So it’s finally time for a post about being pregnant. I've been wanting to talk about this experience for months now, but it’s been one of those topics that I've struggled to find the adequate words to express all that this experience is. It is an experience so eye opening and wonderfully magical, that it has taken me by surprise, especially since it’s an experience I thought I never really cared if I had or not.
Here are some ways my perspective has changed:
I’ve never felt more proud to be a woman.
As someone who has prided myself on being a strong female I always thought that my goals and priorities in life were the only things that were important. That what defined me as a person and a woman was what I accomplished and who I was as an individual, but I now see that there is a whole other dimension to my gender that I was completely unaware of. The fact that I never taught my body how to grow another life and it just does it, has felt like untapped potential I had inside of me, but that I had to step into to truly know its power. Now I see that being pregnant and birthing a child is one of the most creative expressions of my feminity, because it is unique to our gender. As I open my body up to become a safe place for another being to thrive in and as I fall madly in love with this little girl, who I don't know anything about yet, I've realized that being a strong woman can come in so many more forms than what I thought. For someone who’s wanted to control and manage as much of her life as possible, this surrender to the power of biology and love has been scary, but freeing.
I’ve never felt more connected to my feminity.
Before being pregnant I really had no idea what my body was capable of. I always hated science classes in school and honestly didn’t even know the basics of the biology of my body. If you asked me where my cervix was and what it did a year ago, i really wouldn’t have a great answer for you. If you asked me to explain ovulation, I wouldn’t have been able to give you the ins and outs on how that works either (which explains a lot lol)...But after much googling and as many podcasts and books as I could get my hands on, I have a whole new understanding and appreciation for what our female bodies can do. One of my favorite sources of insight was Natalie Angier’s book Woman. This quote is reflective of her way of looking at the miracle of the female body:
I’ve never felt more powerful.
Honestly, before being pregnant I never understood people who wanted to be mothers. I’m ashamed to say that I thought them soft or weak, but now I realize that it’s the opposite. It’s not a softness that makes me smile with love every time I feel her kick and move, it’s a deep vast unending space of love that its' depth is hard to even fully understand yet. It’s not a weakness when I think about wanting to stay away from seemingly innocent things like paint fumes and unpasturized cheeses, its a fierceness and a strength that makes me to want to do every possible thing to protect and help this baby grow to her fullest potential. So far, being a mother, has been one of the most powerful, innate forces that i've come in contact with, and its a force to be reckoned with.
I’ve never felt more confident.
I’ve never felt more confident in my body. I know not everyone’s pregnancies are easy, but watching my body grow and do things that I never imagined were possible has been pretty impressive. Sure my body has accumulated new ailments & new challenges along the way, but I try and look at them as reminders of the hard work my body is putting in to grow this little girl. I also know birth is going to be a rude awakening compared to the dreams I have where everything goes quickly and perfectly, but I am also ready to face it. I feel ready for the challenge, for the struggle, and to see myself and my body coming through it to the other side. I know i’ll feel vulnerable, weak, tired, incapable even at many points, but I also know the strength I have inside. When I think about birthing wtihout fear, the thing that gives me the most peace and strength is that the entire history of humanity is all connected by this one event, birth. The power and strength that the millions of women who have gone before me possessed gives me a calm to know that I can do this too.
I want to add that a lot of this confidence comes from having the right support system in place. As soon as I knew I was pregnant, the next thing I decided to do was to find a doula. I knew that I could be as prepared and informed as possible, but if I didn’t have someone objective to be there to support Michael and I during the birth, things could go really differently than what we were hoping for. She has been amazing so far and I know that if I get lost during labor and am unsure what I should do, she is there to help guide us through to the other side. I cannot tell you how valuable she is to my peace of mind, when it comes to birth.and the overwhelming feelings of not knowing everything.
I never expected these things.
I’ve never been more distracted by something. To have your body changing every moment and constantly reminding you of it and of your future child’s existence is a powerful force to be reckoned with. Every time I feel her kick or flip or turn (which is ALL the time lately!) It brings me back to thinking of her. It’s like that feeling when you first fall in love and you want to walk around saying “I’m in love, I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!” My life is changing in a major way in front of my eyes and she’s all I can think of. From the books I read, to the podcasts I listen to, to the websites I visit, she’s changed all of that and I couldn’t be more happy to be so obsessed with something.
I have never felt less included. It feels so silly to say with how much real divisiveness and prejudice there is out in the world, but think of almost any clothing store out there and pretty much 99% of them either don’t make maternity clothes or don’t sell their clothes in stores. So finding things that fit and that I actually want to spend my money on has been a challenge that left me me feeling frustrated and isolated. Go to a restaurant (at least here in the Midwest) and ask for a mocktail and they will look at you like you have a third eye. Ask about pasteurized cheeses and you’ll have to spend 10 minutes explaining that you’re pregnant and what kind of things you can’t eat or do. We missed out on fun trips & fun night outs, but thankfully there was a flip side to all of these things…
When I talked to other moms about maternity clothes and the struggle to find things they all had great tips and several even gave me bags full of maternity clothes to borrow! When I go out to eat now and realize how much money i’m saving by skipping the drink menu, it has become rewarding rather than disappointing. It has also been interesting to have a life without alcohol in it and to realize how much I don’t even miss it. When I think about all those foods I have to skip its made me a much more conscious eater. I look at my food now for what benefits it can offer my body and if I’m having a craving for something I try and listen to see what my body is telling me by that craving. Yes we missed out on trips and fun nights so we could save as much money as possible, but in the end all of these things created connection. Connection with other moms, connection with my body and the growing little person inside it, connection with our intentions, and connection with each other and those are the things that have real value and importance.
This journey has been a enlightening one so far and when I think about all the beautiful things I want to teach this little girl, I know she has already taught me far more than I could’ve imagined.