Pregnancy is supposed to be a “glowing” experience. We are to enjoy each moment and the “special treatment” we receive for those nine months of bliss. But instead, we are faced with acne, stretch marks, weight gain, and swollen ankles. When I was last pregnant, I have to admit that I did not enjoy most moments. I was sick, tired, and wrangling a toddler who never needed or wanted sleep. Looking back on that time, I wish I had put my insecurities and miserable, grumpy days aside and enjoyed pregnancy.
Here’s what I would have done differently:
1. Took off work earlier.
Work is important, and I always felt like I had something to prove. I was offered by my boss to take off early, but I insisted on working until the day I went into labor. I taught preschool, so I would waddle in to teach, barely be able to stand up after sitting at circle time, and then waddle back to the car to head home at the end of a long day. I was insecure thinking everyone would think I was “weak” if I took off work early. But now I know I would have benefited from a few days (or weeks) of down time before life would drastically change!
Before all your attention is on baby, do something for yourself! Take a few weeks off and enjoy the anticipation that comes with dreaming about your little one’s arrival.
2. Spent time affirming my pregnant body.
Seeing myself in the mirror before I got dressed and after a shower was always mortifying. I felt like a swollen whale, so I would quickly undress, hop in the steaming water, and avoid looking in the mirror at all costs! But I wonder how different I would feel if I would have stood proudly facing the body that was carrying my son — the body that was strong, resilient, and giving life to a piece of my heart!
Spend time affirming yourself. You are beautiful. You are a warrior. Your body’s curves are amazing and spectacular in all the right ways! Every mark and scar or ache and pain is a reflection of your strength and resilience for the life inside of you. No one could love or provide for your baby better than your powerful body!
3. Set more boundaries to decrease stress levels.
You guys, I pushed myself — hard. I juggled all my responsibilities and then some more.
Maybe you’re doing the same thing! Maybe boundaries are hard for you and you are trying to balance everything on your plate while adding all the pre-baby prep to your to-do list. Stress isn’t good for anyone, let alone someone growing a life! So set boundaries for yourself and say “no” to the things that suck you dry. Remember, you have a good excuse!
4. Stop feeling guilty.
Finally, you can wish things would have gone better or wished you would willingly embrace your pregnancy, but don’t waste time sitting in guilt. Though I would make these changes, I can’t go back and redo my pregnancy. So now, I can simply encourage those going through it to set aside their insecurities and learn from my mistakes. If you are feeling guilty — stop. Choose better for yourself and enjoy this special time in your life!
Tell us in the comments what pregnancy insecurities YOU need to let go!