I’m currently in Week 19 of my pregnancy which means I failed to produce a Week 18 update. Why? Well, it’s simple really. Pregnancy, like life, is sometimes hard. And when it’s hard, a lot of the peripheral tasks tend to fall away in favor of things like napping, moping, and endless hours of scrolling though Instagram. That was Week 18.
I think it’s really easy to look at social media profiles and imagine that the people we see have the most FUN life ever.
“that’s such a cute bathroom!”
“oh wow, they’re always at that coffee shop with the gluten-free muffins and almond milk lattes.”
“What a sweet dog and baby!”
“Man, she works out so hard!”
“She has incredible handstands.”
“Her food is always plated perfectly.”
“How can they afford to always be traveling? It’s like every other weekend they’re in Joshua Tree, Palm Springs, or Mexico.”
“They’re the perfect couple (insert #goals here)”
I know I’m not the only one looking at people’s lives through the carefully filtered lens of social media. And I imagine that there are likely plenty of people who cast that same glance over my own profile.
This week, I want to share something a little more raw. Those pictures you see on my Instagram? They’re true. Those are accurate representations of my life, in that moment. But what you don’t see is the moments in between where I’m struggling. The moments where I’m lying in bed with a migraine, the moments where I toss my cookies in a bush because I ate the wrong thing at the wrong time, the moments where all my pants make me look more like I have some hefty love handles instead of a cute belly. Waking up throughout the night to pee. The relentless need to blow my nose. The fear and anxiety of reckless drivers plowing into me on the road and harming my child.
Sure, I may look like I haven’t gained any weight, or like my eating is healthy and perfect, and I’m out frolicking in the sun all day, but the truth is that pregnancy is hard.
To date I have experienced varying degrees of all of the following:
Nausea, bloating, cramping, acid reflux, constipation, indigestion, joint pain, sinus pressure, sinus headaches, back aches, insomnia, bleeding gums, bloody noses, sensitivity to smell, vomiting, food aversions, sore breasts, frustration with my clothes not fitting, struggles with body image, decreased strength, decreased flexibility, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, dizziness, difficulty sitting for long periods of time, dry skin, styes in my eye…
I think you get the point. Do I feel this way everyday? No. Am I grateful for the opportunity to grow and raise another human. HECK YES. Am I over the moon happy and excited and full of the joys of impending motherhood. Not all the time.
Some days I wish I weren’t pregnant. I wish I weren’t beholden to the symptoms and needs of my “shared” body. I wish I had my body to myself and could do what I want, when I want, how I want.
But here’s the deal. This is true ALL the time. Not just in pregnancy. It’s a transition I had to navigate when getting roommates and having to share chores and space and expenses. A more deep transition occurred when I got married and had to share my whole life, my choices, my body, and my secrets with another person. I even had to adjust to owning a dog and the never-ending responsibility of feeding and walking him! And here I am, at another one of life’s great changes, facing another opportunity to grow in service, self-sacrifice, and compassion.
I think it’s really important to openly acknowledge that it’s okay to experience joy and mourning at the same time. While I mourn the loss of exclusive rights to my body, I also experience the joy in knowing that this body is capable of fashioning my own son. While I learn to accept the day-in day-out symptoms of pregnancy, I also anticipate a healthy, happy child to love and cherish for the rest of my life. Pregnancy, just like any other challenge or change is a teacher. It’s teaching me to be more accepting, compassionate, forgiving, and vulnerable. Maturing into those characteristics is ultimately more important than my constant drive to maintain a hot body, cute house, or even lots of leisure time. I am more interested in learning how to establish a fulfilling and purposeful life beyond the things that you see everyday on Instagram.