My pregnancy journey — as incredible yet challenging as it was — gave me more than a child; it gave me a new perspective, and it was empowering. My son showed me a whole different kind of love that I had never known. It was a revelation. Life became about living beyond yourself; about being bigger and better. Here are some of the things that I learned along the way:
1. Be Confident! You’re Capable Of So Much More Than You Realize.
You can do it! Have faith in yourself. You alone are enough. 🙂 When it comes down to it, you don’t need anyone else. All you need to be a great mom is yourself. Everyone else in your life is just the icing on the cake. When things seem difficult, trust in your body and remember that you alone have the strength to get through anything. Becoming a mother is empowering. Trust in yourself! 😉
I was going through some tremendous life changes during my pregnancy. I faced the unknown and it was terrifying. At times I was scared and struggling, but I got through it, and I became a stronger person in ways that I never knew possible. The moments when you are most vulnerable can become the most empowering and life changing experiences.
2. Don’t Stress.
Pregnancy can be your most vulnerable time. Don’t worry about hypothetical “what if” situations. Don’t stress about potential future events. If you’re scared, trust that things will work out. Stay present, and focus on today and tomorrow. You will soon meet the greatest love of your life. You will love in a way that you never knew possible. Although it takes time, it all eventually becomes intuitive and natural.
I had some high-stress hormones coursing through my body, and I stressed about every little thing. I wish I hadn’t. I wish I had faith and knew that everything would be OK and that my life would turn out better than I could have ever imagined. Easier said than done, but try to have faith in yourself and don’t stress about the unknown.
The best thing in life has just happened to you! Really! 😉 This might be hard to grasp if it’s your first pregnancy, especially with the roller coaster of emotions going on. Take time to enjoy your pregnancy, even if you aren’t always feeling well. There is a magical thing happening inside of your body. You are creating life. 🙂 Relish in all the wonderful things that your body is doing, and try to enjoy all of the pregnancy milestones. Set some time aside for yourself to find that inner happiness.
4. Love Your Body! Don’t Compare Yourself To Anyone Else!
Every pregnancy is different! Don’t compare yourself to other pregnant women or your pregnant friends or family members. Your goal should be to be healthy, and not to maintain a certain weight or to look a certain way. Your body is creating the amazing miracle of life. Love your body and embrace the changes. 🙂
I wish I hadn’t constantly compared my pregnancy to other people, because it added unnecessary anxiety. I would compare my weight to my mother’s during her pregnancies, and compare myself to women on social media. I was always worried that I was either gaining not enough weight at the beginning of my pregnancy, or weighing too much at the end of my pregnancy. I eventually gained about 50 pounds and became worried that I was too “fat.” I was healthy, but felt unattractive. After I had my baby, my weight didn’t “bounce back,” and it just added to the frustration. It took time for me to learn to love my body. It was a journey. After becoming a mother, I was able to see the miracle of life that I created, an experience a whole different kind of love from my son, and slowly, little by little, I finally grew to love my body. It was an empowering experience. I eventually learned to love myself no matter what, and to be kind and loving to my body rather than judging and hating it. 🙂
Pregnancy can be the most emotional experience of our life. I was crying one minute and laughing the next. Every emotion that I felt was heightened to the next level. It is normal to be overcome with emotions, but I always felt like there was something “wrong” with me for feeling too much and being too happy or too sad. I wish I knew that it was normal. But, if you feel depressed often, go see a doctor for help. Pregnancy blues affect many women. I suffered from depression during a part of my pregnancy, and I wish that I had realized and done something about it early on. But thankfully things leveled out after birth, and it didn’t take too long before I finally felt “normal” again. 🙂
6. Leave All Negativity Behind.
Don’t let other people bring you down. Leave negative situations behind. Don’t let negativity ruin your pregnancy experience. This is easier said than done if the negativity is coming from your partner or family and close friends. Sometimes people can be negative without even realizing it. If you’re having problems with your partner, try seeing a therapist. Sometimes you need to make difficult decisions in your life for the sake of your health and happiness, better now than after the baby arrives.
