What I learned about myself and my work during my 1st trimester

I’ve been mulling this post over and over in my mind for weeks now. Can I be honest with you right off the bat? I’m terrified to let my work self and my mom self collide. I’m terrified to offend you or discourage you, that you might think differently of my work, or judge me as a soon-to-be mother. The role of mom vs/and the role of career is one of the most tender topics women face. The women in my own family and community, whom I love and respect, fall on all sides of the mom-work conviction spectrum. So my hope is this: that sharing my own (very short) journey of being a mom-to-be will encourage you and help you understand yourself or another women better.

 

Realization No. 1     My level of productivity has no correlation with my value.

The first trimester was a real curve ball for me. I’ve always been a suck it up and push through kind of girl. So, naturally, before I became pregnant I assumed I would either be one one of those pregnant women who glow with excess human energy, or I would push through any fatigue or sickness like an all time champ. (Insert pause for the experienced mamas to chuckle). Guys, I could. not. deal. I have worked four 18 hour days in a row. I have traveled 27 hours to Africa and then camped in the desert. But nothing, I mean nothing, prepared me for the 24/7 fatigue of my first trimester. Add migraines that made the entire right side of my body numb and nausea that kept me lying on cold floor tile, and I was one hot mess version of myself.

Needless to say, for two and a half months I cancelled meetings right and left. I had to push deadlines. I became the women I once judged for not just pushing through, and I hated it. One day I was scrolling through Flower & Fig’s Instagram feed, shaming myself for not keeping up with posts, and I came across this:

“You are just as valuable lying here in bed as you are when you are designing, writing, cooking, making, or any other do-ing thing.” How many times is the Spirit going to have to remind me of this truth before it soaks in so deep that it becomes part of me? I don’t know the answer, but *thank you Jesus* he keeps telling me.

Realization No. 2     You can love that you’re pregnant, and hate being pregnant.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many precious souls prayed and cried and trusted with us for this baby. Seeing that tiny faint line on the pregnancy test, after hundreds of negatives, was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I absolutely love that I am pregnant and…

I do not love being pregnant. I rub my baby bump umpteen times a day and thank God every morning that I get to co create life with him. And. If I was a character from, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” I would definitely be the crazy lady, Wendy. Because this is not just me and you at happy hour, I will refrain from explaining why.

And to my friend who is the glowing pregnant goddess, keep rockin’ it mama. You give the rest of us hope that maybe our next pregnancy will be better.

Realization No. 3    I love my work. 

Working is the BEST, and I have loved it my entire life. I created my first to do list in first grade and haven’t stopped making them since. I have a mildly unhealthy love of 12 hour workdays and conquering projects with speed and efficiency. There are few greater joys in life than seeing mission marry purpose and become something bigger.

Growing up, I believed a women’s greatest purpose was raising children in a godly home that was clean and well stocked with food. It wasn’t until a few years into marriage that I realized I dreaded the day I’d have to quit working and become a stay at home mom. I didn’t want to give up my work and I felt selfish for loving it so much. Because I had spent years feeling shame in the “Proverbs 31 Woman” camp, I swung to the opposite side of the spectrum and lived in the “Empowered Career Woman” camp. I let my identity as a professional become my main identity. “Suck it up and get it done” was my m.o.

Then on my 28th birthday, everything changed. I felt the ache to become a mother for the first time and it scared the crap out of me. I’d always known that one day Jordan and I would have kids, but it was a distant desire for years until that moment. All the sudden, two things I deeply longed for seemed to be competing with each other. It took me a long time to get pregnant and we were told we had a 1% chance of conceiving naturally. That, in and of itself, was the first lesson the journey of motherhood taught me: you can’t just work harder and make things happen for yourself anymore. And I took one foot out of the self-empowered camp and placed it in the trust and hope camp.

Today I am four months in with our miracle baby and my deep love of work and my great excitement of being a mother still bump into each other. I’m still figuring out what my new day to day normal will look like with this sweet baby boy living life on the outside of me, rather than in. But I am confident of this, I can trust both my business and my baby to the one who created it all in the first place. 

I would love to hear your thoughts and hear your own story through mama hood and work. You can reach me at bethany@flowerandfig.com or on Insta @flowerandfig.

 


More from the journal

How to Shop Thrift Stores Like a Boss

If you’re anything like me five years ago, you haven’t yet discovered the thrill of the thrifting obsession because you haven’t learned how to gamify it for yourself yet. It takes too much time. You never find anything good. And all you ever find is overpriced crap you already have or will never need. Then, one day you’re at your girlfriend’s house and notice her gorgeous new mirror that looks like it was $300 at Anthro, only to discover she bought it for $20 at a thrift store. Why don’t you ever have that luck?!

How to deal with disappointment

This is one of those times I would much rather sit across from you face to face. I’d rather you were able to hear the tone of my voice, that my facial expression could speak deeper and truer than just words. Because this topic feels so tender to me lately. Disappointment has been an unexpected guest in our house for the last couple months and I was tempted to feel isolated in it. But then I started talking it out. After a few different conversations I realized every single one of us is dealing with disappointment in some way or another.