How Pregnancy Prepared Me For Motherhood
Hi there – Carrie checking in here today, typing this post as my sweet girl naps next to me. Fingers crossed this naptime lasts as long as I need to write all this…
First, thanks so much for all your love and congratulations! Everything about this baby girl has been a surprise, so why would her birth be any different? Life with a tiny baby has been a huge adjustment, but we are learning and growing day by day.
Second, speaking of adjusting, a heartfelt thank you to my team for keeping things running here on the website while I adjust. Julie, Mari, Ashley, and Bella have all gone above and beyond to keep bringing you outstanding content every single day. And I am oh so grateful to them.
And I am grateful to you! Thanks for continuing to check in, to read along, to comment, and to share our content. Your loyalty here means so much.
Now, on to today’s topic… This is an idea I had while still pregnant. Indeed, I started drafting it even. But now I have an even bigger appreciation for the concept, now that I have had her.
5 Ways Pregnancy Prepared Me For Motherhood
1. Pregnancy taught me to put someone else’s needs before my own.
Let’s face it… I lived about 40 years taking care of only primarily myself. Outside of aiming to meet my partner’s needs and being a good friend and family member, I really only had to worry about myself. Now, I’m not saying it was a totally selfish existence. But that’s just the reality. No one was totally reliant upon me for his or her existence.
That all changed with pregnancy. For me personally, it changed in a marked way considering the gall bladder complication that I had. Basically, the gall bladder issue meant that it was extremely painful to eat. Thus, I simply wasn’t eating much for a while. However, an ultrasound revealed that my baby was critically small. So, from that point on, it had to be my mission to fight through the pain and do whatever it took to get the nutrition she needed to grow. That meant medication to battle the pain, partial bed rest, and very limited productivity. But that was okay – because I simply had to do what was best for her.
2. Pregnancy taught me to manage with less sleep.
Confession time: I’m a big sleeper. In fact, I’ve almost prided myself at being able to sleep at the drop of a hat, anytime, anywhere – at night, for a nap, on a plane, in a car. Plus, I’m one of those people who functions best on a full eight hours of sleep.
Imagine my frustration when pregnancy insomnia hit! From about the middle of the second trimester through the end, I had major bouts of insomnia. I would lie awake entire nights at a time, tired but unable to sleep. Indeed, I had people telling me “Sleep all you can before the baby arrives!” while meanwhile I tossed and turned all night, unable to rest a wink.
Well, now I know that insomnia was just nature’s way of preparing me for the total exhaustion I live with now. Particularly with my pre-term baby, eating often at regular intervals is crucial. So, our current schedule is feeding every three hours. That means I sleep (at most) for about two and a half hours at a time.
This is still a very rough adjustment. But I can see how the insomnia gave me a small peek into living with less sleep.
3. Pregnancy taught me to thrive outside my comfort zone.
As I’ve shared before, I hadn’t really ever thought I would get pregnant or be a mother. So, all of this was / is completely out of my comfort zone. It’s scary, unfamiliar, and quite daunting at times. But with the pregnancy (and with motherhood now), I do what I’ve always done… Throw myself into something and learn all I can about it. Information is power to me, so I soak up everything I can from books and resources around me.
Even so, my confidence can ebb and flow when I’m outside my comfort zone like this. So, during pregnancy and now, I am learning to manage the ebb and flow of emotions.
4. Pregnancy taught me that I’ll never be alone.
During pregnancy, I loved the miracle of hearing my baby girl’s heartbeat during an ultrasound. I relished feeling her move inside of me. Now, I’ll admit though that, towards the end, some of those kicks in my ribs / gall bladder area were a little uncomfortable.
And that’s kind of how parenthood is so far… Most times, it’s magical holding my newborn baby next to me, smelling her wonderful newborn smell, staring at her thinking, “How did I get so lucky to have such a perfect baby?” But then there are those moments where I need a little peace and alone time — whether to eat, go to the bathroom, or just breathe.
5. Pregnancy taught me a new kind of love that has only expanded with motherhood.
Seriously, how is it possible to love this much??!
When I heard that heart beat at the first ultrasound, I knew my life had changed.
But when I gave birth to her and they laid her on my chest, my heart exploded. I immediately loved her with a love I’ve never experienced. It’s just different from other types of love. It’s an all-encompassing, forever kind of love.
I am forever grateful that God chose me to be her mom. It’s a huge blessing and a huge responsibility.
Honestly, it’s still hard to believe that this sweet baby girl is mine! In fact, it’s hard to grasp that I’m a mother. But we are learning and adjusting and growing day by day. And I keep remembering all these lessons pregnancy taught me for such a time as this.
Thank you for your patience and love as we adjust to life together.
Much love to you all!
Photos by Maritere Rice