First Wave “Hello”

Firsts can be such an exhilarating thing. First words, first flight, first love. The world of firsts many times create the staples that hold the pieces of our life and its path together. When my daughter said her first words, “Dada,” my heart melted, but I have to say the first I experienced with her yesterday takes the cake.

It was early morning and the sun was beaming through her bedroom window as I changed her. It felt great to feel sun, as the winter has long worn its welcome. Astelle was giggly and smiley, as she seems to always be in the morning. I noticed she was staring intently at the artwork on the wall. It is far more than artwork to me, as it is the handwritten quote about love from my beautiful friend who passed away years ago.

“Love is patient, love is kind…”

The anniversary of her death was March 1, the beginnings of spring, which is exactly how she would have wanted it. When I think of her I always think about sunflowers, happiness and anything bright. And there my 8-month-old daughter was gazing at this artwork, like she somehow knew the time of year it was.

“Astelle, say hello to our beautiful friend in heaven, Erika!” I exclaimed as Astelle lay on her changing table kicking her little feet in the air. Without hesitation, Astelle lifted her left hand and began waving furiously, all the while smiling, revealing her bottom and only two teeth. Tears filled my eyes as I sat there in pure awe. This was Astelle’s first wave to anyone, ever.

Astelle noticed my reaction, and responded with excited sky kicks and giggles. I couldn’t ask for a better first. I couldn’t be any more grateful for this experience, and let me just say, I am confident this was no coincidence.

I look forward to all the firsts to come, and am grateful for the special connection my daughter has created with my beautiful friend in heaven. I may not have been flying this day, but I was without a doubt “in the air.”

New Mom Back Up In the Air

I sit here from the airport bathroom reflecting on this first day back to work travel, and my, how things have changed. I’m usually blogging from my airplane seat, but I was too emotionally messy to process how I felt when my first flight went wheels up. I knew if I thought about what this first flight really meant I would just cry, and public ugly crying wasn’t on my to do list today. It turns out pumping breastmilk from an airport bathroom stall in Phoenix is a great spot to blog. I can cry if I want to, and all from the comfort of my little bathroom stall. 😂

This is the first cross-country trip of many to come where I will be away from my little not quite three-month-old baby girl. I thought dropping her off at daycare and going back to work was hard, but this takes things to a new level for me. Now I’m really going to see if I can do what I always said I was going to do: be a traveling, working mom who also is very present for her daughter. I know many adventures are to come, particularly as a breastfeeding, breast-pumping mom.

The adventures started today, as I sat in that stall with my breast pump making what is becoming a familiar air sucking sound. What was amazing was I didn’t actually feel sad. I felt empowered. I am doing the damn thing with my breast pump in an airport bathroom, so how could I feel anything less than accomplished! This little 20 minute pump session was the start to me putting into action what I so want to do and who I want to be. I am feeding my baby from afar, and that’s pretty cool.

I’ll continue to take baby steps and notice the small things as I adjust to being back up “in the air.” Today I’m proud of myself for making things work and I am grateful for having the support to keep doing what I’m doing. This is just the beginning.

The First of Many Goodbyes

This morning after my sweet newborn finished her 6 a.m. feeding, I thought to put her back in her crib, but the weight of the day hit me, and I opted to keep her on my chest where I could cuddle her until it would be time to go. This would be the last cuddle before we had to get ready for the day that’s been looming over my head since the moment she was born. Today is the day I go back to work and my sweet baby spends her first full day at daycare.

I knew it would be hard, but I assumed I would get through today like a champ. I prepared for it by dropping her off weeks in advance for an hour here or there so she would know her surroundings. Turns out she isn’t the one who needed the practice. It was me.

I took more photos of her than I ever do before I put her in her car seat. I was doing pretty good so far and baby was smiling more than ever. I got in the car, turned on some music, and the wrong song came on. Or maybe it was the right song. Tears flooded my eyes and I blinked wide-eyed with my face in the AC to keep myself together. Drop off I fared no better. I kept my sunglasses on and the second we got in the infant room, I couldn’t get a word out. Just tears and thank God the daycare was full of sweet and understanding moms who quickly explained that they did the same thing when this day came for them.

