Recent pregnancy talk among friends got me reminiscing about my own pregnancies. I feel so fortunate to have had two happy AND healthy pregnancies, which culminated in movie-style deliveries complete with my husband driving insanely to the hospital, me being wheeled into the delivery room as my OB rushes in and, a few minutes later I’m pushing and the baby is out and we are off to our room. All within two hours of arrival!
This fast-paced scenario aptly describes my journey to motherhood, as I had never really thought about what it would be like to be a mother. But here I am, a mother of two and I thought I’d share a few things I learned along the way as no other period of life will present as many opportunities to learn, to grow and to truly bloom.
1. Embrace differences. We’ve all heard this before, but it is worth remembering this simple truth. In the first weeks of my second pregnancy, I had very erratic heartbeats. I checked with my doctor, but even then I was concerned as I never experienced this with my first pregnancy. But of course, this was my body adjusting in a different way. In the same way that every child is different, every pregnancy is unique too.
2. Trust your Instincts. Since every pregnancy is different, the mother really becomes an expert on her body and what works for her. I believe that every mother innately knows what’s best for her and her baby and just needs some guidance and support on this journey. Intuition is a powerful force in pregnancy and beyond.
3. Mental fortitude is key. I learned from pregnancy that the female body can do amazing things but it was through my labor experience that I discovered the power of the mind. Both my labors were unmedicated and it really was my willpower that got me through every contraction. Instead of thinking of the pain, I thought of the purpose of each contraction and that I was getting closer and closer to meeting my baby. It was a truly empowering experience.
4. No (wo)man is an island. You CANNOT do it alone. Believe me, I’ve tried and it left me exhausted, frustrated, and back at square one. Now, I am fortunate to have a small village (tiny, really) that helps me to raise my children because raising kids is super hard. Assembling a team of trusted advisers and helpers on this journey will go a long way. Most importantly, asking for AND accepting help is not a demonstration of weakness; it’s liberation.
5. Self-care is not selfish. In fact it is survival. You MUST take the time to nurture and pamper yourself because you can’t pour from an empty cup. A few months after my first child was born, I got the flu but insisted on taking care of her, the home, and managing business matters. Only after my temperature soared to 105 degrees (!!) and I started hallucinating did I slow down. By this time, however, my daughter and husband had caught my flu. In the end, me trying to be the hero didn’t serve anyone. Had I taken the time to take care of myself, no one else would have gotten sick.
6. You can’t please everyone. Initially, I got caught up in the need to be a people-pleaser. After several instances of this blowing up in my face, I realized the simple truth; it’s impossible. So, it’s okay to say no, to turn down invitations or visits from other people. Structure your life in a way that works best for you and your family unit. Most importantly, it’s okay not to feel guilty for doing so.
7. Comparison might not get you ahead. We’ve all been there/done that. The triumphant feeling because you’re sure your baby is a genius when he utters his first words, or the tinge of jealousy when one of the kids from the playgroup started walking while your child has no interest in even crawling. Remember, every child develops at his/her own pace. Some focus on social developments before physical ones and vice versa. Developmental milestones are mere guidelines and parents shouldn’t feel stressed about having their kids meet them at a certain time. Consult your pediatrician if you feel there is a genuine need for concern.
8. Growth is necessary. Growth means change and you will not remain unchanged by motherhood. Your body will change, your mind will change, and your soul will be changed by the tiny human. Embrace and enjoy this reality.
9. Appreciate the small things. Life is truly made of the small moments that we dare not take for granted when we have kids. There are a lot of firsts on this journey to remind you of how truly special this miracle of life is.
10. Give up the quest for perfection. Parenthood is about being flexible, doing things you swore you would NEVER do and just doing your best. I’ve learned to let go and focus on my sanity and well-being.
ABOUT THIS SPONSOR:
Raquel Roxanne Nowak is a certified holistic nutritionist, prenatal wellness expert and founder of Bump2Beyond Wellness. Raquel, a Staten Island mother of two, is the Chapter Leader of the Staten Island Holistic Moms Network. She is passionate about empowering other women to make informed decisions on their journey from bump to beyond.www.bump2beyondwellness.com
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