Change is Hard.
I’m certain I always knew this, but this is something that has become so clear to me in the past few years: change is hard. No matter what that change may be – moving to a new home, changing jobs, embarking on a healthy new lifestyle or letting go of relationships that no longer serve you. The thing is, inherently we are mostly intelligent people who recognize that these changes are hard from a hypothetical place; embracing and living these changes, however, has been my greatest challenge.
Rewind two years ago – after a wildly wonderful and carefree summer with the love of my life I truly thought that this is as good as it gets. We had plenty of time, love and disposable income to go around, but had been trying for quite some time to have a baby. I was training for my first mini triathlon and was in the best shape of my life. We suffered a few miscarriages very early on in pregnancy that summer and I had basically convinced myself that even though we couldn’t have children our life was so incredibly adventurous that it didn’t matter as long as we had each other. I suffered tremendously from “what’s next?” syndrome and always had a million and one things on the go. To fill the void I began to crave some life changes – so rather than ease in we did things in true Lauren fashion and did all within six weeks: we moved, I started a new job and – low and behold – one week before Christmas found out we were pregnant.
For the most part pregnancy was easy physically for me. Well, aside from the time I refer to as the Apocalypse – the first 16 weeks spent with my head in the toilet every evening. I was able to keep up a decent workout routine and was able to avoid the dreaded heart burn, water retention and other glorious side effects of human growing. There was always this nagging guilt that seemed to eat away at me over time. I thought that I was supposed to feel “magical” and “bonded with the miracle growing inside of me”. I didn’t know if I had missed the mom chromosome or if I would ever love my baby but I HATED being pregnant. While everyone else around me seemed to be carrying on with life and doing all the things that brought them joy, I wrestled with the fact that I could do none of the things that brought me joy – road biking, running, hot yoga and wine to name a few. Luckily I was enduring this phase of life with a few of my nearest and dearest. We started a group chat with witty banter about all the dehumanizing parts of being pregnant and were convinced that we should create an app with the true and untold parts of pregnancy. We even went on a “babymoon” together. My girls were my sanity and I will be forever indebted to all of them for seeing me through a time I really didn’t embrace.
Looking back I genuinely adored moments of the summer that made us a family of 3. I had amazing quiet moments at home with my husband which we certainly would not have slowed down enough to do had I not been pregnant. But there were dark moments as well. I remember one particular melt down at the kitchen sink where I lost the plot. With tears cascading into the dishwasher I was telling my husband I was basically a shell of my former self that I hardly recognized. Too much, right? Each yoga class or spin class I agonized about what I could do yesterday but couldn’t do today because of my growing belly. I tried prenatal yoga. I was feeling quite awesome for about the first 10 minutes until the teacher asked me to flex my kegel muscles at a 5/10 and then 9/10 level. Wait, what? There are levels? And on top of that I had to google how to spell kegel. Regardless I’m now very certain I do not have this sort of muscle ability she spoke about; full body seizing does not count. Following this yoga class I ran immediately to a spin class downstairs where the man sitting beside me moved bikes because he didn’t want to be responsible if I went into labour. No wonder I ugly cried into the dishwasher. .
I tried to find peace with it, but failed. It sounds ridiculous now, but it was my truth at that moment. I also had to refrain myself from yelling profanities at people who said “rest up – you’ll never sleep again” or “enjoy these moments” or my MOST FAVORITE: “good luck getting fit with a newborn”. Get F’d. I thought I could also keep this G rated. Sorry. Mom fail #9,785…. and counting.
I hadn’t had a comfortable sleep in months and I hardly recognized myself when I looked in the mirror. This certainly wasn’t a time I could enjoy. At the end of the day it was the change I was terrified of. I mean, I felt lucky to be married to a man I loved beyond words and we were blessed with the financial freedom to adventure the world. I was so scared about losing that love with my husband after hearing on so many occasions how woman throw themselves into their child rearing and wake up 18 years later beside a total stranger. I was hell bent this would not happen to me. I was also paralyzed by the thought of child birth. To me child birth was equitable to death and I couldn’t imagine surviving it.
Pregnancy was 40 weeks of truly understanding that change is hard – but what’s harder is being crippled by fear of what lies ahead. As what I’m sure you’ll find as a shocking plot twist, I survived child birth and the first year of my sweet girl’s life with unimaginable joy – but it wasn’t always pretty. When I reflect back the only advice I could really give to another woman is to allow yourself to feel all of those things. Some days you will feel fierce and some days you will dread getting out of bed. You are a warrior, an awesome mom and yes: pregnancy blows. Am I allowed to say that?