I vividly remember running my first 5k and thinking: “Yeah, this is the hardest thing I’ve done.” And then a year or two later, quitting a job and thinking: “No, wait. THIS is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” Since that time, there have been five or six other “hardest things.”
But nothing tops pregnancy.
People are quick to tell you that pregnancy is worth it…that it goes by so fast.
Nope. Not for me. People are quick to tell you that it’s such a wonderful time. I have to laugh at that one. What exactly is wonderful about being thirty pounds larger, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and being told you can’t lift groceries? What’s wonderful about swelling feet and headaches?
So yes, I’m a skeptic. But I’ve also become a believer.
I have to admit. There are beautiful moments interspersed in the not-so-awesome times. Like feeling your baby move inside you for the first time. Like seeing their little fingers and toes on ultrasound. Like picking out tiny outfits. Like coming up with names for baby with your partner or friends.
But I guarantee you, being pregnant will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done…well until you reach postpartum.
During postpartum, people are quick to tell you that it is okay that your body isn’t “back to normal”. Though that’s true, it doesn’t feel true. Plus, there’s so much going on hormonally. You’ve been through hundreds of changes physically in the last nine months. You are coming down off a high and everything feels blue. You may catch yourself crying for no reason (been there), feeling like you’ll never wear your pre-preggo jeans again (I understand), or thinking about having another baby. (whaaat?)
So is it worth it?
My firstborn is 4 months as I write this. Was he worth it? Um, yes.
Was pregnancy the hardest thing I’ve ever done? Definitely. How about postpartum? Yes! How about caring for an infant? Oh wait, THAT’S the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
It is worth it. I wouldn’t change any of it. Because in persevering through the hard things, I look back and realize that I’m ten times the person I used to be.
Let’s go back to the 5k example. I never thought I could do it. I’ve struggled with exercise and body image all my life. And sure, it wasn’t a marathon and it wasn’t like I won the race. But I did it. I worked at it and on one sunny day, I ran all 3 miles. Was that worth it? Yes! It was worth every second of sweat and breathlessness and embarrassment.
I’m going to be honest with you: pregnancy is hard. Postpartum is harder. Caring for an infant is even harder than that.
One day that little person who you carried for nine months and gave 24/7 care to for many more is going to smile at you. It is going to melt your insides. You are going to realize in that moment, just as I did while crossing the 5k finish line, every sacrifice is always worth it. Every sacrifice you make—though it may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done—becomes the greatest reward you could ever receive.
By Victoria B., former Office Manager at You Medical