My journey through pregnancy
It took me awhile to decide whether or not I would share my pregnancy experience on YIREH’s blog. I am a very open person, and find healing in vulnerability. However, not being able to fit in a lot of my YIREH clothes made it hard to figure out how to share the pregnancy with you without seeming way off brand. Does that sound silly? Probably. But then I realized that YIREH has always been for the women who wear the clothing, and about their experiences, me included. So, here it goes, the inside scoop of my pregnancy journey.
Pregnancy was not what I thought it would be. I’m not sure what exactly I imagined it would be like. But, if I’m being honest I think I had always imagined it as being nine (basically ten) months of complete torture and deprivation. This ended up not being my experience at all as time went on. But when I found out I was pregnant, those were definitely some of my first thoughts. I cried I was so scared. My pregnancy was a surprise for me and my husband. So even though we had made the decision to not prevent a pregnancy, when I found out I was pregnant I felt as if I hadn’t been a part of the decision. I felt my entire life shift in a moment, and it was really scary. We had made a lot of plans for the following year, none of which included a baby. I still felt very selfish and not ready to give up who I was, thinking of course I had to give up who I was in order to be a mom. I also had NO idea how to be pregnant. I didn’t know what to eat, if I could still do hot yoga, if I could surf, if my antidepressant and anxiety meds were dangerous, and so much more. I didn’t know anything except that I had to stop drinking wine, and that bummed me out too. My husband on the other hand couldn’t have been happier. He was on cloud nine. And I was a little jealous of that because his life and his body didn’t have to change just yet, but mine did. This may sound really selfish to you, but it would be unfair to say my entire pregnancy was just sunshine and rainbows. I was excited for the baby, I did want this baby, but I would be lying if I didn’t say there were other emotions of fear attached to those wants.
So what I decided to do was to start getting some information. For me the biggest decision was to figure out what to do about my antidepressants. I had just upped my dosage a month prior to 150mg of Zoloft and was finally able to concentrate on task, and feel emotions at a “normal” level. I knew what I was like off of medication, and that side of me scared me to my core. So to say I was afraid to get off my medication was an understatement. I also couldn’t find much solid information on the internet. Every article I found seemed to have another article that contradicted it. So I decided to go in and see my psychiatrist and get help with the decision. What I found out was, ultimately it was my choice. There were some risk of staying on the medication and it most likely wasn’t a good idea for me to stay at a 150 mg dosage. But, my doctors were ok with me weening down as low as possible and staying at that point. But what it basically came down to was me and what I wanted/ was capable of. Not even two months into pregnancy and I already felt like I was making monumental decisions for the baby. Ones I didn’t really have answers for. I’ve written about my journey with mental illness before, and have been open with how I’ve had depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. It’s definitely something I hope to not pass along to my future daughter. So after taking some time I made the very personal decision to ween off of my meds completely, with the option to get back on them if I absolutely needed to. Again, this is such a personal decision and I know so many moms who stayed on their medication throughout pregnancy and that is what was right for them. But this felt right for me. As I’m writing this blog I’m 33 weeks pregnant. I was completely weened off of my medication by week 25 and I can honestly say I am so happy with my decision. I have been the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life during this pregnancy. Most likely it’s the hormones balancing me out, but I feel strong. And for any other mamas, or women (or even men!), out there struggling with a similar decision, my advice would be to listen to your body. Find a routine that works for you, and be gentle with yourself as you ease into it.
Getting off my medication wasn’t the only thing that made me feel empowered, but also working through a lot of issues. Pregnancy has been a monumental time of growth for me (no pun intended). I feel like a new woman. I’ve always dealt with issues regarding body image and pregnancy has helped me see past physical features of beauty and look at a woman’s beauty from a completely different perspective. I was so worried I would gain tons of weight, and lose myself. I did gain weight, because duh, you have to. And I did have some moments of breakdown when I felt unlike myself. However, I found that acceptance was a bit easier than it had been previously. I knew my body was changing for a reason, and that so many women had gone before me and experienced the same. I looked at women with a new found respect, and have even been more careful not to judge, because honestly we are all just doing our best. Mom/woman shaming is intolerable to me now. Differences are what make this world so interesting, and although we may all have different ways of living, and different beliefs systems. If you try your best to look at people from the perspective of everyone doing their best, I find there is a lot more room for grace and acceptance.
Among mental health, and personal acceptance another road block for me through pregnancy has been sustaining the belief that I could run a successful business and be a good mother. I already feel stretched thin, constantly behind, and like I should be doing so much more. I’ve been afraid that becoming a mother would be the final straw of me falling behind and never being able to catch up. Don’t get me wrong, I still carry these fears. However, what I have actually experienced has been the opposite. When I found out I was pregnant I felt a motivation unlike any other. I knew I finally had to give up control to parts of my business, and could no longer do it all on my own. This motivation led me to start hiring help, and adding to team YIREH, which I believe has been the best decision for the business to date. I’m not sure how I was expecting YIREH to grow with it just being me, but I was holding onto the fear that I wouldn’t be able to afford or keep employees. Getting pregnant made me realize I was now going to need all of the help I could get and that letting go could also be a good thing to free me up to lead YIREH in the vision and direction I have always dreamed of for the brand. I’ve found so much motivation and creativity through pregnancy because I’m no longer making decisions just for me. Although I still find myself harboring fears of what being a mom and running a business will look like, I find if I look around, there are already so many examples of women doing it. And then again, I return to gratitude, and admiration for all of the women out there doing their best. I find it exciting to know I will get to raise my daughter in a healthy work environment, teaching her to work hard for her dreams, but to also rest and play. I literally get to be a part of raising the future, and I find that to be a blessing.
So, what I’ve learned throughout this journey (33 weeks in), is that pregnancy seems to be different for everyone. I think God made it ten months of growth for a reason. Not just for the baby, but to prepare us as well. To strip us of some of our fears, help us work through tough issues, and to open us up for what is about to be the biggest life change yet. I truly believe if you are open to the lessons, they will come. And although pregnancy has been somewhat of a roller coaster of emotions, it has made me into a better person. Each week has prepared me more and more, it didn’t come all at once and that’s probably a good thing. Also knowing that millions of women all around the world are going through similar experiences has helped me feel less alone. So, if you’re pregnant, have been pregnant, want to be pregnant one day, currently trying to get pregnant, or just a human being, give yourself grace. Collectively as human beings we can all have a little more grace. Thank you for letting me share my journey.