Alice Grist wrote her first two soul-inspiring books and found herself asking, 'so I'm spiritual...what next?' That question is now answered. It seems, that what is next, is she is pregnant. Indeed she and her husband have nine months to embrace a transformation more powerful than any spiritual awakening she ever dreamed of! Whilst simultaneously straddling real life, coping with attacks of hormones and finding a path forward as parents after a decade of doing what they please! Alice reveals the tricks and trials of a soulful pregnancy, whilst also admitting to and fully illustrating the all-too-human moments that can befall any momma to be. Whilst bridging the very human and the super soulful Alice takes on her pregnancy with gusto, blazing an inspirational, hilarious and emotional trail.
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|Publisher:||Soul Rocks Books|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Alice Grist is the author of The High Heeled Guide to Enlightenment and the award-winning The High Heeled Guide to Spiritual Living (Best Book 2012 - Prediction Awards).
Read an Excerpt
A Soulful Momma's Pregnancy Journey
By Alice Grist
John Hunt Publishing Ltd.Copyright © 2012 Alice Grist
All rights reserved.
I found out I was pregnant with you on the day of a full moon. Before I realized you were with me, I had done my usual ritual of taking a guidance card for the day. It said upon it 'Full Moon – Completion', the card spoke in fancy terms of gestation, something brewing, coming to fruition. I didn't know it was you. And that of course is not even the beginning, it never is.
We planned you in a relaxed kind of way. Your Dad and I, we never plan anything properly. We don't make lists or draw up laborious maps of our life. We make up our minds and then things happen. We are haphazard, blundering perhaps, but so far our blunders tend to turn to gold. We married in Vegas after eight years, and after ten years we decided to have a go and see if you wanted to come along. On our first month of an open invite, you accepted. I feel very honored that you were so quick to respond.
As for the other events that precipitated your arrival, well this is where you find out what a soppy hippy your Mom is. Firstly, I felt you implant in me. I was driving to see your Great Grandma Grist for her 90th Birthday and I experienced what seemed like a pencil drawing something deep inside me. I am sure this was you settling yourself in. I asked my angels and guides for a sign, and at that moment, a car went by with a sign on the window that said 'little person on board'. What could I do, I smiled!
Later that night the cause of my hippy ways, your Pagan Grandpa Tony and I, were reading our tarot cards and quite clearly you were there. Up came the image of a little tiny baby, nestled in an egg, and held carefully in a Woman's arms. This deeply meaningful card glared up from the table right into my heart. The card was The Moon, it seems you are my little ray of Luna Light. The synchronicities thus far suggest loudly to me that you and me, my little love, are meant to be. I know already that you are the biggest piece of my soulful and personal growth, and come hell or high water, I will do my best.
Before I had even had a pregnancy test we had chosen your name. In giving you a name, I guessed that you were inside me. But I didn't want to admit it for fear I was wrong. I pondered on the thought that maybe this baby naming game was part of some cruel self-inflicted fantasy. Your Dad and I had literally only just started trying to get pregnant. But something felt different. I was averse to making plans for my birthday – which is so very unlike me! I knew that there was a very good chance I would not be celebrating with champagne. I avoided the gym too – perhaps not so unusual - but I had a feeling that jumping about and getting sweaty was not what my body needed right now. So I obeyed these inner instincts. Already you have me digging deeper. Listening to my intuition more than ever.
The following weekend I attended my first class of a spiritual based therapy course that I had signed up to for the next ten months. I knew when I signed up to this course that it might coincide with you. Whilst this might be a problem in terms of attendance in my late stages of pregnancy, it feels right. I am sure that what I learn here is preparing some foundations, helping me firm up how I see the world, putting it into a context that will suit us.
On this course I went on a Shamanic Journey – a spiritual meditation type adventure - to meet my guiding power animals. So to the beat of a drum, I let my mind voyage past imagination and into a place where things apparently started to happen of their own accord. In this inner vision, I met my animal and he took me to a man. A man I believe was you, or your guide. Either way he was linked to my future child, that much I was certain of. He too had an animal. Our animals lit up the jungle with loud roars and as I recognized a miracle I felt your spirit move into me. This was undeniable and powerful. I couldn't speak for a while after. I was dumbstruck, choking on emotion and it was beautiful. You are beautiful. I know your spirit is with me now.
The night of meeting you in the shamanic journey, I took you to a cage fight. The least appropriate place for an unborn child, but still, life is life and people fight in cages. So what. Live and let live. Your Dad's friend was in his first fight, and the atmosphere was brutally male. Sadly our guy lost, but he's a fighter, much like you will be I am sure. Someone who will always take life's blows and come back wiser, confident, stronger, with an inner faith in your abilities.
