I’m Pregnant, and that’s OK

Lately, almost every day I reach a point in the evening where I throw up my hands and wail in despair “I don’t know what’s wrong with me!” To which my husband replies “I do”, and points to my round protruding belly.

Now that might sound like he’s being mean, but really he’s not. My poor husband has been trying to convince me for months of the obvious fact that I am pregnant. More than that really, he’s been trying to convince me that it’s OK to be pregnant.

You see, I hate being limited. I refuse to admit it when I’m on the verge of passing out after church on Sunday, and even when my husband suggests that I go take a nap while he watches the kids, I feel guilty for “wasting time” napping. I feel guilty all the way up the stairs to my room until I pass out for 2 hours straight and wake up thinking “wow, I guess I really did need that nap.”

My hips ache, so it’s not as easy to pick up the toys off the floor, but wouldn’t I be a failure if I left them there? So I crawl around trying to collect all the toys, and I find myself shouting directions to my kids from the couch, and getting frustrated when we can’t achieve everything I wanted to get done.

Instead of being OK with some extra toys on the floor, or realizing that some of my parenting will change as I get closer to my due date and eventually have a newborn baby that I am looking after, I get fed up with myself. All the little things I am “failing” to keep up with through each day add up to frustration, which in turn makes me more impatient as a parent. My perfectionism kicks in again, and nothing I do is good enough.

And in my mind it’s all because I am pregnant!


This is the first pregnancy that I’ve allowed myself to face the fact that for me, pregnancy triggers shame.

It took some time for me to be OK with my body during pregnancy, but (other than a few insecurities here and there) I’ve been doing better with body image. I’ve learned to embrace how my body can carry and provide for the little life inside, even if that means weight gain and stretch marks.

However, I am still battling negative self-image in other ways.

Instead of embracing what my body can do in this stage of pregnancy, I resent every little ache and pain because it slows me down. If I take the rest I need and try to relax about my to-do list, I hear the old tapes playing in my head, telling me that I am lazy and selfish. But when I push myself to try to keep up with what I am capable of when I’m not pregnant, I end up paying for it later when I am aching and contracting on the couch.

For some reason, being pregnant brings back old insecurities. I remember my mom being pregnant, exhausted and emotional, always after us kids for all the work we were making. I remember running the house while she tried to sleep or was confined to bed with infections or back pain. I was never quite able to do it all correctly, I was always behind, it was never good enough. I always told myself that I would not do that to my kids, and most of the time I am confident that I am not my mother. But when my body lets me down, all the old fears of letting my kids down despite my best efforts come rushing back.

So I fight it. I try to fix the old messages by falling into the old patterns.

And it never works. It just ends with me wailing “what is wrong with me?”

Whether I want to admit it or not, I am 7 months pregnant. It takes effort to get off the couch, and even more to get off of the floor. Sometimes I have to change my outfit 3 times before I find a shirt that still covers my belly. I can’t lie on the floor and wrestle with my kids anymore. Sometimes I can’t get comfortable at night (despite my 3 pillows) and sometimes I can’t keep my eyes open during the day.

But being pregnant does not mean that I am limited in compassion or empathy. Pregnancy does not mean that I can’t tickle my kids, give them lots of hugs, and read books together. Having to rest on the couch does not mean that I can’t smile and encourage my kids, it does not mean that I can’t be a content person. Pregnancy does not mean that I am not an involved, loving parent.

I may be more limited in my physical abilities that I would like, but being pregnant does not mean I am a different person, a worse mommy, or an undesirable spouse.

I can remember to accept my limitations and appreciate what I CAN do.

I’m pregnant, and that’s OK.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16891461692390092827 rachel

    It's so hard to believe that some days! My husband is much more compassionate to me than I am to myself, which is a huge blessing. I can't imagine it doing it with 3 little ones!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08863579550620358675 Jill

    Beautiful…and honest. I hope you can embrace those things that being pregnant does NOT mean. You are pregnant and it is ok.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Rachel- It is hard to believe! I still feel tempted daily to see all the ways I don't measure up to the ideal in my head. My husband is also very compassionate and helpful, which is slowly healing me from my need to be perfect.

    Jill- Thanks. :) It is getting easier to do all the time.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08135229596877003069 Michelle

    Speaking to me, girlfriend! Sometimes I have a hard time with many of the things you mention…I'm MUCH MORE impatient with my children when I'm pregnant and I hate that! But I've been working really hard at taking a deep breath to remind myself that my reactions are within my control…but I still fail sometimes. Hang in there…I can't believe it's already 7 months!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03792937108732259684 priest’s wife

    It sounds like you are working through these issues- but just remember…your body is a cathedral- only YOU can make this new baby for your family- pretty amazing, no?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Michelle- I hear you! And I hate it too. I think we all fail sometimes, the days I am most likely too are the days I refuse to be OK with my limitations.

