I did it! I'm halfway there! Today, I am 20-weeks and 2-days pregnant. I have approximately 20-weeks left before I get to meet my son or daughter. In reality, I have only been pregnant about 18-weeks since you aren't actually pregnant for the first 2-weeks. Plus, I was almost 6-weeks pregnant when I finally found out I was pregnant. So, it's been a wonderful and challenging 14-weeks of of pregnancy. Here are some reflections and things that I have learned from pregnancy so far:
1. Everything Changes: I never realized how much life changes once you discover you're pregnant. I'm certain that life will change dramatically once our baby arrives, but I didn't anticipate the day-to-day changes that would occur as a pregnant woman. Sleep is much more precious to me. I've fallen deeply in love with my husband as I watch him become a father. My desires have completely changed in terms of material things (who knew I'd want all the Little Critter books rather than a new dress?) My need to protect my child is fierce, and I'm discovering a side of myself that I didn't know existed.
2. Food = Friend: I have always loved food, and was never the type of girl that denied herself food for fear of too much junk in the trunk. Pregnancy has taught me to embrace my love for food. Since my second trimester hit, it seemed that I couldn't get enough food. I've learned to curb my cravings towards healthier foods (lots of fruit, vegetables, dairy products, whole grains, and lean meats). But not to be so obsessive that I deny myself those chocolate mini-eggs every once in awhile.
3. I Can Do This..Again: During my first trimester I thought that the sickness would NEVER end. In reality, I was really, really sick for about 6-weeks. Those weeks felt like an eternity, but now that they're over they feel like such a long time ago. During my first trimester I was so ill, a little depressed, and just plain grumpy. I thought I'd never be able to have another baby. It just seemed too hard. Now that I'm over the sickness for the most part I feel like I can do this a few more times.
4. Embrace Your Body..and say Goodbye: Nobody told me that my body would become this unrecognizable blob with stretch marks and saggy... everything. It seems like every day I am noticing some new change to my body, and sometimes it can be a bit terrifying. I'm learning to just embrace these changes and pray that things will go back to "normal" in about a year. I'm also trying to pamper my body so that I do feel beautiful. Plus, it helps having a husband who constantly tells me I'm beautiful and loves my ample..everything.
5. Cling to The Lord: This is the most important reflection that I have (these reflections are in no particular order). I wish I had sought the Lord through His Word and prayer more often during my first trimester. I think that would have helped me out of the darkness I felt so often. But, I have been seeking Him and searching for His face throughout my days and it has been a sweet blessing to me. I pray that my child has a desire to know the Lord and search for Him daily. That is my greatest, and really only hope for my little one.
6. Don't Listen to Everybody: I'm learning that everybody has their 2-cents to add when they discover you're pregnant. It's probably especially true for someone who is 22, having their first child, and very inexperienced. Recently somebody said something to me that made me lay awake for hours contemplating their words. Was I making the wrong decision for my child and myself? Was I being selfish? I need to just trust in the Lord and know that he will guide me best through this experience. I also have two people that I really trust and ask their opinions on pregnancy related issues. One is a mother of 4 boys who recently gave birth and is a wealth of knowledge on motherhood and child-birth. Another is a friend who is due only 6-weeks before me and is having her first baby like me. I can relate to these women and seek their guidance without feeling pressured or judged (thanks J & S, you know who you are!)
PS: This reflection isn't mean to offend anyone! I have received tons of advice from family, friends, especially people from church and our small group that has been so encouraging and helpful. However, to women who ARE pregnant and struggling with people who seem to criticize their choices, I write this as an encouragement to just ignore and move on from the hurtful comments and not take each observation "to heart".
7. Just Breathe: Some days I just need to remind myself to breathe. It's so easy to get yourself worked up while you're pregnant. A lot has happened in my life in the past 4-months and the Lord has given me grace and blessed me with the ability to not stress over some really tough issues. However, it seems that I sometimes stress and get overwhelmed by such little things. I'm learning to let the small stuff go, and just breathe! As I type this I am reminded that I'm still not registered in any prenatal classes, I had a little panic attack as I imagined myself not knowing how to "breathe" properly while I'm in labour. HA - that's the stuff I'm talking about!
My Fav Pregnancy "Products"
Face Wash: Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser
Moisturizer: The Body Shop Cocoa Butter
Book: What To Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff
Website: Baby Center
Bra: T-Shirt Bra from Change of Scandinavia
Maternity Clothes: Thyme Maternity and Motherhood Maternity (Thyme is better quality/MM is cheaper)
Baby Name Book: Bring Back Beatrice! Baby Names with Meaning, Character, and a Little Bit of Attitude & Name Berry [website]