Today I have the lovely Fiona from Watching You Grow sharing a guestpost while I spend some time with Beastie and the girlies…
I’m going to be perfectly honest here and say that I didn’t really enjoy my pregnancy. It was a nine month marathon that I hadn’t properly prepared for, and I was terrified of what was awaiting me after the finishing line. I was the first of my friends to have a child, and now, a few years later, as those around me are starting to have babies and fall pregnant, I have been reflecting on my own journey.
I love reading, facts and figures make me feel warm and inside, and I like to understand what is going to happen next. The very day I found out I was pregnant, I ordered four pregnancy and parenting books. I read them all cover to cover, I downloaded apps, and I spent hours reading articles, blogs and forums online. In spite of all of that, I found pregnancy hard work. It was uncomfortable, inconvenient and frustrating.
I must have spent around seven of those nine months crying in the bath, either with pain, exhaustion or worry. I wish I knew then what I know now, because I know it would have been a totally different experience. If I could go back in time and tell myself that it’s ok to hate pregnancy. I wasted a lot of time worrying that my dislike of pregnancy was just the first in a lifetime of my maternal failings. I thought my feelings were unnatural, and that I was clearly not cut out for motherhood. Now I know that that was nonsense. Lots of people don’t enjoy pregnancy, and there is nothing wrong with that. It certainly doesn’t mean you will be bad mother, it just means pelvic girdle pain sucks.
I would go back and tell myself that there will be no regrets. Much as I worried I might, I haven’t regretted becoming a mother at 25. I haven’t cried for my loss of freedom, or longed after my younger days. I have felt happy and contented. Sure, sometimes I think about my younger years, but never with so much as a shadow of doubt that I am happiest I have ever been.
I wish that I had known that it would all be worth it. I hoped it would, of course, but I didn’t feel confident that everything was going to turn out ok. And yet, here I am. The aches and pains of pregnancy are long gone, and every day is proof that it really was all worth it. Nothing can prepare you for the feeling that hits you with the force of a thousand first loves as you hold your baby for the first time. From that moment on, it will always have been worth it.
I wish I could have known that I really would miss it one day. People told me, but I didn’t believe them. And whilst I have never longed for the kicked-in-the-crotch sensation that haunted me for the last 10 weeks of the pregnancy, I would be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes miss the wonder of feeling a baby move inside my bump. From those first little flutters, through to the hiccups and rib jabs of late pregnancy, and the excitement that went along with those movements.
Most importantly, I would tell myself not to spend so many hours worrying about the sort of mother I would be. From the recurring anxiety dreams that I couldn’t feed my baby, to the crippling self doubt that I would be anything other than a failure at loving another being so unconditionally, I felt scared. Yet I needn’t have bothered. From the moment I became a mother, I have loved my daughter with every ounce of my being. I have soothed her cries, held her all night, and carried her with me everywhere. I wish I could go back and tell my pregnant self to stop crying, because one day, in the not so distant future, I would feel so proud of myself as a mama.