Since there are millions of articles out there about pregnancy, what you SHOULD do and what you SHOULDN’T do, I thought I’d add my two cents to the internet world from the perspective of a new mama who did a lot wrong.
From the beginning of pregnancy, I got sucked into the Pinterest world of pregnancy articles. I set up my board with categories for all the things from registry “must haves” to prenatal exercises to birth tips etc. There is an article (or a thousand) for every topic under the sun with someone’s idea of what was “essential” for their pregnancy and/or birth experience. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have learned a lot over the past 9 months from some of those articles. Not trying to bash them! BUT I want to caution you when diving into that world to set boundaries for yourself.
To give you some context, I am the pregnant woman who would roll her eyes at the articles or ads with anything about having a “bump only” pregnancy. I didn’t go for walks everyday like a good pregnant woman would. In fact, I’m pretty sure I can count the amount of walks I’ve been on during the whole pregnancy on my own two hands… gasp...I know. But I’ve eaten more pizza and fast food than I can count. Some days it was a huge success to accomplish anything, let alone exercising and making a healthy meal. Pregnancy fatigue is real, my friend.
Now, this isn’t all to say that it’s not important to eat well and move your body to stay healthy. We are indeed carrying another life inside of us who is eating what we eat and being affected by what we do. I could really get myself freaked out at times by how what I do now could affect my baby as an adult… talk about pressure that doesn’t pair well with pregnancy hormones. I just want to be the voice to say it’s okay when you don’t live up to those expectations. It’s okay to feel frustrated when yet another person asks you if you’re walking and exercising like you’re supposed to (there’s always someone… usually said in love or without much thought, not intended to send you into that emotional spiral, yay hormones!). It’s okay to eat that ice cream and pizza and nap the day away sometimes. There will be days you feel great and ready to tackle anything and days you can barely get out of bed and cry about the silliest things (that don’t feel silly at the time!).
I’ve had a stack of books from the beginning of pregnancy that I barely broke into. I started reading “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” right away and read something that freaked me out and had me questioning if I was really pregnant. Took a couple more pregnancy tests just to be safe. Didn’t open it back up until around week 38… turns out it has some very helpful stuff in there. Who knew?! And those adorable bump pics? So much harder to keep up with than people make it appear! Pretty sure there’s a gap of at least a month or so between some of mine...and I rarely like how I look in them. But I am glad to have the few that I do! It’s just one of those things you think will be so fun that for me became a chore to remember and setup. I also don’t really know when I felt her kick for the first time. I thought I was super good about that kind of stuff because I’d snap photos of special moments, but then I’d forget what the photo was representing #fail… I also didn’t feel her move when most people do because of where my placenta was positioned, which I found out after some time. So every time someone asked me if she was moving, I’d get a little more panicked and worried that I hadn’t. Gotta love all the things there are to worry about in pregnancy! But I digress...
The season of pregnancy is a crazy one filled with SO much. So much excitement, so many changes in your body, so many people looking at your belly and waiting for you to get fatter and fatter, so much advice, so much information, so much to learn, so much joy, so many new things, so many things you can’t do or can’t eat (never have I craved a good deli sandwich and a cold beer more!) and so much to look forward to. It’s a lot. So I want to give you permission to step away from the books, turn off the phone, put down the list of “should do’s” every now and again and remember to enjoy this season for what it is. Remember that you are your own person and not every piece of advice you hear may apply to you. Let people share their thoughts with you, but let the things slide that bring you down or overwhelm you. Have grace for yourself. Laugh at yourself! You’ll get some things right and you’ll get some things wrong. You’ll get to 39 weeks and have a list of things you didn’t do that you could have done to prepare better for birth and/or baby. There will ALWAYS be more you could have done. Let it go and notice how far you’ve come! Notice how much you’ve grown (literally and figuratively) and appreciate the journey you’ve been on that is so beautifully unique to you.