Start trying for a baby.
See a positive pregnancy test.
All of this accurately sums up my experience of transitioning to becoming a new mom. But, there was one piece of unsolicited pregnancy advice I needed but didn’t get.
The joy D and I felt when we saw the positive pregnancy test was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Our emotions were flooded with welcomed shock that we made it happen and complete happiness — we were going to be parents. The months following were consumed with doctor’s appointments, shopping, registry planning and my personal favorite (*hard eye roll*): unsolicited advice.
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“Don’t drink coffee.” “Don’t wear heels.” “Maybe you should stop working out.” I always wanted to respond to that type of feedback and say, “Pregnant does not mean disabled.” It blew my mind how women vehemently fight for women’s empowerment and the right to choose _______ (insert anything) but then we, as women, make haste to police a pregnant woman’s body for her. Suddenly, everyone around me became an OB-GYN and a pregnancy expert when they knew nothing about my body or my baby. Of course, some women that I’m close with were sharing their advice out of love but they often shared advice that was outdated or advice that was so common sense that it made me question my maternal aptitude. There’s no empowerment in that, ladies.
But despite the constant deluge of advice, there was one piece of unsolicited pregnancy advice I needed but didn’t get: take time to reflect on your life as you know it.
One day, before a doctor’s appointment, I was holding back tears because it hit me that once my baby was here, my life would never be the same. Of course there are changes coming like saying goodbye to being on time or never leaving the house without extra snacks and a change of baby or kid clothes. But, that wasn’t what I was crying about. In that moment, I was feeling sorry for myself which was magnified by the sudden onset of envy towards my husband whose life was…essentially…unchanged. This whole pregnancy I’ve been craving a hoagie but I can’t have deli meat while pregnant. Meanwhile, he woke up one Saturday morning to ride his motorcycle and the whole time he was gone, I was pissed that he still got to do all the things he loved but I can’t have something as simple a hoagie. I was getting a taste of the sacrifices that come with being a parent while my husband felt no consternation. In his defense, this is how having a baby is designed so none of this is his fault but it was still a moment that smacked me hard AF into my new reality.
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Anyways, after the appointment, I got in the car and cried. My face was submerged in all the tears I held in and I couldn’t stop. My husband looked at me with so much concern until I could breathe through my words enough to tell him what I was feeling. “I’m mourning my life as I know it.” Thankfully, he has some “Dad” books of his own that he reads weekly and he said, “My book told me that sooner or later, you would feel this way. I could sense that it was coming.” He was so sweet and just listened as I vented the whole ride home. We kept the convo going in the car when we got home and, in typical husband fashion, he went into solution mode (it’s so funny how men always want to fix the hurt). But this reality check isn’t something that can be repaired, and that’s okay. I was just having a moment and needed to let out every thought and emotion that coupled with it.
So, what went through my mind? Everything. The career goals I thought I would’ve accomplished before having a baby; the passport stamps I was planning on getting; the endless Sunday brunch dates with girlfriends consuming bottomless mimosas; my fitness goals I didn’t check off; the Chanel purse I never bought (okay, that one would never happen, baby or not). But, everything. I mourned what never manifested and what I’ll never get back, like staying in bed late on a Saturday.
After I let it all out, I reminded myself that becoming a parent doesn’t mean I won’t be able to accomplish my goals. In no way does it mean my life is over, but it does mean my life will change and that is okay. I still have every intention of being a travel and brunch-loving woman who values family, health and a career that will allow me to me afford Chanel one day.
So, to my fellow expectant moms, I leave this unsolicited advice with you: take time to reflect on your life as it stands right now. Think about it, write about it, talk about it, cry about it; do whatever you need to do to have that moment of reflection and introspection. I felt so much better after I let it all out. And I’ll admit, it felt extremely selfish of me to cry in that moment about something so many women dream of but it was also a moment I needed for my own mental health. Most importantly, it was a moment I preferred to have before my baby arrived for two reasons: (1.) After crying it out, I still had time to move through the rest of my pregnancy in a way that made me feel empowered to continue prioritizing me for the last few months of this beautiful ride. And (2.) It was a reality check I was grateful to have before the sleepless nights and shower-less days ensued — I got to mourn what was to come instead of mourning while I was in the thick of new motherhood.
Don’t get me wrong though, I’m pretty sure there will be times when the tears will fall once my sweet baby is here. We’ll both be crying from needing either sleep, to be changed or to be fed. I’m so ready.
Moms, can you relate? As you think back to your pregnancy journey, have you ever asked yourself: “Is there any unsolicited pregnancy advice I needed but didn’t get?” If so, share in the comments!