Now that my first pregnancy has come and gone I realize that I learned quite a bit and wanted to share some of my experiences.
#1. No matter how difficult or painful your pregnancy is you will miss it when it’s gone.
I’ll be the first to admit that I complained a lot during my pregnancy. I had morning sickness through week 17. Got the flu and spent some time in the hospital followed by several secondary infections. Had unusual bleeding due to complete placental previa. Excruciating backpain that made it difficult to get through each work day. Very painful contractions from week 32 making it impossible to sleep through the night. I was in such a rush to just “get it over with.” I had heard a lot of stories about how amazing people felt during their own pregnancies that I just assumed I would feel better than I had ever felt in my life. Eh, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for me. I was uncomfortable and miserable most of the way through it. So, when the day came for me to give birth I was a HAPPY camper. Of course I was nervous but it was an excited nervous. Finally I was going to put this all behind me and be a Mommy!
You can imagine my surprise when I started feeling a twinge of sadness after I gave birth. What was that twinge? Yep, you guessed it. I actually missed being pregnant. I started realizing that my pregnancy was the most important thing I’d ever accomplished in my life. It was the most special and precious time of my life. I missed feeling Landon swimming around in my womb. I missed always having him with me. Near me. Knowing he would never be that close again no matter how tight I held him. One of my favorite things to do now is have him fall asleep on my chest. I know he is hearing my heart beat. And if I cover him up enough with a blanket it is almost like I have the “belly” again.
Now I’m not suggesting that I’d rather have him inside again. Believe me, I love having him on the outside. He is my angel and I love seeing his beautiful face every second of every day. I guess I am just so flabberghasted that “I miss being pregnant” is something that comes out of my mouth from time to time. I have to repeat it in my head in order to believe that I actually said it.
But it is a good lesson learned. With God’s grace, we’ll hopefully be pregnant again someday and next time I will treasure every moment even if it brings me physical misery. I will not think of it as a race to the finish line. Rather, I will think of it as a journey. One of life’s greatest passageways in which a woman finds her true self and realizes that she is much stronger physically and emotionally than she ever thought possible.
So yes, I miss being pregnant. But of course, I love being a Mother even more than being pregnant.
#2. Don’t go shopping 3 weeks after giving birth.
I think this statement speaks for itself. Unless you want to find yourself having a mental breakdown about how big your ass is and how you’ll never be size X ever again, I beg of you, don’t venture into a dressing room soon after giving birth. We’ll just label this under the “What was I thinking?” file in my brain and remember it for next time.
Now that my hormones are kinda back to normal I have come to accept the fact that my body is different now. It’s not a bad different though. It’s a good different. Yes, my tummy might be kind of mushy but I am trying to be positive about it. Hey, I can shake my belly like a bowl full of jelly for Christmas, just like Santa Claus. Instead of being one of those Moms obsessed about losing weight I’ve decided to just take my time and let it be. Maybe I’ll take an exercise class, maybe I won’t. I’m more worried about settling into my new role of being a good Mommy. That’s more important than what size you are.
However, I just have to put this out there. Why don’t womens stores realize that if they would make their sizes run big instead of small, women would feel better while trying on clothing and most likely buy more? As Steven Colbert would say, Banana Republic, you have been warned.
#3. You will probably cry a lot the first few weeks.
Read as many books and take as many classes as you like to prepare for the arrival of your little one. But please realize that there is absolutely no way to prepare for the emotions you’ll feel the first few weeks of being a new parent. Here’s a little math problem for all the pregnant ladies out there.
raw hormonal changes + fear of the unknown – sleep = feeling like the worst new Mom ever.
I don’t think there is any getting around it. The first few weeks are what I like to call sleep-deprived bliss. You are walking around with a huge smile pasted to your face because you’re so freaking happy that your adorable little bundle has finally arrived and just how in the world did you get so lucky to have the cutest baby ever. Yes, of course, you have the cutest baby ever. Nobody else but you. But at the same time, you’re in pain, confused, overwhelmed, exhausted, hungry and thirsty, worried, nervous. It’s a slippery slope. There is not a single book out there that can describe those first few weeks. I think it is humanly impossible. So I recommend just going with the flow. You want to enjoy those first few weeks but it is difficult. However, it does get easier. I don’t know how or why but it just does. I’m still learning and will continue to learn. I am a planner by nature and by profession. It is extremely difficult for me to live day to day because I am usually planning everything for my job a year in advance. But you just have to let go and let God.
#4. A good support system goes a long way.
I could not have done this without my Husband, my family and my friends. The first month there was always someone extra available to me. Whether it be the Grandparents, my sisters or my friends, someone was always calling to check on me and ask what they could do to help. I mean, just asking if I was doing okay brought me to tears. Bringing over a warm yummy meal so I didn’t have to cook. Watching Landon for a couple of hours while I took a much-needed nap. There is something to be said for not doing it alone. While I believe that Naaman and I had plenty of bonding time alone as a new family we so appreciated the help that we received during the first month. I am a true believer in the saying that it takes a village to raise a child. No one person can get it right by themselves. So if you think you need a little alone time as a family don’t be afraid to let that be known. But at the same time don’t turn down offers of help because you think you have to be some kind of superhero mom. You will need help more than anything during that crazy wonderful beginning!
#5. Life will never be the same again but oh, how glorious is the new life!
I had an emotional breakdown right after the 4th of July as I was washing all the newborn clothing preparing for Landon’s arrival. I was standing in the basement folding Landon’s onesies and held up a tiny blue onesie thinking to myself, “My God, this is too small. I’m going to mess this up somehow!” It suddenly dawned on me that I would be responsible for a life. Not a cabbage patch doll like when I was 6-years-old. I would be responsible for raising a living, breathing little boy! The sense of responsibility overwhelmed me and I broke down in tears. Can I do this? Am I smart enough, strong enough, good enough? I worried that I would somehow miss the freedom of just Naaman and I. Not to sound selfish but I worried if we would we ever be able to do the things we love. How hard will it be to go to the movies? Will we ever be able to travel to foreign countries? What if the money we have saved is not enough for the three of us?
But the second he was pulled from within me all of the selfish thoughts went away. It was not when I heard my child cry because when he first came out there were no cries. He did not cry. He did not scream. He was purple and lifeless. I was a Mother in that instant and nothing else. The only crying and screaming in the room was my own. I was praying to God not to do this to me. Not to take him from me before I held him and knew him and loved him. Every selfish thought went away. Nothing else in the world mattered but the health of my son. I was hysterical as they tried to revive him. Ten different people in scrubs rushing in and out of the room. Suddenly he was taken from me before I ever got the chance to really see him. I couldn’t think of anything else beside the fact that I would do anything, would give anything, would give my own LIFE if God would just let him live. Thankfully, God answered my prayers and he turned out to be a healthy little boy who just had trouble getting used to breathing air.
But because of that hour, where my son teeter-tottered between life and death, it was already done. Those few moments, the most terrifying of my entire life, were enough to solidify the reason we tried to conceive in the first place. Deep inside me was a strong desire to become a mother. Yes, during pregnancy I was scared of the unknown. I was scared of what would happen afterward. Scared of how I would feel and if I would be capable of loving someone more than life itself. Those feelings are no longer scary. I know now that I was put on this earth to be a good Mother. To provide safety, health and most importantly, unconditional love to this child that we created. I have never been happier in my life because now I know my purpose. You don’t know how different it is until you’re there and you’re holding your sweet baby in your arms. But it is decidely different than your life before. It’s so good, so right, so natural. I am a Mother to a beautiful son. God is good.