Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Reclaiming Our Pregnancies and Becoming Confident in Motherhood

This was originally a guest post on Kisses From the Mrs go check it out on her blog :)
________________________________________________________________
I love this tiny nugget more than I know what to do with.


She is just too cool.

When I got pregnant with her, I was completely ecstatic. Even though she was unplanned, she was never unwanted.  

As soon as the little lines turned pink I was immediately flooded with dreams of the kind of mother I wanted to be, the relationship I wanted to have with our son or daughter. I had dreams of the kind of pregnancy I was going to have; picture perfect.

8 weeks in I got the scare of my life when I started bleeding, I prayed and prayed that the baby was okay, and she was. But I was told to stop working, and to not do most of my dancing, until I was firmly in my second trimester. Of course, I did that. From then on out, I was classified as High Risk, and I had to have an ultrasound at almost every appointment to check the placenta attachment. Not going so picture perfect, but the doctor assured me that our baby was going to be okay.

Then 27 weeks came and I got my very first stretch mark, I named him Charley. He was small and tiny and no one else could really see him at all, but I could. At 33 weeks, you'd have to blind to not see the stretch marks that invaded my body. Charley apparently invited friends. This was definitely not on my plan! 

Not gonna lie, I broke DOWN. I did not look ANYTHING like those lotion ads with the pregnant women who had to be farther along that 33 weeks and their bellies looked perfect! Why didn't I look like that?

Then I had severe anemia problems and it got scary for awhile and I kept a lot of that to myself. This pregnancy wasn't going at all how I expected.

On top of that; I had a due date buddy, who had the PERFECT pregnancy.

She had what I would like to now call: The Unicorn Pregnancy.

She didn't tear (I did), she didn't get stretch marks (oh boy did I), she lost her pregnancy weight quickly (I didn't), she is still breastfeeding (I'm not), her labor was quick (mine was 26/27 hours long). This list truly does go on...

Basically, the girl had the picture perfect pregnancy. She was just like the girl in the lotion ads! She was living my pregnancy!! How dare she!

As we both went through our pregnancy together, I was constantly (quietly) yelling at my computer screen "WHY ARE YOU SO PERFECT?!?"

I felt a little crazy anyway because a lot of what I was going through, no one had told me about. Pregnancy is fun? HA! Pregnancy is honestly a bit horrible. There are great spectacular moments, of course. But the gas, the stretch marks, the heart burn, the inability to tie my own shoes!! Forget trying to shave; I gave up at 34 weeks. I peed myself TWICE. Lovely. (In fairness, I thought my water broke. I was completely unaware of it.)

I stopped blow drying my hair because honestly, the effort it took made me exhausted. Getting into actual clothing was just torture because nothing was as comfortable as sweat pants, especially at 37 weeks. Some women say they never felt more beautiful than when they were pregnant, I can see that...but I can also say I never felt more unattractive with unshaved legs, crazy hair, in sweat pants trying not to pee myself when I stood up after my husband had to put my shoes on because I couldn't reach.

Then there goes my Unicorn friend, being all pretty and going friggin hiking! I just felt horrible.

My pregnancy wasn't going the way I wanted to, and I felt like a failure. I felt how Leonardo DiCaprio must feel every time he doesn't win the Oscar: like I just wasn't good enough.

The never ending comment from everyone and their dog telling me I needed to exercise more,  that going without an epidural is stupid, that I needed to go natural, that I needed to rest, that I needed to pick a different name, that I needed to stop being cautious, that I wasn't being cautious enough, that those weren't contractions, that those were contractions...Basically everyone telling me how to live my pregnancy.

After Grace was born the pressures to be the best mom in the atmosphere were immediately on. But I was happy with myself, because I had made it through my pregnancy and I had delivered a healthy, beautiful baby girl. My body didn't matter to me because I was (and am) so focused on taking care of Gracie in the best way possible. I was feeling good about myself as a mother and for a moment--it didn't matter what someone else said to me, I felt competent as a mother, even if I didn't feel competent as a pregnant person.



 Annnnnd then someone asked me how I was happy with my birth experience because I had so many medical interferences.

Girl said what?

Annnnnnnd then, after I stopped (not by choice) nursing, someone asked when I stopped caring about my child's nutrition.

WOW.
*swwooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo *SPLAT* <-- my confidence.


Internal shame monitor was immediately turned on. All that confidence? Out the window.
I started questioning everything I was doing with Grace. I had a breakdown more than once, (hormone aided...) about my ability to be a good mother.

I made a comment saying I hated stretch marks and I got a lecture on how I needed to be grateful!

I don't feel like I need to be shamed because I hate my stretch marks. I am sorry! I am not one of those women than get all lovey dovey when they look at their stretch marks. I look at mine and put a shirt on. But just because I don't like them, doesn't mean I am not extremely grateful for the life that came from them.

With that last comment I realized what I wish I had realized in the early stages of my pregnancy...

You can't please everyone, and when it comes to your pregnancy you shouldn't and don't have to. No matter what anyone says, they don't know what you are going through. It is your pregnancy, and afterward your child; not theirs. You have to be able to shut out outsider-unwanted opinions because the only opinion that matters is yours
(and your husbands...sometimes ;) )

We women need to reclaim our pregnancies!


We need to realize that every pregnancy is different, every mother is different, and every baby is different. Just because your pregnancy doesn't look like something from the movies or the lotion ads (or the ideals of those around you), doesn't mean you or your pregnancy is inferior to any of the Unicorn Pregnancies flying around.


Your pregnancy is YOUR pregnancy. You were able to give life! You are a co-creator with God. You got through your pregnancy the best way you knew how and no one gets to judge you for that, and you shouldn't judge yourself either.

After you give birth, don't let anyone pressure you. You will lose that baby weight. Your delivery was beautiful because you gave life to a human. A tiny tiny human. That in itself is amazing.

Don't let anyone ruin that moment for you.

Nursing or formula. Cloth or Disposable. Crib or co-sleep. YOU are that child's mother, you know what is best for your babe and for your family. Don't let anyone else make you think they know what's best for your family. Don't let anyone diminish your confidence as a mother.

Honestly ask yourself this: Do you think you are doing what's best for your children? Do you think you are a good mom? Your answers to that shouldn't change when someone else chimes in.

In the end what matters is that you have a healthy baby and that you love them even when they are crabby apples.

Be confident in YOU and eventually, everything else will fall into place.

xo,
Tanika

3 comments:

  1. Girl! You are a SWEETHEART!!!! This is such a great post and I love honest you are. Honestly, I've always pregnancy was going to be the best time of my life, but I love the perspective you give. It makes me think of the movie "What to expect when you're expecting" Have you seen that? Super funny and definitely a movie you could relate to!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I have seen that!! I can definitely relate to that!! Thanks for reading :) <3

      Delete
  2. I loved reading this post. I am studying to be a doula so I love reading about people's pregnancies. It's hard when you have someone right there to compare yourself to, but dang girl, you went through all of that and your baby came out healthy. I'd say that's more of an accomplishment than that woman who was healthy and perfect the whole time and had a healthy baby. You had to fight for your healthy baby, and you won the fight. Your little one is adorable.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to say something back! :) One sided conversations are never any fun! :) Thanks for reading!