My (crazy, not so sexy) first trimester

pretty much all of my January/February (minus the alcohol)

pretty much all of my January/February (minus the alcohol)

Authenticity has been on my mind as of late. Both in the forms of being true to myself and true to the world. I can’t help but think about this, especially after my life was completely shaken to its core, leaving me to scan the aftermath and take an honest look at all the things I’ve chosen to define myself with.

Becoming pregnant has precisely been that: a natural disaster that’s left my body, mind and spirit a total wreck. There, finally. Authenticity. While everyone smiled at the news and joyfully congratulated me, I felt forced to smile back and say thank you. What kind of person- no, what kind of mother would I be if I would have expressed myself authentically? If I would have broken down in tears, and expressed my frustration at not knowing how to handle the ongoing sickness which was tearing me apart? If I’d expressed my anger at this tiny being that was sucking up all my life force? My partner witnessed my struggles and stood beside me with awe-inspiring support. But there was so little he or anyone could do to help.

Truth is, my first trimester was truly one of the most challenging times of my life. There I was, self proclaimed queen of Exquisite Self Care, completely clueless as to how to care for this pregnant body. As my physical strength diminished, replaced by constant nausea, vomiting and exhaustion, my mental health began to deteriorate. I felt incapable of getting out of bed, let alone do any thing to nourish my mind and body. Days and weeks passed. Depression reared its ugly head. And with it, doubt, fear and negativity. There was no way to tell when this would pass.

And then came the second trimester, filled with its own set of challenges which I may write about one of these days. Suffice it to say, I began to feel better. And then one day in late February, after a seriously crazy chain of events, I found myself at a red tent circle in Miami. It was the first time in such a long time that I’d sat in sacred space to do sacred work. And in that stillness is when I saw for the first time the ravages of my whole self, the punches I’d taken on just about every level. It was heartbreaking. It felt like coming home to a house destroyed by a hurricane.

It was amidst that destruction that I knew the time had come to rebuild. To gently gather all the broken things that were beyond repair and no longer served, and throw them in the bin once and for all. To salvage that which needed mending, and carefully put those pieces back together, like the ancient Japanese technique kintsugi, which mends broken ceramic with gold. And after the clearing and the mending, to take scope of all the newly created space, space for intentional creation.

Kintsugi- "to repair with gold" the art of repairing pottery with gold and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken

Kintsugi- “to repair with gold” the art of repairing pottery with gold and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken

Which brings me back to authenticity. This baby, I now realize, has gifted me with a new body, a much cleaner body. A body ripe for authenticity.

Thing is, for so many years, I suffocated this body. I smoked pot -lots of it- and throughout this time, I considered it not only medicinal but beneficial to my being. I had many other reasons that justified my relationship to it, my reliance on it. I convinced myself that it was good for me, made me feel more connected, more creative, more outgoing. I’d come to identify myself with it. After all, I was so “accomplished” in so many “ways”, how could this plant be bad for me?

In recent years however, especially as I deepened my spiritual work, this relationship began to show signs of weakness. I knew in my heart that my dependency on this plant created a veil of sorts, which prevented me from clearly seeing and feeling. It prevented me from what I most desired for myself: to be a clear channel for energy.

But I ignored this new information, and I continued to smoke and live my life. Deep inside, I knew I was lying to myself. But my connection to the plant was too strong, and though I wanted to give it up, I could not.

Until last December.

I knew I could no longer continue this way AND live and expand the way I wanted to. And so on the Winter Solstice, I buried the rest of my stash and said a prayer of release. Two days later, I found out I was pregnant.

Fast-forward 13 or so weeks, and I get to experience all of this from a completely different perspective. I was recently in Costa Rica, and on the last few days of our trip, my partner and I caravanned with other friends to the Envision festival, where we helped create a fire ceremony. This fire ceremony became a co-creation between our group and another group of people, who heavily relied on all types of plants and medicine to do their work. On the surface, this all sounded groovy, but as a witness, especially one with much clearer sight, I saw how the other group’s dependence on plant medicine affected their work. Despite their good intentions, it was easy to see that they weren’t channeling pure energy, but rather, they were being manipulated by the energy of the plants. Which gave their work a feeling of not only inauthenticity, but of peculiar quality. It seemed that they were the only ones that understood what they were doing, while the rest of us watched with arched brow.

me and my friends in CR, en route to Envision fest

me and my friends in CR, en route to Envision fest

I can only send love and compassion to my past self, who braved on in the world, thinking I knew what I was doing, all the while being manipulated by a plant that I heavily abused. I know that plant is medicinal, and that when used properly, can be truly healing. But that wasn’t the case with me. And as a result, despite my best intentions, for so many years I lived inauthentically.

It’s super easy in retrospect to think back to the miserable time I had during my first trimester. But, if I have to reframe the experience, I will forever think of it as the time my body purged itself of all it no longer needed. This baby is still tiny and has already gifted me such miracles.


My name is Mishel Ixchel. I’m Ecuadorian-born &
NYC-bred. Western Mass is currently home, and it's also where I practice + teach the art of
Sacred Self Care.