I’ve been busy growing a baby, but more busy with growing myself

At one point during my last pregnancy (my 3rd), I went to the doctor for a regular check up. I mention to the PA that I  have been having some aches and pains around my lower pelvis and my side that I don’t remember having in my first pregnancies. She assured me everything sounded normal; but having had 2 prior c sections I do have scar tissue which is stretching and can hurt, each pregnancy can get a little less comfortable. She then looked me dead in the eye and says “this time also you’re older, you’re 30.” In the moment I wasn’t sure if she was serious or joking, I had to bite my tongue from laughing. I know 30 is young and the comment didn’t affect me. What it did get me thinking about though, is how different I am in this pregnancy then I was with my other two and how pregnancy can be a marker and a tool for our growth.

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What is amazing about being pregnant is that while our bodies become a temporary home for our baby to grow from nothing to something in, our consciousness and our minds go through a growth spurt as well. Each of our bodies and our minds handles pregnancy differently, but surely throughout it we each get tested and get pushed to change, to become a new and improved version of ourselves. Life doesnt stop when we get pregnant and each pregnancy brings a host of challenges. Our body changes so much, as it prepares and cares for this little human so that he or she will be ready to enter into the world and we have to get prepared as parents as well. Pregnancy always brings with it challenges hidden in opportunities to grow into the best parent we can be for our baby who will arrive to us.

When I was pregnant with my first child I ran around as usual, I didn’t take any time to rest and I didn’t do anything to prepare myself for what was coming. I always wanted to be a mother but when I got pregnant I didn’t want to admit to myself or anyone else that life was changing. I’m a naturally competitive person, (mostly competitive with myself) and I am also guilty of caring way too much what other people think about me. I was very afraid, afraid of being seen as someone who couldn’t keep up with the rest, worried people would look at me as less capable, that I would miss out on different opportunities. I was afraid of looking lazy or weak, to others and to myself. I wanted to present myself to the world as  a superwoman. Pregnancy? No biggie. Some pregnant women succumb to exhaustion and ‘allow’ themselves the time to rest and relax, but not me, this superhuman pushes through even harder! I remember feeling so exhausted throughout the first trimester but never allowing myself to stay there, I would peel myself up and get out. I guess that I wanted everything in my life to look effortless, maybe so that I could trick not just myself but everyone around me into thinking that for me nothing was a big deal, and then maybe nothing would feel like a big deal either. Im not sure who else I thought I was kidding, but I definitively had myself fooled.

I used to equate self care with self indulgence, taking time to relax with being lazy, and not being able to do everything I was used to doing was failing. Rest was a dirty word. It is interesting to think back to those times and recognize how hard, and unforgiving I was on myself.

Pregnant with my second child made me question the way I had handled my first pregnancy. I was no longer afraid of my life changing and I let myself begin to feel and acknowledge what my body needed. I let I let myself admit that I felt tired, and then I let myself feel tired. I let myself admit that I needed to take the time to rest and I let myself take that time. Most importantly I allowed myself to feel ok with that. I was a little bit more self-forgiving and a little bit more secure, but I still felt an internal need to prove myself and my worth.

My pregnancy with my third was another step forward in this shift of using pregnancy as a tool for self growth and self love. It’s funny that now with two small children and still working full time I managed to find more time to take care of myself then ever before. I embrace this idea that things have changed and will continue to change, and I actually love it. I know I don’t have it all together and I own that. I think there is something awesome and inspiring about those moments where I am totally overwhelmed because they show I am human, and I am proud to be human. I am proud to make mistakes, not have it all together and feel overwhelmed because it just shows me another area of growth I am getting ready to conquer.

I learned that being pregnant provides us with this precious time to grow ourselves, to look inside, to appreciate the parts we want to keep and confront the parts of myself that are holding us back. It gives me a time to focus on preparing myself; emotionally, spiritually, physically. As I grew this child, the universe provided me with lots of challenges that I tried to embrace and learn from. I allowed myself time to breathe, relax and enjoy.  I was not less motivated or ambitious, but I  no longer held so tightly and fearfully onto how I looked to others and I was so much more forgiving with myself.

Now that I am no longer pregnant, I still reflect back on what I went through in those pregnancies. As a parent each process we go through around our children is meaningful and emotional and there to teach us. They bring up our sore spots to point out the baggage we need to let go of, and the places where we need to grow. If you didn’t before, you can still go back to those pregnancies to uncover what they brought up for you and make sure that you have worked through the lessons.

Sometimes I look back and wish I hadn’t been so hard on myself in the beginning. But the truth is, how I felt back then to how I feel today provides me with the important contrast so that I can see and feel the difference between the two. I learned that while before I might have managed to do so many things, I didn’t really grow internally, whereas by learning not to pushmyself to be as busy as usual and being ok with that, actually meant I was growing a whole lot more.


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