I know the topic of this post seems very broad, yet so simple. Truth be told, it is one of the hardest things I feel that I have ever been entrusted to do. Over the next three or four posts, I will be blogging about my four pregnancies and the effects each of them had on me.
So here goes: I became pregnant with my first son at the beginning of 2009. It was kinda sorta a planned pregnancy, as we desired to become pregnant but didn't think it would happen so quickly after making the decision to start trying. Of course, being that this was our first pregnancy, we were very cautious about a lot of things and for me that also included working out. I believe I was afraid that if I did too much, something would happen to the baby, as I was not well educated on the benefits of working out, let alone working out during pregnancy. I was so used to eating everything that I wanted without necessarily putting on noticeable weight that I took that same mentality/approach during this pregnancy. Needless to say, I put on a lot of weight that I did not even know I could put on (smh...that is why it is good to always educate yourself and stay informed). I put on about 70 pounds and boy did I see and feel every pound of it. Oh and just in case I forgot, there were plenty of people to remind me of just how much weight I put on. Gaining weight during the pregnancy was a huge ordeal for me. Despite me knowing that I would have to gain some weight, I just could not mentally bring myself to like, let alone love what I saw in the mirror every day. I would often criticize how I looked and everytime my husband would try to tell me how beautiful he thought I was, I never could receive it. I would come back with a negative response about myself and why I felt like he was not being honest. These types of responses stemmed from a lack of love for self, so I could not possibly receive it from anyone else, even my husband.
In addition to the weight having such a negative effect on me, so did my individual doctor visits. My first visit consisted of the usual check to make sure I was completely pregnant. If I could remember correctly, this was the visit with my nurse practitioner, who happened to be someone my husband knew, so that made me more comfortable and her all around demeanor and attitude just seemed genuine. I remember getting one of my first ultrasounds and being told that my placenta was not attached completely to my uterus. That definitely scared the crap out of me, but I remember the nurse practitioner reassuring me that everything would be okay, despite the matter of fact response I received from the doctor. In addition to that information, I remember getting a second ultrasound and literally feeling like I just encountered a one night stand ( not that I know what that really feels like). I honestly felt that the ultrasound tech came in, did the ultrasound with very minimum if any communication at all, and left the room. I thank God my husband was with me ( mainly for the support) because I was left confused and wondering if everything was okay.
As I continued on this journey to motherhood, I often questioned my level of readiness and whether or not I was equipped with the right tools to be the best mom I could be. Of course I read several books/pamphlets to prepare myself, but nothing could prepare me for real life motherhood. Especially considering that most people fail to tell you the not so fun or cool things about becoming a mother. Anyway, these are just a few of the things that I experienced while pregnant and then the BIG DAY came, delivery day. Our first son was 6 days early, which I was not complaining about, considering that by that time I was completely over being pregnant. He finally came after 15 hours of being in labor and the medical staff telling me that they highly recommended a cesarean due to the fact that they could not continue going in checking my personal parts without a potential infection occuring. So, I agreed to the c-section, really wondering why they had not come with this suggestion 15 hours sooner. After giving birth, I was expecting to get my newly born child to start the nursing (breastfeeding) process. However, that did not necessarily happen in that way and my baby boy was given a bottle without me knowing why, as I had expressed throughout the pregnancy process and during my appointments, that I desired to breastfeed my child. Needless to say, when I attempted to breastfeed him, the initial process was very challenging not only because he was a new baby but because they had given him a bottle, which allows the milk to flow a lot quicker than the milk that was coming from my breast. On top of that, he was sort of a lazy nurser. He did not want to work for the milk after receiving it from that bottle. Anyway, before leaving the hospital the lactation specialist was able to get him to latch and we thought all was well and heading in the right direction.
To our surprise, once we got our baby home and it was time for his next feeding, it was as if he had not learned to latch at all. Of course this created a stressful environment for the entire family, including the hubs. The baby was screaming to the top of his lungs, I was crying uncontrollably, feeling inadequate because I could not get my new baby to latch so that he could eat and my husband just not knowing what to do to resolve the situation. I'm not sure how long the crying fest and chaos went on before I remembered the nipple shield that I had learned about from the Tara Banks Show, when she was a daytime host. I also received some helpful advice from the pediatrician the following day. After about a week, maybe even two, we had somewhat of a routine down, but of course that wasn't the end of this new rollercoaster ride.
Then came the emotional rollercoaster that I started on because now I did not like how my body looked after birth. When I think about all of this now, I see how the enemy really fought me in my thoughts. He caused me to focus on a lot of temporary things, which in turned caused me to not enjoy my pregnancy process at all. I felt like I was in an emotional bondage which then spilled over into years of me not even wanting to consider having another child. It literally took a lot of praying and reading of the word to help me overcome that mental hinderance.
If you are experiencing pregnancy for the first time or just going through a pregnancy period, try not to allow the enemy to taint your process in anyway. Enjoy it and allow God to show you the beauty in being able to carry and birth life into the earth. Furthermore, understand that once your baby is here, give yourself some time to get to know your little one and the routine that works best for the both of you and your family. In addition, give yourself some time to snap back into shape. Not all of us were blessed with the ability to birth a child and go back to what appears to be our normal body within a month. Besides, you just brought a baby in this world, give yourself time to heal. Talk to God often and allow those in your inner circle to give you that support and help, as needed. It is nothing wrong with receiving help and saying you need a break. Also, understand that every pregnancy process is different so what I experienced may not be your story but let it encourage you and take from my experience what you need to overcome and enjoy the miracle of producing life.