Third pregnancy, ‘the cave’ and ahh, light!
Well, kind of. But returning from a four month hiatus is always a little awkward so may as well be a little dramatic.
I’m not back in my usual rhythm of weekly entries for my paid subscribers just yet, but I’m sitting my bum down to write. First things first.
I’ve been on a creative sabbatical— that’s one way to put it. Another is that I became pregnant with our third child (praise God), felt unusually poorly in my first trimester (constant heartburn/nausea— no spewies but always on the verge, you know) and decided I needed all I had for my children. My first two pregnancies were easy breezy and so feeling crapola at the start of this one came outta left field.
With Sol, I breezed through. I delivered a full two day speaking event at 10 weeks pregnant (in a crop top, mind you), and had leftover energy to boot. I was 28.
With Pax, we lived in London and I had a very energetic toddler, Sol, to look after in the grey London rain, so I felt extremely tired for the first bit. I’d play whatever I could with her lying down on the floor. Normal for a first trimester. I was 31.
With this one, it’s been different— physically, emotionally and mentally. I got through the constant heartburn and nausea by about week 14, even though it returned with a vengeance around week 17. Despite this being super common amongst pregnant women, it’s all new to me in pregnancy.
I had food poisoning at 25 weeks with Pax and was sat during a London heatwave on the floor of the maternity ward at the Royal Free Hospital spewing into a little cardboard bucket. Otherwise, I’ve been so blessed to never have the pregnant spewies, nausea or the dreaded hyperemesis like many women experience.
I got the usual casual heartburn later in my pregnancies when my 9.5 and 10+ pound babies started to stretch their legs up high, pushing all acid up to what felt like a gurgling pool in the throat (if you know you know)…. And my coccyx pokes into me like a twisted knife for most of the second half of pregnancy thanks to a rugby tackle from a friend back in high school (thanks Tom). But for the most part— no complaints. I’m 5 foot 10. I have room. I feel perfectly designed for pregnancy (and birth).
It wasn’t that I couldn’t keep writing, it was that my capacity had changed and something had to give for a moment. I felt like crapola. My entries would’ve likely been equally as crapola. Stomach acid lingering in the throat from the moment you open your eyes, isn’t exactly setting the tone for an enjoyable read. Besides, I could not for the life of me stomach a matcha, or a hot chocolate, or a chai, or any other little ‘pick me up’ which could’ve at least given me some artificial energy and a jolt into momentary creativity.
So, here’s a short little catch me up.
We did our usual thing and spent time at our Italy home, this time, taking my mum with us (something my kids had been hanging out for, for years!). This time we went earlier in the year and Spring definitely hadn’t hit Europe yet like we expected it would. My packing reflected a far more summery expectation.
We didn’t stay all summer like we typically do, as we decided we wanted to have bub at home in Australia, and the nesting urge took over earlier than expected. Something about a third pregnancy— it’s like everything just moves into position sooner, in both life and body. I was meant to be dancing with my belly out off the Napoli coast for my birthday this week and here I am rugged up in my oversized woollen coat, handmade in Poland (because nobody makes winter clothing like Europeans).
When we’re in Italy, we’re less like tourists and more like residents. We have our people, our routine, our places, and also… our home. I love our home there. So much time, energy and love went into restoring it into the Mediterranean, non toxic, luxe organic sanctuary that it is. I will toot its horn, because it deserves it.
We went skiing in Chamonix which was a first for me, the kids and my mum. Erik grew up skiing in the USA so he was a pro. He’s happy in any kind of weather, unlike me who was made precious by the Perth mediterranean climate. Going skiing for the first time, while pregnant and nauseous— look, I wasn’t gonna say no, but I certainly wasn’t at my peak athleticism. Pax and Sol got right into it— with Sol going down hills so big in complete and utter fog (with a teacher, don’t worry) it didn’t help my nausea. She is so sensible, and yet so brave. I went down a pretty big one, thought I was killing it, turned to tell her what I’d just done— next minute she was waving ‘bye mum’ and off on the drag lift towards the top of the hill. It was a super snowy and foggy day and so I couldn’t even see her. I squinted, and prayed, and then cheered like a maniac as she came down so confidently she was waving.