I quickly left, as I knew if I stayed it would just make it harder. Today is the first day my two worlds collide. It’s the first of many goodbyes parents experience and it all starts with this one drop off. Now I have to figure out how to take the person I was before this beautiful baby entered my life and meld her in with who I am now.

While I made it through today just fine and my baby made it through like an angel (apparently she slept most the time and was content the rest), this is the start of a whole new version of me. I don’t know how that looks yet, but I do know my daughter deserves for this new version to be the best version yet.

Last week Hoda Kotb returned to the Today show following her own summer maternity leave. She came back beaming. Maria Shriver asked her how she felt and she responded with how many parents would respond after returning from leave. She described feeling emotional, hormonal, and all of the things I am pretty sure I’ve called myself at some point today, whilst fighting back tears. Maria was quick to correct her. She said, “No. You’re moved.”

What a beautiful thing to say to a mother on her first day back. So if you ask me today how I am feeling, I’m fortunate to be feeling deeply moved. Fortunate to be moved by the love I have for my little girl, and the family we created this summer. What things will look like haven’t shaped up quite yet, but we all made it through today, and what a beautiful, moving day it truly was.

The Problem With Life Purpose

I’m a millenial. We are known for spending more on self-care, enjoying our selfies, and well, being selfish. We are especially obsessed with the idea of living our life purpose. Do I agree with all these things? Of course not, because it hits close to home, but I would be lying if I told you I don’t contemplate whether I’m doing what I was put on earth to do.

Am I pushing the envelope enough for my little baby girl to see any change? Am I sitting in contentment or making a difference? Am I doing things in a way I would be proud of later? To be honest, right now I don’t know, I hope so, but this is what I DO know.

Life purpose doesn’t have to be met with one task or mission. In fact, it shouldn’t be because that’s boring. Just because your day job isn’t your hobby doesn’t mean it can’t be fulfilling. Maybe my mission on earth was to bring people together through communication for example. I’m not failing at that purpose if I’m not writing a book. I can meet the goals tied to my purpose by being a salesperson. I can do that by posting about controversial topics. I can meet this purpose by loving my daughter, husband and my whole family fiercely. Loving them with all I’ve got would hopefully make me a better communicator, no? It doesn’t require me to start a YouTube channel and hope for a million followers by posting something viral. These shiny jobs and endeavors are not required to live a meaningful, purposeful and impactful life.

I think what my generation and maybe many of us are missing is that the whole purpose of a life purpose is to find mission in all the little things. By the time we die, it adds up to one big thing that maybe we didn’t realize the impact of at the time.

So if you are feeling bored with your job, maybe it’s not because your purpose in life is to open a bakery. Maybe it’s because you’re not inserting enough care into the daily tasks that could eventually amount to so much more.

Here’s a story to connect the dots:

I am away from my five-month-old and my husband on average three days a week. I have to make those days count. I had a meeting last week where the client needed support, help, and above all else, care. Yes, I am a salesperson. But this was an opportunity to bring light to something hard. We talked about what they desired and what they needed, and we made it happen together. I left feeling so high on life and accomplishment that there is no way you could tell me my job doesn’t have the opportunity to make a difference.

So now here’s the challenge. To all of you feeling like the difference isn’t big enough to fulfill your life purpose. Ask yourself if you’re infusing enough care. If you are and you feel lost, maybe it is time to move on, but if you aren’t sure, take another swing at things. See what happens when you throw your whole soul into it that desk job. Maybe you will find yourself redefining it. You just may end your day exploding with that, “Oh yes, this could be a piece to the puzzle of my life purpose” sort of feeling.

The craziest part about this post? Now that I’ve written it, it’s as though the message was one I needed too. 🤯

Living in the Now…When You Want Your Next Moment to Be Here Already.

