Let me paint a picture for you. You look at that little stick. Staring as the minutes go by. Waiting for a pink line or the word “pregnant” to pop up. You’ve already taken so many tests and maybe this will be the one. And then, YES!!!
Maybe you even take another one just to be sure. You are overjoyed. You can’t wait to tell your husband and instead of all the cute ideas you thought of on how to tell him, you just blurt it out. You get a high five (yes my husband actually high fived me) and then finally a huge hug and a kiss and the excitement is overwhelming. You’re going to have a baby!
And then reality hits. That high that you were on and that excitement is taken over by nausea, exhaustion, cravings, food aversions, and soon your body begins to change. This once healthy and fit body starts to soften in all the wrong places. Those dreaded dimples start to show up on your legs and you break out like a 13 year old going through puberty. That glow that everyone talks about, yeah you don’t have that. Suddenly your clothes don’t quite fit right, everything makes you cry and you’re wishing you could hibernate for the next 9 months. How did this amazing miracle of pregnancy turn into this?
I so distinctly remember taking this picture. I was about 19 weeks pregnant and up until this point I had not wanted to take one picture. I just felt fat. I was in Tahoe for New Years with my husband and family and as I was getting ready I glanced in the mirror and saw this. I thought, well it kinda looks like a belly so maybe I should take a pic. I had a huge zit on my face that I was trying to cover up and I did not feel beautiful. I kept thinking of all those women who posted cute pictures at 8, 9, 10 weeks and had little baby bumps and looked so happy. Why couldn’t that be me? As I sit here writing this, I am so sad for the woman in this picture. She has no idea what beauty she is carrying and how her life will be forever changed. She doesn’t know that all this is temporary and that her body is capable of amazing things. I wish I could go back and tell her to embrace every moment. To rock that little belly proudly and to love herself even through every extra pound, every dimple of cellulite and every pimple. I wish that someone would have told her all these things.
So fast forward 3 years later. This same woman is pregnant again and almost exactly at the same time as she was last time. Yes, my due date is actually right near my daughter’s birthday. We didn’t plan that well. But this woman has changed and grown so much in the past 3 years that it is utterly astonishing. She is a different person and she is ME!
This time around is so much different!! I know better and I am better. I am stronger both mentally and physically. I know what to expect and I know what I can control and what I can’t. I started taking pics a lot earlier and did something I never thought I would. I shared them with the world and I will continue to share them. I want to show other women that not everyone has a cute little bump right away. That your abs won’t automatically disappear. That some days you just won’t feel like doing anything and just the fact that you showered will be an accomplishment.
I don’t get down on myself when I see the number on the scale creeping up and to be honest, the only time I get near that thing is when I have to at the doctor’s appointments. My body may not look perfect on the outside and if you didn’t know me then you might just think that I ate too much Thanksgiving turkey. But that’s OK. Because what you think doesn’t matter to me. How I feel is the only thing that’s important.
I wish I could have embraced my first pregnancy like this. That I could have found more joy and stressed less. But since I can’t change the past then I can only focus on the future. I can enjoy my little growing miracle and I know that every bit of nausea, every minute of exhaustion, every dimple of cellulite and every pimple will all be worth it. Because at the end of the day I am growing a miracle. And ultimately I know what my body is capable of. My body may not be the same as before, and heck, it may even be better. But this little baby inside me will be worth all of it and more. This last picture was me at around 37 weeks pregnant and about 6 months post partum. I wish that I knew then what I know now.
So, believe me when I tell you that it gets better. Take as many pictures as you can. Document every moment and embrace your body. Remember that with the passing of each day you are one step closer to meeting your miracle, to having your heart beat outside your body, and to having a love that can not be put into words. You are beautiful in all stages of life and in all moments of your journey. Embrace it and don’t hide it!! Love yourself and spread that love to others.