11.29.2015

Guest Post: Steph on Pregnancy

there are few people that I trust and love more than this lady. Steph is an incredible, a lifelong friend and I am so excited for you to read her thoughts. She is expecting her beautiful baby any time now and blogged about her experience. So blessed to know her, and I know you will be blessed reading this post. xo Maddie

not Steph's belly - just a cute pic:)

I have looked forward to being pregnant and having a baby probably since I was twelve years old. I would cut out pictures from magazines of what my husband and children would look like as a family and would write captions/stories beside the pictures. I gave them names and personalities. I dreamed of a large family. I still dream of a large family, but it will be whatever God has planned for us.

I have kept a journal throughout this pregnancy because I want to be able to look back and compare experiences with each child – my excitement, my fears, my cravings, my lovely weight gain, etc. This blog post is not just for the purpose of keeping a diary or remembering my experience, but to share struggles and truth about pregnancy that maybe some other moms or moms-to-be can relate to. Keep in mind that everyone’s experience and journey is their own and very different.

The following are a few personal struggles I have had throughout the pregnancy.

1. Exhaustion.

First trimester hits pretty hard. The constant feeling of nausea drains your energy and you may find that sleep is the only escape from it. This beautiful child inside of you is using a lot of your energy to grow. Your body is doing incredible work. I can’t complain though – I only dealt with this sickness from weeks 8-12, but I can sympathize for the moms that struggle with this. When I had the chance, I was sleeping 12-hour nights in addition to my naps during the day. I was still struggling at 6pm to keep my eyes open for a couple more hours. This exhaustion led to feelings of failure in other areas where I no longer had energy or time.

2. Feeling of failure.

I needed sleep for the baby. I understood that. But that didn’t make me feel better about not having the energy/the stomach to cook meals for my husband, to provide the same “smile all the time” care for my patients at work, to keep the house clean and organized, or to continue helping with youth and other church events. I couldn’t do it all and get the sleep I needed, but if I spent more time on one of those areas in my life, the other areas suffered (at least that’s how I felt).  I have always struggled with being a perfectionist, but God is continually working in me and sanctifying me in these times when I can’t keep things “just so”.  I am so thankful for my amazing husband during these overwhelming times and how supportive and understanding he has been. As I moved into the second trimester, my energy levels came back. I LOVED the second trimester. I finally started to feel the baby move and a bump slowly started to appear! But as the third came creeping up, other insecurities did as well.

3. The baby belly.

I love baby bellies! I find them so adorable on every mom – except me! In the first trimester, I had put a pillow in my shirt to imagine what I was going to look like in a few short months. I couldn’t wait to start growing - to know that my baby was growing! With that being said, I haven’t talked with any mom yet that loves everything about their baby belly. I am about 35 weeks now. Until a couple weeks ago I was still running. This has now turned into short walks with a few yoga classes during the week. Unfortunately my trips to the gym are no longer something I look forward to. When you are not pregnant, a main motivator for working out is seeing the progress – lower number on the scale, more energy, quicker pace while running, heavier weights, etc. As I went through my pregnancy, going to the gym, my numbers on the scale continued to go higher, I started feeling short of breath as the baby pushed up on my diaphragm, the speed on the treadmill got slower, and my weight lifting turned into light yoga stretches. There is no visible progress motivating you to go back to the gym the next day. That being said, I am still aware of all the health benefits that come along with exercise during pregnancy so I continue as much as I can.

I do love some aspects of my baby belly. I love watching my baby’s kicks and summersaults. If you spend the money on fancy maternity clothes you can feel super cute too. At the same time it is also an insecurity. I do stare in the mirror and look at the beginning of stretch marks, question what is happening to my belly button, try on five shirts a day to find one I feel okay in (usually my husbands now), and wonder how my husband still finds me attractive. These feelings are an every day battle to overcome.

4. First time mom anxiety.

If a first time mom-to-be has not asked you for an opinion on a baby product or advice, please do not tell them what they “absolutely need”. We have spent hours going through baby product reviews that tell us that if we do/don’t buy this specific brand our baby will probably die… okay maybe not to that extreme, but some moms are crazy! We first time moms have made a registry or list of what we need and edited it multiple times questioning if we could possibly ever be fully prepared! Along with that, please do not ask us if we are ready for our baby’s arrival. If we are not ready (which I don’t know if you ever feel fully “ready”), then it provokes more anxiety and panic. For example, I am 35 weeks, and really could go into labor anytime. I do not have my nursery done, I do not have my bags packed, and I do not have many of the essential things I need to have prepared (carseat). Every time I am asked if I am ready, I have a to-do list run through my mind and an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy as a new mom. I will smile, I will answer your question, and I will not be upset that you asked, but this is just an FYI that your well intended, show of interest, can trigger/add to a new mom’s anxiety.

At the end of the day, I love being pregnant. My back aches, I don’t sleep, my legs go numb sometimes, my feet swell, I have heartburn, and I feel like a walrus – but I love being pregnant. All of these not so normal things become normal and tolerable when you think about that pain in your ribs being your precious baby’s tiny foot. I love knowing that God is forming this beautiful, perfect child inside of me and I cannot wait to meet him/her.

Thank you for reading through my rant. I hope this will help some other pregnant women to feel not so alone or guilty for not being overjoyed 24/7 during this time. It’s not always easy, not always fun, but I know that it will be totally worth every minute in the end.

Love,
Steph

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