*Update: I wrote this post one week before going into pre-term labor. After significant complications that we’re still dealing with today, little man and I are still alive. Some of my fears were realized, but we made it…and we’re closer to each other than we’ve ever been.
I’m 34 weeks pregnant with our firstborn, which means we’ve had just about eight months of “helpful” advice and/or warnings. You know what I’m talking about.
“Oh, enjoy your sleep while you can, cause once that baby comes you’ll never sleep again.”
“It’s your first? Lucky, I wish I could shove mine back inside my uterus so I could get some peace and quiet.”
“I hope you accomplished all of your life goals, cause starting next month you won’t have any time for yourself for twenty-plus years.”
“It can take FOREVER to get the thirty pounds of baby weight off. Most moms eventually just give up and keep it on.”
If your pregnancy has been announced for any amount of time, I’m sure you’ve faced at least one of these comments already. When they tell us these things, they say it with a laugh, and we politely smile back, but inwardly we are screaming. Or crying. Sometimes both.
I am twenty years old, and for the last six years I was led to believe I couldn’t conceive. So when I saw that pink line on the test at the gas station, there were so many conflicting emotions I didn’t really know what to think or how I was supposed to feel.
You may have a similar experience. Maybe your baby was an earth-shattering surprise. Maybe you conceived at what you felt was the worst possible time. Or maybe your baby was completely planned, but seeing that LINE, the first heartbeat, the first ultrasound, made it seem so real. And terrifying. In any case, I’m right there with you.
When we first announced the pregnancy, we were met with a wonderful support group, but unfortunately there was the occasional,
“Wait, so you’re going to keep it?”
“You’re too young for this, you need to think through all of your options.”
“Babies are a lot of responsibility. Are you sure you don’t want to wait until after you’ve had a chance to explore yourself, and maybe live more of your life?”
We’re just trying to make it through 40 joyous, stressful, and terrifying weeks. We’ve all grieved a little knowing there are some things we wanted so, so badly in life that just aren’t possible anymore.
Of course when the baby comes things will be different.
But different doesn’t have to mean bad.
We may not have as much time with our husbands, but we will MAKE time. We do not need to feel guilty for handing our babies over to our parents every so often to go on a date.
And yes, we will lose friends. Many of us already have. When we’re a month away from motherhood and our best friends are leaving for college, there isn’t a whole lot of room there for friendships to grow. But we will do our best. And we will make new friends. Even if it means joining a mommy and me fitness group with a bunch of crunchy mamas. We will not be alone in this new phase of our lives. We will not be alone.
And when someone mentions the baby weight, or God-forbid makes a seemingly friendly joke about your growing size, don’t let it bring you back to the mindset you had before you recovered from your eating disorder. You are taking care of your baby first, and I’m proud of you. Your body is a shelter that will not turn itself against its child. Your body is changing, and I know that’s scary. But you are not fat. You are not getting fat. You are growing a beautiful human child who will look up to you one day. And mama, I am so proud of you for putting your baby first every single day of this pregnancy. For eating the calories she needs. It will not go unrewarded.
Mama, I know it seems freakin’ hard to keep a baby human alive what with faulty car seats, SIDS, tornadoes, and kidnappers. Trust me, I’ve thought all of this through, and I’ve finally determined that we can’t ALWAYS have a game plan. And that’s okay. I know there are nights you cannot sleep because of the anxiety crawling its way into your bed. When all you see when you close your eyes are crib-fires and broken bones and late night hospital visits. BUT YOU WILL BE OKAY. Odds are, you and your family will survive every obstacle thrown at you, and losing sleep five months before baby is born will have no contribution to that. Stay away from Google. Do not watch the news on tv. Repeat after me, “I will be okay. My baby will be okay. My family will be okay.” then roll over and go back to sleep.
I know with so many people warning you about sleepless nights and Zika virus and rapists that it’s hard to see the positive of motherhood during pregnancy. Parenthood isn’t all bad. My mom is raising seven children and while she does have bad days and rougher nights, she is happy. And hey, she has managed to keep all of us alive, two all the way to adulthood already.
You’ve got a lot coming your way mama, but it’s good! You’ve got everything it takes to be a good mother. When he gets here, you’ll take it a day at a time. We don’t have to have everything planned out for the next eighteen years. Take that pressure off of yourself. What’s comin’ will come, and we’ll meet it when it does. For now, nap in peace. I believe in you so hard.