The second trimester is more tumlulous than I thought it would be. Instead of propping her eyelids open with toothpicks and picking at her food, she’s walking a bit less vigourously and tearing up a bit more frequently. It’s nothing we didn’t expect, but I don’t know if I’d bill this as the glowing, wonderful moment the baby books promise. It’s certainly better in some ways than the first trimester though and probably really is glory days compared to what’s coming.
Early on, we started rubbing her belly every night with a homemade belly oil. On the practical side, our goal was to keep her skin supple and minimize stretch marks and has evolved to include itch stopping. Winter is sucking every last bit of moisture out of us and despite the humidifier, she’s really feeling it in skin that’s stretching a bit more every day.
I deeply appreciate the opportunity to spend time with the baby. I don’t get to live with him and I don’t get to feel directly how he’s changing her. Rubbing her belly gives me a chance to feel how he’s moving and growing. She’s beginning to feel him move often and it’s bittersweet. I feel like I’m missing something significant, even as I’m delighted in his progress. Running my fingertips around him gives me a hint of togetherness.
A side benefit has been the reconnecting time that the belly rubs give us. We haven’t managed it every night, but we get most nights together and it’s time that we can focus just on us and the future, putting aside work, worries and everything else.
I made the belly rub, rather than purchasing it and despite my initial misgiving at the price of ingredients I’m thrilled at how long the first batch is lasting. It’s easily twice as much as I could have purchased pre-made. The recipe came from one of my favorite herbalists, Rosemary Gladstar. I pulled it off of the internet (I love you google books) and my mom just sent a copy of Gladstar’s ‘Herbal Healing for Women’ for christmas (I love you mom). I halved the original recipe. Here’s what we made:
Gather 1/4 cups cocoa butter and coconut oil. The cocoa butter is harder than you think it should be and may have to be chipped out of the container. Persevere. Add 1/8 cup grape seed oil. You could substitute almond (smells yummy) or apricot oil, but grape seed is very light and easy on skin. Augment with 10,000 I.U. vitamin E oil, 1 teaspoon of grated beeswax and 1/2 teaspoon of lanolin. I used an old carrot peeler I could dedicate to the beeswax, as it can be clingy on a grater. Melt it all together in a double boiler or in a bowl over a simmering pot. It will smell like chocolate if left as is, or you can add a few drops of an essential oil to craft a fragrance you like. Pour into a container you can easily dip your fingers in and rub onto a belly you love at least once a day.