Pregnancy has kicked my butt, and was nothing like I expected it to be. I’m not sure why that surprises me or why I expected anything at all.
In fact, it took me almost the entire pregnancy to actually sit down and write about my experience. Quite frankly, I was terrified. In the first trimester, I was too sick to write and was flooded with fear and anxiety every time I tried. In my second trimester, after dealing with some scary pre-term labor symptoms, I opted out of writing because I was too scared that something would happen to my baby and I would regret every talking about being pregnant publicly.
There is so much fear in pregnancy, that is the first thing I learned. But what I have learned about myself in the meantime has been significantly deeper than that. Pregnancy is about being human, about relinquishing control. The only way to be “good” at it is to take care and prioritize yourself. Here’s what I learned about myself, and how I shifted my perspective to allow for personal growth during a very weird time.
In the past my greatest thrill was seeking and obtaining control. In many ways it still is, but pregnancy has taught me that there is a time and place for control, and this simply isn’t one of them. For starters, your body doesn’t care about your control issues.
Your body has one job and it is to keep that baby alive and thriving. It’s going to change shape and react in the way that it sees fit, which certainly didn’t align with my intended exercise and work regime. I went from working out daily in the first 27 weeks to full blown stop. My body felt mushy and sore. Energy was hard to generate because I was barely moving. My thoughts started to get burdened by seemingly enormous amount of time I would be restricted. I found the following frameworks brought me a ton of relief.
Reality Checks that actually worked:
- This is an opportunity to grow in a new way. This is the best way to prepare for the unexpected.
- I have to mature in this way. Wanting control at all times is not only unrealistic, it’s childish. I have to make room for my child by embracing a new perspective and maturing beyond self destructive thoughts.
My body knows so much more than I know. I have to learn to listen and trust what it needs.
At 27 weeks I was put on pelvic bed rest and modified bed rest after a few scary trips to L & D for preterm labor symptoms. I was eventually diagnosed with uterine irritability which, although uncomfortable, was ultimately very manageable. There were a few weeks where we didn’t know what was going on, and I spent most of those weeks in bed or on the couch- worrying. I felt lazy, useless, pathetic. When I wasn’t meeting with clients, I was obsessively worrying or beating myself up for the situation I was in. I would go on Instagram and see other women who were building empires til the day they went in to labor! How come I wasn’t like that? Am I just a lazy person destined for basicness? Is this my fault? To quiet my mind, I eventually came up with/absorbed a few principles that helped me accept my situation with a little more grace.
Reality Checks that actually worked:
- I am confusing the act of beating myself up with productivity. Being hard on myself is NOT productive.
- I am doing my best, it just doesn’t look like it ever has before.
- I’m new to all of this, I’m not expected to just know how to do it right.
- I am missing the big picture – there are so many amazing lessons and moments I could be learning in this moment.
- In the grand scheme of things – this is a small portion of my life. I could enjoy it, or I could torture myself mercilessly.
- If a friend or client was going through this, I would never judge them the way I am judging myself.
- This is quite frankly, one of the last times I will be able to fully take care of myself beyond anyone else. And by taking care of myself, and feeling positively throughout this pregnancy, I am already becoming a great mom.
What were some things you learned during pregnancy that you were surprised by? Or reality checks that really resonated? I’d love to hear from you.
I’m one of those people who love pregnancy. I don’t get morning sickness and in general feel pretty good (which I get is not the case for many people!). I did have one symptom that was really hard to deal with and that was pelvic pain due to mild SPD. Even if it was a mild case it was still extremely painful. It completely forced me to slow down and take it easy. It was this little alarm telling me to listen to what my body said it needed and respond. That’s a very good lesson for self care for life in general.