How do you stay in the present when you are SO excited about what’s next? I’m asking myself this today, as I am officially in waiting for my little babe at 38 weeks pregnant. I want to meet her now, and want the waiting to be over!

I really believed she would be early based off of a combination of family history, intuition and what you might call signs from the universe. I’ve believed it to the point that I’ve put more weight and focus into being right about it than I have about things that actually matter. I am guilty of googling essentially every sign and symptom that may mean labor is coming. My web history has to be laughable right now. What a waste of time where I could have been walking my dog, reading a book or doing just about anything else that requires being present in the moment.

That has to end today. This. Is. Out. Of. My. Hands. It was meant to be that way! Birthdays are best when they are left as surprises, and my little one deserves that from me. She shouldn’t be born into a world where her mother’s super excited that she was right. That’s laughable and also sad. I wouldn’t be excited to meet that mom.

So what’s the best way to change your thoughts when you either really believe something or are just so excited about what’s next? I’m stepping away from the things that are sucking me out of this moment. I’m banning myself from google searches for the rest of my pregnancy. My ego at this point has overridden any true intuition, and intuition just plain doesn’t work when your ego steps in. So the ego has to go, and these moments are turned back over to God. This seems appropriate as today, a Sunday, for many is considered a day of rest, eh?

All of this is easier said than done, as this waiting period is hard no matter how you slice it. For many, to be in waiting can be the hardest time to stay present. Waiting to hear about a new job? Waiting to hear how your mom is doing after a big surgery? Let’s face it. Waiting sucks. But regardless of what we are waiting for, there is always something to experience and love on right now. For me, that’s my husband, my dog, and this beautiful weather.

So now I think I’ll take my little dog on a walk and clean out a cabinet. I don’t need my phone for that, and I’ll focus on what I see, hear and smell around me instead of waiting for any symptom that may mean baby is on her way. It will happen when it’s supposed to, and it’s more magical a moment when it becomes a part of the present without me forcing it. Baby, you can show up whenever you think it’s time. Early, on time, late? Anytime is okay if you get here safely. If it’s good for you, it’s good for me. 💜

My Biggest Miss About Pregnancy…and Life

I’ve been doing pregnancy wrong, for a good portion of it. I’m not down on myself over it, and not spending time on “what if’s,” but I can promise one thing: these last 8-11 weeks I have left of being pregnant (whenever she decides it’s time to show up), I am doing things differently.

I have been spending much of my time bracing myself for what’s next, not just regarding the pregnancy itself, but in my life all around. I’ve been VERY grateful to be pregnant, but I have been treating my pregnancy as a daily battle, as if I were some sort of wounded warrior. “I just have to get through this nausea. I just need to muscle through this exhaustion, this bodily pain…” The list goes on.

I’ve even thought of my maternity leave as something to prepare for, as if I was preparing for battle. “I have to just get all these things done so my team is prepared and smooth sailing while I’m gone.” I have been assuming it will all be so hard and so impossible that I’ve gotten nothing in return but what seems like bad news to increase my worry even further. “How will my team come back from this? Am I leaving my team in a state where they won’t feel I did enough?”

I’m done with ALL of it. And I mean ALL of it. I’m done bracing for my life. While I can’t say my every waking moment has been this way, I have captured no more than moments or days of bliss the past seven months. I deserve more than that. So does my husband! So does my little nugget.

All of this daily battle BS has got to end, so I decided it would end this weekend. I went lap swimming in a pool for the first time in years. I initially panicked thinking it would be awful without headphones in, and thought, “Shit, Ashlie! There you go again bracing yourself for something meant to be enjoyable that you KNOW you enjoy!” I realized I didn’t have my goggles, but at this point was so determined to find a way to enjoy this swim, I forced myself into the deep end of the pool and quickly realized a few things.

1) I should have done this sooner because the water, the movement, everything about it felt really good. 2) I never needed music. What I needed was the sound of the water swishing to quiet my messy mind. 3) This was the start to no longer bracing for what’s next.