Her brother is a straight adrenaline junkie, but he preferred to make snowmen with me and eat the snow. The Gelateria back home in Italy hadn’t opened yet with the spring making a late appearance and so…. he was just satisfying his cravings.
We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary, Sol’s birthday, Erik’s birthday, Mother’s Day. All of which I took barely any photos of except for the moments when I remembered that each year for Christmas I make the kids a photo album and this year’s ones were looking pretty slim. Pregnancy inwardness means a far less vibrant camera roll it seems.
We got a Doberman. Yeh look I won’t lie, I love a good guard dog. He’s a big softy and such a gentle soul but also… don’t mess.
As I said, we ambitiously decided to cut our Euro summer (very) short and instead returned home to Australia with the intention to nest and immerse in even more winter before becoming a family of 5. I have visions of God rubbing His giant hands together saying ‘One real winter cave coming right up for you miss.’
What followed were a couple of very physically, mentally and emotionally challenging months.
I got every winter ‘sickness’ available to man within a 5 week period. I could feel my body getting through something in her normal quick and intervention free fashion, but then immediately moving through a new thing. I typically put it down to a detox response from the radiation from the plane (and some of it probably was). It just felt like a smorgasbord of strange mutated wintery sickies. Everyone in our town kept saying ‘I’ve never seen a winter so bad. Everyone’s been down for weeks.’
‘Yeh, but… had they been taking garlic? Local bee pollen? Liposomal C? Manuka Honey?’ A pompous little voice inside my head says as I assume ‘I won’t go down that badly.’
By the time I’d already moved through an experience that resembled ‘covid symptoms’, ‘the flu’ was up next. I never knew it was so gnarly. The aches were so intense that I was moving about like I was in labour for two days. I didn’t have a Panadol until the third or fourth day and so suffered unnecessarily longer than I needed to but if you know me you’d totally get that. I was also deep in many scientific articles RE: Panadol, baby in utero, fever in utero etc, as is totally normal while one is shivering in bed with the flu.
The overactivity of my brain definitely didn’t help, as my Chiro later pointed out that parts of the analytical side of the brain are directly linked to immunity.
Realising my tendency to stay mentally stimulated when my body needed to rest, I decided that while horizontal, I’d watch Love Island UK instead (for a good dose of Mallorcan sun through the screen, and young British banter). Also, my brain is soothed by the simple. I got way more into it than I care to admit. I even changed the VPN on my laptop. Ok enough.
I was very lucky that my husband could flex his schedule with work and be home, giving me time to actually rest. My kids have experienced it all mildly this winter, and my husband swerved a lot of it completely.
I got myself up and about sooner than I should’ve because a) mentally for me, surely that was enough rest? b) I’m a mum— Things to do! And c) It was Sol’s birthday and we had a teddy bear picnic party to throw. Needless to say, I slapped on some good mineral makeup to lessen the fright of a pale face that was definitely in need of another week in bed and on we got. Sol had the best time.
While in my ‘should be resting but am frequenting pub med’ situation, I got really interested in how differently the immune system functions while pregnant, eager to understand more and more layers to my winter experience. I’d not experienced anything like this ever. If you’ve followed any of my Body Luxury work or taken any of those courses then you’ll know my elaborate and holistic views on sickness, wellbeing, food etc. I think we all know how simplistic it is to suggest that sickness is purely physical.
How did my husband get spared? Was it his cold showers? Damn you Wim Hof. It really is true.
I had received my bloods back the week before and my midwife had commented on how perfect they were and yet we all know that it didn’t matter how straight my blood work, or how on point I was with my garlic fermented in $170 Manuka honey, local bee pollen, Liposomal Vit C and D and zinc and…. we could go forever couldn’t we.
