I had a birthday last spring and many of my gifts were dedicated to the new role I took on this fall: motherhood. One of them was a gift certificate for a massage course, intended for a spouse/birthing partner to learn how to ease the aches of pregnancy and childbirth, Me and my boyfriend attended the course in the beginning of June (at that time I was 24 weeks pregnant). The course took place during one evening and consisted of a short presentation followed by practical exercises. The course was attended by eight couples, ranging from 21 weeks to 35+ weeks pregnant. Of course, the partners had to practice massage with "the clothes in the way" - in light of common decency! However, we got a good insight into techniques we can use, both during the late stages of the pregnancy and also during birth. We also thought this was a good way to empower the partner to find a role as an active participant of the pregnancy and birth process.
For me, personally, it was a slightly different approach to things I had thought a lot about. In the work I do for Cuddle-Me I am constantly thinking about infant massage and other aspect contributing to infants' well-being and growth. In the course we took I was in a different position, as the "massage recipient" - my well-being becoming very important since I was carrying the child. This is something I have had to remind myself of during the pregnancy. In general I have a strong inclination to be working on many projects at once and even at times pushing myself more than I should. During the pregnancy I had to be more aware of taking care of myself, since I was responsible for this tiny person whose well-being was closely related to mine. So I tried my best to put myself and the baby in first place. A course like the one we took is certainly one way to do that, but what is most important is to be open with your partner about how you feel, not being afraid to ask for help, listening to your body and being realistic about what you demand from yourself. Which is exactly what I had to do later on, 34 weeks pregnant, when I had to cut back on my hours at work due to my health. Luckily my employer was very understanding, more so than I was understanding towards myself. Nonetheless, as I soon realized, the fact is that during the pregnancy there was something more important at stake than what I demanded of myself - on behalf of others. Therefore, it became a regular part of #missionbaby to work a half-day, go swimming and relax with my feet up in the air (heeelllooo edema).