So now I’m on a new mission. I am going to truly soak up these last weeks. The last ones where I will know exactly where my baby is, right with me. Work will fall into place if I put my faith and heart into it like I already know how to do. My team will be fine without me. I still hope they miss me, but they will be fine! They will probably flourish while I’m away. My health will be as good as I allow it to be, and I am going to give my body and this baby only the best, and yes that includes Ben and Jerry’s too.

I’ve chosen what I think is the perfect way to celebrate this new attitude. I just got to Sedona, Arizona where essentially I have a weekend alone. I have no expectations and loose plans. The only plan is to take in the beauty around me, breathe a little easier and embark on this last leg of pregnancy with an open mind and heart. Bracing for what’s next is in the past and I can’t wait to take in all the beautiful moments ahead.

“Dreaded” Pregnancy Changes

Or so that’s how I may have worded it maybe a few months ago all the way up to a few weeks ago. Pregnancy begins the unraveling of your closet, where little by little nothing fits. You are forced to abandon at first 25%, then 50%, and finally 75% or more of your closet due to either not being able to get it over your hips or your chest. The worst? When it fits but morphs into being see-through. That’s a bad leggings look when doing squats at the gym let me tell you. Nobody signed up to see that much of anyone’s ever expanding booty when trying to get their sweat on.

While the adjustment was not easy, and is changing each week I pack my suitcase for work, I finally entered a phase where it makes me smile, rather than making me want to cry. Just last night I was packing my bags and while trying my clothes on before throwing them in my suitcase, I realized just in the last 30 days, my work clothing choices have narrowed to just a handful of items. I WILL be wearing the same thing every other day in my third trimester. And that’s okay.

Is my ass wider than I imagined it would be? Is my acne on a new level? Yep. Is my chest so large that it makes me question how it is humanly possible it’s mine? Do I have rolls and cellulite I never gave permission to show up? Hah, oh hell yes. Have I gained more weight than I wanted to in my head? Does my whole body hurt sometimes from all the change? Of course! I have lost a lot of muscle and strength over the months as my gym days have gone from 4-6 down to 2-4. Hell, I can’t even muscle my suitcase into the overhead bin on an airplane anymore and now hope someone will offer before I have to do it. If you’ve read my past posts, you know I used to be annoyed when people offered. My oh my, things have changed.

Here’s the good part. My baby is already teaching me something I needed to learn before she got here. Being a control freak doesn’t make you a better person or better parent. Control is something of a joke once the baby arrives, and trying to control something when your doctor hasn’t told you it’s necessary is just going to cause unwanted stress and anxiety, not to mention it’s an easy way to overlook all the magical things happening with the body during pregnancy.

My little human can kick me and punch me and even gets hiccups. She is already feisty and I am loving it. Time slows down for me every time I feel her move. It straight up stops when I can grab my husband’s hand fast enough so he can feel her too.

My body is growing so it can support all the things she needs from me. Her heartbeat is strong, she is growing right as she needs to, and I still have the healthy mark of approval from my doctor, despite already being over the recommended weight gain. I even passed the dreaded glucose test! And please know I take zero of these things for granted, because I know how quickly things can change.

Now for the BEST part of growing during pregnancy. My baby bump is growing and Baby A is making herself more apparent each day. Whenever I have to abandon a blouse because I can’t button it, I now smile because it means she is a day closer to being here in real life. We’re a day closer to being able to see her face. I’ll take whatever changes are required of my body to make it to this day. It may mean swollen Jessica Simpson feet, a puffy face, an achy back and a uniform of sweatpants, but sign me up. So when you see me waddling through the airport, know I’m doing it happily. She is already worth it.

The Dark Side of Pregnancy

Depression hit me like a brick within my first six weeks of pregnancy. As soon as I found out I was pregnant (about week four), I knew it was time to come off my antidepressants. They had been in my life since college and in the past when I’ve tried to come off of them, let’s just say it didn’t work and I had to go right back on the happy pill train. It was time for a train stop, whether I was ready or not. My prescription was not deemed pregnancy safe, so I knew I had to at least try to keep the little white pills in the cabinet.

