Pregnancy. As a child, this is what I dreamt of. I never planned out my wedding or how I would meet the man I would marry. But I did plan out motherhood. I always knew that I wanted 3 kids. I never thought about gender, only their health and happiness. I’m now pregnant with my third and final child and with this finality comes reflection on the things I’ve learned through and about pregnancy.
1. Pregnancy is truly a gift.
I think that we all know this loosely but I gained better understanding about this during my first marriage when I was told that I wouldn’t be able to have children naturally after trying unsuccessfully for a year and a half. I was devastated. The one thing that I truly wanted in life was to be a mother. I was headed down a pretty destructive path when I read the “Yes +” on my pregnancy test with Mini. It didn’t have to say yes but it did and I understood what a gift it was to have her in my tummy.
2. Pregnancy will make you deal with things you didn’t anticipate.
It seems like with each pregnancy I’ve had to deal with some deeply rooted issues. With Mini it was my spirituality. With ABC it was the scars that single pregnancy and motherhood had left me with. This go round, well, I’m not sure but I think it may have to do with some of my familial issues.
3. It’s a beautiful and empowering experience.
We are growing people. Lives. In our bodies. That is so amazing and beautiful. The fact that we have little beings inside of us that we are growing and sustaining listening to our voices and heartbeats is amazing. Listening to heartbeats, feeling them move, understanding that your life created another life is empowering. Don’t sleep on that.
4. As beautiful as it is, it’s hard and painful too.
As I sit and write this, my hips are in pain, my throat is sore from the most recent run to the porcelain god, and I’m bone tired. There’s an exhaustion that you never get used to and that Starbucks can’t ward off when you’re growing a person. I don’t get good sleep because I’m constantly tossing and turning. But it’s worth it.
5. It’s not cliché to only want a healthy baby.
Whenever you get pregnant, the first question people ask is “What do you want?” and they seem disappointed if they get a response of “A healthy baby.” This answer isn’t cliché–this is real. People don’t talk about the commonality of miscarriages enough. While I understand why, it’s a reality for women to face multiple miscarriages for no known reason. But the lack of talking about it makes women feel so alone if it happens to them and like wishing for the health of your baby is a cliché–it’s not.
6. Sickness in you is normally a sign of health with the baby.
Even though this is my third pregnancy, my friend had to remind me of this as I complained about not being able to keep anything down. Hormones surging through your body can oftentimes take its toll on you–the host. Again, this depends on how your body handles it. Mine? My body freaks out and wants nothing to do with these hormonal surges but because of #5, I’m ok with this. If my puking my brains out equals healthy baby, I can stay near the potty happily.
7. Listen to your body and take care of yourself.
It sounds so easy, right? Wrong. This pregnancy has been quite the lesson in self-care and being forced to listen to my body. There are days where I’m wondering why I have to leave my bed (homeschooling for the win! Yay!) while other days I’m ready to go ham in the gym. Some days I’m happily eating whatever I’ve just created in the kitchen while other days I’m crawling to put my face in the toilet shooing kids away. Tonight I wanted to be sewing pieces for this maternity wardrobe but my body said, “Return to bed!” and I did. And if I didn’t, I would be paying for it at some point in time. I want to be the superwoman who handles pregnancy, marriage, business, two kids, a house and homeschooling flawlessly but that isn’t me in this moment and that’s ok. Drink your water. Eat your calories. Get lots of rest.
8. Each pregnancy is different and so is your body.
Listen, pregnancy at 26 is WAY different from pregnancy at 33. At 26 I worked out 5 days a week, did yoga, and didn’t feel like death was coming for me every day. Now with my third pregnancy at 33, my body and I are 100% certain we are finished having kids. Every pregnancy is different and it seems like as you get older, pregnancy is harder on your body. I could go on about the aches and pains but honestly, there’s no point. It’s all for good and I’m happy–despite my body not being with me!
9. Trust your body and instincts.
I’ve made some rather sub par decisions in my life but the one to have mini was one of the best. It was almost as if pregnancy with her opened up a new level of understanding.
10. Not everyone experiences this gift.
Like I said earlier, pregnancy can be hard. But as hard as it is, there’s someone wishing that they had this “hardship”. There’s someone wishing they had round ligament pains or were running to the bathroom puking or had the exhaustion that comes with the first and third trimesters. I say this because the constant complaining about this gift can really come across as bratty and insensitive to those around you that want the experience as well. Be mindful. Be grateful.