My Most Important Pregnancy Lesson: Life and the World Itself Are More Than a To-Do List

by Karina

Throughout my pregnancy, I found myself frequently with one foot in the past and one in the future, dwelling between making plans and trying to hurry time, and reminiscing my old life, and trying to stop the time. I couldn’t do either. The only thing I did do was stop myself from living in the moment and being fully present along this incredible journey I’m on. Almost eight months down the road, the most significant pregnancy lesson I’ve learned is letting go, trusting, and giving up on so much planning and having control over everything (still working on the last one though).

In the first three months of pregnancy, I felt like I lost my body. Between excruciating nausea and feeling tired all day long, I was also stepping into this giant pool of anxiety and worries. I was anxious at the smallest new symptom (it was my first pregnancy, so they were all new), scared of the unknown, of how it would feel to have my skin stretch its every inch and feel a tiny person taking over my body.

Oh, and the worries – worries that I didn’t get to do everything I wanted before I got pregnant, concerns about the nine long months ahead, anxiety that I’m not going to be a good-enough mom, that I’m not ready, and so on. At the same time, I was checking my calendar every single day, eager for the first trimester to pass, and to hear my doctor say that everything is ok, and the probability of a miscarriage has significantly shrunk.

Then came the second trimester with an immense burst of energy, no more daytime naps, and a feeling that I got my body back. But with the pregnancy still not showing, baby kicks yet so delicate and gentle, and nausea already a thing of the past, I wasn’t feeling pregnant though. I felt like I couldn’t truly connect with my baby, and a sense of guilt joined the already so familiar anxiety and worry.

Two blinks of an eye, and here I am, in my third trimester. Between nesting, spending hours at my laptop ordering everything from nursery furniture to toys and breast pads, reading parenting books, and trying to find the motivation to get some work done before I’ll inevitably have to take a break, my life these days looks like an endless to-do list. These are the things I’m focusing on the most, yet they’re the least important.

At the end of the day, as I lay my head on the pillow, it’s no longer about the items crossed off the to-do list, the baby bump I didn’t get to show off since I spent most of these months at home, or the traditional baby shower I won’t have. It’s about putting my hand on my belly and saying hi to my tiny human the last thing before I go to sleep and first thing when I wake up. It’s about stopping throughout the day and just sitting on the sofa, to feel my baby kick and play in there. It’s about us three, being happy with what we have, and grateful for what’s to come.

I have around nine weeks left, and I’ll get to meet this little munchkin growing inside of me. Nine weeks! I remember when I was just nine weeks pregnant, and I couldn’t wait for the time to pass. And now, thirty-one weeks down and only nine more to go, it seems surreal. It’s a unique journey where I constantly find myself wavering between pressing pause and fast-forwarding. Yet I can’t do either. I shouldn’t do either. Pregnancy is about living in the moment. It’s not a giant to-do list; it’s not about what we didn’t get to do before, or what we will do in the future. It’s about NOW.  

It feels incredible to know that there’s a tiny human that has chosen us to be her parents, and she’s growing inside of me, pretty much on her own. I’m just offering her a place to call home for nine months, but she’s the one doing all the hard, unbelievable work in there. And these little kicks that once felt like corn popping in my belly, now feel mightier and mightier and she responds to both mine and my husband’s voices, which again, is quite extraordinary.

Going through most of my pregnancy during a pandemic has unquestionably put things into perspective. With more time to ponder at everything happening both around and inside of me, I made a promise to myself to stop every once in a while and take it all in, be present and live in the moment.

And this is what pregnancy is all about. Sure, it’s insomnia at 3 am, weird cravings, and endless worries, but it’s also the most incredible experience of all, one that nobody should ever take for granted. If there’s one thing this pregnancy has taught me is to cherish every minute of it, as these are the moments I’m going to miss, no matter the hardships.

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