by Sarah Maynard-Murray
Pregnancy. Never in my life had I realized how one little word could impact the totality of my life. I might as well start by being honest.
It was about four months before I was able to wrap my head around the fact that I will soon be responsible for another life; not just for the hours in the school day (I’m an educator by trade) but forever……..FOREVER! As if the physical changes aren’t weird enough with hormone fluctuations, acne that resembles the kind you had at the ripe old age of twelve and serious thigh expansion, I found navigating the raging flood waters of constant emotions nearly impossible to negotiate.
Now, naturally I fancy myself as a fairly level headed lady with the ability to sensibly handle daily emotional stress. However, being pregnant seems to have stripped me of my ability to rationally express myself. One minute I’m crying, the next I’m overwhelmed with the joy of becoming a parent. It’s an awkward roller coaster filled with teary twists and tender turns.
By the second trimester I was searching for some relief from pregnancy, both mentally and physically. My growing belly was lending itself to constant back pain and my overly dramatic emotions were on the verge of driving me completely insane. That is when I began to float again. After getting clearance from my physician (floating is not a recommend practice for those in the first trimester) I found myself eagerly hopping into a tank for the first time in over four months. Having be introduced to floating by my handsome husband just over a year ago, I could barely contain my excitement to climb into the quiet abyss of nothingness, giving my swelling body the chance to escape the pressures of gravity.
Within the first five minutes of my float, I, for the first time since finding out I was pregnant, began to completely and utterly relax. My spine was allowed to fully elongate and my lower back found much needed relief from the pressure of growing a human. Aside from the physical bliss the tank was able to provide, it was the mental calm I found most intriguing. I was able to focus for the first time on the baby and just the baby. My head wasn’t clouded by my “baby prep to do list” or the anticipated failures I might encounter with being a first time parent. No, I was able to just think about the baby. The life growing inside of me. The millions upon millions of cells that formed together to bond into this most perfect and precious gift. For once, in the last 120 days of this pregnancy, I was able to just “be” with my baby.
I’m not a professional author or a blogger with experience so I’m failing to find the words that accurately depict the beauty of this moment. Something shifted in me, something spiritual. As I lay there in the dense, soothing water I was able to understand in that moment what it might be like for the growing life inside me. I was floating in the warm darkness of the tank, mirroring the experience of this life inside me. For once, I felt the connection. An overwhelming love and sense of gratitude that I was chosen to take care of this life took a hold of me and it is not a feeling I will soon forget.
As the music came through the speakers signaling the end of my salty solitude, I smiled to myself and hoped her exit from my womb will mimic mine from the tank, into a world that’s a little more vivid, a little more inviting, and a little more enlightened.