There is not a book you can read, a person you can talk to that can adequately tell you what to expect when you are expecting. There is not a article or an expert that can prepare you. I’ve read the book (I’ve read many books to prepare), I’ve seen the movie (and yes I’ve quoted it over these 9 months). I took birthing classes. I’ve talked to my mom, other moms, moms to be. I’ve sat through college classes on pregnancy and childbirth. I’ve even taught labor and delivery to a bunch of high schoolers back when I was teaching. But no where in all of that preparation did I really learn the truth of what to expect while I was expecting.
Sure I learned about hormonal changes, sore breasts, acne, back ache, morning sickness, weird cravings, and more. I learned about all of those things. I had read them I had taught them. I have experienced a few of them myself. Yeah, I got heartburn for the first time. I slept and slept and slept like I didn’t know I was capable of. I planned the excuse I would use if I got pulled over for speeding because I had to race home and use the bathroom. I watched my body change. I felt things move and expand. I watched as clothes were set aside because they didn’t fit anymore. I watched as the portions on my plate got smaller because I didn’t have room for another bite. I watched my body grow another human being.
I listened to the advice that comes endlessly when you are pregnant. And truly I appreciated most of it. I listened as people told me about their pregnancies, about their friends pregnancies, about their deliveries, about their horror stories, and more. I read articles and read the weekly notifications that compare your baby to the size of a vegetable you have never heard of. You will get mounds of advice and differing opinions. Even the experts can’t seem to agree on some things. I was astounded at how many people took an interest, who showed great love and kindness. People who gave gifts and asked how I was doing.
All of these things I knew to prepare for. I knew they would happen. I had read about them, studied them.
Expect to be surprised. Expect to be scared. Expect to feel inadequate. Expect to feel joy. You will feel all of these things and more while you are pregnant. Yes expect to feel the aches and pains of growing a person inside of you. Expect the changes that will come to your body and your hormones. Expect the well meaning advice of others. Expect the love and support of those you care about. Expect to feel bipolar as part of you is elated to have a baby and part of you is terrified. Expect to wonder if your mind or your emotions are in charge of you. Expect to go through unplanned tests and procedures. Expect that you will some days glow a beautiful pregnant glow, and that other days you will be leaning over the toilet. Expect that people will touch your belly, because they will. Expect that total strangers will ask you about your baby. Expect that you will question your ability to care for and provide for this child, at least once. Expect all of those things you read and more. Maybe if you are lucky you will escape a few of them.
What no can prepare you for, what you can’t read from a book, what no blogger can write, what no friend can say, what advice no one can give is what to expect about your capacity to love.
My advice to all of you mom’s to be out there:
What to expect when you are expecting… EXPECT LOVE
Expect to love in a way you have never loved before. A love that is only understood by parents. A love that no one can verbalize or tell you how profound it is. A love that can’t be captured or contained. A love that will continue to evolve and grow. A love that knows no bounds or limitations, that isn’t dependent on performance or achievement. This love comes from God. This is how he feels about each of us.
Expect to experience that perfect miracle moment, the rush of God-like love, many times while you are pregnant. You will fall in love over and over with this little person. The day you take a pregnancy test, the first ultrasound, the first heartbeat, when you find out the gender, and feel that first kick. It comes when your spouse feels them move, when you realize the two of you have created something perfect. It comes in days when you are scared and don’t feel them move. It comes when you feel them hiccup or roll. It comes when you count down the weeks, the days. It comes as you are awake for the third time that night but lay there to feel them move again. It comes as you rub lotion over that stretching skin and they push back. That miracle moment you first see that little person you have grown to love over the last 9 months. Those miracle moments make the back ache, the sleepless nights, the heartburn, the tears, all of that worth it. It makes everything you experience worth it because you have come to love in a way you didn’t know was humanly possible. A perfect selfless love that 9 months ago you didn’t know you had.