There’s a reason sickness often spares people in the household while rolling others— it’s not just a matter of how far away you were when they breathed or how well you sprayed tea tree oil disinfectant all over the surfaces.
There’s so much more to it than this.
More on this another time.
Anyway in my research on the far less ambiguous and more scientific side, I discovered how the pregnant immune system works so differently— people sometimes assume it is suppressed and poorly functioning, but actually it is on hyper-drive, ensuring the body doesn’t see baby as a threat. In my over 15 years of research into our bodies, it never, ever ceases to amaze me how intelligently God designed our bodies. What amazes me even more is the love from God that keeps our hearts pumping, our organs functioning, everyday. People forget the God rules over nature, and the universe. We worship our bodies, nature, the universe, and yet can find it so difficult to worship the loving God who created it all.
The intelligence of our bodies is not a random thing created by nature— God created nature. God rules over it. It is a very different life once we realise that it is love, and not simple chance that keeps our hearts beating.
Anyway back to this crappy flu (sorry for the whiplash).
Many mums in my area were all saying the same thing— 14 days, down in the dungeon. Then it goes to the sinus. Then the lungs. It was like we were all singing the same song as we bumped into each other at the markets, sunnies on, seeing sunlight for the first time in what felt like forever, speaking up close to each other… “it was a bloody hole, but I’ve emerged.”
I completed my pilates teacher training, too— even though I didn’t touch it for a few months while feeling unable to. I smashed it out at the beginning of the course last year, frothing out on revisiting the theory that took me back to my many years studying the body at uni. It took me back to those Fridays in the lab with the (bless them) cadavers, the smell of Formaldehyde so strong it sizzled my nostril hairs. I smashed through all the practice hours early on too because it was already such a natural part of my life— my daily movement sesh.
So, luckily, I didn’t have a whole lot to do to finish it off at the end. Pregnant me thanked turbo me from many months before. I don’t see myself actually teaching pilates on its own, but incorporated into something more dynamic. I love some good house music and some sweaty bopping when I move. I’m already qualified in the sweaty bopping part, but for me, you can’t teach pilates in any way, shape or form unless you understand it properly. I’ve seen too many PT’s add in Pilates to their sessions because it’s on trend, but without proper knowledge of its intricacies. I froth over learning new movement methods. Again, God, body, design— miraculous. But more so, I love how it feels to move (both geographically and physically, LOL).
Movement is and has always been the one thing that brings me home. It was my passion as a child, a teenager, a young adult— that’s why I so naturally chose it as my career path as a fresh and innocent 17 year old.
I’m writing now with a lightness that hasn’t felt available to me for a few months.
My extended winter has definitely had its way with me. I experienced a season of lowness, depth and darkness and for a little while there, couldn’t see a light. Feeling embedded in what feels like a dark cave, is its own beast when you’ve got children to care for and a home to run. I know many will relate.
Pregnancy isn’t just a mixed bag of hormonal surprises, but the lead up to birthing new life brings all sorts of spiritual tribulations.
Sometimes, a refinement just needs to happen.
It can’t be prayed away (only through).
It can’t be bypassed.
It is something we have to endure. Something we have to move through. Something we have to give ourselves to, so it can give ourselves back— new.
At times I felt so far from God. I won’t try to polish that any which way. I felt far. I didn’t want to pray. I wanted to watch Love Island and numb.
Slowly, I felt I was being ushered out by God’s loving hands.
I played the music which reminded me of beauty, truth and goodness. Sometimes this was the playlist of hymns I play for the kids before bed, sometimes it was Andrea Bocelli or An Ode To Joy (I forgot how epic classical music is), sometimes it was bangers from the Ibiza 2023 season.
I ate the foods which I knew were the ones that got my life force going (where I am now, it’s not the season for eating how I most love to eat and that’s ok. But boy am I hanging out for mango season).