Try I sure did. Within about a week of being completely off my meds, I felt a hard shift. It began with a brain fog that slowly warped into a full body fog, chaining me to my living room couch. I wasn’t going down without a fight. I began buying beautiful new plants for my kitchen table, thinking maybe the life they had could somehow transfer to me. I tried to keep an exercise routine to fight off the depression. The only problem was, I was so exhausted and nauseous, working out was only in my cards 10% of the time. The plants wouldn’t stay alive either. I would buy a new one in hopes it would do better than the last. It seemed to quickly brown at the leaves and look similar to how I was feeling. I felt so utterly helpless and selfish. Here I was, finally pregnant after such a hard year. Why couldn’t I just be happy? Why couldn’t I even keep a plant alive!? I was thrilled about the baby, but so worried about who I was becoming as the days crept on. My body grew heavier, and I felt as though a tear flood was looming no matter the subject or time of day.

The couch had me on lockdown. Any days I wasn’t flying somewhere for work, I was firmly planted on my grey living room couch, which quickly became my office. I couldn’t even get myself up to my office desk, so my coffee table became my desk. I slowly found my mind begin to feel as grey as the color of my couch.

Then the extreme highs crept in, disguising themselves as a way out of the depression. I would maybe once or twice a week find the strength to leave the couch and get to the gym, and I felt so good, I knew I could keep it up. The next week I wouldn’t keep it up, and the old feelings seeped back in like a flood greeting the cracks of my front door.

I finally buckled up and asked for help, as painful as it was. I told my husband, from my couch in a puddle of tears. I definitely surprised him, but he was wonderful and simply asked how he could help. We sat down and talked through ways he could know I wasn’t doing well and things that he could help me with, such as making sure I discussed it with my doctor on the next visit, and checking in to see how my workouts were going, asking how I was doing from time to time. I shared with him simple things he could do like folding laundry if he saw it just sitting crumpled in a basket. I also asked him to water my plant when I was unable to. I wanted so badly for one of these plants to stay alive.

I warned him he would need to be on high alert after the baby came. This was going to be ongoing and I needed his help to be a healthy mom so we could help bring a healthy baby into the world.

Let’s fast forward to today. Wow, I’m so happy I didn’t stay silent. Do I still have hard days? Oh my gosh yes. I’ll admit I had to write this post over the course of three weeks because the shit is hard to write without breaking down. Facing your demons on paper when it isn’t completely in the past is probably one of the hardest things I’ve tried to do.

Posting about a “before” when you are clearly in the “after” is not so tough. I’m sitting here posting a “before” and a “middle” and I don’t know what the “after” looks like quite yet. I only know I will make it through, and I’m focusing on the love in my life rather than the fear. How do you focus on the love when you feel enveloped in fear?

I have chosen a new mini project to embark on each weekend that helps bring me one step closer to my baby girl. I “Marie Kondoed” my closet and started Baby A’s closet. I might choose to go through and declutter a drawer, or do an art project for her room. Some weekends I just accept that I’m too tired to be terribly productive and I read a little, do prenatal yoga or meditate. I don’t really set expectations for myself other than getting off the couch. I also forgive myself when I know I need to rest and I just rest.

I accept the fear is there from time to time too, but I welcome it now. It’s amazing how power can be taken from something when you just acknowledge it’s there and move forward.

Whether you’re dealing with depression, anxiety, or the hormonal mind cluster that pregnancy can sometimes be, know there is a direction you can go to move out and move on. There is always something to look forward to if you create it.

I sit here on this snowed-in Sunday, and I feel alive. The little kicks and punches in my belly remind me Baby A is here too alongside me on this ride. And my plant? It is looking just as alive as I feel now that I’ve asked for my husbands help in watering it. I can’t expect to keep it alive on my own when I am not always capable of watering it myself. So he does, and it stays looking just as lively and beautiful as it was intended. It just needs extra water from time to time. Kind of like me. 😊

Little Miracles from Above: Reminders Our Loved Ones Are Never Really Gone.

