There, I said it.
I wish I had spent more time being selfish during my pregnancy. Not so much in the “indulge-in-my-every-whim” / “buy-all-the-expensive-baby-things” ways – but in the “this is about me” way.
My pregnancy isn’t over yet, though! 5 weeks (hopefully less!) to go, and I’ve finally started to celebrate and indulge myself in the ways I’ve wanted to. (A huge help has been my sister being here in Belgium with me!) From maternity photos to belly painting to organizing/re-organizing the nursery – I plan on living the rest of my pregnant weeks in pretty much any way I want!
I have a little time left and I plan on indulging myself, spoiling myself and making these last few weeks about getting myself prepared and comfortable to enter into motherhood.
Because I still have some time left in this pregnancy (and to give you all a little boost if you’re experiencing the pregnancy-pressure), I wanted to share my thoughts in the form of open letters.
TO PREGNANT ME…
Pregnancy is a journey a woman takes with the support of those who love her. But it’s the WOMAN who takes this journey. Don’t get me wrong – your boyfriend, your sister and your friends are all important, amazing pieces of your pregnancy – but this is a journey YOU are taking, and it’s so important and special.
You felt the nausea.
You felt the first flutters and kicks.
You felt him have the hiccups every day for 2 weeks straight.
You’ve felt the contractions.
And you will deliver him into this world.
You will nurture him with the milk from your breasts.
And although you are so lucky to have the support of your loving boyfriend (soon to be father of our baby) and your friends/family. – please know that you are incredible and this journey will be uniquely experienced by you. You deserve to celebrate this pregnancy in any way you want. Even if that means being a little selfish.
You get that prenatal massage. You buy those pregnancy books even though you could read all that information online. You organize/sort and re-sort the nursery as many times as you want. You do whatever you want to do – whatever will make you feel even slightly more prepared, slightly happier or will make you enjoy this pregnancy even slightly more.
But the most important thing I want you to know about your pregnancy is that you are allowed to celebrate it / prepare for it in any way that you’d like. If that means taking maternity photos even if your boyfriend doesn’t want to – then you do that! And please don’t think “will people think my boyfriend isn’t excited?” or “I feel like I can’t do this without him because it’s his baby too“. These are super common thoughts, but you deserve to celebrate this pregnancy in any way you want and you don’t need other people to do that with you!
And please, please don’t think your boyfriend isn’t excited just because he doesn’t want to do those things with you all the time. It’s not always like it is in the movies where the husband is happy-in-tow during every shopping trip, every ultrasound and every doctors appointment. You are allowed to celebrate these things alone or with other people. If your boyfriend can’t make it to an ultrasound, take your sister! If he isn’t in the mood to stand outside for hours taking maternity photos – do it yourself!
Men experience the prep-for-parenthood much differently, and it doesn’t take away from his excitement or his happiness.
Not every man will want to spend hours shopping for baby clothes.
Not every man will want to read the books or hear your friends’ friends’ birth story.
And that’s okay!!!
These are the things I wish you knew throughout your whole pregnancy. Because I know that you’ve spent a lot of time trying to please other people, thinking about how other people would feel about your decisions. You’ve spent a lot of time thinking “do I really NEED that?” and “we could do without this…” – but this might be your only child (and you will certainly never be pregnant with your FIRST child ever again). So, you deserve to prepare for that in any way that you want to. Because it’s scary and amazing and incredible.
A big reason you may have missed the “indulgent” part of pregnancy is that you’re pregnant abroad – away from most of your support system. And the supports you do have mainly stem from your boyfriend – so it’s difficult to do things without him because it feels like he’s all you have. Because of that, I think you may have tried a little too hard to do what everyone else wanted, to include everyone else – that you forgot that this is probably one of the most important times in YOUR life.
I think we owe it to ourself to make this journey an incredible one.
Even if that means being a little selfish.
TO MY BOYFRIEND/PARTNER/FATHER OF OUR BABY…
I want you to know that I love you, so much. Although this is a journey we decided to embark upon together, I am experiencing this part of the journey in a different way, and I never took that into consideration before right now.
We decided to have this baby together, and I have every confidence you will be a wonderful father. There will be a lot of bumps in the road, a lot of growing up, a lot of sleepless nights – but I know the love you have for me (and our cats) is just a morsel of the love you will have once our son is placed in your arms. You have the ability to love so deeply, and I can’t wait to see how this baby changes your life.
That being said – there are things in this pregnancy that I need to do, even though you may not understand them. You may not be as excited to take maternity photos. You might think they are “just photos” – but to me, they are experiences and memories and a HUGE part of this journey. When I want to paint my belly or do fun gender-reveal updates to our family and friends, I only ask that you support me. You may not understand my need to start organizing baby clothes at 20 weeks, or why I need a certain kind of diaper bin. I understand all of those things. We’re experiencing this journey in two very different ways – and I know it in no way means you’re not excited.
You show your excitement in so many other ways, and I wanted to say thank you for that.
You rub my back, constantly ask how I am feeling.
You don’t judge me when I come to you with embarrassing pregnancy symptoms (like the first time I peed my pants – you didn’t even laugh. Thank you for that.)
You build IKEA furniture.
You talk to your friends about becoming a father.
And I know when I go to sleep, you secretly search baby websites for things we will need.
Just because we don’t celebrate this pregnancy in the same ways, doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate it together. Thank you for coming with me on this journey, and thank you for understanding the times (like this) when I realize I need to be a little selfish.
TO MY PARENTS/IN LAWS…
Mom (and mother in law) … you are both
fucking incredible. That’s what I’m realizing, as every day of this pregnancy passes. You have done this before and I look to you for guidance and wisdom and courage. But I also ask that you respect that this is a woman’s journey – not a collective women’s journey. This pregnancy needs to be about me and my baby – and what I want for my future family.
I will do my best to take your thoughts and concerns into consideration – and I hope you trust in me to raise your grandson. You’ve raised my boyfriend and I, imparted your wisdom and shared your mistakes – and we will try our best to give our son the best of both worlds.
TO MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY IN CANADA…
I miss you all so much, and it’s never been more clear than it is right now. Nothing so monumental has happened in my life that you have not been a part of – and even though we’re separated by distance, please know that my son will have so much love for all of you. I will raise him in knowing that he is loved and supported from all around the world, and he will grow up knowing that he has a million aunts and uncles (in many countries) that he can turn to when his parents just don’t understand his life.
That being said – during this time, I know I may not be as supportive as you might hope during this next year of my life. My world is expanding, and it might be really hard to find a balance – but I will. I hope you can understand that I have something so incredibly huge happening in my life that it might be all I can talk about, and I might not be the best support for you at this time. (I promise I will make it up to you!)
Things I wish I would have done when pregnant:
Did a cool baby announcement:
Taken weekly photos with props instead of just of my belly:
Ordered cute clothes for baby online (I honestly did almost ZERO shopping because we didn’t have a car…)
Had a fun, memorable gender reveal (or even had a party to announce the gender, we didn’t do either, we just announced it.)
AND A LITTLE EXTRA SOMETHING THIS WEEK …. A BABY NAME ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!
We can’t wait to introduce you to baby Lukas in December of 2016! Stay tuned…