Congrats! You’re Pregnant, Now what?

Holly Lo

This is an unedited transcript.

Welcome to the MomDaze podcast. I’m your host, Holly Lo. I am a doula and childbirth educator by training, among many other things that I am now certified in and sharing some wisdom and knowledge with you, as we walk through the stages of pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and all things to do with that. So we are excited to now move into congratulations, you did it. You took all those tips and, and information and all that great stuff that we shared with you about fertility, and reproductive health. And now, you’ve just had that positive pregnancy test. Those emotions are there the the hope, and the excitement and maybe a little bit of fear, maybe some anxiety, who knows what the circumstance could be right? But regardless, there is life beginning to form, there was a responsibility in your body now to support this baby. What does this look like now, now that you’re pregnant? What happens? I’m not going to get into the physiology of this. On this episode. We’re going to talk more about that on the next one. I want to talk more about the emotional side of learning you’re pregnant. And what do we do as far as embracing the first trimester? It’s interesting to me to hear from many, many cultures and you know, different lifestyles and just belief systems over the years on superstitions, maybe just, you know, beliefs, I guess, is what it is ultimately, surrounding the idea of announcing pregnancies. Now, you don’t have to go very far on social media or anywhere else, to see the elaborate pregnancy announcements or gender reveals and all the hoopla that goes into that. I remember when I found out, I was pregnant with my first and as much as we joke about the idea that you can’t accidentally get pregnant, because the reality is, if you are in a position to make a baby, you should be prepared that you could put it that way. However, having said that we had struggled with I had been struggling with cycle irregularities. I lost my cycle for a year, and had just started taking some of these initial steps. This was 14 years ago. Before I knew a lot of what I know now I had just started taking some steps. Naturally, we using homeopathy and some different options to just try to regulate my cycle again. And after one month of just trying a few things to regulate a cycle. I was honestly shocked to get a positive pregnancy test. I was not expecting that at all. So well. It was an incredible surprise. It definitely was not an accident. Let’s put it that way.

Having said that, though, it really having you know, been on one side of it dealing with clients and working with closely with families having babies before I had my own. I was a doula for about five years before I even had my own children a little bit unusual in that scenario. But I loved it. I it was one of my by far my favorite job I’ve had to date. But it was something that I truly couldn’t relate fully to because I hadn’t been through it. So I remember sitting there with that positive pregnancy test and thinking, wow, like this is not at all where I saw this, you know, our path going at this moment. And yet I was so excited that beyond what I had expected, you know, my body worked my body did did something unexpected and beautiful. So why is it and I want to I want to hear opinions on this too. I’d love to hear your feedback. Why is it that when we find out we’re pregnant, that there is also an immediate fear attached to that. I get that there is a fear of losing the pregnancy I get that there are fears of things not being quite right. And that I understand that’s kind of a with an unsaid thing. But the fear, I know a great enough fear to make us not even want to tell those closest to us that we’re not that we’re expecting. Maybe our families, our extended family, close friends. The fact that we keep it quiet many of us not all of us obviously don’t do this, but many people still believe and again, there’s superstition that can be attached to this. Many people believe that if you admit or tell anyone out loud that you’re pregnant that you’re jinxing your pregnancy in the first 12 weeks. We can honestly say there is no truth to that fact. Really speaking, but, of course, whatever you do what you believe. But the fear side of it is what intrigues me in a sense, but also concerns me, because you are in those first 12 weeks you are really, I mean, through your entire pregnancy, you are really creating on an energy level and on a chemical level in your body, the way the chemistry in your body works in your cells, and in the growth of that baby, and everything that’s happening in your mind, your body, your soul, your spirit, all of that directly impacts that infant, it directly impacts impacts their, how they grow, it impacts your pregnancy, it impacts all of it. And if we’re gonna start off that pregnancy, with fear of losing the pregnancy or fear of something being wrong, if we’re going to breed and anxiety, whether it feels justified or not, maybe based on past experiences, or you know, maybe family experiences are just all the horror stories people felt the need to share with you. That’s you, you know, we’ve had those conversations, all the things that women, girls tend to be told, regardless of the circumstances around why or where the fear comes from, that’s important to look at, don’t get me wrong, there is a route there that needs to be dug up and examined a little bit. And then a mindset shift that does have to happen. But what is it that blocks us? What is it that would hold us back from embracing the development of this baby from the minute we know they’re there, as far as and going as far as letting other people know, announcing it early announcing to anyone and everyone. And now I’m not saying if you’re a private person that you know, you need to go announce it to the world and hang a platform anywhere that says, you know, on any social media or anywhere that you’re pregnant, and the world should know, you do what you’re comfortable with. Understand where I’m getting at. I think it’s the idea that there is a fear based culture involved. And it’s still very much wrapped up in the first trimester. And we just walked through this last year. I mean, we, we went through a pregnancy, it was extremely exciting. And yet I really struggled because I felt uncertain about a little bit of it. And it was it was an iffy thing for us. We’d been through miscarriages and losses. I still struggled with to tell our three children. And it was do I tell the right from the moment we know we’re pregnant? Do I wait a couple of weeks. And because we’ve had some early losses, and I hadn’t told them, they were also very suspicious. Let’s put it that way.