I am a long time believer in miracles because I’ve been lucky enough to see them happen throughout my life in different ways. Whether it was the synchronicity that led me to the current company I work for, or the way my husband came into my life at the ripe age of 12, I believe miracles are possible and that everything, as beautiful or shitty as it may be, happens for a reason.

I would be remiss not to share in the miracle I am experiencing now. One year ago, around September, my Grandma Jean paid me a visit. Unexpected, being that she passed away when I was only eight years old. I have always stayed very close to her in spirit but up to this point she had never visited me in such a real way. She was statuesque in a long flowing slate blue dress, holding a bundle wrapped up in a white blanket. She told me the bundle was going to be my baby someday. Then she was gone. I told a close friend and a few family members that I thought might believe me just in case the vision ever turned into more than just a vision.

I felt she was protecting this baby while I was sorting through things on earth. I also had an intuitive or “psychic” share with me this same thing a few weeks after I was impressed upon by it. How was it that she could see the same thing I was seeing? I was floored by the possibility.

Little did I know that “sorting through things” was going to have so much more meaning, as I began to feel something was wrong. I confirmed it was in fact wrong with the news of early stage cervical cancer. The successful procedure that followed could mean pregnancy could be tough for me. I fought through the possibility of not being able to get or stay pregnant by throwing myself into work and bodybuilding. I was determined to make myself the strongest I had ever been so I could be the strongest version of myself during this time.

Months went by and after a great spring competition season, I found myself losing sight of my bodybuilding goals, and decided to take a step back and focus on building a healthy body, not just a strong, ultra-lean one. The baby thoughts began flooding in as soon as the bodybuilding dreams washed away.

Along with the baby thoughts, I began to focus on my own spirituality, for the first time in what felt like a long time. I thought that if I knew more than ever about what I believed in and who I was, it would aide me in guiding a family alongside my husband, Drake.

I began diving into books on spirituality, angels, God, you name it. I began praying and meditating regularly. Taking back my spirituality was making me feel so awake in the best of ways. I was feeling less anxious, more forgiving, and overall just unbothered by things that didn’t matter. To top it off, my feeling for gratitude exploded.

On a lazy Saturday evening in October, I was diving into prayer and meditation, but after a few minutes, started to feel I wasn’t alone in the room. I wasn’t. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was once again, my Grandma Jean in the ever beautiful slate blue gown. It glimmered with long sheer sleeves, lace detail across the chest, and thin beautiful pleating running down the long flowing skirt. She started by saying, “I want you to know I’m going to protect you through all this.”

What does that even mean? She began talking about my parents and grandfather, as I sat there in disbelief at what was happening. Her personality was just as commanding as it was when she was alive. She wasn’t the Grandma who told you how cute you were as she kissed your cheeks. She was the one who told you to be stronger, stand taller and let me tell you, she took shit from absolutely no one. When Grandma spoke, everyone listened. She hadn’t changed a bit, even down to her bouffant hair and lipstick. I’m a tad surprised she didn’t have a cigarette in her hand. She was a force to be reckoned with in life and death alike. I couldn’t believe it. I could see her again. She was talking to me.

As soon as my meditation ended, I FaceTimed my parents to fact check me. There was a possibility I was losing my marbles you know. I told them everything Grandma said, and the first thing they asked, with teary eyes was about what she was wearing. I told them, my dad gasped and my mom ran to get their wedding book. They shuffled through pages and when they stopped on a photo of her they both said, “She was wearing the dress she wore the day of our wedding.” Wow.

The next day, I couldn’t stop thinking about my visit from Grandma. As I backtracked through each moment, it dawned on me. In the first vision I ever had of her she was holding a baby. This time she was not. Where did the baby go? There was no bundle to be found. Did this mean it was no longer in my cards, or that something went terribly wrong? I couldn’t stop thinking about what happened to the swaddled little thing in her arms and never got a chance to ask her. What did she mean when she said she was protecting me “through all this?”

