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At its most basic level pregnancy is a physical process that we hope will bring us a healthy baby but pregnancy often gives us many things we hadn’t expected.
Pregnancy touches women on many deeply profound levels.
However easy or difficult your pregnancy is one thing is certain – you will come out of it different than when you went in.
We go into pregnancy naive and completely unaware of the challenges we will face, how deeply it will affect us and how much it will change who we are.
We find strengths we never knew we had as we meet the physical and emotional challenges pregnancy brings.
Things we felt we knew or were sure of often fall away to be replaced by new realities.
Our old priorities no longer make sense.
We come out the other side with powerful lessons that help us through so many other aspects of life.
We asked 14 women what they had learned from pregnancy and how it had changed them.
Here are their answers.
Corinne – I had to Let Go of Control
I was 34 when I was pregnant with our first child. I was well-educated, well-traveled, and well-established in my career. So basically I figured I was well-equipped to handle just about anything, including pregnancy and parenthood.
But being pregnant taught me just how much I couldn’t control.
Every new surprise–both pleasant and unpleasant–forced me to lighten up and be more willing to just go with the flow. That new (at the time) perspective has served me well through so many aspects of parenting over the years.
Corinne blogs at havebabywilltravel.com
Caitlin – I AM Capable
Pregnancy taught me that I’m stronger and more capable than I ever realized. Going into my first pregnancy, I thought I would have a terrible time coping with the discomforts of pregnancy and I couldn’t IMAGINE how I would deal with the pain of childbirth.
Somehow, the love you have for that baby is already there, and it just carried me through all of that. After childbirth, I feel like I can conquer anything.
Caitlin blogs at realmomrecs.com
Christina – I AM So Strong
Pregnancy has shown me how strong I am. There are so many aches and pains and changes that happen during pregnancy that you can’t really prepare for until you are pregnant.
I also had to make lifestyle changes to make sure my body and baby were healthy. So to surrender my whole self to make sure my baby was healthy took strength as well.
Then there’s childbirth.
I had two un-medicated home births so strength was definitely something I learned during those experiences too.
Again I surrendered myself to the experience and the pain to bring my babies into the world. Whenever I think I can’t do something I always remind myself of the strength I had being pregnant and giving birth to my babies and then I think to myself that I can do anything.
Christina blogs at Raisingbiracialbabies.com
Amy – My Mind is Stronger than My Body
Pregnancy taught me that I’m stronger than I think I am. That I have more willpower and that my mind is really stronger than my physical being.
It also taught me to relax more, to take time for myself, and focus on my health. And that I really can sleep all day long!
Dela – My Body is Extraordinary & Perfect
Alli – I Learned to Say NO!
As someone who is a “people-pleaser” by nature, pregnancy forced me to learn how to put my own needs first and be assertive with people.
Liz – I Learned to Be Grateful
After 3 pregnancies, I’ve learned that physical discomfort is part of pregnancy and that I’m prone to complaining about it.
However, I’ve also learned that I need to remind myself that others have longed to be pregnant and can’t, or have to go through extensive measures to have a child.
So when I’m prone to complain I need to instead give thanks for the life growing in me and that I’m able to be pregnant.
And I will say, once it’s over and that baby is in my arms, every day of puking, peeing my pants, not being able to lift my legs, and nausea, it makes it all worth it.
Liz blogs at blueandhazel.com
Ashley – I Learned to Prioritize
Pregnancy taught me to prioritize, which was an essential skill to have after the little one was born. I had a rough pregnancy, and the exhaustion and nausea left me with little energy to get things done during the day.
I had to actually decide what was really important, in all the thousands of tiny things I did throughout the day.
I never knew how much trouble I would have just letting go, and it made me realize how much control I thought I needed in my life.
In the end, I was amazed at how many things I considered ‘essential’ that could just be let go while I worked on taking care of myself and my growing baby.”
Ashley blogs at practicalselfreliance.com
Menesa – I can Withstand ANYTHING!
My grandmother used to often say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I never appreciated this old saying until I had to endure three pregnancies that all caused me to be hospitalised.
For a total of 27 months, I was virtually in a vegetative state. That’s over two years of my life!
My pregnancies felt like a medical condition that only birth could cure. I suffered from a plethora of vicious illnesses including, but not limited to, Hyperemesis Gravidarum (Severe morning sickness), Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (also known as Pelvic Girdle Pain), Gestational Diabetes and Bell’s Palsy.
