Courtesy of Gemma Hartley

A Letter To My Pregnant Self, Before I Had My Sunshine Babies

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Dear Pregnant Me,

Pregnancy is the pits, right? Your feet are aching. Your clothes don’t fit. You’re trying to graduate college, and you're so tired of waddling from class to class, busting your big pregnant ass before this baby comes. You're working long holiday retail shifts at the mall, and it's so hard for you to do your job while strangers try to rub your bulging belly. You’re so ready to be done with pregnancy. Don't worry, it's coming soon. Just get across that graduation stage, and your first baby boy will be here before you know it.

I know you’re thinking to yourself you may never want to do this to yourself ever again. You would welcome labor at any moment if it meant that pregnancy would be over. I get it. I know. You want to resist it. You want it to end. But pregnancy isn’t as bad as you think it is. There are far worse things. Trust me.

I know you think there is nothing worse than pregnancy right now, but you need to try to enjoy it more. Try to relish the way those little feet feel as they kick out your ribcage, even when it hurts. Try to remember that the morning sickness you have every day is a sign that your pregnancy is healthy and strong. Try to embrace each kick and wiggle and roll. Try to love the changes in your body, even the uncomfortable ones, because believe it or not, you’ll miss this someday. You’ll miss it so damn much.

It’s hard to have perspective on how precious pregnancy is when you get pregnant on the first try, but perspective is something you desperately need. This isn’t something you should take for granted, like you’re doing this very second. You’re rushing through your pregnancy like it doesn’t mean anything to you, but someday it will mean the world. Because your first two babies will be your sunshine babies, the babies you have before experiencing a loss. Because someday you’ll have five pregnancies behind you, but only three babies in your arms.

Courtesy of Gemma Hartley

You'll have one more baby after this, and she will be a welcome surprise. Then you will get pregnant again, wonder if you are ready, and before you can even answer that question, that baby will be gone. You'll know the answer then, know that you wanted that baby more than you ever dreamed. So you'll try again - and your body will fail you again. You'll think back on these very pregnant days, and trust me, they will not seem so bad.

A long, healthy pregnancy is more of a gift than you can imagine right now.

Someday, you’ll beg for morning sickness, but it won’t come. Someday you’ll have that probing ultrasound you so look forward to every time you go to the doctor, but it won’t be a happy moment. You’ll wish for the swollen feet, the aching back, the rounded stomach that makes you waddle, but you won’t have any of it. You’ll pass the due date of a baby that never came to be, and wish like hell that you were sweaty and uncomfortable, biding your time as you wait to give birth. A long, healthy pregnancy is more of a gift than you can imagine right now.

I’m not saying you need to enjoy every last second. I know how hard it is. I remember being in those extra wide shoes. But there is a bigger picture to focus on than your temporary discomforts. There is a baby, alive and well in your womb - and that will not always be the case. This miserable moment you’re having right now? It doesn’t hold a candle to the alternative.

Courtesy of Gemma Hartley

There is grief and heartache ahead of you that will make you regret every bad thing you ever thought about being pregnant. There are days that will positively break you. The day your pregnancy ends abruptly, at home in your bathroom. The day you see your ultrasound and there is no heartbeat. Worse yet, the day you spend on a hospital table as your baby is scraped away. The days and weeks afterward that your body will still fight to be pregnant - raging with hormones, further rounding your belly like a cruel joke. These days are far worse than your most awful pregnant day, I assure you.

Try to enjoy pregnancy, before it becomes something you fear rather than celebrate.

Enjoy for a moment that you can go through the day without worrying that something is about to go wrong. Stop and appreciate the fact that you do not feel as if the rug will be snatched from beneath your feet at any second. Acknowledge that you are lucky, even when you don’t feel like it, because the truth is you are lucky. So lucky. Try to enjoy pregnancy, before it becomes something you fear rather than celebrate. It is not something you will always get to take for granted. It is not always something that will seem so bad.

After those two babies you'll never hold, your rainbow baby will come. Even though that pregnancy will be wrought with worry, you will know better than to take the aches and pains for granted. You will enjoy it, relish it, in a way that you never have before. You'll learn to love pregnancy, even when it is difficult. And you'll wish you had known how to love it sooner.