This week one of my closest friend’s baby is turning one. With my baby girl’s first birthday also just on the horizon, it prompted me to think back to my pregnancy and all of the thank you’s I didn’t send yet. I’m not talking about baby gift thank yous from Gia’s birth or my baby shower, I am talking the thank yous that are even more important, but never made it to paper and got sent.
This is a thank you to the women who reached out to me on Facebook, some of whom it has been years since I spoke to or saw in person. The women who just wanted to check in with me and see how I was feeling. Who were there to offer support and answer my first-time-mom questions. Women with their own children and stressors who cared enough to reach out to me to make sure I was doing ok.
This is a thank you to my OB and nurse, who didn’t laugh at me when I cried for an entire hour when I was late for one appointment. Who told me I looked great and was experiencing a healthy and perfect pregnancy and gave me their best advice for having a natural birth in a hospital setting rather than trying to convince me to change my mind. Women who treated me with compassion and kindness and soothed many of my concerns.
This is a thank you to the women who told me I looked beautiful, not huge, not “miserable” or “exhausted” or “ready to be done”, whether they meant it or not. You may not know how much your words meant to a woman who was in fact huge, miserable, exhausted, and ready to be done. You may not know how much I needed to hear these things, but I did.
This is a thank you to the woman who had been there before me. Who I texted in tears when “morning” sickness hit hard and who promised me it would end. Who shared with me stories of her final days of pregnancy that made me laugh through my misery at nine months pregnant. Who shared with me openly and honestly about her experience so I didn’t feel so alone when I went through it myself.
This is a thank you to the woman who I went through thirty-three weeks of my pregnancy with. Who sent her husband to bring me some of her own stash of Preggo-pops for morning sickness when she was out of town. Who I braved the dreaded Motherhood Maternity store with for the first time. A woman with whom I had countless conversations with about Braxton-Hicks contractions, childbirth and breastfeeding. A woman that was my non-drinking companion when all of our friends still were able to be wild.
This is a thank you to my mom. The things I could thank her for would fill up a book. But this thank you is for telling me to take care of myself. Not in a gentle, “honey, maybe you should …” but in a “honey, you are going to call your boss right now and say you need to work less hours.” Which of course I didn’t, but was the permission I needed for myself to know I was allowed to not be the “perfect” pregnant woman who went for runs up until the day she gave birth and worked 60 hours a week, when clearly, I was not that pregnant person. (Or ever that person, for that matter).
This is a thank you to a woman who could have reacted to my surprise pregnancy with resentment or bitterness but instead showed me only pure joy. A woman who wanted the very thing I wasn’t quite ready for, who encouraged me through my struggles and allowed me to be honest about my ambivalence, without judgment.
This is a thank you to the women who had experienced miscarriage, infertility, bed rest, medical emergencies, long days at home with multiple children, fear, stress, heartache, and being completely and totally overwhelmed, but still found the time, energy, and kindness to tell me I looked beautiful, make me laugh, hug me when I cried, remind me to take care of myself, and offer their support whenever I should need it.
Women, we sometimes get a bad rap for being too hard on each other. My pregnancy showed me that the true nature of women is amazing. I feel connected to more women now than at any other point in my life. So women, I’m sorry I’m a year late- but thank you. From the bottom of my heart.