Swollen feet, a changing body, loneliness, and extreme joy were all the things I was feeling during my pregnancy. I took some time to think back to when I was pregnant with my son and realized there were so many things I wish I knew ahead of time.
At 23, I was navigating the disappointment of working a 9-5 that I didn’t like. I was frustrated that the career I thought I wanted since I was 9 years old and went to school for was no longer my passion. I had no friends around me dealing with the same things I was, had no family that lived near me, & was a newlywed all at the same time. Most of the millennials we knew waited a bit longer to start getting married and having children, so it felt like I was dealing with so many changes all alone.
My husband was a touring musician at the time, so he was gone on a world tour for 6 months. This forced us to figure out the newlywed life 6 months into our marriage (would not recommend it!). We literally got the word on the second day of our honeymoon that he would be going on tour the next month. Crazy right?! I became pregnant shortly after he came home from tour and was terrified of what was about to be our new reality.
Finding out the News
I was only 2 days late but I knew something was different so I had my husband run to the pharmacy to get a test. I remember how scared I was when I saw that the pregnancy test was positive. My husband being the goofy guy that he is, looked at the test before me and laughed (I’m currently rolling my eyes as I write this lol). Tears definitely flooded the bathroom floor. I WAS SO SCARED. If you haven’t realized already, I’m someone who plans EVERYTHING and we had planned to wait 2 years before we had any kids— God laughed at my plans too.
In this moment soooo many thoughts filled my head:
What are people going to think?
(…That you’re married & you got pregnant)
What will our parents think?
(…That you’re grown)
How were we going to afford a child, we have barely figured out our finances?
(…God will provide)
What if I lose the baby?
(…God is your healer)
What about my dreams?
(…There’s time for it all)
What if I’m not a good mother?
(…God will give you wisdom)
These are the 6 things I wish I knew before my first pregnancy:
1.Your Feelings Matter
As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I had immense pressure to not even think about “my feelings” because I was carrying a baby. The reality is that it’s okay to feel confused, scared, or worried. Carrying a child is A LOT of work & it does not always feel or look “beautiful”. Our entire bodies change immensely (physically, mentally, and emotionally). There’s this expectation on women to respond with, “Pregnancy is the most beautiful, fulfilling experience I’ve ever been through!” when we’re asked how we’re doing. Can people stop expecting that? So, mama, I leave you with this: your feelings are valid, they matter. You’re not alone. But I can promise you that it does get better. Take a deep breath. You got this.
2. Every Pregnancy Is Different
There is this idea that pregnancy feels great all the time for every woman. And that’s not the truth. Every pregnancy is different and every woman is different. It doesn’t make you stronger or weaker if you’re experience is different than another’s, it’s just different. Don’t ever compare your pregnancy to other experiences. If you have a second child, it’s likely that’ll be different than your first. EVERY PREGNANCY IS DIFFERENT.
3. You’re Not Alone
If you’ve been there or if you’re currently in that moment, I get it. Trust me. This journey can feel very lonely at times (even if you’re married or have a partner) because not everyone around you will feel exactly what you feel. Communicate with those around you on how you’re actually feeling & come up with ways in which they can support you emotionally. Connect with other moms and be open about what you’re feeling.
4. Remember To Not Lose Yourself
It took me about a year to get back to feeling like myself after I had my son. I had completely forgotten that I was Alina first, before anything else. Although motherhood definitely defines a part of who I am, there’s so much more to me than just being a mother (or even a wife), and that’s perfectly okay. Women tend to take on a lot, I believe God specifically designed us with those capabilities. Own that. Remember to still make time for the things you love—that won’t make you selfish, I promise. Here’s how I look at it: if I’m happy, I’m a better mom to my son. Simple as that.
5. Ask for Help
This one is a hard one. At least for me, it was…I am THE worst at asking for help. I wish someone made clear how important this is not only during pregnancy but also during postpartum. Asking for help allows you to be a better mom. You CAN’T do everything. Our bodies are limited during pregnancy and postpartum for a reason (‘Cause you’re literally growing a full human being duh!). Go ahead and sit down somewhere and ASK FOR HELP. You’re already doing a lot, so don’t try to prove to anyone how you can handle it all. Focus on caring for yourself and the baby, your ego is not important right now.
6. There’s Time for It All
I couldn’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve heard “welp my (or your) life is over” shortly after the news of a coming baby. It probably has a lot to do with all the unsatisfied and unfulfilled parents who thought they couldn’t do what they loved because a child “ruined” it for them. The truth is, there’s time for it all. While having a baby could certainly change the timing of your plans, it doesn’t mean you can’t still do them. I like to think of motherhood as a Bootcamp for me to be even more successful as a business owner.
The amount of multi-tasking, sleep deprivation, and high-level stress endured during motherhood does not compare to anything else on this planet. Try negotiating with a two-year-old! Women are most fit to be CEOs if you ask me. The things you wanted to do before you had a baby might look a little different now and that’s okay. Continue to dream, plan, and work on those things you love. I’m sure you’d want your child to go after their dreams, so lead by example.
You Got This
As I write these words and look back, my eyes water thinking about how 23-year-old me felt. Little did she know that was the beginning of a beautiful journey that would push her to find herself, to build new dreams, become a wonderful mother, wife, and business owner. I thank God that He held my hand so tightly in each moment. If I’m being real, Christ has been the only one that has sustained me as I’ve learned to juggle motherhood. Nothing else.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.”1 Peter 5:6-7
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