Remember that time I shot a destination wedding in Mexico?
I will never forget it, not because it was amazing and exotic (which it was), but because the bride and groom, Jamie and Chris, shared such a beautiful love that it had them, all of the guests, and me in tears throughout the ceremony and the reception.
What You Should Know When you're pregnant with your first
Now they are expecting their first child, due any day! I couldn't be happier for them, or for this baby, who gets to enter the world with two incredibly kind and loving parents. While we were taking their maternity photos in Calgary, it brought back so many memories for me of when I was pregnant with my first little one. When you're pregnant with your first baby there are so many things you don't see until you're looking back, so I want to share some of those things with Jamie and all of you almost-mamas that I think you should know.
Dear First Time Mama to Be
There are so many things about having a baby that can distract you from what's actually happening inside you right now, but you should be still every chance that you get. Take the time to stop and really focus on the way it feels to have your baby move around inside you, to rest your hand on your stomach and really take in the fact that there is, there really is, a baby right there, listening to your voice and already loving you right now. These sweet moments are ones you will never want to forget, so take the time to tuck these away in your memory, or even better write them down.
I know that not everything is magical and enjoyable about pregnancy, but Mama, there are beautiful sides to everything, and pregnancy is truly a miraculous thing. Praise and love on your body, because this is you and it working together to reach the pinnacle of physical abilities you have as a woman, to actually create a tiny human.
Enjoy the fact that you can wear tight clothes and not worry about sucking in your belly, because there's no hiding this one! Enjoy those little kicks, enjoy your skin growing and stretching, because this is exactly what your soul is doing as your baby grows. Enjoy that you are able to grow and change so quickly and completely, body and mind, to become more than you were or thought you could be.
Don't Be Afraid
I remember feeling overwhelmed and terrified at points in my pregnancy, I think it's perfectly natural. But so is having a baby! Look around you and see how many women with children there are, and realize that they have all done it, they've all gone through it and come out on the other side. You are just as strong as them! In my moments of greatest fear I would just tell myself, "It's one day, it's just one day that will be painful but then I get to have this baby for my entire life." It is so worth that one day, trust me.
Fill your mind and surround yourself with positive birth stories, and don't be afraid to ask others not to share their horror stories. Looking back, that's definitely something I would do without hesitation now. Know what you need, and don't be afraid to stand up for that (this is also great training for motherhood).
You Are Not Alone
Throughout this journey into motherhood, you are never alone. You are surrounded by women, whether you know them or not, who know your joys and your sorrows, your high points and the aches and pains. We are with you in spirit if not in person, and we will lend you the courage, the determination, the tenderness and the love that you will need to find the sweetest of joy through this journey.
Lean on your family and loved ones, take advantage of the help they have to give. Never be too prideful to accept help when it is offered.
Take Advantage of Time Before Baby
Soon your life will revolve around taking care of a newborn baby for a while, so while you only have yourself to take care of, do it! Take time for yourself and take care of yourself, because once you become a mother, I hear that you never stop being one. Each phase of life is beautiful, so enjoy this phase to it's fullest.
Take time with your Significant Other, you are both becoming parents and life is about to change for both of you very shortly. Enjoy every moment you have together, go out and stay in for date nights as frequently as you can. If you put extra attention into one another now, you will have that banked to withdraw from while you're both a little more distracted with figuring things out once baby is in the mix. Boost one another with confidence and extra love every chance you get, build one another up, so you are both prepared for your next great challenge of parenthood. Take advantage of the time you have as just the two of you, because very soon there will be three.
People may take joy in warning you in a foreboding tone that, "Life is about to change forever!" The truth is that your life is about to change forever, but if no one has told you that this change is the best change that will ever happen to you and your family, then you should know that it is.
It will be hard, it will be the most challenging thing that you will ever do, but nothing else will ever be so rewarding or bring you so much joy. Nothing else will give you the capacity to find and feel so much happiness.
You will grow and change, your heart will expand to hold and give more love than you ever knew was possible. Your baby will teach you about unconditional love and fill your soul with it, and your capacities and capabilities will grow to be able to take care of, handle, and teach your little one.
Motherhood is a constant state of change and growth, so embrace it from those first moments you hold your baby in your arms, your perfect and helpless little baby that has somehow been trusted to you. The love that will wash over you in that moment is inexplicable, it will change you forever, and I'm so excited for you to feel it. You've got this Mama.