HELP… I’m Having a Baby!

Our personalities change as seasons in our lives change.

A couple of years ago I found myself in a place where I was striving for a healthier lifestyle than the one I was living. Healthy eating and exercise quickly became a very big part of my everyday routine, loosing inches & dress sizes until I reached my desired goal.

It all sounds great. It was. I’m not being big headed or trying to blow my own trumpet, but I do allow myself to be proud of the progress I’d made; so just imagine, finding out everything is going to change.

Body image is very hard to get a grip on. Even when you reach where you want to be, the mind still picks out your flaws, it’s hard to shake the old way of thinking.

When I found out I was pregnant, all I could think of was my progress unravelling and not being able to do anything about it! I kept thinking, “well I’ll never look this good again.” Honestly I started looking up pictures online of women at different stages of pregnancy, following progress of ladies documenting their pregnancy & comparing my size to theirs to imagine what I would look like, wondering what size I would end up. Mentally it was exhausting, combined with the first 12 weeks of growing a baby, it was physically exhausting. I tried so hard to complete workout videos in my living room to keep my weight under control; I could probably count on one hand how many I’ve actually done. Instead of fulfilling all the things the internet told me we’re good for a healthy pregnancy, I spent most of my time outside work, sleeping on the sofa or eating a lot of toast & pasta. This was what was good for my body, but mentally I was angry with myself. Annoyed that I wasn’t even helping myself to stay on track. No matter how much my brain was motivated, my body just couldn’t keep up.

As my body grows, so does my mindset.

We attended our dating scan, it was the first moment we both realised the enormity of what was happening. I lay there on the bed, cold jelly on my, physically, relatively small tummy (mentally, my very huge tummy), whilst my husband held my hand. That’s when we first saw baby. The little human life growing away inside of me. A human. An actual human being! We watched as the sonographer took the screenshots & measured the baby’s length all before telling us the due date. I lay there thinking. Thinking about this little life on the screen. Thinking about our current life and all of the upheaval of our house renovation. Thinking about our lives all combined together next year. The little black and white image of our child danced around on the screen, surely this was more important than any thing else.

A few weeks passed and we had another appointment. We knew we wouldn’t get to see baby for another few weeks though. We entered the doctors room & I was invited to lay on the bed again. All off a sudden the room was filled with the sound of clattering hooves. The heartbeat. So strong. So determined. So definite. We all looked at each other, smiling, listening, not wanting this moment to end. As I listened to the sound of our baby’s heart, I couldn’t even begin to raise those selfish thoughts of my changing body again. All of my thoughts were loving & hopeful and filled with excitement. If I could hear that sound everyday I’d will my body to change more, I’d welcome it with open arms!

Our anomaly scan was extra special. As a scientist, the human body fascinates me. The sonographer carefully found the orientation of baby & began to skilfully point out all the organs. As she mentioned the heart, the four chambers showed up on the screen. Delicately beating. I couldn’t believe all of this was happening inside me. My changing body was doing so much that I couldn’t see until now!

8 weeks later & here we are. I definitely don’t fit in any of my jeans. Some of my favourite clothes are a bit snug. Any new items I’ve bought are a size or two bigger than my normal. Don’t get me wrong I sometimes still look in the mirror and have a little sulk. I don’t have a lovely baby bump, I just look larger, and this “glow” everyone chats about, I certainly don’t have that either. I’ve accepted it. This is my body & it’s changing for a greater purpose. My new found love of growing our baby has overturned any vain thoughts I previously had. I’m tired. Heavy. Not quite myself most of the time; but this journey isn’t just for me. It would be selfish to think that it was. This baby is a gift. A gift for my husband & I. A gift for our families.

When I think back over this pregnancy, I don’t want to remember feeling chunky, or worrying that my clothes are too tight. I want to remember all these firsts. I want to remember all the stages that we witnessed our baby as it grew.

I began writing this blog to remember my journey of maturing into motherhood. I’ve listened to many podcasts where mothers, when asked the question what does being a mum mean; they answer putting others before yourself. Already I understand. The female body amazingly grows & births. It’s such a natural process, all to protect the little life inside.

I know my journey will be long and I’m looking forward to learning as I go, but already I feel that so many other mamas out there are helping each other with their words & experiences. It’s easy to think, “I’m never going to be a great mum as I was more worried about my changing body shape than the development of my baby;” but I’m not the only one! This community that is being built is amazing. Beautiful honest posts about motherhood help others see that it’s not always rosey, and that’s 100% ok!

Written by Ashleigh Maginnes for her blog, Mamaturity.