And I remember my daughter saying to me after I told her, you know, after the fact that we had miscarried, so we’d had some early miscarriages, she was actually very upset. And she said, Well, why wouldn’t you tell us right away if you knew you were pregnant, and I said, well, because I don’t want to put you through that I don’t want you to hurt the way that it hurts me. And I remember her saying that you shouldn’t hurt by yourself. That was one of the most beautiful things, you know, a child could say to you. Because as moms right, and as parents, and as dads, I know, my husband would say the same thing is we want to protect them, we want them to not have to go through emotional pain and and they get their hopes up as much or more as than we do in some cases. So it really was a struggle. And I don’t want to discredit that for anyone that does struggle with this decision. Do we announce or do we not. But what I have learned, having been through losses and having been through, you know, this, this conversation with other women for many, many years, and realizing that we hold a lot of it to ourselves. And when we don’t share when we don’t, you know, share the excitement, or the excitement, or sorry, the excitement, or the fear, the excitement, or the maybe anticipation that comes with finding out you’re pregnant, there is a level of, you know, support that we need. And even if everything’s fine, which most of the time it is, we still need that support. We need someone to be able to be excited with us. We need someone to ask us how we’re feeling and what we’re doing. So I would just you know, the end result of this, I would just encourage anyone who feels uncertain or fearful about announcing pregnancies, or letting those that they trust and close to them, letting them in and letting them know that they’re expecting. I think it’s really important that we do that. So if anything were to happen. We have people around us who can grieve with us, who can at the very least support us and can say I acknowledge your loss. And I remember a story talking to a doula client years ago, and you know, this was with a beautiful pregnancy that she was having and was about to have their baby and she had had suffered a few miscarriages previously. And I remember her saying to me, I never told my boss that I was expecting and she’d had some later miscarriages 12 and 13 weeks along and had to request time off for illness. But I remember her saying like, you’re she struggled through just that first first trimester. So It symptoms and, and nausea and exhaustion coming into work and just dragging herself through the day and feeling like she felt like she had to over perform to make up for the fact that they you know, she was feeling less energetic all these things that at the end she said, I don’t know, I don’t even understand why I didn’t just say, This is what was going on. She said, Because if I was dealing with, you know, a disease, if I was unwell, if something else was happening to me, I would let them know, they would know that I have some health issues happening that are causing this concern. But because it’s a pregnancy, we suddenly feel it’s ours to carry alone. And again, maybe that fear comes in that we don’t want to admit that we’re expecting. Now again, depending what your work situation looks like, it’s totally up to you how you approach that. But remembering that, if anything were to happen, you do need to be able to openly say I am I’m struggling, I am I’m my hormones are all over the place, I am grieving, I do need some extra time off, my husband needs some time off, to to grieve and to go through this with me, whatever it looks like, it’s very hard to do this alone. And it’s very hard to even walk through the first trimester alone with a healthy pregnancy and everything’s great. So having said that, I would love to just challenge the norm, I think challenging that concept of finding out you’re pregnant and weighing the pros and cons, maybe, of who do we tell and one and how and embracing the excitement instead. And you know, you don’t have to go all out doesn’t necessarily have to be a big to do, but letting people know that you would like to have in your corner with people that you would want supporting you. Either way, going through your first trimester, it would be I think, a nice refreshing change from a lot of the belief systems that have been passed on.

