some thoughts on appreciating motherhood

I don't want to take any of this for granted.

I spent most of my pregnancy being miserable. I was constantly nauseous for the first sixteen weeks, struggled with unbelievable leg pain, started experiencing regular Braxton Hicks contractions at just six months, and worked long hours on my feet everyday. I was also consumed with worry. Worry about something happening to the baby, that I would hate being a mom, that my marriage would be worse for all the stress of parenthood. Basically, I spent my entire pregnancy wishing that it would just hurry up and be over but also incredibly stressed about what would happen once it was. Looking back, I am heartbroken that I wasted that time.

Part of it was the sickness, the pain, the worry. Part of it was not wanting to be that person. The person constantly sharing updates and posting maternity pictures and never shutting up about my pregnancy. I didn't want people to be annoyed or think I was dumb. Basically, I was completely confused about what I was feeling and hyper-concerned about what everyone else was thinking. I was so lost in all my worry that I missed it.

I missed the chance to be completely in awe and blissed out over the miracle that was happening inside of me. I missed the opportunity to take pictures that captured how Tom and I were feeling about becoming parents. I missed celebrating how amazing it is that my body could grow a human. I told myself to chill out, don't be lame, stop talking about it. I wasted the nine months that I was blessed to carry Lana closer to me than anyone could ever be, because I was afraid.

I was afraid of what loving her with abandon might do to me. I was afraid of what people would think if I was suddenly passionate about the indescribable blessing that pregnancy is. I was afraid, and I will always regret it.

I may have missed my chance while I was pregnant, but now I have a second chance. I have spent the last eleven and a half months pouring my heart and soul into Lana. Every day I wake up and feed her, play with her, teach her. Each morning is a chance to love her better. Each day a chance to know her more. I love that she gives her stuffed animals kisses. I know the difference between her mad, sad, and tired cries. I love the way she furrows her brow and puckers her lips when she's asleep in the car. I know that her baby doll will always cheer her up.

She makes every morning brighter. When I lay her down for bed, I miss her almost immediately. Being her mother makes me better, stronger. I want to soak up every minute of these early weeks and months, because the time is flying by at a terrifying pace. Growing, nourishing, protecting and loving this tiny, chubby human is the most gratifying, empowering experience. I just want to be grateful for every single moment that I am blessed to have as her mother.

I may have taken my pregnancy for granted, but I'm not going to make the same mistake twice.

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