I am back “home” to my beloved, our cats, and the new apartment. I say “home” in quotation marks, because, every time one spends away from their loved one(s), one realizes that they can make “home” in any town, any location, any condition, as long as they are together, trusting, and loving.
I might have had to separate from David, when he returned to the U.S. sooner than I did, but my darling family and friends, back “home” in the Mediterranean, made life beautiful. And my sidekick, this tiny little human being growing inside of me, kicking, breathing, yawning, thinking, inside my body, prevents mummy from ever feeling lonely.
Every day, I am realizing and experiencing the benefits of being pregnant with this tiny human. One benefit that has changed my life is the freedom from the constant need for control. I don’t know about you, but I like to be in control of those everyday life things: What I eat, what my furry babies eat, and my husband; where I go, live, and work; whom to see; my health, and the health of my loved ones. I try to make sure that I know what is going on in my body – it is important! I mean, it’s health! And, in my case, as I stopped consuming animal products mostly for ethical reasons, it is my principles! And it’s great. But it’s also tiring. Don’t you think?
Relax a little, mama
Pregnancy has taught me that I can take breaks from controlling. What is more, this letting-go, trusting my body, can actually be a good thing. My body knows. I might have freaked out when I could not eat veggies the first three months (imagine! fries and bread and crackers every day!) but then that period has passed, and my body is back to appreciating every bite, every taste of delicious vegetable meals, along with other plant-based food. It was extremely hard to see my body change, without my control, rapidly, and intensively, on a daily basis. I compared bumps, I compared eating habits, read a lot to see what I might have been doing wrong, how it was possible that I could not stomach anything “healthy”, and whether it was healthy to gain pound after pound in such a short amount of time. But every body has its own schedule. Every body has its own pace. And every body knows. Relax a little, mama, I said to myself. And trust the process.
And there, just like magic, this miraculous process called pregnancy has reminded me of the fact that I am one person in this huge universe. That I can’t and don’t need to, control every aspect and every minute of my life. I don’t have to constantly feel guilty for not feeding my baby nutritious food, as long as I do my best. It is all going to be okay. That my body was designed to be able to go through this experience. That my body knows.
A life-changing approach to life
Another crucial, and life-changing, benefit so far is related to the “five elements system” that some branches of Chinese medicine teach.
Unlike the Western system of four seasons, the Chinese have five: Winter, or, the water phase of life; spring, or, the wood phase of life; summer, or, fire; late summer, or, the earth phase of life; and autumn, or, the metal phase of life. The beauty of this approach is that we are connected to these seasons. The world, its seasons, its animate and inanimate objects, are all connected, and affecting each other. These 5 elements create the seasons and reveal the connection between nature and people. They make up who we are and how we are in the world.
Imbalances one may be experiencing are because of one Element out of these five- that element is called the Causative Factor.
This one element affects the other elements, creating a vicious cycle. So, instead of treating the symptoms, if you manage to realize what element is causing the imbalance in your life, you will have treated the root cause of your problems. In my case, the problem is always the Earth element.
My experience with 5-element acupuncture
Seven or eight years ago, when I was under too much stress while working on my dissertation, trying to find a more stable work situation, going through some family-related issues and problems and so on, I started to see an amazing healer. Trained both in ‘Western’ and ‘Eastern’ medicine, and currently practicing the ‘5 Element Acupuncture’, he is one of those people who are aware of the connections between these ‘worlds’ we keep separating from each other: Western vs. Eastern; rationality vs. emotion; personal vs. public; healthy vs. unhealthy and so on.
Our first session lasted for around an hour-and-a-half. The main and most trusted way of diagnosing someone’s ‘causal element’ is by the person’s skin, their sound, odour, and emotion. When he told me that my ‘problem element’, if you will, was the Earth element, I knew I could trust him. Because my body knew: I knew that my problem was the lack of a ground beneath my feet. I longed for something tangible, something grounding, something much stronger than my problems so I could lean on to it.
What is this Earth Element about?
The earth element is an element of caring, nurturing, stability. When the Earth element is lacking there is a lack of focus and mental clarity. Earth elements help make relationships strong and enduring. Too much earth, on the other hand, can create a home that is sluggish and ineffectual. This can manifest with low motivation and apathy.
It was not a coincidence that earthy- colored clothing and furniture soothed me. The earth element’s color is beige and yellow. It is not a coincidence that I always preferred square shaped jewelry and furniture. The earth element is symbolized by square shapes, stones, ceramic and crystal elements, and they too are soothing to me. To boost the earth element one should add stones or earth-related objects and golden colors. To reduce the earth element in your home one should add metal objects as metal exhausts the earth energy. And I had always experienced the need to balance metal with more “earthy”, warmer colors and materials.
When your earth element is weak, you suffer from stubbornness, worry, anxiety, over-thinking, instability; stomach issues, spleen problems, lack of stability and lack of self- support and confidence. My favourite time of the year has always been the late summer/early Autumn. And, guess what- the Earth Element relates to late summer, that harvest time, the humid time when fruit hangs ripening, when corn, tomatoes, and all vegetables reach their sweetest. It’s a time of abundance in nature. If you think you might be lacking earth, try reflecting this in your life—be free in both giving and receiving compliments and support, unconditional nurturing- both to yourself and to others.
How pregnancy helps
I have been going to this person whom I call ‘my healer’ for years. Every time, we have had to work on my lacking the earth element. Every time I got better. I have since been working on nurturing myself, accepting compliments, accepting help and support from others, trusting the ground beneath my feet, trusting that the universe supports its children.
But I had never been as good as nurturing (myself and others) as I am now. This person I call ‘my healer’ saw me after I got pregnant. He was not surprised but glad to realize that by being pregnant with my baby, and thus nurturing this miraculous little creature, my body has helped me balance the earth element incredibly well. He said that during pregnancy, nature usually takes over, and balances the mother’s energy. My baby, this tiny creature who is completely dependent on me, shows me how everything and everyone is dependent on each other. That someone seemingly so small, so invisible, so weak, can nurture, support, and give to those who are bigger, apparent, and stronger.
I already owe so much to baby Luka. I owe him for choosing me to be his mummy, for helping me to nurture my body, my soul, my life, to teach me how to let go, and be more mindful of every minute, of every beautiful change, in my body and life.
PS: Let me know if you need more info on the 5 element theory and acupuncture. I highly recommend my acupuncturist, who lives and practices in New York. Let me know if you want their contact information.