I am not usually someone who likes to live in the past, or live with regret. I try to stay positive and focus on the here and now. However every time I look at my daughter, my 18-month-old being of love, light, and laughter, I can't help but wonder how the choices I made in my pregnancy will affect her life.
Did I screw her up forever?
Okay, maybe that sounds a bit dramatic. But when I first became pregnant, I had visions of doing prenatal yoga, remaining calm and breathing deeply in moments of stress, and treating my body like the incredible vessel of human life that it had become. I had intentions of feeding it well, resting and relaxing, all while maintaining a consistent level of activity to keep my ever-changing body in good health.
None of these things actually happened, though. Not a single one.
Not until it was almost too late.
And a part of me regrets it every single day.
Pregnancy stressed me out, big time. It's not like I chose to feel this way, and as everyone who has ever experienced pregnancy knows, you are almost powerless over how you feel for 9 months. Having always been hyper-obsessed with my body, controlling everything that went into it and how it looked every minute of every day, I felt myself slowly spinning out of control. It threw my emotions into a whirlwind with a furious fervor, making me panic over almost everything each and every day. Little arguments with my husband became all-out screaming matches, with me doing most of the screaming, followed by self-loathing, followed by loud, dramatic sobs that I just couldn't control. I'd then sit and wonder anxiously if these extreme surges of emotion were hurting my unborn child, and then I'd stress some more. On repeat. For months on end.
I slept terribly. I went from being a totally organic, gluten and lactose free vegetarian to only eating pizza, red meat, and cheese. I worked full-time for most of my pregnancy, waking while it was still dark, commuting nearly an hour to teach, and an hour home to stress some more. I made it to a total of four prenatal yoga classes, but couldn't enjoy much of these experiences, as I was constantly worried that I would do something to hurt the baby growing inside of me. I was worried each time she didn't kick. Worried each time my nausea would subside. Worried each time it came back. Worry had overtaken my life, even though I knew deep down, that all of these emotions could affect the growth and well-being of my baby.
At 29 weeks, I began releasing amniotic fluid, requiring hospitalization and bed rest. No one knows for sure what caused the premature rupture of membranes, but I did know inherently, that stress must have had something to do with it. My doctor did a great job of calming my anxiety and forcing me to relax for the rest of my pregnancy - which no doubt contributed to the fact that I made it to 39 weeks and delivered a delicious and healthy baby girl.
Now, 18 months into my role as a mother, I couldn't feel happier, more relaxed, or more confident as a mommy. I feel wiser, and instead of looking back at my pregnancy in horror, I view it as a major learning experience, one I will be sure not to replicate should I choose to go for a second shot at baby making. Except, I'll always wish I knew what I now know. I'll always look at my daughter and wonder if at some point in her life, all of my negative emotions during pregnancy will manifest within her in some unknown way.
They say you're always smarter in hindsight, and I can wholeheartedly say this is the case for my story. Having finally found a pregnancy spirit-animal, Author Shivani Gupta, of The Conscious Pregnancy: A Spiritual and Practical Approach to Creating a Zen Baby, I have found the tools to arm myself with positivity and calmness for my next pregnancy. I have finally found the bible that all mothers need to ensure they can reach the level of bliss in their pregnancy that they've always envisioned, and deliver without regret or wondering "what if"?
"Pregnancy allows you to start over. Become a blank canvas. How you choose to paint this canvas will make all the difference in the world for your future baby and your own livelihood... Have fun with the special time. Play." -Author Shivani Gupta