What should pregnancy feel like? Empowering.

I was so excited when I got pregnant two summers ago, but beginning the journey of our first pregnancy was not what I expected. For some reason I thought I would feel differently, like I would “feel” pregnant, but I figured that would come with time and after we went to our first doctor’s appointment.

In the meantime, my inner psychologist, shamelessly dove into pregnancy research. I wanted to know everything and the reading made me feel closer to that tiny little baby I was somehow magically growing.

The morning arrived for our first appointment with the OB/GYN and we were so excited! I had made a note to discuss ultrasounds with the doctor as I wanted her guidance (amongst a million other notes that I wanted to discuss).

My husband and I arrived, I signed in and the receptionist informed me that I would have the ultrasound first and then see the doctor after. Hyperaware of being in a crowded lobby, I quietly tried to explain that I had questions about the ultrasound so I needed to see a doctor first. The receptionist paused, let out a long deep sigh and loudly told me to sit. She made it very clear that I had just ruined her morning schedule.

I sat back down a little embarrassed and confused.

Why were they were so surprised?

Am I seriously their first patient that had questions about an ultrasound?

I couldn’t help but feel like I was in trouble for questioning the status quo, but most likely I was in trouble for messing up their morning schedule.

When the doctor came in, I could tell she had been warned about me. She spoke sternly and defensively. She didn’t answer any of my questions. Ignored my husband. She retorted that I can refuse the ultrasound, but it would be considered “against medical advice”.

Whoa, whoa whoa…That sounded really scary to me. Am I a bad mom if I do something “against medical advice”?

I wanted to cry.

I didn’t have an agenda.

I wasn’t trying to ruin anyone’s morning.

Then, my maternal instincts kicked in. My husband asked if I wanted to leave, and we bolted.

At that exact moment, high tailing it out of a doctor’s office… I felt pregnant.

I didn’t even recognize myself. Never in a million years would I thought I would be leaving my first doctor’s appointment “against medical advice”. Whatever that is supposed to mean….

Breakfast makes everything better so we went to a diner across the street. I tearfully explained over my scrambled eggs how I felt like a bad mom and I was only 9 weeks pregnant.  I was so disappointed with my provider and with this appointment. Am I going to have to fight like this for 9 months?

That is when we decided to look for a new provider.

Fast forward to the day we met the woman who would deliver our baby.

She spent 2 hours talking with us about our lives, our diets, our stress level, our support from family and friends, and our priorities in this pregnancy.

She addressed our concerns and encouraged our research. She actually gave us more to read. She supported our decisions and knew the more we understood, the more confident we would feel. She explained the importance of a healthy diet, exercise, and self care for a pregnancy. She made me feel empowered, strong, and in control.

Empowered. Strong. That is what being pregnant should “feel like”.

And I guess… sometimes pregnancy feels like trusting your instincts and running out of a doctors appointment, “against medical advice” to go eat scrambled eggs.

Pregnancy feels like not settling for anything less than the best care for your baby, whatever that means to you and your partner.

The moral of my story is to trust your motherly instincts, even if you don’t feel like you have them yet. You may just surprise yourself and end up showcasing your motherhood when you least expect it.

Find a health care provider that makes you feel strong, educated and empowered.

Do your research, take the time to interview people. There are so many options. It is so incredibly worth it.

(Shameless plug: I had a beautiful birth at home surrounded by peaceful, strong and knowledgable women (and my hubby of course) and it was truly the most empowering, beautiful, transformative experiences of my life. I feel like the experience was too sacred to share a “birth story” on the web, but would be happy to answer any questions privately. I am a true advocate of the midwifery model of care and could gab for hours about it.. I just thought I would spare my blog from my endless enthusiasm.)

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For those who are too busy-

If you feel like a slave to your schedule and are overwhelmed by your to-do list then this post is for you.

This post is for me too… I’ve been there. I would work an ungodly amount of hours, then commit to some other gig on my one night off. I kept this pace through college and grad school because that was normal to me. I worked all the jobs, at once… and am really proud of what I’ve accomplished.

All of that to say, I get it. The grind is real. The grind is important. Work Hard.

Go Get It. 

BUT… sometimes we fall into this trap of :

“Let me get through this and I’ll slow down”

“After grad school I will take the time to enjoy things”

“I’ll make time for myself after this semester.”

“Once I get that promotion, I will be happy. I just need to sacrifice”

This is a trap guys. You do not have to accomplish anything to be happy. Enjoy today. Once you accomplish one thing, you are going to set a goal for another thing, so don’t wait. You will never slow down and you are going to miss incredible moments. You are going to miss beautiful relationships. You are going to miss out on opportunities to grow as a person.

So before you add one more thing to that agenda of yours, read this:

  1. Identify Your Personal Values: The answer to this question is going to look different to everyone AND it may change depending on what is going on in your life. Do you want to ensure quality alone time with your partner? Set aside weekly date nights. Do you want to spend more time with your family? Maybe you keep your Saturday mornings free. Do you want to go to the gym daily? Set aside REALISTIC time to go.
  2. Recognize Your Limitations: Take a look at your calendar. Is this realistic? Sure you may grind through a tough few weeks, but can you happily sustain these commitments for a long period of time and stay true to your personal values. It is okay if the answer is no.
  3. Take on Your Conflicts: Now it is time to make some tough decisions. Does this add value to my life? Does this add to my overall happiness? If you get that dread-y feeling before you have to go, it may be a sign that you shouldn’t be doing it. This may mean learning how to tell people “No” or “I can’t right now, I am just too busy.”
  4. Stay Strong. Once you have set your calendar around your personal values stick to them. If you set aside time every morning to go to the gym, go to the gym. If you decided you are not going to work on Sundays, that means actively committing to rest.

We tend to over glorify being busy. Honestly it is ruining our well being, our happiness, our health, and our relationships.

Change doesn’t happen overnight so don’t beat yourself up if your schedule still is a mess, but hopefully you can start to look at things differently and begin to feel more in control of your schedule.

 

One Year Down.. 10 things about motherhood.

Guys, my baby just celebrated her first birthday. I also just celebrated my first Mother’s Day. Last year, my daughter was born promptly the day AFTER Mother’s Day, so I have been waiting to celebrate my first Mother’s Day for a full calendar year now….

So in tribute to the celebrations and milestones, here are 10 things I’ve learned about motherhood so far.

Continue reading “One Year Down.. 10 things about motherhood.”

Is listening the ultimate healer?

A few weeks ago we lost a gem of a human being. I didn’t know much about Michael Sharp, but when I heard an NPR story about a 34 year old Kansan who was changing the world.. starting in the war torn Congo..

Michael Sharp’s story sparked my attention.

What made Michael so effective and so impactful in the Congo? He was known for walking around unarmed, in his plaid shirts and sitting in the shade of banana trees exchanging stories with rebels.

Yep, he just listened to them.

The rebels are complex human beings, with stories and emotions. He could form trusting relationships only once they really KNEW each other. Then negotiations and productive discussions could take place.

Progress is only made once we realize the complexities of our existence.

If this normal guy from Kansas could see Congolese rebels as more than just “bad guys”.. why can’t we?

It is really easy to simply categorize terrorists, criminals, addicts… the worst of the worst as “bad guys”.  It is easier to not care when people are “bad guys”.. not fathers, mothers, sons, daughters who have experienced overwhelming trials.

It is easier to lock people up and drop bombs when it is happening to “bad guys”.

It may be a tough pill to swallow, but we all do it.

Continue reading “Is listening the ultimate healer?”

Enough with the constant need to be happy

Therapist confession:

When I have a client walk into my office and say their goal is to be “happy”… I have no intention to help them be “happy”.

I know, the horror… I am a horrible person. But wait, let me explain.

What is happy anyways?

We are surrounded by a society that is selling us this concept of “happy”… buy this dress, order this supplement, join this yoga studio, sell your home, downsize, upsize, upgrade… you name it. There is always something to do and the reward that is always promised is

happiness.

Continue reading “Enough with the constant need to be happy”

Social Media Cleanse Week 7: Presence through Absence

And just like that we have made it all the way to our last week of the social media cleanse!

You have done all the work, taken all the steps and now it is time to finish this thing with the ultimate cleanse. Deleting your social media apps for the week.

We will fast from Social Media entirely this week.

Try not to think of this as a Challenge per se, think of it as a break.

Physically our bodies actually benefit from periods of fasting from food. It gives our digestive system, and organs a break. Your mind can benefit from a fast as well.

This is your vacation away from the on going world of social media. Log Off. Unplug. Continue reading “Social Media Cleanse Week 7: Presence through Absence”

Social Media Cleanse Week 5: Clean up the Negativity

“Sensitive souls draw in the negativity of others because they are so open” – John Gray How to Get What You Want & Want What You Have

Week 5 of our Social Media Cleanse is an easy one. Clean up shop. I strongly believe that we are all those “sensitive souls” that John Gray writes about. We absorb EVERYTHING. Intentionally or not. We want to be open to the world, so let’s get rid of the negativity we surround ourselves within our daily lives.

Continue reading “Social Media Cleanse Week 5: Clean up the Negativity”

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