I've gone back + forth over whether or not I'd share what's been going on with me personally. I was uncertain if talking about my experience actually mattered, but lately, I've been reminded that many of life's challenges can be opportunities to help others.
So........I'M PREGNANT! haha
Yep, 37 weeks preggo with a sweet, sweet little girl. Now of course, having a baby isn't something you'd expect anyone to be hush-hush about. But I honestly felt weird broadcasting the deets to the world wide web. In those first few weeks after my husband + I found out we were expecting, my apprehension kicked in. 4 close friends of ours had miscarriages--one of them sharing the heartbreaking news literally the week we found out we were pregnant. So as much as I wanted to celebrate the new addition to our family, I felt guilty, knowing they had just lost a child.
On top of that, I've always been petrified of labor + delivery. I've only seen women give birth in movies or through a Youtube video I didn't mean to click. Nonetheless, I had this image in mind of a woman teeter-tottering with death, sweating insanely, screaming wildly + cursing at everyone within feet of her as her body convulsed to push out a baby. (Kinda like The Exorcist, minus the 360-head spins.) And so, my presumptions + fears of miscarriage brought me to a place of just wanting to be silent.
Things didn't get much better once we started sharing the big news. A few friends warned us to guard ourselves against the avalanche of unsolicited advice + commentary about our little one, but I had no idea about the conversations that awaited us. Guys pitied my husband as they told of the annoying late-night craving runs for ice cream, pickles, hot wings--or sometimes, all 3. He even got pep talks on how to deal with the cuss-outs + random outbursts of crying that were sure to come. Women shared their dreadful pregnancy experiences + traumatic labor stories. From epidurals gone wrong to emergency C-sections, I was told to brace myself for the awaiting pain + agony.
My husband + I quickly resolved within ourselves that we'd walk in confidence, no matter what it looked like or what anyone had to say.
We refused to accept or entertain any negativity that would be spoken over our relationship, my body + our baby girl.
I've been repeatedly told I look "huge" and am "getting fatter + fatter every day," so massive that I "must be having twins." I'm told our little girl will have an attitude problem, since she doesn't move when anyone but me or my husband puts their hands on my belly. And it's been said she'll also arrive super early, will "have a big ol' head," cry all the time + won't ever, ever let us sleep. Like really: what expecting mom wants to hear this stuff?
But now, with less than 30 days to go, I know that just like everyone else had a story to tell, so do I. And I've found strength + humility in being able to say my pregnancy journey is different. It hasn't included me turning into the Wicked Witch of the West, having outlandish cravings or always having my head in a toilet bowl. And my husband + I have actually gotten closer + are better BFFs than we were before. But with any transition into new territory, there will come the naysayers + the we-mean-wellers who'll feel compelled to speak into your life. Yet many times, they share out of a place of their own fears, bad experiences + insecurities. So rather than trying to help you expect the best, they--many times, unintentionally--make you fear the worst.
When journeying into the unknown or believing for the seemingly impossible, it is no coincidence that the 3 amigos of doubt, fear + worry conveniently pop up. They may try to get you to focus on the challenges others have had or dwell on the failures you've experienced. Yet they're power really seems to cripple us through the things people say.
Pregnancy has taught me a ton about walking in confidence. My skin has gotten a whole lot tougher, my marriage has grown stronger + faith has been rooted much, much deeper thanks to every word + thought that's tried to invite anxiety into my heart. So whether you're a mama-to-be or are in a season of changes or challenges, here are 3 tips that can help you live confident!
1. Remember, you are not them.
Every woman, every birth + every baby is different. And so it is for each of us with a goal or a dream. Though the end result may be similar, the journey is unique to each person. But if we know that, why is it so easy for us to take on other's disappointments as though they're our own? The more negativity we hear, the less attainable our goals seem. But remember, you are not them. Your story is your own. I'm not saying to completely turn a blind eye or deaf ear to the less-than-glamorous tales of what others have been through. But what's more important is what you do with what you're told: do you give up hope, thinking you can't/won't gain a different result, or shake it off, knowing that ultimately you've got your own path to carve?
2. Fear thrives in the unknown, so look for truth.
My husband + I have gained tons of baby wisdom--from trusted family + friends, to books, blogs + hospital classes. And I've found that the more I educate myself on what could happen, the more fear loses its power. Gaining knowledge has helped me to have more confidence than I could've ever imagined. Understanding the process of labor, how my body works + how to handle baby's arrival has given me a sense of assurance that I can do this...I was made for this! The same goes for all you go-getters: be teachable. Do your own research, ask questions + become a student of your craft. Knowing what to expect--and even what could go wrong--can not only empower you to make informed decisions, but could help you avoid some mistakes.
3. Dig for + cling to stories of triumph.
Aside from the support of my husband, what helped drown out the not-so-encouraging words of others was to go on the hunt for positive ones. Even though a lot of what I was being told validated every worry I had about becoming a mom, I looked for stories that lined up with what I was believing for. Just as much as we can internalize someone's battle, we can also gain confidence from someone's victory. Sometimes, it just takes that one story of triumph to trump everything else. So whatever hope you have for your future, find people who's stories prove the odds + impossibilities can be conquered.
Are you a mama or mum-to-be? Have you been in the thick of discouragement because folks are being so dang negative? I'd love to hear how you strive to hold tightly to your confidence. Share your heart in the comments below!