And maybe that’s not something maybe it’s it’s in your family, it’s not something that you ever saw or dealt with that it was just a private matter. And that that lots of reasons why, you know, we do things the way we do them. But it doesn’t mean we can’t challenge it, right doesn’t mean we can’t challenge what has been done or why it’s been done, and question it and think maybe there’s a better way. So that’s that’s one big part of the first trimester that I think when you’re finding out you’re pregnant, is just choosing who those people will be. And whether it’s a broad announcement, you know, publicly or not choosing who that will be and choosing, you know, to embrace every single moment that you have with that baby. Because we’ve learned that through our losses, like our kids, we did tell them, you know, fairly early in our first trimester that we were expecting this last time. And while it was very difficult for them to go through the loss, I would never have been able to explain what we were going through otherwise, like how would I have kept that from them? I was visibly, you know, technically laboring for a few days, I was not well, I was taking care of myself, my husband was taking care of me, there was a lot going on. And they know kids are incredibly intuitive. Whether you tell them or not. They’re going to feel it. And being able to acknowledge their feelings, then on top of that is a really important growing experience for them. But it’s a important bonding experience for you as a family, and emotionally for their healing. It’s important that they’re their feelings are not pushed aside or pretending it’s not there and didn’t happen. So when you I think when you hide things like that, or you tried to spare them from some of those things, obviously, age appropriately, like everything we talked about needs to be done at their level. But I think it’s really it really is key that they are involved in that process. My youngest, especially from I’d say for months afterwards, he would still every night, even though he knew that baby was gone, he would still kiss my belly Good night and say goodbye, baby. You know, hope you come back. And it was it was tough. I mean, that’s a hard thing to go through as well, emotionally. But I think it’s also it was his process. It was something he needed to do. And his older siblings would say things to him like, it’s there’s no baby there anymore. It’s not, you know, baby’s gone, baby died or whatever they said. And he whether whether it made sense to him or not didn’t matter. And I had to keep reminding them that that’s not his process. That’s not how he’s doing this. His part of the process is simply I need to I need to walk through this my way. And to allow that space to do that was really important. Even though it was hard. It was still an important part of the process. So when I was going back to that when I was expecting my third I then had two little ones at home who were again, super excited about that process. They don’t remember it as well. Obviously my middle child was only two and a half so she she barely remembers any of that my older one does, he does recall some of it because he was older. But I remember that for me as well. Well, having had some losses in there and for us as a family, being able to embrace every moment of it, and not have expectations when we were another was very difficult in the first trimester, it is really hard. And you get to the end of those 12 weeks and you think you’re, you’re scot free, but then things can change and anything could happen. So the reality is, choosing fear from day one does not prevent it from hurting lasts, it doesn’t prevent it from happening, you can’t change that. Whereas embracing every bit of it from day one brings a different level of joy, it brings a different level of experience. And it doesn’t. Like I said, not doing that, as our rainbow babies would it would prove not embracing it does not change anything, not embracing the pregnancy, it just causes, you know, a disconnect, I think is the ultimate end of that. When I was pregnant with my daughter, who was my first rainbow baby, she, I struggled through the first I’d say first two trimesters to connect and to just feel safe, and to feel like this was okay, and that she was going to stay with us. And that was hard, because it does take something away from that first trimester experience, it does take something from the bonding. But it really took a conscientious effort for me to embrace every day I had. And I didn’t fully learn that until this last time. It really is, it is a journey, it really is a process. So don’t you know, give yourself grace, don’t be hard on yourself. If you’re finding you struggle to connect in your first trimester, where you find out that you’re pregnant, and you’ve had losses, and you do feel numb you, you might feel like, you know what, I don’t even want to connect with this baby, I don’t even want to get my hopes up. That’s it’s a very true and real thing. And it is really hard. But I would encourage you to

