Friday, April 15, 2011

The Brilliance of Pain

I have read it in countless books, heard it from many friends who have walked the path: every pregnancy and birth are different. I logically understand that but have been swept off that logic pedestal by the realities of this pregnancy. With Cora I worked pain free until two weeks before her due date. Being a massage therapist, and one who focuses on deep tissue techniques and injury recovery therapy, my job is very physically demanding. As well as taxing my body it is powerful healing for my mind. Many are the days I can not believe I am being paid to feel so good. When I am done with a day of work I feel the effect of hours of meditation, hundreds of minutes spent in a deep and clarifying focus. Without my work I suffer.

This pregnancy and my work life are in opposition and my heart is caught in the middle. I've been experiencing some significant nerve impingement in my neck which creates a cascade of symptoms including headaches and painful aching and numbness in both my arms that wakes me many times in the night. The extremely maddening part isn't the pain, it's my intimate knowledge of exactly what is going wrong in my body. I see and treat this condition all of the time. I know what needs to be done, but I fought doing it. I needed to slow down, work much less and get some bodywork.

I am three weeks into this lifestyle shift and feeling infinitely better. A combination of less work, some chiropractic, great massage, fantastic acupuncture and reincorporating swimming have worked wonders. I am still easily triggered and the pain can rear up but for the most part I can feel it coming and make adjustments. I am quite sure it was the physical stress of moving, when I lifted more boxes then I should have combined with the systemic swelling of pregnancy that are causing this sensitivity. And lest I forget a certain little someone who I chase around all day and can not resist picking up even though she is getting heavier and heavier.

Working in my field I have developed a healthy respect for pain. Once we work through the frustration it inspires there is so much to learn. I was angry about my 'setback', feeling robbed of my work identity. Now three weeks later I am grateful for the pain that woke me up and reminded me that these next few months are precious. Reminded me to slow down and take care of myself as well as those around me. Reminded me to be present and cherish this time with Cora. Reminded me to find communion with the baby growing within me as well as the magic of my changing physical self. Reminded me that it is important to let others help us.

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