Dear my pregnant self,
In this time of change, I’m here to remind you of a few important things. These reminders are for today, and for every season that you feel like you’re falling apart. Claim these truths about your identity and your life.
Grace is needed. You’re going through a lot. Let yourself come undone, knowing that it might look ugly and unattractive, but that it’s real life.
It’s okay to cry about it. Your emotions are all over the place, and that’s normal. Balance the crazy by recognizing what’s irrational, but don’t allow yourself to emotionally shut down because those feelings don’t make sense. Cry over that spilled milk, and then laugh about it later. It’s healthier that way.
Remember that it won’t last forever. This is just a season. Mostly, it’s preparation for what’s coming next. Don’t stop being honest with yourself and with others. Keep yourself in community and hold yourself accountable through good friends and family who will encourage you and push you in the right direction.
Let yourself be vulnerable even when you feel ugly inside and out. There is freedom in honesty. It ushers repentance and forgiveness, and reminds us that we are all broken sinners. Don’t pretend you’re perfect. Embrace those hips, the extra weight your gaining everywhere, and the fact that your baby bump just makes you look like a giant lump. Embrace the fact that cooking dinner is 100% more difficult, and don’t believe the lie that it’s pathetic. Enjoy taking those 2 extra naps a day and don’t feel guilty about it. Embrace the fact that your life is changing, and you’re walking in shaky, unknown territory. You might look like a fool sometimes, and it’s okay.
Remember that life is worth enjoying, and you are worth the effort to take care. When you’re nauseas, tired, and irritable, and don’t feel like yourself, remember that you are still loved and cared for. Remember that you’re not in this alone and you don’t have to apologize when you ask for help or when people offer to help. Know that you and your spouse have a lot of growing to do together, and that you are for each other and with each other. It’s perfectly okay to embrace those extra things that make pregnancy and motherhood easier for you, even though so many other women tell you they aren’t necessary. Be comfortable, and enjoy. Continue to live life to the fullest, and do it for Jesus. Because of all the hormonal changes, low mood and/or depression in pregnancy is common. Take care of yourself. You’re worth it.
Remember that your story is unique and you can’t compare yourself to anyone else because it’s unfair to you both. Everyone’s pregnancy is different, and everyone handles it differently. Just because your friend had a 30 minute labor and lost so much weight postpartum that she’s actually skinnier now than before she got pregnant, that doesn’t mean that will be your story. You’ll be sorely disappointed when it’s not. Be humble in your expectations. Don’t keep one eye open to how everyone else is doing. Focus on you, and don’t rope yourself into unfair games that leave you feeling less than and inadequate.
Remember that Jesus loves you and lives in you and is sustaining you. Right now and forever. Remember that he’s already died for your sins and covered you with grace upon grace. Remember that you are in the process of being sanctified, and you’ve come a long way, and have a long way to go. Remember that your faith looks different now than in any other time of your life, and it’s good.
Remember that there’s more to you and your life than just being pregnant. Don’t neglect your passions and skills. Keep doing the things that you love, and adjust as you need to as the baby grows and joins your family.
Remember that you’re not the only pregnant woman to walk this earth. For all your friends who aren’t pregnant, married, or dating, or even remotely in the same vein of life as you, remember to ask people how they’re doing and take genuine interest in their lives. Don’t let pregnancy dominate your relationships. It’s not all about you, and you still need another people.
Lastly, remember that you can’t control. Cherish this time. There’s no age that is safe from loss and tragedy, and this life inside you is an incredible gift.