It’s been almost 9 months since I had Anouk, and I feel like I have finally gotten grounded into our new normal. I did that thing women are doing now. Those bump pictures? And looking back, I am so glad I did. I feel like my body has been through so much, and it’s already hard to remember what it was like having Anouk growing inside me.
Today I brewed a cup of decaf coffee and looked at these old gems. I was so self-conscious. I was so nervous. I was so so big! Pregnancy and motherhood have really taught me a lot
1: Our bodies are made to survive. Childbirth is about survival. I had no idea until I was having my contractions on that fateful night that my body was going to endure. I wanted to quit, stay pregnant forever. Just give up. But the body moves, it pushes, and it produces.
2: Pregnancy is the great connector. Feeling a bit aimless in my twenty’s, I can now say that I really am starting to understand why landing in a place matters so much. I always hesitated to land, opting to be free and chase after my wanderlust. Now I connect with people on an evening walk, people in the office who I otherwise would have nothing in common with, and especially the elderly or marginalized. Everyone is connected through this moment.
3: Family is everything. My husband and I started one together. We didn’t really feel like one before Anouk. But now we certainly feel united in a special way. Our parents, our siblings, our tree is so much bigger and more real that we ever thought it would be.
4: Pregnancy was the beginning of a great mystery. My mom has been referring to women as “nesting dolls” for a number of years. I don’t remember what sparked it, but the thought that my daughter was an egg in my body while I was still in utero in my mother has been a source of mystery and awe for a number of years. The mystery of life, of who is going to emerge, and how strong the bonds are, have left me speechless on more occasions than I can count.
5: I am just me. Pregnancy gave me a sense of purpose over the course of nine months. I was working every moment to build a body inside of myself. I exercised, ate well, abstained from drinking (IN THE BREW CITY) and researched nonstop. And then Anouk was here… and I felt…unsure, tired, anxious, small, and unworthy. All of that energy for a while culminated into bringing a wonderful baby into the world, only to feel fragile and lonely in a little house by a great lake. I felt like maternity leave= loneliness. I felt like I was one of many American women in a hopeless position of needing help but not knowing how to ask for it. But eventually I got the hang of things, I felt more like myself, and I remembered that I liked me, as I am…that me, one body, was a good thing!
They say that women forget a lot about the birth because it is so painful that we wouldn’t want to do it again. I would venture to guess that it’s the time after the birth, when we are in our saggy skin, without sleep, in filthy clothes, and running on fumes that make us want to forget who whole thing. But I am finally realizing that I did something that connects me with generations, continents, and the human spirit. And it was AWESOME.
Want tips on maternity style? Check out my guide on how to look good on the cheap!
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