Creating Life: Every Woman Has a Story
Life changing events rarely happen — precisely why they are labeled so extraordinarily.
They occur infrequently, and when they do, they leave you feeling…changed. Looking back at this year there was one event that was the simultaneously joyous, challenging, and #lifechanging: learning I was pregnant! As I type this blog from my Mount Sinai hospital bed on NYE 2017, I look back at the experience, and forward to what is to occur in the next few days, and share some of the key lessons I have learned.
In May, I was shocked to find out that my Husband and I were expecting our first baby. I’m 34 years old and have watched as many of our friends have tried to get pregnant, braving major strife just to see that little blue strip on that life altering stick. Yet, we leave behind a year full of political turmoil where violence, terrorism, and the threat of global climate change present a startling new reality for all of us. To bring another human into this, is a big a decision — what kind of world will this be as my baby comes of age? To say this is a huge responsibility is like the understatement of the century. Thus, the past 8 months have been full of self-reflection and as a result, and I have come to learn two major things: 1) the power of tribal knowledge and honesty is invaluable, and that 2) every woman has a story.
The Power of Honesty
Woman need to talk to one another about the real emotions they feel when they go through this process — not just the joyous ones! I am referring to the gritty, real, terrifying doubts that pass through every woman’s head when she learns she is pregnant. By talking about our doubts, fears, and insecurities, we invite other women to do the same. Through the past 8 months, I have watched what occurs when I open up to my pregnant or mommy friends. Rather than putting on a fake smile, and pretending that everything is fabulous, I open up about the surge of my hormones, the aches, the weight gain, the self-doubt, the terrifying reality that I have no idea what I am doing, and the sheer fear that I am going to lose myself.
All these years, I have been creating this persona; this person; this brand — I have been creating me. What happens when I give birth? Does all that go away?! The answer is NO. However, I wouldn’t be able to say that so confidently had I not made all my working friends share the trials and tribulations of how they balanced their two roles: fierce, working females AND mother. I know it won’t be easy, but at least it’s real. Knowing they went through it, and came out the other end managing both, instills confidence in others.
Every Woman Has a Story
I mentioned earlier that I am in the hospital as type this blog. Why? I have been living here for the past 2 weeks, and will be for another week after this, as I gear up to give birth to my son 6 weeks early. Turns out I have a rare condition called Vasa Previa which poses great risk to my unborn child. While dangerous, I was fortunate that my doctors caught the condition when I was 5 months pregnant, and worked to proactively admit me to the hospital at 33 weeks to ensure they could monitor the baby and I, and react immediately in the event of a crisis. While being admitted to a hospital for 18 days, while of sound mind and body, sounds like hell (trust it hasn’t been a cake walk) I have realized that there are so many women with similar or worse situations. Before I was pregnant, I had NO IDEA what women went through mentally or physically to support another life. Whether a woman has an antepartum or postpartum complication, has issues getting pregnant to begin with, or must deal with complications for her child once delivered, the fact remains the same: every woman has a story about the trials and tribulations endured to bring another life into this world.
These stories must be shared to erase the illusion that the norm amongst pregnancies is that they are uncomplicated. By perpetuating that stereotype, we put undue stress on woman who find themselves in situations similar to mine, as they may feel like they are the exception, not the rule. In my experience, the rule is that every woman has a story. I acknowledge that those stories become less vivid as the blessed moments you share with your child become more numerous and time heals, but it is still important to share the realities of the experience to help ease our sisters into this next stage of life with eyes wide open.
In three days, I get to meet my Son. A little miracle that has changed my life so drastically in the preparation for his arrival, that I can’t even fathom what will change once he is here. I know it won’t be easy, but I am confident that with the support system around me full of honest, tribal wisdom, I will ease into this next stage of my life, allowing me to be an enhanced version of the woman I was before I entered.