I have been reading Anna Karenina, and the word 'confinement' comes up a lot, each time a character becomes pregnant. Being a novel set in the 19th century, and me being here in the 21st, it's a bit of a struggle to know what that means. I mean, technically it refers to labour, but it seems to be more generally used (in novels anyway) for just making sure you take it easy during the final stages of pregnancy.
It got me thinking how in today's society, we often do this really badly. Many people work right up until the due date, assuming their baby doesn't come early. In general we keep really busy, keep up vigorous exercise routines, catch up with people so we can 'fit it all in before baby comes'. All your body needs is rest. Sure, some swimming and walking has been proven to be very helpful for birth and recovery, but even just climbing the stairs can be a challenge depending on your size!
My not-quite-mother-in-law just texted me today to see how I was. Being that my partner is away, she was checking in and told me to call her Sydney-based-sister if I need help. My immediate thought was, "help for what?" I'm still at work, I have been doing everything the same as usual... Am I doing pregnancy wrong? Should I be somehow less capable? Should I be resting/sleeping at home most of the day? Are there some trashy movies I should be watching? Am I over-straining myself by doing what I think are normal everyday things?
Perhaps I should be more princess-y about it all. Make people carry my handbag and fetch my decaf coffees. Get them to drive me to work and pick up my shopping. But I can't! It's just not in my nature and more importantly, I FEEL FINE so I will keep on 'keeping on' as usual, until I get so baby-humongous that I can't move.
Still, I like the 'idea' of confinement. The concept lends itself to a certain feeling of elegance; like I'm being secreted away in all my round-belly glory; eating peeled grapes or chocolate icecream brought to me by servants.
Or how about this? We could take the 'confinement' idea for other times in our life. Make it a time to just shut-off from responsibility or social engagements just to 'be'. Health retreats are great for this! Really I think this concept is a good one all 'round. It makes me think of relaxing, taking stock, caring for health, sleeping and turning off the mobile/internet. Not a bad plan for any old day!