The word joy has been resonating with me this ENTIRE pregnancy. More specifically, cultivating joy. During this pregnancy, while I have been overwhelmed by love and support, I have had to find the balance between celebrating and grieving, all at the same time. I have had to hold space and allow myself to sit with uncomfortable truths. I have had to grieve the loss of the baby that we lost only a month before conceiving our second rainbow babe. I have had to grieve the loss of my mother (because pregnancy has a way of bringing it all to the surface.) I have had to grieve and sit with the uncomfortable truth that I may never be as close to certain extended family members as I would like. All of these truths are currently reality. It doesn't feel good. It doesn't feel comfortable.
Truthfully, for someone like me, I hate sitting in discomfort. It sucks. My natural tendency is to avoid it all together. What does that look like? For me, avoidance looks like subjecting myself to same behaviors or thought patterns, hoping for a different outcome, all to avoid the truth. This pregnancy is where I finally sat with it all and didn't try to change IT or OTHERS. This time around, I sat in the discomfort and stared the truth square in the eyes. It hurt. I found that by sitting with the truth and acknowledging it as a reality that holds the possibility to change (or not) with no help from yours truly, it didn't break me. I found that by acknowledging these things that could not change, I was able to focus most effectively on the things that I could change. I was able to truly cultivate joy.
I began focusing on the healthy relationships that are present. I began to examine friendships/ relationships (business or personal) with the same light as I would examine the food that I ingest. Is it toxic? Does it bring life? Is it harmful? I began to celebrate this rainbow pregnancy, while also allowing myself to pause and feel sad for the loss that I had previously experienced. I listened to what felt good on the inside and didn't question.
So, what does Joy mean? It means, acknowledging reality or truth, yet choosing to see/find joy in what also is truth. For me, it means acknowledging that while I am not as close as I would like to be in certain extended family relationships, I have no shortage of a village within my friendships and within my immediate family unit (my husband and boys). It means acknowledging, that while there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about my mother, I have great hope that although she is not present in physical form, she is not absent in spirit. For me, cultivating joy means acknowledging the loss and all the feelings that come along with it. It means pausing and holding space for myself, all while trusting and accepting that I may never know the why of loss, but perhaps my body knows. Joy means holding space for the present, because it truly is a gift.