I watched my children’s birth videos with them and inside I was reoriented exactly how I needed to be.
I had both a matcha and a hot choc each day, because that jolt was life giving in this season and not life taking as it could otherwise be.
I moved my body with as much bop and life force as I did pre-pregnancy because I could, I wanted to, I needed to.
Slowly, but also quickly, I emerged. Maybe more alive than when I went in. More grateful for breath, hope, art, beauty, life…
Right now I am moving with more oomph, even as my belly grows significantly bigger.
I am writing and creating even though I know I will take some quiet time again once bub is born.
I am dreaming about the future, after a period where dreaming felt totally inaccessible.
Also, I stopped religiously tuning into the telegram accounts that spit truth about the agenda.
I just want to take a minute to address this, in case you, like me, can feel so sensitive to the world that you can scarily arrive at an unexpected place of hopelessness.
There have been many times where ‘staying up to date’ with all the dark shi* happening in the world, has knocked me straight into a ditch I found it hard to crawl out of. Sure, you can ‘stay tuned in’ and keep your wits, keep a balanced and hopeful perspective…. But sometimes you’re deeper in than you even know, and it’s not as necessary as you believe it to be. Remember the truth of spiritual warfare— it is real.
You know the difference between staying aware and being addicted to the adrenaline of it all. If not, revisit this.
Your desire to be proactive, and to ‘know what’s coming’ may be robbing you of your joy, peace and sense of hope.
You may be so concerned with ‘them’ taking your freedom that you’ve given your freedom as a man or a woman up already— so shackled by fear and anxiety.
You might need to take a break from telegram for a moment, and stop ‘staying up to date’ with even all the well intended truth telling accounts.
You might need to address your addiction to adrenaline, and the need to ‘be in the fight’ all the time (spoken like a veteran).
You might need to address the exaggerated survival response happening in you, and decide to live.
If you live in constant fear of what ‘they’ will do, when your life is actually pretty good, then your life is lost already.
Sometimes we need God to usher us out of darkness.
But we also need to take responsibility for consistently welcoming it into our daily lives.
It can feel hard to turn to God when things feel dark. Spiritual warfare is real.
I’ve learned that this is not the time to avoid prayer, but to pray even when it feels like you’re faking it. Pray. Pray. Pray. Don’t let a little distance become a chasm.
The season changes.
The season always changes.
There are seasons for the cave, and seasons for the trampoline. Hallelujah.
Before I took my break, I finished a year long website re-design, along with preparations for a Body Luxury app and podcast. I am percolating on when/what to begin, remembering that soon too, I will have a third child at home with me.
Birth energy is a beast.
Equally, I have learned not to be dogmatic about ‘natural mamma’ ideals (That’s my next post). If I’m chomping to create with baby in arm, as I was with my other two… I will.
Sometimes, in seasons, or depending on God’s plan for us, not using our gifts causes more harm, pain or confusion in us than using them.
We know ‘that point’ by the way our lights go out.
My energy is returning, my joy-for-no-reason is returning, my hope is returning, my desire to make is returning. But it feels balanced and not extreme. Thank God, lol.
I don’t know in what direction, or velocity my creative energy will flow, but for now I am celebrating that my lights are on, I have new life in my womb, I have new hope in my heart, I have healthy children and a loving husband, I have new healthy—version-locally-made-rocky-road in my fridge.
Also, I turn 35 today.
I am not turning the paid subscription back on just yet, so beautiful paid subbies, your subscription is still on pause payment wise as I get into a groove. Also, I imagine I’ll take a little time when bub comes. So, going with the flow here.
Usually, I write far more intimately for my several hundred paid subscribers, than I do for several thousand free subscribers. So it feels a little stretchy in a vulnerable way to be sending my typical long entries out to all.
But stretchy stretchy is ok here. I’m in maternity season after all.
Lotsa Love, PK. XX