Menu

The amazing way that pregnancy prepares you for motherhood

It has taught me to see the magic. ✨

The amazing way that pregnancy prepares you for motherhood

The other day something kind of clicked for me. I had an aha mama moment.


Do you ever wonder why pregnancy and birth are not easy? Why these experiences can be raw and agonizing and challenging?

Well, because motherhood can be raw and agonizing and challenging. Pregnancy and birth are just doing us a solid. They’re prepping us for the next chapter we’re about to enter—the chapter of becoming a mother.

Thankfully, even through the hardest of pregnancies, there are so many moments of beauty, inspiration and deep, deep love. And guess what? There is all that and more on the other side.

FEATURED VIDEO

We’re about to welcome another daughter into our family in a few short weeks. This is my third time and in my whoa this is still so hard moments, I remind myself that yes it is. And for good reason. It’s preparing my mind, body and spirit for more mommin’ coming at me.

Looking back, I’ve realized pregnancy has taught me so many valuable lessons that I use in motherhood.

1. It has taught me to be strong.

Mentally, emotionally, and physically strong. ?

I have cried over pregnancy worries and the fear of giving birth. I have felt the back pains that come with carrying your third child at 35 weeks. I have marveled at the work I’ve done after birthing each child. I have pieced myself back together after many mistakes in motherhood. And I have been picking up children, giving piggy back rides and slinging 40 pound car seats around since 2014.

Motherhood can be hard, yes, because we’re giving it our all every day. But my mama strength has helped me navigate those frustrating early days of nursing, toddler tantrums and figuring out how to leave my baby at home for the first time so I could go on a date with my husband. When I am weary or unsure, I dig deep within me and find the strength I know is there.

2. It has taught me to be resourceful.

When you’re pregnant and your belly is growing and growing (and growing), you can find yourself in some tricky situations. Like when you finally sit down on the couch to relax and realize you don’t have the remote. Instead of standing back up, you can use your feet to slide it over and grab it—all with minimal moving. ? Or how about using your beautiful baby bump as a table to rest your snacks on? Life-changing. The hair elastic pants expander trick? SO helpful.

My pregnancy resourcefulness has carried over into mom life. Like when you have to nurse your baby but also make a snack for your toddler. Or when you forget a diaper while you’re out but the baby needs to be changed—you get rid of the dirty diaper, wrap them up in a swaddle blanket and hope for the best. ?

3. It has taught me to believe in myself.

While pregnant, you have to be the one to speak up for your baby. So you learn to advocate for yourself too. You have to trust that your body knows what it’s doing. You have to let the process take over, give up control and follow your baby’s lead. My pregnancies have made me a more confident, self assured woman.

New motherhood (and to be honest, even becoming a mom for the third time) can be nerve wracking. You second guess yourself all the time and some days you question if you’re doing anything right. But you keep going and learning and you build more and more confidence every single day. ?

4. It has taught me to accept flaws and imperfection.

Our bodies are taken over by the process of creating a human during pregnancy. They grow and stretch and change from what they once were as young 20-year-old women without kids. It takes some getting used to, and can be a bit...shocking at first.

I remember the first shower I took in the hospital after having baby #1. I looked pregnant, but didn’t have a baby inside me anymore. I looked in the mirror and my bright stretch marks glared back. My boobs (and everything else) were much bigger than they were before pregnancy. It was a lot to take in, and I wondered if I’d ever feel like myself again.

But I did. I felt like me 2.0.

Sure, I have stretch marks now and some areas may be a bit softer than they were at 20 years old, but these “imperfections” aren’t really imperfections at all. When you grow a human in your body and house them for 40 weeks, how can you not think your body is as perfect as perfect can get? Pregnancy has helped me look past superficial “imperfections” and recognize real beauty.

5. It has taught me to be okay with being uncomfortable.

Dang, pregnancy can be uncomfortable! I’m at the stage where it’s hard to roll out of bed, I have to pee a million times a day and my lower back is very angry with me. But, that’s the way it goes sometimes. I’m grateful to my body for giving me this gift. And each time I’ve felt these symptoms in pregnancy, it has been prepping me for those tricky mom moments to come. ?

Because motherhood is not always comfortable. It’s challenging and confusing and we have to figure a lot out as we go. And that’s okay, because we’re ready, mamas.

6. It has taught me to see the magic.

When you think about it, is there anything more magical than pregnancy? Anything more miraculous than birth? There are so many momentous experiences of motherhood, these two included. The wonder of it all trumps any of the more negative feelings, for me. The fear, worry, pain—it doesn’t compare to the love, the wonder and the magic. ✨

And there is sooo much magic in motherhood. It’s amazing and it’s part of what keeps me going every day. Hearing your child say “I love you for the first time”? Mind-blowing. The newborn baby smell and snuggles? Heart-bursting. Watching your partner love on your baby? I meannnn....it is THE best.

