Dear Pregnant Woman, Be Kind to Yourself.
Dear Pregnant Woman,
I see you next to me at the store, at the office, and walking down the street. I can see the stress across your face and in your hunched shoulders. I can see the exhaustion hiding in the circles under your eyes.
How I wish I could hug you and tell you to relax and just enjoy this time, these nine months of everything changing. I promise you that they may seem so long and so hard right now, but they will be over so fast.
Don’t worry about those chores that need to be done, that laundry that needs to be folded, the bathroom that needs cleaning, or those dishes that need to be washed. Those things can all wait. Your body is growing a human inside of it—the miracle of a new life is inside you!
I am not telling you to just sit around eating ice cream and watching TV all day (although that’s great and fun to do from time to time!)
I am just begging you to please be kind to yourself. Be patient and know that you are doing the best you can. Your body is working harder than it ever has before.
Please don’t be frustrated and expect yourself to do everything you used to do before you were pregnant. Don’t push yourself so hard! It isn’t necessary and it isn’t healthy for you or your child. If your feet and legs are sore and swollen, sit down and prop them up. If you are tired, rest and take a nap. If you are hungry, you need to stop and eat.
It’s ok. More than that, it’s absolutely necessary.
Please don’t think that your life is over because you’re pregnant. It is just a new chapter in your life: a different one, and a beautiful one.
No, your figure is not ruined forever; it’s ok to gain weight. Don’t stress out about each pound or worry if you’ll ever lose it all. Your body needs that extra weight so much – as nutrients for the baby, extra fuel to get through labor, and for you to have the energy to take care of your little one after it has been born. Don’t push yourself to lose weight as quickly as possible after the baby’s birth.
The weight was gained in nine months; please give yourself at least nine months to lose it. You are not a celebrity with a nanny, a nutritionist, and a personal trainer that helps you lose the weight in a month. You are a new mother and your beautiful bundle of joy needs you more than you need to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes. Please be patient and kind with your beautiful body, and remember that it just grew and bore a child.
Also, please don’t worry about those stretch marks that are creeping across your previously unblemished skin. They are beautiful, not ugly. They mean your baby is growing big, healthy, and strong. View them proudly as beautiful evidence of the life you are bringing into the world. They are not “claw marks” or “spider webs;” they are just new threads on the beautiful tapestry of your body and your life’s story.
I’m speaking from experience, because sadly, when I was pregnant I pushed myself to do everything I used to and then more.
I tried to be a super wife, an awesome hard worker at my job, and an excellent homemaker–cooking and cleaning nonstop, and taking care of our puppy. I was determined that pregnancy wouldn’t slow me down and that I could do it all. I pushed myself too hard and barely rested, even when my feet and legs were doubled from swelling. I stressed out about every pound I gained and freaked out over every stretch mark. I hated my round face with the double chin, and cringed when people asked me, “Are you sure there’s only one baby in that big belly?” I looked forward to when I could exercise as hard as possible again and fit back into my skinny jeans. I could hardly wait to have “my body back”.
Don’t get me wrong, I was so excited to be pregnant and become a mommy and my husband was so thrilled to be a daddy. I loved feeling my baby moving inside of me and wanted to meet and hold my new baby so badly that I could barely wait. I kept track of each week and each new milestone.
But I didn’t take my mother’s advice and “treasure being pregnant” and I wasn’t kind or patient to myself about anything…
I wish I could go back in time and change that now. I would rest more, not work as hard, not cook such extravagant meals or clean as often. I would lay down with my feet up and talk to my baby, and spend more time trying to feel those little kicks and movements. I would take more maternity pictures, and show off my big, pregnant belly instead of hiding it. I would slow down those months instead of wishing they would end.
You see, I am writing this and begging you to slow down because my own baby was stillborn at 31 weeks.
Our baby boy was beautiful and perfect in every way but an umbilical cord accident stopped that precious little heartbeat. Our firstborn baby, our little gift from God was born asleep on earth and the doctors said there was nothing we could do or could have done. I cannot change anything now and I grieve over what might have been, but our deep sorrow is helped by knowing our baby boy is alive in Heaven.
As I look back now I treasure the gift of being pregnant and the joy that my baby brought during his short time with us. Being pregnant and having life inside of you is something that not everyone gets to experience. It is something precious.
Please treasure these nine months, and feel the joy your baby and pregnancy brings. Take time for all the little moments, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about how you look or criticize how much you eat or anything else. It is not their body or their baby, it is yours.
You are beautiful and have a beautiful miracle inside you. That tiny miracle is worth any and all changes that happen during pregnancy.
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