Image via: Lexy The Leo Tumblr
I have heard it out of my own mouth. I have heard it out of the mouth of my mother. I have heard it from my friends over text messages, phone calls, and coffee dates. The process of letting go that comes with pregnancy and parenthood on every level whether you are trying for your first, have had 4, or are 5 weeks from your due date is an inevitable part of this period of life as a woman. There is a common conversation amongst friends that this journey is all about letting go and gaining something else from a new perspective to a child to an acceptance of self. It is a process of shedding parts of yourself emotionally and physically, and the stages vary throughout the chapters we find ourselves in.
As I am closing out the 8th month in the next week and a half, I am realizing how much letting go has happened in my life in this process. The humility that has overcome me as I look at my changing self in a mirror watching a foot push just between my right hip and right rib is overwhelming in all the wildest ways. I always wondered what this time of my life would be like and how I would feel at this stage just weeks from bringing a life into the world. The one thing I never expected to feel is calm because I have let go of all the control of the situation. I know this little human has his own plan that I cannot control. My body is on a path that I cannot define but only offer it the best nutrients and movement I can at this point. There are only 10 pieces of clothing in my closet that fit these days, and I am not going to complain about it because that is only something temporary. These are all things I am letting go of these days.
There was a time I missed my old body, the abs I had worked hard for and the joy of wearing a crop top with high-waisted pants. In these moments when leggings and sweatpants feel like heaven compared to anything else, those moments both seem a part of another lifetime and as if they won’t ever happen again. I went through a time I mourned the loss of my body that I had and how I felt sexy in that skin. I think you have to go through that as a pregnant woman no matter how comfortable you may feel with your bump. These days when I see old photos of myself, and I now have a completely different eye to how I see myself and critique my body. I have a lot more forgiveness and acceptance than there was before. I now feel silly for thinking I wasn’t fit enough or in the best shape I had been in or given myself too much harsh criticism. Then looking at myself as I am now, I also realize I have a choice about how I see myself. I could continue to mourn what was or embrace what is and find beauty in it. I realized I could let go of thinking I would look any one way during this time and instead embrace just this moment of my body doing something it has been made to do, which is also something amazing and the greatest purpose it has. There was that letting go happening all over again, and it brought me such joy to allow myself to feel the acceptance of myself right now as I am.
More recently, I have been letting go of control and expectations of what life is like in these final weeks and then those first few weeks (months) of having a baby will be like. I no longer allow myself to think he will show up in 5 weeks on my due date. I tell myself he will come in the next 3-7 weeks. This reminds me that this isn’t my decision, and over and over again it gives me peace and calm that this process has its own path that I am not in charge of any of it. I simply am on a roller coaster, strapped in, and my job is to stay calm, relaxed, and focused on self-care and preparing life to be as easy to handle on the other side as it can be. It is hard for me to do this and it has been a daily process of working through the demands of control as someone who likes to anticipate everything. Over time, though this process of releasing my expectations and control has allowed me to also let go of any fear I have about this time, birth, and recovery. I also have released expectations of what he will be like and accepting that he will be who he is, and we will all be figuring it out together. There is a lot of peace in those feelings.
I know there is so much more letting go ahead in these final weeks and then leading into the first months of parenthood. I will say this, though, this process of letting go is something that isn’t easy, but it has allowed me so much more love for myself and grace for myself than I ever expected. Sure I walk slower these days, those size 6 jeans aren’t a possibility, my feet are a little wider, my rings stopped fitting, and it is a serious workout to pull myself out of bed 3-5 times a night to go to the bathroom, but I have respect for myself that I never had before pregnancy, and that is something to be thankful for. I never expected that these last 35 weeks would be some of the best of my life. I expected them to be hard and at times they have been, but I didn’t expect them to make me a better person and more loving of myself as a woman than anything else could have.
So, wherever you find yourself in the process of parenthood and motherhood, I hope you are embracing the letting go that comes with it. Even in the hardest moments, realizing that this whole letting go thing is a part of growth and becoming a more whole human. It has been the best part of this process, especially in these final weeks. Sometimes it is hard to see past what is happening right in front of us or what we are going through, but this challenge and difficulty will pass. Letting it help us grow is just an opportunity we have the choose to accept or not.
Letting go ain’t easy, but I wouldn’t choose to go back to how I perceived things before. Life is better from this process, and I know and expect it only to offer more challenges, more opportunities, and more beauty on the other side.