I've wanted to do this sort of post for a little while for so many reasons. Because when it comes to the topic of having children, there is a lot of advice out there about 'what should be', 'what needs to be' and often forgotten in the process is the story of 'what actually is'. This week, I am so incredibly honoured to be sharing a few of those stories with you here :
Nathalie: Like so many women my age (I’m 35), I feel like the world at large’s attitude towards my reproductive organs flipped on a knife edge – one day being told how careful I needed to be to not get pregnant and basically ruin my life and career prospects and the next being sternly warned “not to leave it too late”. Leaving it “too late” is a topic that dominated so many late night, wine-fuelled chats with friends. We all worried about whether we were ready, and whether we were being careless or arrogant to wait until we felt ready lest our ovaries crumble to dust like an ancient Egyptian artefact.
I also had some older friends with children who had struggled on their journey to parenthood who simply, gently and with my very best interests at heart said, “If you know you do definitely want kids, why wait?” And that did resonate.
So it was with that worrisome mindset that I approached getting pregnant. We steeled ourselves for it taking a year, maybe more. I had been on contraception (the contraceptive implant– I know it freaks a lot of people out, but I found it great!) for years, so knew I had to work to get to know my body and my rhythms. Nerd that I am, I loved using apps like Clue and Natural Cycles and found them genuinely brilliant; they left me feeling informed and empowered and I guess gave me some sense of control over what is a mainly uncontrollable situation.
We started “trying” (8-year-old me always LOLs at that expression) autumn 2018 and I was pregnant by December. Definitely sooner than we expected – we had just moved country and were still in temporary digs, living out of a suitcase, but no less over the moon for it.
I definitely spent the first trimester, and probably a good chunk of the second, worrying, not quite believing this was really happening (I may or may not have taken at least 4-5 pregnancy tests in my first month).
What I’ve been most amazed at, so far, is how wonderfully and constantly my body has proven my brain wrong. I was so desperately worried about getting pregnant, but my body knew what to do. I was so stressed about the many complications that could arise (especially as someone with a high BMI who does not fit the traditional doctor definition of “healthy”), but my body handled everything with grace, steadfastly growing a human with no interference from me whatsoever.
This pregnancy has given me such a newfound respect and admiration for my body and what it is capable of. Sure, there was the usual nausea, achy hips, and fatigue, but I know I’ve had it easier than lots and am very grateful for that.
As I near the end of it (I’m 37 weeks pregnant now), I know I’ll miss this lovely bump and I’m trying to relish these last few weeks – watching the baby move like a mermaid in my belly, seeing their little limbs prod out here and there.
If I’ve learned anything during this pregnancy is to trust your body, which is so much easier said than done and definitely something I’m still working on – especially as I prepare for labour!
Nathalie and Ben welcomed a gorgeous baby boy named Ari into the world on August 5th (he is already so loved!)....Thank you to the always inspiring Nathalie for allowing me to share your words here.
ps. This series is for you mama-to-be, mama-in-wait, not even thinking about it or independent woman- wherever you may be on your journey, whatever it is that you are facing, you are not alone. Sending you an enormous amount of love xo