Pregnancy and motherhood have both taught me so much along this wild ride. I’m grateful for these forever lessons I’m learning along the way.

In This Article

    You will always be their safe space, mama

    You are their haven. Their harbor. Their sanctuary, their peace. You are comfort. Deep breaths. Hugs and back rubs. You're a resting place, a nightmare chaser, a healer. You are the calm within their storm. You are their mother.

    To your child, you are safety. You are security. You are where (out of anyone or any place), they can come undone. Where they can let it all out, let it all go. Where they meltdown, break down, scream, cry, push.

    Where they can say—"I AM NOT OKAY!"

    Where they can totally lose it. Without judgment or fear or shame.

    Because they know you'll listen. They know you'll hear them. That you will help piece the mess back together.

    Keep reading Show less
    Life

    Tips parents need to know about poor air quality and caring for kids with asthma

    There are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

    When wildfires struck the West Coast in September 2020, there was a lot for parents to worry about. For parents of children with asthma, though, the danger could be even greater. "There are more than 400 toxins that are present in wildfire smoke. That can activate the immune system in ways that aren't helpful by both causing an inflammatory response and distracting the immune system from fighting infection," says Amy Oro, MD, a pediatrician at Stanford Children's Health. "When smoke enters into the lungs, it causes irritation and muscle spasms of the smooth muscle that is around the small breathing tubes in the lungs. This can lead to difficulty with breathing and wheezing. It's really difficult on the lungs."

    With the added concern of COVID-19 and the effect it can have on breathing, many parents feel unsure about how to keep their children protected. The good news is that there are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

    Here are tips parents need to know about how to deal with poor air quality when your child has asthma.

    Minimize smoke exposure.

    Especially when the air quality index reaches dangerous levels, it's best to stay indoors as much as possible. You can find out your area's AQI at AirNow.gov. An under 50 rating is the safest, but between 100-150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children with asthma. "If you're being told to stay indoors, listen. If you can, keep the windows and doors closed," Oro says.

    Do your best to filter the air.

    According to Oro, a HEPA filter is your best bet to effectively clean pollutants from the air. Many homes are equipped with a built-in HEPA filter in their air conditioning systems, but you can also get a canister filter. Oro says her family (her husband and children all suffer from asthma) also made use of a hack from the New York Times and built their own filter by duct taping a HEPA furnace filter to the front of a box fan. "It was pretty disgusting what we accumulated in the first 20 hours in our fan," she says.

    Avoid letting your child play outside or overly exert themselves in open air.

    "Unfortunately, cloth masks don't do very much [to protect you from the smoke pollution]," Oro says. "You really need an N95 mask, and most of those have been allocated toward essential workers." To keep at-risk children safer, Oro recommends avoiding brisk exercise outdoors. Instead, set up an indoor obstacle course or challenge your family to jumping jacks periodically to keep everyone moving safely.

    Know the difference between smoke exposure and COVID-19.

    "COVID-19 can have a lot of the same symptoms—dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and chest pain could overlap. But what COVID and other viruses generally cause are fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Those would tell you it's not just smoke exposure," Oro says. When a child has been exposed to smoke, they often complain of a "scrape" in their throat, burning eyes, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing. If the child has asthma, parents should watch for a flare of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing or a tight sensation in their chest.

    Unfortunately, not much is known about long-term exposure to wildfire smoke on a healthy or compromised immune system, but elevated levels of air pollution have been associated with increased COVID-19 rates. That's because whenever there's an issue with your immune system, it distracts your immune system from fighting infections and you have a harder time fighting off viruses. Limiting your exposure to wildfire smoke is your best bet to keep immune systems strong.

    Have a plan in place if you think your child is suffering from smoke exposure.

    Whatever type of medication your child takes for asthma, make sure you have it on-hand and that your child is keeping up with regular doses. Contact your child's pediatrician, especially if your area has a hazardous air quality—they may want to adjust your child's medication schedule or dosage to prevent an attack. Oro also recommends that, if your child has asthma, it might be helpful to have a stethoscope or even a pulse oximeter at home to help diagnose issues with your pediatrician through telehealth.

    Most importantly, don't panic.

    In some cases, social distancing and distance learning due to COVID may be helping to keep sensitive groups like children with asthma safer. Oro says wildfires in past years have generally resulted in more ER visits for children, but the most recent fires haven't seen the same results. "A lot of what we've seen is that the smoke really adversely affects adults, especially older adults over 65," Oro says. "Children tend to be really resilient."

    This article was sponsored by Stanford Children's Health. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    Our Partners

    100 unusual + surprising baby name ideas

    From Adelia to Ziggy.

    Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

    Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

    Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


    Keep reading Show less
    Learn + Play