    Priest's wife- It is amazing! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05014351173194941624 Sally Thomas

    It is amazing, and something — as a post-menopausal mother — I'll miss for the rest of my life, and didn't treasure nearly enough at the time (too busy wishing my hips didn't ache!).

    And yes — my worst days even now are the days when I think I can be perfect and do it all, or just refuse to age. *That's* when I'm the hormonal witch. The better days are the ones when I actually manage by God's grace to be humble, ask for help, get the kids to at least make a stab at cleaning, rather than storming around trying to do it all myself and be all martyred about it, and just don't look at what's not clean or finished or a restaurant-quality dinner or whatever.

    Or, well, maybe the best thing to do is to look all the imperfection and unfinished-ness and process-of-becoming in the eye, so to speak, and love it, since that is what God does with us.

  • http://nowealthbutlife.com Rae

    I want to yell "good for you" because this really is so wonderful. My thought while reading your first few paragraphs was "of course you're stressed, you're trying to do it all without an 'eldest daughter' to pick up the slack." It is so huge that you're consciously working to retrain yourself from the unnatural expectations of your childhood.

    I've been twisted as well. When reading recent first-time mothers blog, I feel some compassion, but I also think "um, you have it so easy. Imagine doing all this plus dealing with toddlers."

    I am glad that your husband is able to love you well, even when it is hard for you to take care of yourself.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Sally- That is another reason why I am working to let go of perfection, I want to be able to enjoy every moment of the pregnany and new baby/post partum phase.

    Rae- Thank you! The toddlers certainly add to the stress. :) But they are my constant reminder of why I am working wo hard to change the way I think about it all.

  • http://melissabrotherton.com/ melissabrotherton.com

    What's funny is that it doesn't end with the pregnancy. I have four children aged 6 and under. I am getting 4-5 hours of **interrupted** sleep a night. Yet I feel so awful for not having a sparkling clean house, dinner prepared every night and a cute outfit on. Somedays it's all I can do to get dressed in time to pick up my eldest from kindergarten.

    I guess my mantra is: I'm a mom, and that's ok. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16968048136720936198 Justine

    Preach it sister! Sometimes we are our own worst critic, and when we fall short of our own expectations, we are harshest on ourselves. I fall into that easily myself.

    Guess we're both due around the same time as I'm 7 months pregnant too (with my second). It is exhausting to keep up with a toddler when trying to grow another in the belly, so I can only imagine it's that much harder for you.

    I am often reminded to be more gentle with myself, and it has helped. Your husband sounds like a wonderfully supportive partner, and we absolutely need them sometimes, and it's OK. I think they like to be needed too.

    So let's celebrate this pregnancy, let's be kinder to ourselves, and let's enjoy every moment we have with this baby in our belly because once they're out, I'm sure we'll have plenty of other things to keep us up at night :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Melissa- It certainly doesn't end with pregnancy! I've been writing about this topic all last year in my posts on mama health and perfectionism. And you are right, it is OK.

    Justine- My husband is great. :) And definetly enjoy every moment, it really is over too soon.

  • hang in there

    Praying for you for grace and peace young mom.
    It is challenging being pregnant and caring for little ones. Hoping you can be healed of all that brings you shame

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14699955845365891373 ClassiclyAmber

    This is a good post for all women to read, as we ALL tend to be perfectionists and too hard on ourselves! I have definitely experienced some of these things. Gotta keep the big picture in focus! Thanks for sharing.

    And from one preggo to another – happy trails and blessin's on the rest of your pregnancy~! :D

  • http://grace-filled.net jen

    it's definitely ok to do what you need to do for yourself right now. napping is not "wasting time" — it's helping you to grow your baby.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Young Mom

    Hang in there- Thank you.

    Amber- So true! This really is something everyone struggles with in some way. Congratulations on your new baby coming. :)

    Jen- Totally agree in my mind! Still struggle to let my emotions agree. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09723067016206324874 Claire

    May the beautiful mama and the precious little life that your pregnant body is so wondrously cradling both be blessed! (especially on the hard days) =)

  • Christine

    I don't think your growing baby would call you "lazy" and "selfish" for taking a nap or going slowly. It's exactly the opposite, in fact, considering how much you're offering to him/her with this pregnancy.