This post is related to my own personal experience, regarding well… myself. No one else. I disclose things that are very personal and vulnerable. But I am hoping that this is able to speak to other women (or significant others in their lives) to assist them with feeling (even just a little!) heard or validated during their own pregnancy experiences.
So I am pregnant with my first child! I am into my third trimester already and am about 6 weeks away from the baby’s due date. And I have had a pretty relaxed, or low risk, pregnancy-related to symptoms. Yet, that doesn’t mean that it has been easy for me, especially within the last few weeks and months.
My body has definitely been changing. My belly is growing, and when I was at my halfway point, I would sometimes look at my belly and think to myself, “Why don’t I have the cute baby bump that I see other women have?” I even noticed all those little veins intensifying, and I thought that I look like the Incredible Hulk sometimes… Yuck!
Now that I actually have a baby bump, I love it most days. Some days, I think “Wow, this is huge and I feel huge,” but most days I think pretty positively about it. I will tell you though… when I was in the “in-between” stage of not being in my normal body and before actually having a baby bump, it was difficult for me to think positively about my body. I didn’t feel myself. I felt and looked bloated often. THEN, having sex while looking like that… it was really difficult for me to get in the right mindset or mood. This was mainly because of my mind focusing on my looks at that time. I wasn’t able to have an orgasm while having sex with my husband because I was often in my head thinking about how my body looked. It was a little embarrassing to discuss it with him because he couldn’t understand what changes I was going through with my body and body image. But I forced myself to talk about it with him anyway. I didn’t feel much confidence about my body during the in-between baby bump stage, and I believe this took a toll on my self-image in some ways. It made me really wonder what my body would look like after pregnancy, and I was never a person that focused on what my body would look like in the future. This was a new area of discomfort for myself, and I was not used to it.
Something that really helped me throughout this pregnancy was being very clear about my needs to my husband. I told him pretty often that I was going through lots of changes that I couldn’t see and that I didn’t fully understand. BUT I needed him to always make me feel beautiful and tell me this during the whole pregnancy. And sure as hell… he has! I have also told my husband that I really need him to validate me (something he has been working on) on some of the changes that I am going through.
As far as my mindset, it changes. Most days I’m pretty positive; other days, I feel down and am in a negative mindset. But I have been working on my self-awareness of this, not necessarily to change it, but to give myself space to feel negative if I need to.
Today I invited my husband, Bryan, as a special guest! We are almost 39 weeks pregnant with our first child, and we wanted to share a little bit about how pregnancy has impacted our relationship thus far… We really hope this connects with other couples going through similar things!!! #pregnancy #couplescounseling #marriagetherapy #lifeologiegr
Posted by Rosann Raftery, Marriage and Family Therapist on Tuesday, June 25, 2019
I feel excited to have a baby and am only as ready as anyone thinks they can be for parenthood. However, I haven’t yet wrapped my head around the fact that I will be taking on a new role in my life… being a mother. This makes me question or wonder about it when I think about being a mom. Such as, “What kind of mom will I be?”, “Can I handle this?”, or “Am I ready for this?” and I believe that this plays into my level of confidence in some ways. For example, I feel confident saying that I am a great daughter, sister, friend, and wife (on most days!). But not knowing what being a mom will look like for me makes me question it at times, and this taps into my level of confidence.
No one is really confident with new things in their life anyway, right? But that doesn’t always make us feel any better, does it? I hope that this post is able to make someone feel validated and think “Yeah, me too!” or “I know what you mean! I have been there!”
Every woman manages pregnancy differently, and at Lifeologie we want you to feel supported always! Did you guys know that we have marriage and family therapists that can assist you with the relationship changes with having a child and stepping into parenthood with your partner? AND we even have a therapist that specializes with assisting women, pre and postpartum, with their experience of motherhood. Feel free to give our office a call to see how we can help you today!
About the author:
Rosann Raftery is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and LLPC living in Grand Rapids, MI. She specializes in working with couples and families to assist them in building their communication skills, healing, and strengthening their relationships. She is available for Marriage Counseling, Family Counseling, Pre-Marital Counseling, Divorce Recovery, and more. For more on Rosanne, read her full bio.
At a time when mental health services are more important than ever, Lifeologie Counseling Grand Rapids is offering remote therapy, remote group and mini-sessions, and free 15 minute sessions for front-line workers.