7. Create A Supportive Environment.
Don’t isolate yourself. It can be easy to alienate yourself and feel like no one else understands what you’re going through. Surround yourself with people that love and support you. Go visit your family or friends if they live out of town. If you feel alone, join a community group or take a pregnancy class to meet other expectant moms.
8. Don’t Listen To Anyone’s Advice.
Do what feels natural for you and your body. Everyone will have an opinion about what’s best for you. It is very annoying and can become overwhelming. 🙄 Each pregnancy is different, you don’t need to heed anyone’s words or follow their lead. If your best friend of family member doesn’t know where their own story will end up, how can they presume to know yours? Over time I learned that all the advice I received ended up either not working for me or not being true at all, and eventually I stopped listening and found my own path.
Do anything that you enjoy that is just about you. Invest in some new skincare products. Go shopping. Take long showers. Go get a massage. Everything will be about the baby once they arrive, so take this time to pamper yourself. I sure wish I had done this more!
10. Stay Physically Active.
11. Reconnect With Nature.
There’s something primal about being pregnant, and it feels calming and therapeutic to spend time outdoors. It’s the perfect time to rekindle your sense of belonging and connection to the natural world. The first time I ever went camping was while I was about 6 months pregnant, and I loved it! Even if you’re not an outdoorsy person, doing a short walk outside can feel amazing. 🙂
You can’t ever take too many pregnancy photos! I almost never took any photos because I was self conscious about the way that I looked. So silly. All I have are my maternity photos. I wish I had taken photos throughout all the different stages of my pregnancy. You will be happy to have them later on! Remember that you are a beautiful mama to be! 🙂
13. Keep A Journal.
14. Take A Pre-Pregnancy Vacation.
15. Visit Family/Friends.
17. Have a Flexible Birth Plan.
18. Hire a Doula.
I thought that I would know best, and that a doula wouldn’t be very helpful. I was wrong! It would have been incredibly helpful to have an experienced doula guiding me through the birthing process. If you can hire one, I highly recommend it!
I bought a cute hospital gown and had planned to do my hair and makeup for photos. The day that my contractions started, I didn’t want to get ready too early, so I figured I would wait until I was almost ready to leave to the hospital, haha. 🙂 I never got ready. By the time I was ready to leave to the hospital, I was in too much pain to care about getting ready. I labored in the unflattering hospital gown with no makeup and messy hair, and I couldn’t have cared less, haha. 😉 If you want to have your hair and makeup done for photos, I recommend getting ready as soon as you feel your contractions starting.
20. Take An Undisturbed First Hour After Birth.
After the baby is born, take time to be with the baby by yourself for the first hour. It’s time you never get back. Even if you want your family and friends to come in immediately, or if they are already in the room, ask them to let you take the first hour to be alone with your baby. There are several health benefits to this, so focus your time on baby’s first breastfeed and mother-baby bonding.
I didn’t do this, and I will always regret it. 🙁 I wish I had that time to just breath and fully take everything in. Unfortunately, my boyfriend’s family rushed in immediately after I gave birth, even though I told them I was not ready. It was very stressful, I was uncomfortable, and I had no time for myself to just relax with my baby. It felt horrible at the time. I think that it contributed to the breastfeeding issues that I had for the next several months. Next time I will definitely take the first hour undisturbed to spend with my baby!
21. You Might Not Feel An Immediate “High” Or Rush Of Happiness Right After Birth.
22. It Takes Time To Be Yourself Again.
Don’t expect to bounce back immediately after giving birth. My mom told me that she dropped all of her pregnancy weight instantly and walked out of the hospital weighing less than she did before, lol. 😳 I was secretly hoping that the same thing would happen to me, and that I could at least walk out of the hospital in my pre-pregnancy clothes, haha. Nope! That didn’t happen. I did walk out in skinny jeans… my maternity skinny jeans! 😉 I still looked pregnant for several weeks, my stomach wasn’t flat for months, and it took time for my weight to finally drop. Like almost a year. Don’t expect instant results. You just grew a human being, and it will take time to look and feel like yourself again. Love yourself and just focus on being healthy. Remember that your health is more important than a number on the scale. You’re a superhero mom now! 🙂