Before I became pregnant, I was very confident, bold, selfish, narcissistic, impulsive, judgmental, tenacious and career driven. My experiences during pregnancy taught me several things about myself and completely changed my outlook on life and my priorities.
I learned that I had the capacity to withstand anything for the sake of my babies and my family. I also learned to be super efficient and organised. I became a great planner and was more generous.
I also became a self-sacrificing person, whose wants and needs were no longer my only priority. I learned how be kinder, more considerate, understanding and empathetic towards others. I also learned to see things from the perspective of others, bearing in mind their unique circumstances.
My career became less significant and I learned to embrace motherhood, being a wife and to prioritize family values. These are things I never considered prior to being pregnant.
Overall, being pregnant has taught me to be selfless, generous, caring, kind, empathetic and grateful for all the blessings in my life, both big and small. Before being pregnant, I never dreamed that I could, or ever would, be any of these things.
My pregnancies were all extremely challenging. I wouldn’t wish them on anyone. But in the end, I believe that they’ve made me a better, happier person with three beautiful blessings. For this, I am eternally grateful!
Menesa blogs at cleverglamourmomma.com
Samantha – To Love my Imperfect Body
Pregnancy has taught me how to love my body in a different way. I was one of those “lucky” women who got stretch marks during pregnancy.
I have always been small, wore bikinis, and felt good about myself.
Well now I had these stretch marks everyone said would fade (they barely did) and I had to learn to love them.
It’s been a struggle, but you learn what really is important in life when becoming a mom and appearance isn’t one. You learn it’s okay to wear tankinis or even one pieces (they actually make some really cute ones!).
Samantha blogs at journeytosahm.com
Whitney – 3 Powerful Life Lessons
I am Not In Control
I thought I had my life figured out. I always wanted three boys and things were starting off on the right track as I had my first child and it was a boy! On to the next kid and to our surprise, it was a girl. You couldn’t tell me I was having a girl, I somehow convinced myself that since my pregnancy was just like my first that it had to be another boy.
Well, God had other plans.
This was a great slap in the face and reminder that I am not in control. I cannot determine how my life is going to turn out. I can only do what I can and accept the things I cannot change. I wish I would have been more concerned about the health of my child than focusing on something silly like the gender. It’s just a blessing to be able to conceive. The love I have for my daughter is on another level and I’m so thankful that I am not in control.
I am Strong
I went into labor with a mindset that I was going to give birth without an epidural. My sister had an epidural and had complications and after hearing it would cost an additional $800, well, the decision became clear.
I was always told that you can’t do anything with a made up mind and I can’t speak truer words. As painful as labor was I had my mind made up that I could do this, I was strong enough, tough enough, heck, I was made for this! I didn’t know my own strength but I realized the moment I held my baby girl, that I was strong.
To Be More Grateful
As women we go through A LOT during pregnancy and it’s easy to complain and forget the blessing inside us. I was pregnant with a friend at work and my baby lived while hers did not. Being pregnant taught me that I am blessed, unworthy but grateful to experience the miracle of birth.
I will not sweat the small stuff and be thankful for every sleepless night and all the ugly things that come with parenting because I was blessed to have my beautiful blessing.
Whitney blogs at triedandtruemomjobs.com
McKinzie – Positivity is a CHOICE
After a really difficult pregnancy – I had nearly every pregnancy complication in the book – I learned how much I could really handle. I also, learned that under intense pain and trials that I could still choose to see the good and be positive.
Before pregnancy/parenthood I thought that maybe I wasn’t that strong and that under extreme pain and pressure I might break, but this pregnancy showed me that I was as tough as nails!
McKinzie blogs at TodayMommy.com
Onyi – I’m Beautiful Whatever Shape or Size I am
Pregnancy taught me that I didn’t have to feel skinny to feel beautiful. I honestly felt my best with my large pregnant belly which in turn, helped me accept the changes to my body after 2 beautiful kids.
Onyi blogs at Sincerelyonyi.com
Leonie – Life is Fragile
My first pregnancy taught me that life is scary. Life is fragile. There are so many things that are completely out of our hands. Out of our control. My second pregnancy taught me that I am stronger than I thought. More resilient. Braver. There are still things out of my control, but my pregnancies have shown me that I can deal with anything.
Leonie blogs at downpeonylane.com.au
These stories of discovering our own power and strength through the experience of pregnancy make my heart burst. We are all stronger and more capable than we believe. Becoming a mother makes certain that we dig deep and find our limits, our true priorities, our gratitude and so many other things that will serve us well throughout our lives.
Let’s rejoice in that fact!