because we're all connected

It's truly not very often I feel the desire to write about myself / OVER share personal info on this public space. Because, well, like come on. It's easier, of course, to share pretty pictures, and less talk.

 21 weeks pregnant

21 weeks pregnant

As you know if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, or know me IRL, we've recently welcomed our fourth baby into the world, and that's what I'm here to share with you. I don't know that this will strike any chords with anyone out there, but I know that in sharing this story with friends, TWO people have felt it touched them enough to say, yikes. I GET IT. And, if I can get to anyone who was in a similar state as me throughout this year, it's worth it.

So let's rewind. Finding out we were pregnant with number 4 was .... a surprise. Obviously at this point we *get it*...but like FOUR KIDS?! Did I always think maybe it's what I wanted. YES. Would I have ever like planned for it? NO. If that doesn't make sense, well, I don't know how better to explain it. When I saw the positive pregnancy test, my mind raced. I homeschool my children. They're (at the time) 6, 4, and 2. How am I going to manage? I AM STILL NURSING MY TWO YEAR OLD. How can I sacrifice these things we've worked hard for (homeschool, business, vacations now that we have "older kids"), for the unknown!? Do I feel absolutely ridiculous saying these things out loud NOW that I have a perfect child in my arms, and in our family? ABSOLUTELY. But, in that moment of grey, Ohio January days, did I feel completely lost? Also, ABSOLUTELY. I wondered how my body would be able to take another pregnancy. How, when I was barely sleeping, I could healthily sustain myself, AND nourish a growing fetus. I frantically thought of all the awful worst case scenarios, and, like anyone who has experienced loss, simultaneously told myself this pregnancy probably wouldn't stick, so I shouldn't get too attached. I (WE) WAS SCARED. And, then, almost immediately, I was sick. Not sick like some people endure, but just one thing after the next. Sinus infection, morning sickness, and then, just about halfway through, back pain and body pain I'd never experienced before.

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I look back and don't think it was so much a case of mind creating these situations, I think this was just an incredibly hard pregnancy for me, mentally and physically. We kept on keeping on - I did all the things I wanted to do with my kids. We celebrated birthdays, went on trips, did their favorite activities, and I managed. Let's be real: I took it all ALLLLL out on my husband - not because it's fair, but because I only had so much to give. (he'll quickly tell you how much more of a fan I am of him now, in the 12 days since Shiloh's birth than I was in the 10 months leading up to it!). The pregnancy FLEW by. FLEW. I have never wanted time to slow down (let me savor these children now!) and continue at warp speed so much at the same time before. I joked with my midwives that as the baby was born I would be celebrating not being pregnant anymore. And, I saw nothing wrong with a statement like that. At night, I'd hold my belly, and somewhere, I'd think of our lives with this tiny being. But mostly, I just wanted to get to the end goal, in my mind: no more pregnancy.

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Now, as I write these things I feel so many things. I see how miserable I was, and how disconnected from growing a baby / being pregnant I had been....

BUT!

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I SURVIVED.

I wrote this to myself as I held my (unnamed!) baby in the moments after his birth (<--- birth story isfor another time and place!) I never want to forget the feelings I felt. It was the clarity I had been waiting for for so long. Leading up to delivery time, I was so so worried, and so so guilty as I thought I'd wasted the time with him inside my belly...I worried I did something wrong. I worried something would be wrong with HIM because I wasn't a happy glowing pregnant lady....

And, coming out on the other side, something I worried about is NON EXISTENT: I worried I wouldn't know how to / want to bond with this baby who I struggled so much to come to terms with ON THE INSIDE. He is perfection. And, it isn't just me who knows it. Somehow, in the misery and pain and aches, as a family, we created an excitement for this baby to be a part of ours, and our children are OBSESSED WITH HIM.

So why? Why write this? Because, YES: pregnancy is a blessing. I know that I am so lucky to have gotten to experience FOUR healthy pregnancies...but. Pregnancy is hard. And, if you're a mama out there who feels things that society tells you you *shouldn't* feel about yourself, your pregnancy, your babies: I GET IT. I've been there. I'm here to tell you that I can be an ear if you want someone to listen. I can be an email if you want to write something out there to put your feelings out there. Growing humans is hard work. Period. If I can help even one person, ever: YES!