I wanted to LOVE being pregnant. I really, really did. In fact I expected because of my health and love of activity that pregnancy would be a cake walk. I'd glow. Did you ever see Gisele while she was pregnant? Yeah, I kind of imagined that was just how it went.
But, sometimes what we expect doesn't exactly come to fruition. Life has a fun little way of putting us in check.
With my first, I thought it was my fault that my pregnancy was uncomfortable (or, uh, miserable); I pushed too hard with my workouts leaving my body feeling wrecked. By the time the pregnancy was over I seriously doubted having another child just because I didn't want to do that again. That idea that you forget about it after it's over is just plain crap. That shit is still crystal clear in my mind.
But my attitude changed and I realized that I wanted another. I figured that as long as I took it easy the next one would be different. So, when I found myself pregnant again, I made no prenatal fitness goals, or any pregnancy goals at all for that matter, and instead was intent on just taking care of myself and trying to love it as much as possible.
When the puking started, I knew it was temporary and I reminded myself often that it was just a season. It would be over soon.
And it was.
Yet, something still wasn't right. I was overly emotional, constantly frustrated, and feeling stuck. Friends would excitedly tell me that they couldn't wait for number two but I didn't exactly share in their sentiments. I was rather apathetic, really.
And actually, I was a little resentful. Why was I doing this again?
There were (and still are) so many fears about a second child but I chalked my thoughts and anxieties to change. Change, after all, is inevitable. It's normal and very natural to worry about change so I kept telling myself that it would go away and maybe, just maybe, I'd start loving it soon.
However, as the third trimester crept up and I was having more days where I cried than where I felt excitement I knew something was wrong.
I wanted my body back; not the size but the function. I was (and am slightly still) sick of not being able to walk a flight of stairs without feeling like I need an oxygen tank.
I read articles where women talked about mourning their last pregnancy. Yet, I had a paper chain counting down the days and was planning what type of champagne I'd have at the hospital.
I don't want anyone to misread this and for one moment think I'm not grateful or think that I don't know how lucky I am to even be pregnant, because I do. And, in addition, I couldn't be more excited for this little person to show up.
However pregnancy, as it turns out, is just not my season.
It's a hard pill to swallow; I focus on prenatal women in my work, I am absolutely amazed and astonished by the process, and I do actually quite enjoy being a mama.
But, I myself, do not love being pregnant.
And I'm not alone. When I started being honest and telling my nearest and dearest friends, more than one responded, "I never loved it either."
I was blown away. These were women I looked up to as moms. They disliked it too?
It's actually made me do a lot of thinking- why don't we talk about this? Why don't we prepare moms for the challenges and struggles they could face during pregnancy? Why on earth don't we have better coping tools for pregnant mamas? In a world where we are becoming so aware of postpartum depression, what about during pregnancy? Because, for many, that's when it starts.
I am lucky that my husband recognized my challenges and encouraged me to talk to my OB who, in turn referred me to prenatal depression/anxiety counselor who gave me TOOLS to squelch my anxiety, prioritize my time, prepare Ethan for a baby brother, and focus on myself.
However, there are women out there going at it alone, thinking that they are going to be horrible mothers because they hate pregnancy, thinking that they are willing the worst on their babies and being discontent with this process because it's not normal to dislike pregnancy. We are supposed to glow and fawn over the magic of life. When, in reality for many, hormones, financial stress, changing family dynamic, sleep disturbances, physical changes and much, much more can provide a variety of stimulus from which to become anxious or depressed.
So, in addition to telling your mama friends that they are glowing or look amazing, ASK HOW THEY'RE FEELING and what's going on in their heads.
Looking fabulous during pregnancy is one thing, but feeling fabulous, that doesn't always happen.
Know that underneath the smiles there might be fears, anxieties and worries keeping your friend from fully embracing this time in life. Be there for that, too.
And, here's to the mama that isn't loving her pregnancy:
It is ok to feel how you feel. Your feelings about pregnancy do not determine your success as a mother. Not loving the change does not mean you are unselfish or unqualified to move forward. And it definitely doesn't mean you are undeserving. Tell people how you feel. Talk to someone. Make self care a priority. Because, mama, this too is just a season and before you know it, it will be over.