The next day, feeling very bloated and as though my period was due, I decided to do the test to see if I was pregnant. I was scared that I was living out of my imagination, and didn't want to be dreadfully disappointed when my period came. But of course, two tests later and I was as red as a beetroot, on the phone to your Dad, telling him that I was pregnant. I then had the longest phone call in my life to a client about something or other, before I could get off and tell our friends and family. Two more tests later and you are very much confirmed.
We are all very excited, all your new family. Your Dad and me are transformed already. He even put the pizza in the oven last night. He burnt it, but he put it in the oven. Trust me, this is a jaw dropping change. As I type he is making himself a bacon sandwich, I am amazed at his newfound ability to prepare food without resorting to the microwave.
Daddy warns me not to feign symptoms or to become a helpless pregnant wreck, but if I try to do something for myself he rushes to my side and takes over. He has been kissing my head an awful lot. I love it, but I think deep down he is really kissing you. We just got back from the doctors and even though they talk in fearful terms of what to do, what not to do, serious tests, I have a quiet faith that all will be well.
I hope you don't mind me writing to you, and about you. The last thing I had to say in my previous book was I'm spiritual, what next? Now I have a more important question, I'm pregnant; this trumps everything, what next now? I want to give you the best and handle this in the most soulful way a person possibly can. I won't ask you to be like me, but I will feed your soul in every way I can. The next eight months is an adventure of all of that. A big mish mash amalgamation of bodily matters, spiritual concerns, physical craziness, and a whole lot of love.
I'll be really honest now. I know nothing about what comes next. Right now you are the size of a poppyseed and I can still fit in my skinny jeans. The only thing I do know is, that you are loved unconditionally now and forevermore. Love, from your Mum
* * *
So it seems I'm Pregnant ...
I am four weeks pregnant but to my actual official knowledge it's only been a week. In spite of this, I have suffered backache pretty much since conception, so I had an inkling ...
Apparently, the next two months represent the most dangerous time of pregnancy. And so everything changes. Overnight. It's not only the danger that forces change. It's the hope, the joy, the excitement, the sudden desire to put myself first, but only because there is a little teensy weensy baby growing inside me.
Within seconds my relationship to everything has vastly altered. My marriage has apparently become deeply more significant. There is love beyond love, and all those little niggly arguments, well, they have vanished (more or less and of course I'll keep you updated). Friendships seem different as my socializing options instantly minimize. Some people want to talk baby, some don't. Both options are fine. More often than not, I have no choice. I try to talk book, and people talk baby back. I give up. This is all about the baby, a language I am only just learning to speak. Please let's not get so far as nappies yet. I'm still coping with immediately expanding boobs and random exhaustion. Conversations and thoughts of nappies, vaginal stitches and bladder weakness can all wait.
My understanding of biology is broadening as I set foot on the initial weeks of baby development. Who knew all the tiny miracles that occur everyday to make up the miracle that is my first child? There is already a strain on myself as I aim to do my best, but constantly feel I could be doing more ... I should not have eaten those crisps ... so make vegetable soup to compensate. I'm chasing my tail, and my tailbone is actually aching as my body adapts to the pains of growing a little one.
Something that really interests me, and the partial reason for this diary, is the spiritual and personal changes that I presume will occur in my life. I say 'presume' because for the past few years I have been indulging in my own spiritual path, wallowing in it, bathing in it, and loving it. I have tried to be soulfulness personified. I am happy to report that because of these efforts I have become a better person. I'm not blowing my own trumpet, it's true. Nor am I perfect, but I am better. I'm happier and saner than I was several years ago. A spiritual path has been like a massive dose of therapeutic self-help.
So now that I have contentedly found myself, what will this trip of pregnancy and parenthood bring to my life? Will it be soulful, or am I headed onto a wholly more physical plane whereby all that matters is what I can see and wrap my arms around?
I spoke strongly in my last book, The High Heeled Guide to Spiritual Living, that all things are spiritual, and so I believe that this pregnancy, this giving of life, this giving of myself to another person, is as spiritual as it gets. If indeed this parent-to-be trip does turn out to be deeply soulful, will that be because of an expanding waistline or inspite of it? I'm thinking, in this early stage that it may be because of it. If I can embrace all that pregnancy brings, the gritty, earthy, primal nature of it, then maybe I will have found all I will ever need. And until I shave my head and move to Nepal, this could be as spiritual as it ever gets. Whilst child abandonment may have been good enough for the Buddha (who left his wife and child to pursue enlightenment) it's a step too far for little old me. So with total abandon, I embrace whatever happens next.
I'm intrigued to see how I might combine my soulful inclinations with the very biological inclinations of pregnancy? Well happily, I have come to terms with the fact that human life is the most important thing we have on our plates right now. We are not here to float off into some divine mist, not yet. We are not above and beyond the carnal, the physical, the fights and the failures.
