I've never been profoundly confident. As a chubby kid, I wanted desperately to shrink. As much as I wanted to measure my success in good grades and true friends, the feeling of being overweight tethered me to a meager amount of self-esteem that stayed at a low level well into adulthood. But getting pregnant and sensing that I was fulfilling a certain destiny I had imagined for myself helped to fill my cup of confidence. There were even some pregnancy moments that proved I could handle childbirth like a champ; a vision I had never thought possible as someone suffering from low self-esteem and, thanks to my body image issues, pervasive feelings of failure.
I also realized, and rather quickly, that I can’t “win” parenthood. There have been countless times when I’ve felt like I’ve been failing as a mom. Since I work full-time, I’ve had to contend with being pulled in multiple directions and spending a ton of energy shifting priorities around to make sure there was enough of me for everything. That’s an impossible standard, though. There is never “enough.” So far, in my nine years of parenting, my biggest lesson has been in accepting that I can’t, nor should I be expected to, exhaust myself to reach some goal past “good enough.” My children are fed and clothed and housed and educated and loved. Sadly, there are so many kids who aren’t.
Feeling low comes with being human, so when I get a bump in confidence, I relish it. Here are some of the moments during my pregnancy that gave my self-esteem a boost, and proved I’d be able to handle labor and delivery (and everything that was sure to follow) like a boss: