Stay focused on the Gratitude
In the spirit of Thanksgiving I would like to focus on “gratitude” this week. Gratitude is something I do not take lightly. We all have our struggles but it’s within those struggles that our “achievements” begin to shine brightly. As a mom I quietly express gratitude every day to myself. I know I am “grateful” every day for the three kids I have (at least most days). I am also eternally grateful that these three people seem to be happy and well adjusted, (until I find out later through therapy how I screwed them up). But, in all honesty, I am grateful they are healthy, kind, smart people. This is something I try not to take for granted.
I would like to share my first pregnancy and birth story. Even though it was not the picturesque pregnancy and delivery one thinks about, the ending was happy and the experience made me a mother to which I am forever grateful. I also want women to know that pregnancy and delivery has it’s challenges and it’s important to focus on the positive parts. It’s important for women to understand that they are not alone in their experiences and that even though its hard not to compare your experiences to others, it’s important to stay focused on the gratitude.
My first pregnancy came when I was 29 years old. Having my own babies was not on my mind but something I thought would happen in the distant future. I unexpectedly became pregnant by my then live-in boyfriend (now husband of 16 years). A trip to the oral surgeon landed me on antibiotics that apparently negated the effects of my birth control. Yes! That happens. I did not find out I was pregnant until I was around 11 weeks along and almost out of the first trimester. You can imagine my shock as I wasn’t ‘planning’ but trying to ‘prevent’ a pregnancy. My shock and sadness quickly turned to acceptance when we both realized that we were indeed pregnant and ready to introduce a bundle of joy into the world. Even though I was not planning a pregnancy, I guess in a way I was grateful that it was something I did not have to worry or stress about anymore.
The rest of my pregnancy was fairly uneventful. I had no morning sickness and I felt relatively good compared to what I had heard from other women. I did however eat like a 200-pound football player and I gained so much weight that by the end I resembled “Jabba the Hutt” by the third trimester. I exercised hard EVERY single day of my pregnancy, but despite this the weight piled onto my body. This was years before my plant based eating habits, so It could have been my daily trips to In-N-Out Burger! DUH!
The birth unfortunately was not the dramatic soap opera scene I had concocted in my head. Instead, it was very anti-climatic. It was at my 41-week check up that my doctor announced I was borderline “Toxemic” and sent me straight to the hospital for induction. After 24 hours into the induction, labor was not progressing. I was informed that the baby was in distress and a cesarean section was necessary. Though disappointed I could not deliver the baby the “old fashioned way” I understood it was in the best interest of the baby and myself. So I was grateful that my baby eventually was brought into the world healthy and safe.
After childbirth my body looked like something out of a sci-fi horror film (which no one tells you about) but I persevered as women do and with time and dedication I began to take the shape of my former self once again. I learned that even though things change with our bodies, it’s important to keep fighting for our health and strength. I have learned to “embrace” the imperfections that do not live up to ones expectations. Gratitude is a mindset and a way to reflect on the best things in your life.
Continue to be grateful and love not just the babies you created, your family and friends but love YOURSELF. Even though I joke that I looked like “Jabba the Hutt”, I was grateful that I got to have the experience even though my body was unrecognizable. Passing on gratitude is something you role model. You show your child(ren) it’s important to be grateful for everything in life. Being strong and healthy is just two of the many things to be grateful for. Exercise and proper eating habits prove “gratitude” as you are willing to be your best “self” for you and for them.