Let’s get one thing out of the way. I didn’t have a great night’s sleep. I’m at that point in my pregnancy where any and all memory foam, accent, and king sizes pillows are supporting my back, stomach, head, or in between my legs. And for the record, I’m only 22 weeks. Literally, as of today. As a lifelong stomach sleeper, the side and ‘not on your back’ sleeping is a ‘teachable moment’ in my now preggo life. One of many, I might add.
But today’s blog post isn’t about the pillow that supports my low back and upper thigh area. It is, instead, a letter to everyone who is nervous about becoming a mother or being pregnant. Here’s the thing: If I’m honest, I wasn’t too keen on having kids for a very long time. Throw in my desire to be an entrepreneur (*pushes back baby timeline 3-5 years) and a divorce (*pushes back baby timeline until next viable suitor comes along, soooo…), I wasn’t sure if being a mother was in the cards for me. But the Universe had its own plan. At 38, here I sit, with 4 months left of pregnancy, filled with the desire to tell people some of what I’ve learned in bulleted form, so that it appears more important than if I was to lump it all into a paragraph:
1. Pregnancy is not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.
My fears of being pregnant were laced in a few things: Will I gain 70 lbs? Will I vomit uncontrollably for months? Will I have another miscarriage? (My husband and I miscarried at 8 weeks last year, which made me think I was always going to miscarry). Will I be swollen with extreme leg pain from day one? Will I be a good mother? All valid reasons to be afraid of something, right? Let me tell you: your fears, as real as they are, have nothing to do with that WILL actually happen. They are fears, figments of our imagination and anxieties.
At 22 weeks, I have gained 7 lbs. I haven’t vomited once. I have not miscarried. My legs, while swollen at time, are completely manageable. Every day I am pregnant gives me more and more confidence that I will be okay. Oh, and I am NOT geriatric (the term they give to pregnant women over the age of 35). I am walking an hour a day five days a week and feeling myself like Beyonce.
2. Morning sickness doesn’t always happen.
I’ve always been told, if you have a girl, then you better buckle up for vomiting, acne, weight gain, and a new face. Literally, a wider nose and puffy joints. This is not accurate. This can happen to anyone and everyone. Girl, boy, puppy, you may or may not vomit. Don’t fear the possibility. Deal with it when and if it comes. Luckily, there have been MANY women who have dealt with this before you and there are medicines, Apps, and support groups to help you through mentally and physically.
3. Maternity clothing does not need to be a huge expense.
Ladies and gentlemen, Target Target Target. While the Instagram algorithm has turned my entire feed into maternity clothing options, many of which are astronomical in price, I have found most of my maternity clothes from previous moms, Target, and in my own closet to begin with. Your love of tunics and billowy sundresses and elastic and yoga pants will pay off during this time.
4. There are so many beautiful moments that the apps and mommy blogs sometimes forget to mention.
Before getting pregnant, I thought it was a near-death experience. I thought a lot of the negative stories were the majority. I thought because my friend needed a blood transfusion after delivery that I would need a blood transfusion. I thought because I witnessed a woman at my doctor’s office miscarried at 5 months, that I would too. And that’s how it works. We are privy to so many more people than we ever have been, as a result of social media, that we fool ourselves into thinking the worst is our destiny. I’m here to tell you that MILLIONS of babies are born everyday, to people from all different walks of life, without any issues. And while we can’t predict the future, I like thinking about this time in my life this way.
5. You just might love your new baby mama body.
I, like million of other women, fear weight gain. That’s me speaking my truth right there. I don’t like the way it makes me feel and while I know we are living in a time of ‘body positivity,’ I don’t like the way my body looks or feels when I put on excessive weight. Because I know that this weight comes from imbalance. A lack of self care. A lack of time given to myself. A workaholic lifestyle that doesn’t leave room for food shopping, food prep and exercise, all of which give me confidence. The reality is that I love my new body because for once, my weight gain is about something else, other than me and my setbacks. It’s about growing a human, one that I will love unconditionally and with my whole heart. My weight gain is a side effect of the most beautiful thing I will ever do. The one time in my life I get to be this inexplicable, life-creating superhero. Take that, bloat and cellulite.
In the end, pregnancy is a whirlwind of emotions. And changes. But the changes are necessary ones. And the emotions are giving life my new set of priorities. It has allowed me to see what is most important and demote or set aside the rest. I’ve always been someone to keep everyone on the A-list and over compensate for the things that didn’t fit. Being pregnant has squashed a lot of that. This time is for giving myself what I need, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. And would this have happened without being pregnant? Maybe. Who knows? But I’m sure happy I got the chance.
If you have any questions about pregnancy or overcoming fears of becoming pregnant, please reach out to me personally at Annie@skinowl.com. Follow us on Instagram at @SkinOwl for more ‘a-ha’ moments.
I’m here for you and hope that life brings you closer to your curiosities and passions and overrides your fears. Because, in the end, what surprises you could be the best thing to ever happen to you.