Written by: April Vargo
Now that I am approaching week 20, and halfway through my pregnancy, I've been looking back at how much my life has changed. I really didn't think much would change, other than growing a human, but I figured life would pretty much continue as normal. Man, was I wrong! I have changed quite a lot in these last four-ish months and learned so much.
I don't think any woman really knows what's ahead of them when they find out they're pregnant. You hear the stories of sickness, being tired, and an ever changing body. The truth is, the experience is different for every woman.
I haven't experienced morning sickness, but instead extreme fatigue along with some other fun little nuances. The experience thus far has been incredibly humbling. My very first doctor appointment was actually a huge wake up call. As I was listening to all of the information and learning what I was allowed and not allowed to eat, how to start taking care of myself, tests, and what's going on inside of me, it hit me.....I am literally growing another human. My choices in the next nine months will directly impact another human. I could make a mistake that could have an impact on another life. This is something that I had never thought of before.
Needless to say, I realized that this new venture was a full time job and my very first priority. I am now in charge of growing a healthy, happy baby. Everything else needs to come second to that.
In finding out the good news, I was working two jobs at the time.....running my business / teaching full time, and directing a musical. My hours would fluctuate on some days between 7:00am to 11:00pm. I would try and take naps where I could, watched what I ate, and tried to stay on top of everything.
There was one point where I literally couldn't move. I had to call off a couple nights and ask for others to run rehearsals because there was no way I was going to make it. I talked to my doctor about this, and his response has stayed with me and made me put things into perspective. "Your days of being superwoman are nearing their end, you can't do it all."
I never thought of my schedule or daily life as "superwomanesque" at all. For me it was normal. As I was describing my daily schedule it became clear to me that changes needed to take place. I learned a great deal about myself, my body, and my future goals. The lessons I have learned, and honestly, are still learning, are good lessons for life, whether you're pregnant or not. They are actually things I plan on following during life after pregnancy.
1. Taking care of yourself is crucial - the human body will always get what it needs
The human body is amazing. I will definitely attest that I didn't always take the best care of it. I tend to push myself until I have nothing else to give, and then get up and keep going. Somehow my body always kept up with me.
What I didn't realize is when you have another person who is living off of you, you don't get to make the choices anymore. When you need sleep, your body will absolutely shut down and you WILL sleep. When you're hungry your body knows what it wants / needs to get nourishment. If it doesn't agree with you, it finds a way to get rid of it, sometimes immediately.
I've learned to stop taking my body for granted, stop pushing it to the max, and take care of myself first. If you're always busy taking care of everyone else, you're operating with a low tank, and honestly, are not any good to anyone anyways. Take the time to drink plenty of water, get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, and keep mobile. If you take care of your body, you'll notice your ability to function increases exponentially.
2. Time Management - Setting Priorities
I have always considered myself to have excellent time management skills. I love lists, goals, and crossing off items as they get accomplished. However, sometimes the expectations we put on ourselves for any given day aren't feasible. When life happens, and not everything gets done, it feels overwhelming.
Before pregnancy, I could tackle a pretty hearty list in conjunction with all of my other daily responsibilities. However, I quickly learned that I wasn't able to tackle quite as much. I would get frustrated at my lack of progress, thinking I got absolutely nothing done that day. I hate being unproductive.
Many times things would come up out of my control. For instance, my dog running in the house with dirt all over his feet right after a long day of teaching. I had to chase him down, give him a bath and clean up the mud he tracked in. This was something I hadn't planned on, and honestly didn't have time for that day. When my husband came home from work I was so incredibly frustrated and angry at the day's events.
He was the one who said, "maybe you're trying to do too much. Set more attainable goals, and stop trying to do it all." This was huge, he was right. The next week, my lists got more focused and slightly less, and I realized I was so much more productive, less frustrated, and able tackle events that were out of my control / not planned.
3. Accept Limitations - Be Comfortable Saying No
This slightly piggy-backs off of #2. Once you know what you can do and what you are comfortable doing, start looking at what just isn't feasible. Maybe it's time limitations, physical limitations, experience limitations, or simply not being interested. Whatever the reason, if an opportunity or task doesn't feed into your main goals or ideas be okay with saying no.
I have started to become very focused on what it is that I want. I know that I want to continue to grow and operate my business while raising a family. I am making decisions now so that these ideals and goals will become a reality. If it doesn't fit into the business or personal goals I want to achieve my answer is no.
4. Surround Yourself With Strong, Positive People
I have done a pretty good job of cutting negative people out of my life, however, I've really started to acknowledge and grow closer to strong people who genuinely care and lift you up.
I was told by a close friend that pregnancy will actually make you see people and situations in a different light. Hormonally you change, and you start to have less patience for people's b.s. Sometimes you may look at someone or a situation and be like, "have you always been like this?" It changes your perspective, gives you clarity. I would say this is absolutely true!
I have very little patience for negativity, incompetence, and fake niceties. I realize life is way too short to be surrounded by drama, and there are so many amazing people out there who are looking for exactly what you're looking for.
I have grown closer to friends and family members, while also creating new relationships. I have developed incredibly strong opinions of how I want to live, run my house, and raise a family. Having a strong network of people (I know tribe is the popular term now) that will grow and add to my family will help to set good examples for my children, while also building close relationships for my husband and I.
Don't be afraid to acknowledge relationships that are both good and bad, and figure out ways to cultivate those and grow.
5. Spend Time Where It Matters Most
Time is the most valuable asset we all have, how we spend it is absolutely key. I looked at the calendar just yesterday and couldn't believe we were already halfway through January. Seriously where has the time gone?! I've been told the older you get, the faster it seems to move. Enjoy it! Don't rush to the next day or the next task, but live in the moment. The little moments are where the most cherished memories will live.
Hopefully some of these little lessons will help you. If there are ways that you feel you can incorporate these in your life, don't wait, start now. If you want to share these ideas or more, please feel free to comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Have a fabulous rest of your week everyone!