What caught me by surprise the most about finding out (and pregnancy in general), was minding the gap between reality vs expectations, right from the very beginning.
Since I can remember I’ve had a yearning to be a mother and to have a family of my own. Although becoming a mother is something I’ve always been sure that I wanted, finding out and navigating the reality was far more challenging (and wildly different) than I ever imagined.
As someone who has written about personal experiences for 7+ years online, I thought I would continue to share just the same throughout my pregnancy. Yet, the reality is that I have written countless partly finished blog posts on my experiences during pregnancy. When it came time for final edits and hitting publish, I paused and changed my mind. While I was in the thick of it, it simply didn’t feel right to share what I was going through in any context other than face to face, with the people that I’m closest with.
Pregnancy is such a vulnerable time, more than I still can put into words authentically. It’s only in the final weeks of my pregnancy where I now feel comfortable sharing some of my experiences online in hindsight.
Although nobody has to share anything online, there is a reason I do it, and it’s really simple: I believe sharing our stories is medicinal. When we recognize one another in each other's stories and experiences, we feel less isolated and alone. I believe the power of sharing our stories helps people feel more connected, more supported, and more at ease. And that’s really my goal in writing, in teaching yoga, and in the rest of the work that I do.
Pregnancy can be transformative, overwhelming at times, rollercoaster of a ride (at least it has been for me). From finding out I was pregnant, to navigating a new dynamic and trajectory with my partner, experiencing every pregnancy symptom under the sun, and rearranging aspects of our lives to prepare for our baby.
We are beyond thrilled, excited, supported, and as ready as we can be, now — yet the weeks and months leading up to this moment haven’t been the steadiest of rides. And that’s okay.
I found out I was pregnant on the last day of my prenatal yoga teacher training. I know, I know, talk about timing. And even though I saw those two lines on the test, I was in complete disbelief. I even took a photo of the test result and showed it to one of the women in my training to confirm what I was seeing. I’ve never legitimately questioned one of my senses to such a degree. I just simply couldn’t believe it.
I called my partner as soon as I found out, but I don’t remember the conversation whatsoever. I don’t remember where I was, or what I said, or what he said. I was in shock and complete disbelief.
I took another test to confirm the next day, and it was negative — which naturally led to more shock and more confusion.
We followed up with a blood test for a definitive result and it took two weeks to come back. When the results were in, the doctor informed me my blood hCG levels were so low she believed I may have had a miscarriage, and that I should retest in 2 weeks to see if my levels were rising, and therefore know for sure if I was still pregnant. 4 weeks after that initial blood test we had a definitive answer, finally.
I was definitely pregnant.
Those few weeks between the first and fourth test I felt as if I was suspended in time. Seconds felt like hours, and the days crawled by slower than ever. So many uncertainties, so many questions, yet all that could be done was to be with it, every bit of it. To breathe into it and experience the whirlwind of emotions, moment by moment.
I have never used my yoga practice more than I have in those few weeks. Not so much the postures (except child’s pose and Savasana), but the principles. Over and over I had to drop out of my mind and into my body. Over and over I had to remind myself no matter what, in the grand scheme of things, everything is going to be okay. It was such a practice to re-connect to that underlying current of ease that lives just below the surface of things. That ease that exists within the spaces between the thoughts, between the breath, underneath, and within it all.
Not only was I struggling with my current reality of uncertainty, but I found it equally as difficult to let go of my expectations of what I thought finding out I was pregnant “should” be like, instead of leaning into what was actually happening, here and now.
I always imagined when I found out I was pregnant it would be this instant, joyous, celebration of life — with a hell of a lot more certainty. Yet the reality was far, far from that.
It was a slow adjustment and a continuous practice to drop what I thought my life and pregnancy should feel like, and truly meet myself where I was it.
I was nervous, I was confused, I was excited, but I was also scared. It took some time (and a lot of breakdowns), to be finally okay with feeling it all.
That’s when I could finally breathe again — when I finally accepted the entire spectrum of emotions I was feeling, and allowed everything to be, exactly as it is, without judgment.
That has been a recurrent theme throughout my pregnancy in all the different phases and stages: to drop my expectations of what I think my pregnancy should feel like or look like or be like — and just be with it, as it unfolds, moment by moment.
Allowing everything, absolutely everything — every thought, emotion, sensation to be exactly like it — without judgment, is one of the best things an expectant mother can give herself the gift of.
Time and time again, allowing every part of ourselves to arrive, be seen, heard, and tended to.
If I could go back in time to those initial weeks I would tell myself there is no wrong way to feel, to be more compassionate, to loosen my grip on control a little bit more, and allow as much time and space that I needed to process and integrate it all.
Try your best to take it moment by moment, and be extra kind to yourself, mama. Pregnancy can be beautiful, challenging, emotional, and, well, also the entire spectrum of emotions and experiences.
There is no right or wrong way to feel, ever.
Drop the “shoulds”, and continue to courageously lean.
There is a deep sense of ease that’s accessible when we finally surrender and allow it all to be exactly as it is at this very moment.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alexa Torontow is a naturopathic medical student, prenatal/postnatal yoga instructor, nutritionist, and new mama. Her mission is empowering women to enhance their vitality, health and overall wellness through regular movement, proper nourishment, and education on how to take the best care of their unique self. Connect with Alexa on Facebook , Instagram , LinkedIn, or through her Website.
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