I got to thinking…What if the baby wasn’t with Grandma Jean because it was now with me? Is the baby with me? Could it be possible that my grandmother held this baby in her arms from heaven keeping her safe, and she has now given that baby to me without my even realizing it? I ran upstairs and took a pregnancy test. Oh. My. Word. The baby WAS with me. I’m pregnant. The baby IS with me. I always had a strong connection and feeling my grandmother was looking after me, but I could never fathom it could be in this way. I can feel her protection so strongly now.

Maybe, just maybe my urge to get to know God again was no coincidence. The soul-exploration I went on opened my heart up, allowing my grandmother to come and deliver an important message to me from above. Maybe I just became a better listener. I think these little miracles were all leading up to the big miracle that is the special little one I’m carrying now. My body wasn’t ready for a baby a year ago, so it sent me warning signs so I could have a healthy body in time for the pregnancy. I can’t even begin to imagine what this story would sound like if I didn’t listen to my intuition a year ago.

God is good, but I never knew He could be THIS good. I can’t believe I’m going to be a mom. I’m so grateful for it. Don’t ever doubt that God has a miracle waiting for you too. Just when you think not, He very well might surprise you in the most astounding and beautiful of ways. All that is required is an open heart, and maybe an overly protective loved one cheering for you on the other side. 😉

“You Shared Too Soon”

I’m now just over ten weeks pregnant. I found out I was pregnant right at about four weeks, shared with close family immediately, and shared with the world at eight weeks.

Honestly, I’m such a big mouth it’s amazing I kept my mouth shut for a whole month. It was hard for me. I have no problem keeping other peoples secrets but I doubt I will be any good at ever having any of my own. I wasn’t even supposed to get pregnant this year for health reasons, so getting the news sent me straight over the moon. How do you keep something exploding inside your heart IN?! I couldn’t do it for long. I have a lot of respect for anyone who patiently waits for however long they choose. It’s hard!

Yesterday I was talking to my cousin and he asked me if the flood of opinions had begun to rush in yet. I said no, that it was more people empathizing and sharing excitement. I myself don’t mind getting advice too much because people do this to share experiences for the most part.

Then I realized I left something out. I HAVE had one decision that has involved more opinions than I ever needed. Mothers exclaiming that I shared way too early and what would I do if I miscarried?! It is customary to wait until you are at least 12 weeks. Some wait even longer just to be safe. I broke the rules.

I wouldn’t have changed a thing. First of all, I’m a terrible liar and anyone who spends time with me would know quickly. While I’m not showing just yet, I’m a dead giveaway. I typically eat gas station beef jerky like it’s going out of style. Can’t do that when pregnant. I also never turn down a glass of wine at dinner. Not doing that. My typical preferences of fish and Greek salad have been swapped for Mac and cheese or grilled cheese, mostly because I’m in a constant state of feeling hung over and the smell of chicken and vegetables makes me want to hurl. I literally eat to prevent from hurling.

What about the possibility of miscarriage? I know too many women who have experienced this. Women I’m very close to. I nearly lost a best friend to a devastating ectopic pregnancy. While I haven’t experienced it myself, my heart has hurt for every friend and family member I’ve seen go through this. It’s not something I could suffer in silence. It’s not something I take lightly. What will I do if I miscarry? I will talk about it. The best way for me to cope would be to write about it. That’s just who I am.

While I know I don’t have to explain my decisions, I wanted to mostly so those who disagree could see a different perspective. Could every beautiful mother who has been there refrain from sharing opinions about the appropriate time to share with the world? You waited until your baby was born? You waited until 12 weeks? All are great. This decision is so personal, so the next time you run into a pregnant lady, refrain from your judgements about the time they chose. I chose my best time. It wasn’t a decision made in ignorance, so please refrain from treating it as such.

This topic isn’t something that upsets me. I understand that anyone who disagrees does it because of their own experiences and I respect that. It’s more something I think is great for discussion and a chance for more women to better understand one another. You do you, boo. And I promise I will always share too soon. 😊