And so, as I head into the world of parenting, allowing those very human based activities to take centre stage. Which is a good job because several days into this pregnancy and before I knew I was 'up the duff', I went out and got horribly drunk (I blame the over generous barman). Not a great start. But, a good lesson in self-forgiveness. I'm on the fruit, veggies and pure water from now on of course. As a soulful human, and as a future parent, I suspect I need to occasionally let myself off the hook.
You know that thing spiritual types talk about, giving over, releasing, allowing life to happen, living in the moment, being grateful, and focusing the mind. Well I have a feeling that pregnancy will pretty much force me to embrace those concepts far more deeply than I previously knew possible. How can you know how to release until another being inhabits and takes over your body? How can you be grateful until you realize the joy of ripping yourself open in labor, potentially undergoing mad pain, but yet being ridiculously happy to see the tiny little person who has caused you all that agony?
On paper, pregnancy, childbirth and what comes after, seems to me to be the most soulful undertaking a person can undertake. Lucky for us Women that we have the option! Though I'm sure our partners would argue that they too go through a gritty spiritual mill in supporting us, holding our hands, watching us torn asunder with aches and pains, and that they too find some enlightenment at the end of the deep dark birth canal.
Writing this, I have happily convinced myself. Pregnancy and all that comes after is one sure way to taste a little enlightenment. It's one simple way to find yourself, forget yourself and rise from the ashes anew. It is one way to taste your soul. I may be wrong. I may be right. I may learn something else altogether. Luckily I have eight months ahead to figure this one out. This is the biggest adventure I've ever undertaken and I have a feeling it could lead anywhere.
* * *
24th September 2011
It's my birthday! I am a big time birthday girl. I normally harp on about what to do, where to go or what I want for several weeks, nay, months, beforehand. But my birthday only showed up on my mental radar when James started to make mysterious phones calls and come downstairs all giddy saying he's organized something amazing for me. Here I am, on my birthday, writing this diary. Above all other things this pregnancy now takes precedence. Birthdays come and go, but right now there is only one birth day I'm interested in. Who needs gifts when I have that to look forward to! Though of course gifts are appreciated too, and I couldn't guarantee total emotional stability should I not receive any. Such a contradictory thing I am right now!
These past two weeks have been so incredible. Once the romantic pregnancy bubble lifted a little, and life went back to business as usual, the incredible-ness has remained. So whatever irks me or yanks my chain, I am safe in the knowledge that a little something special is going on, and no grumpy colleague, or traffic jam, or afternoon morning sickness can touch it.
It's occurred to me in the past few days how very, very early days this pregnancy is. There have been a couple of moments where I have kidded myself that my being bloated from too much bread, was in fact a growing bump. But following a good nights sleep, said bump has vanished and I am left again with my same old, almost (but never quite been) flat stomach.
There is a certain fear instilled to the early days of pregnancy. I know it's a risky time, but it's hardly base-jumping is it? That said I know people who have lost babies in the early days. I know that horrendous shit can happen, it happens all happens all the time to people who don't deserve it. But this dwelling on fear, on the first twelve weeks as being vital, is oppressive. I have started to dread going to the toilet. Every little twinge is amplified as I half expect to find that I just got my period late and my body has decided I'm not pregnant anymore. Just now I was taking a moderately warm bath, when all of a sudden I awoke from my rested state, jumped out of the bath pronto and went to cool down. All because I had read something worrying about raising the body temperature in saunas, which now remembered, sent me into a dither.
As this is my first baby, I have the luxury of being careful with myself. But what about all those second time mommas who run around after their first child for the first twelve weeks, and still manage to have reasonable pregnancies with healthy babies? What about all those Moms who drink and smoke and eat junk food and have reasonable pregnancies and give birth to healthy babies? Moreover, what about all those crack addicts, who drink too much, sleep rough and sell their bodies, who go on to to have reasonable pregnancies and healthy babies. It does happen. Life is funny like that. Just as there is always the perfect momma who does everything by the book and suffers miscarriage after miscarriage.
Life has a dark and twisted sense of humor. We get what we are given, and we do with it as we can. We can choose to structure our lives, and Vesuvius can then rain down on our heads. The only luxury we have at the end of all this is a little positive thinking. So that, is what I intend to indulge. Quite frankly life is a dangerous game, pregnant or otherwise and happy thoughts are one fabulous way to cope with whatever hurtles our way. If I am very lucky, as can also happen, then happy thoughts can come true.
Excerpted from Dear Poppyseed by Alice Grist. Copyright © 2012 Alice Grist. Excerpted by permission of John Hunt Publishing Ltd..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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