Yesterday, I had a long car ride home from a weekend in Atlanta to think about and reflect upon the past few days. It was nice to have this opportunity to gather my thoughts and to have my moments of gratitude because, quite frankly, time is starting to move at a break-neck pace, and the closer I get to meeting my nugget, the more I wish time would speed up.
Before I get into my weekend and why I “needed” it so much, I want to say thank you to Nick, who has been (even in his recent sickness) unconditionally and entirely supportive and loving towards me throughout the past 8 months. I am 34 weeks and 1 day pregnant, and with each new day, starting to feel bigger and bigger. My ankles and knuckles have disappeared (my wedding ring is permanently stuck), and although I know they are not going to come back until after the baby comes out, Nick still sits next to me on the couch every night and tries to rub the fluid out of them. He showers me with compliments, even though he knows I don’t “hear” them, and offers to let me go shopping for things like new shoes because my feet don’t fit into my old ones anymore. He sees me struggling with my self-esteem and with feeling too needy at times, and still greets me with a smile and hug at the beginning of each day and at the end of each night. He thanks me for carrying and growing our baby, and tells me that he can never repay me. I know that it is not always easy to love somebody that doesn’t love themselves all the time. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without him, truly. I love you, Daddy Nick… thank you for everything.
So, now on to me. Things are starting to change pretty quickly as far as my body goes. Physically, I feel fine. And I continue to say and think that I am grateful for this because I know that a lot of women do not. I’m not going to lie… at the end of the day, I am a bit sore, and my swelling feels slightly “tight”, but it’s not painful. It’s just… different. More than anything, it’s hard to feel like my old self. My self-esteem is starting to take a little hit. Its hard to wake up in the morning and feel “pretty” when my feet and ankles and now, calves, are twice the size they were last week. The skin on my finger is bulging out around my wedding ring and my face is swollen and puffy. I haven’t been able to color my hair… so the two-tone black/orange look is starting to annoy me, and the big purple stretch marks that are covering my entire stomach are enough to make any woman a bit sad. Also, I know you all who read this are aware that I struggle with an eating disorder and my body image… so being pregnant and gaining a lot of weight is constantly on my mind too. And by “a lot of weight” I mean it… a lot. I’m way over the “goal” I had set for myself and the one that women are “supposed” to gain for my height, age, and pre-pregnancy weight. So it’s hard to escape the mindset of “you did this to yourself” or… “you wouldn’t be so swollen if you hadn’t gotten so fat” or “your blood pressure is high because you’ve gained too much weight too quickly.” I have to constantly remind myself to stay as present as possible, and to appreciate this opportunity I’ve been given to grow a child inside me. Mindfulness practices after mindfulness practices help… but also, talking about it does too. I want to chronicle this. Just because I feel like I have no room to complain because my pregnancy journey has been relatively easy compared to some, doesn’t mean that my feelings aren’t real and that the “physical” effects of pregnancy have to be greater than the “emotional” ones. Also, none of this means that I am not enjoying my pregnancy, or that I am not cherishing this time in my life. I am absolutely enjoying being an expectant mom… I am maybe just starting to look forward to having my baby in my arms and not worrying about what feels like “petty stuff.” Although I am fully aware of the fact that my concerns will shift and change with each new phase of expectancy, infancy, motherhood, and beyond.
And then… just in time… as if the universe knew that I needed a boost… I was surrounded with some of my favorite people in the whole world over the weekend. Lots of strong, empowering, amazing, independent women who have been role models to me throughout my entire life, came to my aunt’s house and reminded me that I can do this, and that I have a support network who is ready for me whenever I need them. They shared such beautiful words of wisdom, showered nugget with gifts and love, and were so attentive in asking me how I was doing, how I was feeling, and how things have been going. They listened to me, loved on me, comforted me, and reminded me that I am doing the best I can, which is more than anybody can ask for. Their genuine care and curiosity was so refreshing for me, and was the extra little “something” I needed to get me through this week.
I was nervous that Saturday wasn’t going to “go my way” from the beginning when I got out of the shower, started to get dressed, and the two different pairs of boots that I had packed to wear with my dress did not fit on my feet. Like, they actually wouldn’t zip (I am still mourning this fact and the fact that we have to purchase new shoes for me to wear for the next few weeks) but my aunt Molly immediately ran upstairs and found two pairs of shoes to offer me for the day, and even suggested that we go shopping if need be. Every now and then, you need those little reminders… where people would literally give you the shirt off their back if you needed them too. It also helps that my family is amazing. My mothers, grandmothers, sisters-in-law, aunt, cousins, etc… all of them, love me AND my baby, and are right there with me, every step of the way.
The universe was at it again on the way home… we drove right past the biggest and brightest rainbow I have ever seen 🙂