Today I wanted to tackle a pregnancy topic that’s been bopping around in my head the last 3 or 4 weeks. Being pregnant is hands down the most oxymoronic thing I’ve done. I’ve never experienced anything equally as exciting and stress-inducing. It’s like the hardest best thing you’ll ever do. On top of that, there are a lot of expectations around the entire process. It can feel overwhelming trying to live up to these. And, if you’re not experiencing things the way you think you should, it can make you feel utterly inadequate.Your journey will be different than everyone else's so just listen to your own intuition because it'll never let you down. Click To Tweet
I wanted to break down some of these expectations. These are things I’ve personally experienced or I’ve discussed with friends who have recently gone through pregnancy. The real moral of this post is “girl, you got this.” You don’t need to experience everything the same way others do. Your journey will be different than everyone else’s so just listen to your own intuition because it’ll never let you down.
It’s OK to feel disconnected from your baby
There is a lot of build-up around pregnancy. You’re growing a life in you, after all! Certainly, pregnancy is one of the true miracles of life. With all the little itty bitty things that need to go just right to bring life into this world, it’s honestly a wonder there are so many people on this planet. It’s a true blessing. Then, of course, there’s the whole entrance into motherhood thing. People will tell you it’s the “best thing that ever happens to you,” and that “you’ll never know love until you have a child.”
With all this hubbub, you might feel like there’s something wrong with you if you don’t instantaneously feel an undying love for the little babe growing inside you. But let me assure you it’s totally natural not to feel it. It’s hard to love someone you’ve never met or held in your arms. Some days, it’ll even be hard to rationalize that there’s ACTUALLY a little human growing inside you, let alone feel utterly in love with it!
It’s OK to feel self-conscious about your growing body
Pregnancy is beautiful, that’s what they say. They’ll tell you that you’re glowing and that you look great. But, the truth is, pregnancy isn’t all glamorous. You’re gaining weight, you’re uncomfortable, you’re swollen, over-tired and probably hungry ALL THE TIME. While you can understand and embrace that all these changes to your body are well worth it, it’s OK to not love the way you look at every second of your pregnancy. Being self-conscious about getting bigger doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom or that you’re not selfless enough. You give a lot of yourself in motherhood, and pregnancy is just the beginning. So, don’t be so hard on yourself!
It’s OK to feel differently than your partner
Pregnancy is VERY different for you than it is for your other half. You are carrying the baby. Not only do you get all those wonderful experiences like feeling the baby kick throughout the day and watching and feeling your baby bump grow, you also get the hardships of pregnancy (like morning sickness, weight gain, insomnia, heartburn, fatigue, the list goes ON AND ON.) Your partner is a little disconnected from this process. They certainly can watch the baby bump grow, eventually feel the baby kicks, and be part of shopping and preparing for the baby, but it’s still not the same as for you. You might be eating dinner and for them, it’s just dinner, but you’re feeling baby do somersaults the entire time constantly reminding you of the little life inside your belly.
While you’re both very excited and anxious for your new arrival, it’s OK to experience that differently. Very often husbands have a hard time connecting to the baby until he/she is actually here and they can hold them in their arms, while the mother might feel a stronger connection sooner. Other husbands might become very overprotective of you and worry about everything you do, even though you feel totally fine. In one way or another, you will respond to the pregnancy differently. It’s important to just keep an open communication through this and share with each other how you are feeling (the good and the bad!) Soon the baby will be here and you’ll both be able to experience that together!
It’s OK to feel nervous and unprepared
Um, hello, yes! There is a lot to feel anxious and nervous about and it’s totally OK if those feelings often override the feeling of happiness and excitement about having a baby sometimes.
First, there’s the pregnancy itself. It can be a very overwhelming experience. In the beginning, you may worry about the health of the pregnancy. Especially if you’ve struggled with infertility or miscarriages, then the first 12 weeks are often a lot LESS excitement and a lot MORE nerves. Then, as you grow bigger you may be anxious about the changes to your body or some of the many potential health risks that can arise. You may be struggling with gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or preterm labor which again can overshadow the excitement. And, of course, at the time draws closer, it’s completely natural to feel anxious about the labor and delivery.
I suggest you acknowledge your feelings of nerves and talk about them with your partner or other friends/family who have recently had babies or are expecting – no matter how silly or small you might think they are. There is also a lot of helpful literature out there, so finding a good book on a topic may help to ease your mind as well. Lastly, there are the pregnancy classes usually offered by your delivery hospital. While some of these may seem like a waste of time, they can often be helpful in making you feel more informed, confident, and secure. I plan to write an entire post about pregnancy classes, but Michael and I just attended our first childbirth class. At first, I was totally against taking them. I was like “women have given birth for centuries, I don’t need a class for it!” But, it was honestly overall helpful because we were able to see a tour of our hospital, learn where to go and exactly what to do when in labor, etc. While some of it was stuff we didn’t need or already knew, it gave us some additional helpful insights and knowledge about the process. That knowledge can help you feel a lot more in control and less unprepared and lost.
It’s OK to feel overwhelmed (and even a little annoyed) by everyone’s advice
I read somewhere that “America’s favorite pastime isn’t baseball, it’s giving expecting parents advice.” I thought that was hilarious and very true. Of course, some advice is SO helpful and SO crucial. I personally love hearing about other women’s birth stories, what products they loved and hated for their newborn and why, etc.America's favorite pastime isn't baseball, it's giving expecting parents advice. Click To Tweet
However, there’s also a lot of unrequested advice which can sometimes be unhelpful. People sharing their opinions on the “right” way to care for your newborn, the correct steps for a sleep routine, or why you should/shouldn’t embrace some current baby-raising trend. At the end of the day…every pregnancy, delivery, and baby is very, VERY different. What works for one person will very often not work for another. You will need to do what is right for you, your baby, and what you feel comfortable with.
The best advice I’ve gotten is actually advice on how to DEAL with advice. The trick is when someone gives you unrequested pregnancy or baby advice give a small nod and smile and say, “thank you for that suggestion/tip/advice.” Put it in your back pocket and then later that night or the next day, discuss it with your partner. You can either decide “that person is totally loony” and totally forget about it, or maybe you’ll say “it’s good advice but doesn’t match our current situation,” or you may decide “that’s amazing advice, we should do that!” You sort of have to learn to become a filter of advice and take what’s good and helpful and just toss the rest. Only you and your partner know you, your pregnancy, or your baby, and you should always go with your gut or intuition over anything else.Only you and your partner know you, your pregnancy, or your baby, and you should always go with your gut or intuition over anything else. Click To Tweet
What I’m wearing: This is pretty little maternity dress is c/o PinkBlush. I’m wearing their Navy Blue Floral Waist Tie Ruffle Accent Dress and I LOVE this dress. The fabric is super soft and also nice and thick (I have a huge pet peeve with thin fabrics, especially now being prengant). The wait tie is also very figure flattering on the baby bump! You can shop PinkBlush here.
I hope this post helped some other expecting mommas feel a little less inadequate or overwhelmed. Like I said, the moral is that you GOT THIS. You’re not going to experience everything that same way everyone else does but that’s totally OK. Don’t let expectations or other people’s experience make you feel like your experience is any less than!