Invest: Part Two
A Tale of Two Pregnancies
My first baby was born in Morocco. I chose to use a pair of midwives (one British, one Dutch) and to give birth in a city 90 minutes from my home, in my midwife’s apartment. As a 24 year old, I knew nothing of pregnancy or birthing, and lived in a country without access to English book stores. No Internet back then either.
I relied on friends from the states to send me books. I read them with the kind of dedication common to newly pregnant women—but with even more commitment because I knew that it was utterly up to me to ensure that I gave myself the absolute best chance for a safe, healthy birth since I was in a foreign country and had to make a long journey in labor to give birth in a home without a doctor present.
I began by reading about various kinds of births and discovered that I wanted to follow a specific method. Once I committed to it, I carried out the practices and diet with religious fervor. I became incredibly healthy: I slept well, I ate the right foods (including chicken livers), took the right vitamins, slugged down liquid beef iron from glass tubes, walked four miles a day, napped, stretched my hips, and did all the breathing exercises. I was ready.
My labor lasted 24 hours and came five days early, but the birth was completely unmedicated and I had no episiotomy.
The next pregnancy came when I now had the most active toddler imaginable. I lived in the states at the time and assumed having gone through a pregnancy and birth, I knew what to do. Except I didn’t do what I knew to do. I didn’t read, I didn’t ensure that I was sleeping enough (hard with a nursing wakeful toddler), I didn’t walk miles a day, I didn’t do my stretching or breathing exercises, I didn’t take iron or vitamins.
At the beginning of my 7th month, I had gained only eleven pounds. By the end of the month, I had lost 3 pounds—a net 8 pounds. I developed acute bronchitis and my baby’s life was in danger.
I had to be put to bed, and went on a strict weight-gaining diet (which is not as fun as you think it would be!). I had to sleep and eat right. I suddenly had time (as I was required to stay in bed) to read. As I reread the books from before and new ones now available to me, I discovered that I had forgotten so many things! It was not possible to just be pregnant when the demands on my life had gone up! I had to be extra careful.
Luckily with the help of my husband, mother, and friends, we reversed the weight loss trend, and Johannah was a 9.3 lb baby at full term. I had gained a whopping 23 lbs. by the end.
My point is this. As we increase the challenge of homeschool by adding children or going up grade levels, it’s tempting to stop feeding yourself—to stop learning about home education or to assume you know what to do (old hat) and so you move forward without new inspiration or reminders of what is essential.
With the increased demands, you may find yourself winded, resentful, overwhelmed, or scattered. You wonder how to get back to the full-bodied homeschool of the previous years, when your kids were young.
Don’t take your homeschooling knowledge for granted. It’s too easy for your homeschool to become anemic or under-nourished.
Renew your commitment.
Awaken your own curiosity.
Try new ideas for variety.
Be present to your children and to their learning…all the way through. Slow down. Get help and support. Find time away to do the research you need to do to become energized again.
Taking breaks is good and necessary. Don’t slide into “coasting” where you forget why you are doing what you are doing, and assuming that you know all you ever need to know. There’s always more to know and that knowledge will help you!
READ Invest: Part One here.
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