Updated: Feb 24, 2019
Motherhood is an incredible journey. It's the most beautiful thing I've had the honor of experiencing. It's also the most challenging. Motherhood challenges you physically, emotionally and even spiritually. Motherhood challenges you in ways you never could have imagined. Women often spend years dreaming of what kind of mother they will be. We fantasize our lives with these children that have yet to be born. Our perfect children within our perfect lives often become the view that we cling to when dreaming of becoming mothers. What really happens when the fantasy becomes a reality though? Over the next week I will be writing about the journey into motherhood broken down into three parts. 1. The journey of pregnancy 2. The journey of Childbirth3. The journey of childhood. This isn't going to be an over the top sappy post about how sunshine and rainbows motherhood is. That's not reality. It's not going to be a frustrated rant about the downfalls of motherhood either. It's going to be real! The good, the bad, the ugly. The heartbreak, the joy and the comical! It's all going to be talked about. As this "series" continues I would love to hear from you. What are your experiences? How did you view motherhood before becoming a mother? How did your expectations differ from the reality?
The journey of Pregnancy
Your period was expected 3 days ago and you have a suspicion that this is it. This is finally the month that second line will turn pink. Maybe you are excited to open that package and take that test. Maybe you are fearful and anxious. What if the test is positive and you start your period anyways? Maybe that's happened in the past. Your heart would be broken. Mine was. You need to know though. The what if's are enough to eat you alive so you do your thing and stare at that stick for what feels like forever before a second pink line begins to form. Are you imagining it? Your heart skips a beat. The line darkens and your jaw drops. This is real. You are pregnant. A human is literally growing inside of your body. If your anything like me you are already planning to buy more tests just to be sure. Most likely a digital. There's something so magical about seeing the word "pregnant" pop up on a test.
Now you've alerted your other half and the two of you are walking around for the next few days in a clouded bliss. You smile sweetly at each other and a little giddy laugh escapes you. We are pregnant. This is real. It is real right? Your mind still hasn't had the chance to process this change. Maybe you are scared to become excited. What if this doesn't end with a beautiful baby in my arms? If you've experienced a loss this is probably weighing on your mind. A friend once told me that once you've experienced a miscarriage it takes away your pregnancy innocence. That every pregnancy after your loss will come with fear. You can't let your guard down and feel truly joyful. Maybe that will lessen the pain of another loss should it end that way again. I hear you. I feel you. I've been in your shoes and so have thousands of other women. My heart aches for you right now.
You spend months battling morning (really all day) sickness. Your appetite is all over the place. You can't figure out exactly why you are crying or why you currently hate your husband. The truth is; you don't even have the energy to remember those things, much less anything else. The first trimester can be so rough. Maybe you feel frumpy and unattractive. You have a belly some days due to bloating but no real evidence can be seen of your new life. You want people to know that your pregnant and not just 'getting fat' but you also aren't ready for the world to know your big news yet. Can I just take a moment to say that you don't look fat. It really is all in your head. The rest of the world won't see any physical changes, They may take note of the fact that you fell asleep at your desk or that you seemed a little green but they won't notice the amazing disappearing act your belly is doing. Don't worry! One day the disappearing- reappearing belly will be replaced with a real baby bump. Your baby. Growing. Inside of you. How wonderful is that?
Welcome to the second trimester. Soon you start to feel the fog lift, your appetite has returned with a vengeance and your emotions.. well. Sorry. They are likely still all over the place due to hormones. It's going to be this way for at least a few months after you give birth. Those of you thinking "What relief? I never got that?" I am so sorry. The truth is, some women will continue to experience nausea and exhaustion (among other things) for the duration of their pregnancies. I can't even imagine. Stay strong momma! It will all be worth it when your baby is born! Even if you are a part of this unfortunate group of women you can't deny the undeniable beauty that comes with the second trimester. This is where your belly really begins to grow into an undeniable baby bump. The second trimester is when you feel that first little kick. At first you will spend hours just trying to feel those little movements. They are so sporadic at first and often can't be felt from the outside. This is your time with your sweet growing baby. Sorry hubby, you will have to be a little more patient. It won't be long before you really start feeling them! Then your spouse can join in! This is such an incredible time of bonding for the three of you. If this isn't your first child you are in for some real joy! Watching your child(ren) interact with their new sibling is heaven. Excited little hands on your belly hoping to get the chance to feel a little kick. Some siblings may not really be that interested and that's ok too. They know that change is coming. Maybe they can't express it well but they do know! Give them time and a lot of extra love. Let they know you understand their fears and calm their minds with the promise that you will always love them!
Most parents also get the chance to find out if they are having a boy or girl during the second trimester. If you are the "surprise me" type I commend you. It must be such an incredibly emotional thing to find out when the baby is born! I've never been patient enough and I like to have everything planned out. Maybe for the next baby?
Now we enter the third trimester. The relief that came with the second trimester will lead way to more exhaustion, round ligament pain, waking up in the middle of the night to pee like a thousand times every night. Your belly now poses a hinderance to just about everything you do. You have a hard time finding a comfortable way to sleep. Forget rolling over. Your feet may resemble sausages and your ankles have grown into your feet. Contractions may be happening here and there and you sometimes wonder if your bag of waters might be leaking. Maybe its just a little pee or something though. You really can't be sure sometimes. You are even more emotional now than ever and you feel as though your home is never clean enough. You simply cannot bring a baby into this world when your baseboards are not clean! Ok, thats the ugly truth about the third trimester. Let's talk about all the things that make it absolutely worth it though. You are glowing! Really, you truly are even if you don't see it yourself. Other's do. Your baby is really moving now (often in the middle of the night of course). You are folding tiny baby clothes and staring at the bassinet that's now set up in your room and joyfully dreaming of the child that will soon be in it. You feel like you are getting to know your child more and more each day. Every hiccup and kick deepens your bond. Your sweet child may even respond to your voice within the womb.
You will spend the third trimester, which by the way last about 10 years. Well. Obviously it doesn't actually last that long. It just might feel like it. You will spend that time anxiously awaiting your sweet baby's arrival earth side. You wonder what labor will be like. Maybe you've spent your entire pregnancy preparing for labor and feel confident in what your body can do. Maybe it terrifies you. Surrounding yourself with positive birth affirmations and really learning what your body is capable of can really help with those fears! Maybe labor will begin around 37-38 weeks and totally catch you off guard. Maybe it will begin after 40 weeks and you be soooo done. Your baby will come when he/she is ready. Studies are beginning to suggest that proteins in a baby's lungs often trigger labor. When your baby's lungs are developed and ready labor will be triggered for most women. See how amazing our bodies are? See how amazing our tiny baby's body is? I know a some women that would look at my life I had three heads for this next statement BUT: I LOVE this part of pregnancy. Even with the pain and exhaustion I love it. It's not until the last 48ish hours before the the beginning of my labors that I've really done. Totally restless and a little insane and snappy. That's always been my first sign of impending labor! I've never feared childbirth. I've always welcomed it. Crazy right? It doesn't have to be. We can talk more about that in Part 2!
I would LOVE to hear from you!
- What are your awesome "pee on a stick" stories? Did you have a feeling you were pregnant even before testing?
- What is pregnancy like for you? What have you enjoyed? Hated? Found funny?
- Who ever shares an embarrassing pregnancy story with me will hear one from me in return!
@Blissfully Beautiful Photography
Stay tuned for part 2; The Journey of Childbirth. Subscribe here to be alerted when part two has been posted!