The advice I wish someone had given me
When I found out I was pregnant I did a lot of things, including but not limited to: freak out, cry, wallow in bed, throw up, sleep, curse, squeal with delight, deny, worry, wonder, question, and obsess. But perhaps what I did most was start Googling, and asking questions, and reading. And then I stopped for awhile. The Internet can be a scary, mean place for mamas and nothing I was reading was resonating with me. The following post is what I wish I would have found in my first burst of research.
Stop reading this and go outside. Or write, or paint, or draw, or cook, or take pictures, or call your best friend. Or talk to your husband. Or better yet, have sex with him. Do anything that lights you up because what your baby needs-what the world needs-is for you to be lit up.
Your baby does not need you to be an expert. Your baby does not need you to read books, or studies, or blogs.
Your baby needs you to be happy. Content. It needs you to take care of yourself. To experience the world. To pay attention.
It needs you to trust your intuition. And none of that will you find in a book or on the Internet.
What you'll find there is a lot of crap. A lot of people telling you what you need to do, or should do, or absolutely can't do. And for every expert opinion, you'll find ten more that are contrary.
Why do you believe they know better than you? Why do you let their voices override yours?
You are designed to do this.
Every atom of your body knows its role. How to grow and form a life. And no matter what you do or don't do, that process will happen. Your baby will grow. It will push itself out into the world. It will thrive.
Whether because of or in spite of you, it will have its own life. It will make its way. It can't not.
And I know you want to do everything right. You want to be perfect so your little one will have the best possible chance. It's how your brain will work from now on. In worst case scenarios and late night fretting. In protection and preparing. But think back on your own life.
When have you grown? When have you learned?
Not when life is perfect. But when it's messy and hard. Don't forget to give that to your little one. To be vulnerable and imperfect. To make mistakes, and repair, and learn. To be honest. Deeply honest even about the hardest things.
The best thing you can do. The only thing really. Is to live. Really live your life.
So, do what you've always done...
Eat what feels good, even the bad stuff sometimes. Delight in what you put in your body even when you reach for something processed, or with high fructose corn syrup, or from the forbidden list. Food is just food. Parisians eat soft cheeses, the Japanese sushi. So stop worrying and enjoy it. Praise the miraculous tingle of sugar on tongue. The texture of cheese on bread. Then, be done with it. Don't worry about not doing right or getting enough leafy greens. Stop beating yourself up. Your body knows what it needs. And sometimes it needs pleasure. It's ok. Take your prenatal and eat a salad tomorrow.
Do what you like, all of it. Even the stuff other people don't understand, or accept, or tell you not to do. Take a nap. Skip your walk. Run a marathon. Read a book. Whatever makes you feel alive. And be gentle and kind to yourself when nothing feels good. It will pass, as all things do.
Have feelings, every single one of them. Be mad. Cry. Hate that you are pregnant. Love that you are pregnant. Nothing you could think or feel will make you a bad mother, or someone who doesn't deserve a child. Even if the Internet tells you otherwise. Allowing yourself to be honest about this whole mess is an incredible gift-to you, your partner, your child, the world. Having the courage to tell the truth is more honorable than hiding behind fear and judgement, and it's something most don't do. So admit and acknowledge where you are. It's the only way to create true connection, you know that.
You also know the peril of that. Of speaking your truth. It makes other people uncomfortable sometimes. Can ignite loneliness and isolation. Embrace those moments of pulling in. Then, get out of bed, fix your hair, and get on with things. You know who your tribe is, who gets to hear your whole story. Call them. Tell them.
Worry, knowing it won't help a bit. But realizing when we try to dam up our thoughts they soon become an overwhelming torrent. So let them be. Wonder and be curious about them without indulging.
Know that when people are harsh and judgmental-when they offer their opinion as God's given word-they are probably just scared. You're scared too. Tell them that. And listen. Chew on the kernel they offer until it splits open and reveals a deeper truth, even if takes awhile. Even if you have to dig through a mountain of bullsh*t to find the pearl. Even if you end up spitting it out or throwing it away. Because everything is a opportunity to go deeper. To learn more. No matter who's mouth the words are coming from.
Be open. Let things unfold as they will. Control is just an illusion we give ourselves to sop up fear.
Pay attention. Listen. Not only to your body, your mind, your feelings, but to your baby's. And to the world around you. Life is much bigger than your tiny existence. Look up when you get too myopic. Lay down on the ground when you feel disconnected.
Say you're sorry. But only when you really are or when you've truly wronged another. It's not a filler word. Not to be uttered when you are doing what you need to do to take care of yourself.
Respect the little person you've created. See her for what she is-what we all are-beings trying our best to make our way in the world. She can be your greatest teacher if you let her.
Ask for help when you need it. Tell people no when you mean it.
And mostly importantly know that there's no one way. No best way. No perfect way.
“You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right, too.”
So, stop reading this and go outside. It will all be fine. Is fine.
Your True Self