Four valuable life lessons I have learned during pregnancy
As I come towards the end of my pregnancy, I have been giving myself time to reflect over the past 9 months and what this incredible journey has taught me.
Of course there are expected feelings that arise - a mixture of excitement and anxiety, overwhelm at times, physical sensations that are totally new, exhaustion, nausea, tears, clumsiness (I broke a glass, a mug and a bowl within three days last week), feeling overflowing with love and gratitude - and many more I am sure my baby brain has forgotten to mention, but there have also been some incredible insights and lessons that I didn’t really expect.
The release of controlling habits…
The first lesson I learned was very early on in pregnancy - when the nausea hit. I have never felt so relentlessly sick in my life - it wasn’t ‘morning sickness’, it was all day/all night sickness!!! There was very little that would combat it other than laying down, eating salt and vinegar crisps and just trying to breathe through it.
Now, for someone like me who has in the past used food to ‘control’ my anxiety, my health and my weight, it was a big shock to me that the majority of foods I would normally eat repulsed me. Yes I am looking at you green vegetables (particularly broccoli - my previous favourite), salmon, quinoa, smoothies. Basically anything that was full of nutrients - I couldn’t even look at.
In their place was toast, baked beans on toast, cheese on toast, (anything beige on toast to be honest) crisps, pasta, jacket potatoes, oat cakes and the only ‘healthy’ thing I could stomach was avocado and eggs (thank goodness!).
At first I totally freaked out about this. I was worried my anxiety would come back, I worried I would upset my blood sugar levels, I worried I wouldn’t be giving the baby all important nutrients.
It was way out of my comfort zone - which I know sounds bizarre to some people - but it was a totally alien way of eating for me and one that didn’t make me feel nourished. However, I couldn’t escape from it and after a while I simply had to surrender to what my body was asking for - and what would not make me feel even sicker.
And you know what… nothing ‘bad’ happened. I didn’t fall apart, or get ill, or find myself back in that dark place of anxiety again. My body actually processed it all fairly well and it taught me such a valuable lesson about relaxing around food. Something that is actually really important to me as I do not want my own daughter to grow up with the same issues around food that I have had.
I now feel so much less controlling over the food I eat - and for the most time I love eating healthy, colourful veggy-filled plates of food. But to be able to enjoy a piece of cake or a sandwich without guilt, shame or fear has been such an unexpected gift.
My trust muscle is stronger than I thought…
I have spent a long time cultivating, practicing and learning to trust myself. It might sound strange - but after years and years of looking externally for validation and for other people to give me answers in regard to my own healing, and own direction, it has taken some time to build up trust within myself again. Everywhere we look we are being ‘told’ to look beyond ourselves - so it is no wonder that there is often this lack of faith in ourselves. and our ability to make decisions.
being pregnant, for me, has been the ultimate lesson in trust
From the first few daunting weeks before seeing the scan and knowing that our baby was really in there, to trusting that my body knows exactly how to grow a human, and along similar lines - that my body also knows how to give birth. Trusting that my baby knows how and when to be born, and trusting that my instincts as a mother will kick in and I will know how to take care of her.
Not only has this trust muscle developed within myself, but it has also developed when it comes to having faith in a force far bigger than me. Whenever I felt anxiety creep in, fears arise, or worries come up - I would allow them to be express themselves, but I would also consciously ‘lean in’ to the words… ‘I trust that all is unfolding as it is meant to,’… which helped me anchor back in to letting things happen instead of the fearful desire to control or become too attached to a specific outcome.
The power of a little soul inhabiting my body over these past months feels far bigger than anything I have ever experienced before, and therefore I really do feel that I cannot control or force anything in this process. And as a result it has helped me extend my trust into my work, my relationships and beyond.
The importance of letting things go to make space for new…
I wrote last year this blog post about grieving for yourself, and while grief is often seen as a very negative emotion - I believe it is also an essential part of our growth and healing journey. While of course pregnancy for me has been an incredible gift and there is so much joy filled emotion within it, I do believe that there is an element of needing to grieve for the parts of me that will be ever changed.
I have already had to surrender a lot of the identity that I had previously in order to take care of my body and my baby. My exercise regime has changed dramatically, my social life has shifted, my work load has had to reduce. And with that I was faced with a lot of pieces of me that resisted the changes because for so long my identity was wrapped up in those things.
It isn’t that I don’t want to evolve and expand into this next version of me - I am more excited than I ever have been about any role I have ever been in - however I feel it is really important to honour the transition and fully let go of the parts of me that are no longer at the forefront of my being.
I feel like pregnancy has been a magical torch that shines light on the parts of me that is no longer of service to my growth, and of course there are other life events that also can do this. But I now realise that - if we allow it - we are often being given opportunities that can unravel some of the layers that don’t resonate or align with our higher selves anymore and I feel that having let this natural process already begin during pregnancy, that I am more prepared for the process and huge change that will come as I become a mother.
The magic of ‘in between’…
I have found myself in a space of ‘limbo’ recently - something I have always previously felt uncomfortable with. As someone who likes to have a plan, get sh*t done and really know where I am heading being in that ‘space’ - almost like a void - is not something I would have expected to enjoy so much.
However, having spent the earlier stages of my pregnancy in this state of ‘letting go’, I now find myself in this gap, this in between phase of uncertainty and possibility.
There is no expectation or urgency, but also a deep knowing that I am preparing myself for a new journey.
It feels quite special to be able to just rest in this space, and actually I feel more connected to my creativity and my inner guidance system because of it.
I have a feeling these lessons are only just beginning and I am pretty sure my next big learning will be in patience as I wait for this little one to decide when she comes to meet us.
I would love to know if you resonate with any of the above? Or perhaps pregnancy - or in fact any other big life transition - has provided you with some unexpected learning curves that you would like to share? Please do comment below or drop me an email if you feel called to.