️
Congratulations Leigha!! Your videos have helped me so much, thank you!!. At a time when I wasn’t able to make it to a studio (my oldest son has some special needs and it was very hard to leave him to get to a class) I found your channel and fell in love! It gave me the ME time I so needed emotionally. My practice is so much deeper and I prefer to do it at home now.. I have since had two more boys and each time your classes got me back into feeling like myself again. I am so excited for you and wish you the best! I am going to get to your studio one day when my kids are a bit older!
PS: The hardest thing for me after having my first was not fully understanding that you really don’t sleep for a LONG time after the baby is born.
**Always follow your “mommy gut” it is powerful❤️. Much love!
Yay Leigha!!! Congratulations to you, Joe and your step-daughters! Such wonderful news from such an amazingly wonderful bright light of a soul! I had to unwillingly laugh at your morning sickness thoughts. I’m sorry you had to go through that and know exactly what you mean. For me it was being SO tired! I remember sitting at work doing everything in my power to fight my desire for being horizontal, trying not let anyone know that I was holding this huge mountain of a secret and that my mind and body were concentrating on something far more important than anything I had ever done in my life before. Like you, I also remember thinking how has any woman in the history of mankind managed to get anything done in the first trimester?? But through it all, it is a beautiful journey and a reminder of how amazingly strong we women are and, be it good or bad, I better understand this often innate martyrdom we women take on – giving all we have for the growing life, willingly enduring pain and discomfort for the sake of the love we are growing inside of us. It becomes part of the fabric of our being and for all the injustices and inequalities it breeds, it is also, most simply, born out of a beautiful, pure love. So now that you’ve transported me into pregnant philosophies, keep enjoying the journey and thank you so much for sharing this part of yourself with us as well. I wish I could be in Kingston to give you some much deserved pampering from one sister to another (and take your amazing classes in person – I would LOOOOOOVE that!), but I’ll just have to send my supportive vibes across the ocean to you instead! You are an inspiration to all and a constant reminder of the power of compassion, kindness, generosity and love. Namaste dear Leigha!
Thanks for your beautiful comment, dear Robin, and for sharing YOUR story and journey. “Born out of a beautiful, pure love…” <3 <3 <3 ~Leigha
This reminds me of the time after I had my first baby, a college friend, who had gone back to live in Sweden and had a baby exactly a year before me, said, “Didn’t you just feel betrayed by every mother in your life?”
Um. Yes!!! Pregnancy and childbirth had been this incredibly vulnerable experience – where it seemed like people felt entitled to my body in ways that were often violating and where I felt completely helpless. It wasn’t until my second baby was born that I felt empowered during childbirth. The power had been entirely removed by petocin, the most evil drug I have ever taken. Yes, it helped me get to the goal of having healthy babe in arms without surgery, but I am lucky that I have never before or since in my life felt so consumed by pain – pain that I did not think I could survive at the time. Being almost four weeks early and not yet in position to be born, my daughter’s tiny skull was stuck inside my pelvis. I literally roared that tiny little lady out of my body, and remembering the sound of that roar still makes me feel like a warrior. (And little lady is a fiery 9yo now and roaring her way through this world with my deep admiration.)
There was so much truth to what my friend said, and I know my mom and mother-in-law had tried to prepare me in the ways they could, and that it had all been very hard for me to hear because it made me feel fearful of what was to come when I wanted to feel excited.
But the moment that I especially felt betrayed by a lack of knowledge around common experiences was after my third baby was born: by far the easiest childbirth except for the RACE to get to the birth center fast enough before he slipped out. That little man was ready, and after contractions that I could barely feel, three pushes later, he was out in the world blessedly healthy as can be. The more childbirths you endure, the more your body grows accustomed to them. But the truth: the birthing becomes easier and the afterbirthing (when the uterus contracts back to its unstretched size – naturally most helped through breastfeeding which releases important hormones for the job), become more intense. I had to lean over my nursing newborn to throw up from the pain. I spent the first week of my son’s life on heavy pain killers.
All of that is to say that each experience is so different, and it can be hard to know what to expect or how to help a sister prepare. But I love this idea of just opening up. Because let’s blow the roof off this need to make everything seem perfectly ok all the time and acknowledge that sometimes it’s not, and we still survive it! Because we are so innately strong! Feeling weak and ungrounded and vulnerable sucks! So PregnancyMeToo on that! Sharing the reality is a huge gift, and I thank you.
I can’t wait to hear more! And I can’t wait to meet your little Lead Singer!!! ❤️❤️❤️
THANK YOU for your story, Hillary! These are exactly the kind of details my dear friends have too-kindly kept to themselves. I loved reading this beautiful retelling and so appreciate your sharing. <3
SO excited for you, Leigha!
I, too am due at the end of Jan with my first (after 16 years married and not being able to), so I share in your joy.
I’ve also followed you for several years and would LOVE to see some Leigha prenatal yoga classes ♀️ in honor of the momentous occasions!
Blessings to you and your family!
Congratulations, Ashley! This is so exciting. I am so happy for you and your partner. Yes, I am so looking forward to recording some prenatal-appropriate classes. Warmest wishes to you!