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.

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 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.