Happy fall, everybody. It’s finally here, and I couldn’t be happier. After such a long summer of trimester one and half of trimester two (which, as some of you know, summer and I don’t get along anyway), I am so happy for the cooler temps & fall foods.
I want to share before I get into today’s post that Tiny Nephesh has also gotten a tiny bit of an overhaul this summer (that’s not an oxymoron, is it…?). As for the blog, on Tuesdays, you will find posts about family: marriage, relationships, pregnancy, & motherhood. On Thursdays: tiny, simple living, business, & ministry. All of it focused on empowered, Christ-centered womanhood.
Which leads me to today’s post: mixed emotions in pregnancy and motherhood.
Pregnancy & motherhood are filled with ups and downs. This summer, I was so excited and terrified to see those pink lines on the pregnancy test. A baby. Are we ready for this? Seeing my husband’s excitement and fear added to mine.
Then, came the sickness, the aches, the extreme exhaustion. I wanted to be happier and more connected, but I was so sick. What helped? Hearing the heartbeat and seeing the ultra-sound, and finding out Baby Girl is a girl :).
Why do we feel such a wide range of emotions? Is it ok to feel this crazy mix?
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Why? Because we.are.human.
How great is it to hear that heart beat for the first time? How great is it to see that little black & white face, moving around inside? I’ll tell you: aahhhmazing!
How terrible is it to feel nauseous and/or vomit all day and night? How difficult is it to feel human while exhausted and miserable all the time? I’ll tell you this too: miserable…
How great is it to see that little one smile at you for the first time, or take their first step, or say their first word? How about their first “I LOVE YOU!” When they make the team or get a spot in the play? How wonderful when they want to hug and cuddle? Let me take this one, too: it makes you melt and gives you purpose.
How hard is it when they fall down or they get hurt? How terrible is it the first time they tell you they don’t like you? What about when they face disappointment? What about when they throw tantrums or make poor choices? When they grow up and move away? Me again: it can be a terrible feeling, making you question your ability (and maybe sanity).
The thing of it is, pregnancy and parenting takes you on a wild ride. I know I’m relatively new to this, and only on the front end, but I have watched it over and over. I know intimately the ups and downs of pregnancy.
How do we handle it? What gets us through it? I have some ideas about that.
- Grace first and foremost, grace. Grace for ourselves and grace for other mommas. Grace that it won’t always be perfect. Perhaps while nauseous or exhausted, we don’t get the dishes done, we don’t get the laundry put away, we miss a get together…and that’s ok. Because we are growing life inside of us. Or we are taking care of another human life. We are rockstars, in case you didn’t know that already. (That’s right. You, you’re a rockstar!).
- Support systems, I am all about support systems and authentic friendships. When we have others around us that can show us grace and support, it’s easier to show it to ourselves. When others are there to pick up the slack, we can relax a little bit. When we need a break because little one (or big one), is driving us crazy, they are there to take over and help us out. Every mom needs a break, or grace, or a shoulder to cry on sometimes. Every mom needs someone to laugh with or cry with. Without that, the loneliness can set in, so support systems go a long way in dealing with those ups & downs.
- Self-care. I just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t bring up self care. Sometimes, a nap or hiding in a closet eating frosting is the best way to deal with the inevitable stress of pregnancy or motherhood. Having a self-care routine and actually following through gives a boost in the down times, and helps us enjoy the good times even better. So find your way of self-care. It’s totally worth it.
- Eating & exercise can play a role in how everything balances. Now, I am nowhere near perfect in this area (Confession? I ate a kit-kat for breakfast this morning). However, if we eat foods that are good for us, as well as foods that make us feel good, we find a balance to how our brains and bodies process things. If we get ourselves moving, our bodies and brains can deal with some of the stressors that happen. Plus, gives some great hobbies (yoga, pilates, biking anyone?). This is also where grace comes in. We don’t have to be perfect in this area. I repeat. We.Do.Not.Have.To.Be.Perfect.In.This.Area.
- Look at the tiny human (or, maybe, not so tiny anymore) that you created/are raising (because, maybe you came by motherhood another way). Nothing helps in those tough moments more than looking at the tiny human you created (or are choosing to love). Look at what love and connection in your life has created. Look at the part of your heart that is walking outside your body (or, if you’re pregnant, take a look at that face you will soon be able to see and smother with kisses). No matter how it happened, you have taken part in God’s greatest miracle in creation, and you are loving that small human every day. In the hard moments, that makes it all worth it.
There is not another experience in the world like motherhood. No matter how you became a mom, the job works it’s way into your heart the way no other job can.
That said, it is one of the hardest, craziest, and most emotional jobs you could ever take on or find yourself in.
I have already felt the mom guilt (am I eating well enough, did I remember my prenatal vitamins, how are we going to take care of her when she’s here, why am I not doing enough around the house…?), I have felt the frustration of not feeling quite human, not being able to complete work I’m supposed to, and wondering if I’m even going to be a good mom.
However, I have also experienced the amazing joy of hearing her heartbeat, finding out she’s a girl, and seeing her chubby cheeks on film. And, the amazing yet totally weird feeling of her movement inside.
As moms, we tend to have opinions about everything. How to do pregnancy, how to give birth, breastfeeding, vaccines, toys, cleaning products, where we live. Everything.
Grace is the key here (see point 1 above). There are so many ways to be a mom, and we don’t need the added pressure of mom-shaming, because we all go through the mixed emotions. We all feel the happy and the sad. So, this is a mom-shame free zone.
So, whether you’re on top of the world today because baby just moved for the first time, or your little one just said “I love you for the first time.” Or, maybe you’re frustrated because you’re on day a million (or so it feels) of throwing up, and you haven’t heard the heartbeat in a few weeks. Or maybe, you’re questioning your mom skills or feeling guilt because dinner came from a box. Maybe you’re ecstatic because your kiddo made the team or got a good grade. Perhaps, you are disappointed because your teen made some terrible choices. No matter what, I have a message for you in this exact moment:
You are doing great. You have this. You are a rockstar. You. Are. Superwoman.
Share below how you handle the mixed emotions of pregnancy and/or motherhood. I’d love to hear how others handle this.