dig deep, and to find the little seed of hope that’ll be in there. Because that flames flickering and your body and your mind wants to embrace it, your soul wants to embrace every minute you have with that baby. So, you know in that first trimester, regardless of the situation, regardless of the scenario, if you can do anything beneficial for yourself, and for that little one that’s growing, it’s to embrace it. Right and circumstances may not be perfect. It doesn’t matter, it at the end of the day, it’s that you took the time to acknowledge that life and to embrace it, and to walk your way through it. We’re gonna get into more, you know, symptomatic type things and the physical sides of first trimester. But when we talk about the emotional side of it, there’s hormones involved as well. And there’s a lot playing in your body in those first 12 to 14 weeks. So as much as I can tell you to embrace it and enjoy it. I know that’s not always the way it works. And that’s, that’s factual, that’s truth. Ultimately, it’s your story. And it’s your journey. But how you walk that first little bit or how you, you know, embrace that first pregnancy test, and that that positive and that change, maybe in shifting what your life is going to look like, it really will set the stage and set the tone for the rest of your pregnancy. So taking a deep breath, and just taking some time to talk it through with your partner, if that’s the case, and to consider what the timing looks like for the both of you. Who that circle of people of support is going to be? Who do you want to invite into that initial announcement? Maybe? And then again, you know, what does it look like as you work your way through that pregnancy? How, you know how, why do you make that circle? How, how broad do you make those announcements. And then, you know, trying not to imagine the what ifs is also important. The mindset side of embracing it, especially if there’s been loss involved, is a struggle. And you can get help with that there’s beautiful abilities in your brain to reprogram itself, or neuro reprogramming or neural pathways can reprogram and can reform and reshape. I think that is key to understand that we’re not stuck. We’re not stuck, feeling hopeless, we’re not stuck feeling numb to the situation, we have the ability to reprogram and to trust our body and our brain again. So that would be my challenge. I think in the first trimester for any of you who have walked it the way I have, and maybe, you know, Rainbow babies aside, whether it’s just a difficult pregnancy, a difficult first trimester or maybe you’re very, you know, really sick with this first few weeks or first few months. Whatever the case may be finding joy in the little things. And it can be hard but finding those moments, finding those connections, finding those things that you can trust in your body, in your heart in your brain, and finding the moments that you can connect with that baby for however long they belong to you. is really important and it really does shift things as you work your way through those, you know, stages and phases of the pregnancy. I’m looking forward to I really am looking forward to talking to you more about the physical aspects of The first trimester because we all like to tell everyone about what it was like for our first few weeks or first few months. And we’re going to talk negatives and positives, we’re not going to keep spinning it in any way. That’s not true and factual. But remember, our brain and our mindset controls so much of the outcomes in our body, that it really is important that especially for us as women who have experienced these things and have gone through pregnancy and babies, that as we’re sharing our experiences with others who maybe haven’t, maybe our children, maybe are a little girls, maybe teens, that we keep in mind, the fact that we are setting groundwork for their expectations that we are setting some groundwork for how they view pregnancy and birth and reproduction. So mind your stories. If I can say that, especially if you’re talking to moms who are expecting and you know, maybe haven’t welcomed your advice, or maybe haven’t asked for your stories, ask permission to share, ask permission to to give some tips. And if it’s a mom that you know is struggling with fear or with anxiety through their pregnancy, and just being there to hear that holding space for them to be able to say I can understand that I can I can totally relate. And taking that step back and letting them feel what they feel. It’s not right or wrong. It’s what they’re feeling. And knowing that there is a safe space for them to just share that and to be supported can be the best thing you can do for them. I hope that was helpful. We’re gonna move into talking all the fun things about pregnancy over the next few episodes. And we’ll pull in some of our favorite guests as well. And don’t forget we’ve got what’s your mama didn’t gal tell you coming up as well. We’re going to talk all about that too with my sister Don. So looking forward to having you on our upcoming episodes. Make

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