*First off, sorry for the delay in posts. Between the baby shower and “fun” times of the third trimester, it’s been a little difficult to get around to doing everything that needs to be done. Anyways, thanks for your patience and here’s something to brighten up your Monday!
As the Holiday season gets into full swing and I enter the homestretch of the third trimester, my anxieties are at an all time high. If you’re like me, you don’t ever want to disappoint the people in your life. But sometimes that seems nearly impossible to avoid with the items on your To-Do-List snowballing out of control. So trying to keep up with everyone and everything that deserves your attention can be tricky to say the least.
Sure it’s difficult to live a guilt-free life – despite the lies Dove Chocolate keeps feeding me – but here are some things that I’ve been able to come to terms with on my pregnancy journey.
1. Being a Bad Friend
With everything on your plate, sometimes it’s hard to make not just time, but meaningful time, for all the important people in your life. You can feel especially guilty if those people have always been able to make time for you. I’ve really beaten myself up in the past for all the times I’ve had to say “no” to invites or visits from friends. I even got nervous that people would start to think my reasons for not going were bogus. “Oh right, you’re ‘sick’ I’m sure.” But when you live with an invisible illness, the people in your life will have to understand that you may not always “look sick” or even “act sick.” Especially now that you’re pregnant, it’s not just your health that you have to think about, you have to think about how things will effect your baby. Sure, if I wasn’t pregnant and was having a flare-up, I might push myself and go out with friends and just pay for it (physically) later. But now that I’ve got a little life completely dependent on me and my actions, I think twice about everything I agree to do.
What it boils down to is this: the people who truly know and care about you will understand that pregnancy and chronic illnesses will sometimes limit what you are able to do. The people who don’t get it or try to make you feel like you’re being a “bad friend” by putting your and your baby’s health first, are people that clearly do not deserve your time in the first place.
2. Being a Bad Partner
Whether you have a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife, it takes work to keep a relationship balanced and healthy. Ignore the people that have a picture-perfect relationship. They’re either lying or (gasp!) actually happy. Either way, it’s not worth worrying about, because the Lord knows your energy is already on a limited supply as it is! One of the few people you’re going to actually want to spend your energy on is your partner. Not only are they there for you through all your health issues, but they are by your side as you both embark on this crazy journey of parenthood. Sometimes, though, I can get all insecure in my head telling myself that my husband is going to get so fed up with me and my issues, that he’ll just be like, “Deuces!!!”
Thankfully my partner not only puts up with the tribulations of this pregnancy, but he also reassures me when I get all insecure. Hopefully you have someone in your life that can be of some support to you while you are going through this high-risk pregnancy. And remember, support doesn’t just have to come from a husband or partner, it can be your best friend or mom or sister. So whoever you have in your life that is there to hold you up when you think you just can’t stand anymore, show your appreciation as often as you can but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always have the energy to do as much as you want to do. (Sorry for the run-on sentence haha)
3. Being a Bad Mom
Once, a customer asked me how I felt about the fact that I’m about to become a mom. I said that it was a combination of excitement and nervousness. When she patted me on the arm, I thought she was about to say something like, “Oh don’t be nervous,” or that “It’s perfectly natural to feel that way,” or something like that. But what did she say instead? “You know, good moms never have doubts. So you might want to rethink things, honey.” And her equally sensitive friend added, “You’ve made your bed, now you’ve got to lie in it!”
So after I picked up my jaw off the floor, I had a minor panic attack. Was this lady right? Does being nervous mean that you lack the necessary confidence to be a good mother? After talking to my mom friends, I found that it’s actually just the opposite! I’ve chosen to change my definitions. It’s not “second-guessing” it’s “double-checking.” Me being nervous just shows that I care so much about doing things right. And a wise friend once said, “A good mom is simply someone who cares.” Your age, socioeconomic status, orientation, etc., does not have any bearing on whether or not you are going to be a good mom or not. Your dedication to giving your child the best life possible is what matters. So I may not be rich or the picture of perfect health, but I’m not going to let my personal hangups distract me from focusing on my little one.
4. Being a Bad YOU
Last but certainly not least, this is something that effects so many women. Even in my first trimester, I already felt like my body wasn’t my own. You know what else does that to you? Health conditions. So I was already familiar with feeling like I have no control over my body. Hip dislocations, inflammation, hair loss, memory loss, and knowing that your own immune system is actively attacking you is not exactly super awesome. The minute another human being was added to the equation, the lack of ownership over my body seemed to grow exponentially. Also can we acknowledge that a baby moving in your stomach is kind of creepy sometimes?
Besides the physical aspect of your pregnancy, there’s a very real emotional side. People have this insatiable need to put labels on each other. Granted, some could argue that labels make things easier to understand. But for many, confining a person to a box restricts their identity. Needing to define someone as “black” or “gay” or “Muslim” can even carry negative connotations with it. While a gay man is certainly not ashamed of his orientation, he probably doesn’t appreciate being known by some solely as “the gay one” in his social circle. Similarly, I am not ashamed to add “mother” to my repertoire, yet I don’t want to be limited by this new chapter. When I’ve shared this opinion, some people have implied that I should feel guilty if I’m not making motherhood and my baby the center of my world. But I would feel guilty if I raised my son thinking that a woman can only be a mother.
At the end of the day, I can only be me. And the only people that can make me feel guilty are the people I let make me feel that way. So I choose to spend my time letting the loving and supportive people in my life know how much I value and care for them. I truly feel that is the best any person can do in this life. Be genuine, be objective, be kind. If my child learns only those things, then there’s really nothing for me to feel guilty about then, is there?