Like with anything else, pregnancy gets easier the more you do it! Here I am 37 weeks pregnant with my 3rd girl, and I have finally managed to have (dare I say) an enjoyable pregnancy. And even though my body stayed relatively fit and healthy with the last 2, I think I have struck a balance with this one that has allowed me to enjoy the ride. I chalk it up to staying present and mindful along the way.
With the first it was all about my body and the fears associated with the insane changes taking place. I was stressed because my body was no longer familiar to me, and I could not imagine it going back to a pre-pregnancy state. In fear of losing my precious figure I ended up over-exercising. Keep in mind, I am a prenatal certified trainer/yoga instructor. I was aware of the safe ways to exercise, but somehow thought I would be immune to the strain that overexercise could have on a pregnant body. Just because I could do it, didn’t mean I should do it. I chose exercises that were too intense for my core in particular, and I ended up with a diastasis (abdominal separation) of grand proportions. My weight gain was minimal and healthy, but the mental stress I put myself through to maintain that weight was so unnecessary. After all was said and done, my body did return to my pre-pregnancy state. So was it worth all the stress I put myself through?
The second time around, I had learned to take it down a notch when it came to exercise, but mentally and emotionally I was suffering from the fears surrounding life with two small children. I could not wrap my head around how I would be able to care for 2 kids, and I filled myself with doubt, apprehension, and fear. I struggled with the unknown - How would everyone’s needs be met? How could I ever love another child as much as my first?! How could I survive a day alone with two small children (oh, and run a small business at the same time)?? I was a big ball of anxiety throughout that pregnancy, so again, even though I was healthy, I was unable to enjoy it. And surprise! Once baby came along I adjusted to life with two. It was not easy per say, but we survived and thrived. All the time I spent battling myself inside my own mind didn't help me in any way.
Third time’s the charm right?
This time around, I finally feel present in pregnancy. I am not stuck in my head. Most importantly, I TRUST my body, my capabilities as a mother, and the power I hold as a woman. I am not worried about my weight gain because I trust the process. I am not concerned about how life will be with another baby in the house because I know it just means there will be one more being to love and adore. Now that I am not caught up in a thousand and one fears, I appreciate the AWEsomeness of creating a human being without even thinking about it. I appreciate the intensity of motherhood and all the highs and lows it provides. And I appreciate the natural strength of all women who endure pregnancy and childbirth. It's not easy, but it is beautiful, empowering, and life changing. I feel so blessed to have another opportunity to do it again, and this time mindfully. And any time I find myself experiencing self-doubt or anxiety, I pause. I take some deep breathes. I place both hands on my belly, and I enjoy movements of my daughter inside. This brings me back to the peace of the moment.