Biggest Lessons From Pregnancy

This pregnancy was one hell of a journey. I’ve heard people say that when you give birth, you give birth to two people – your new self and your child. But I would challenge that and say that when you get pregnant, you become a new person. I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but for me…it was a hard one that transformed me. I didn’t get anything I expected from pregnancy. I thought I would have an easier time, I thought I would feel more spiritually connected to her, I thought I would be able to work out the same as I had before, I thought I would be glowing and thriving…and then I got none of that. I didn’t sleep for the first two trimesters, I threw up into the third trimester, I dealt with some pretty crippling depression, I had a hard time doing much movement from sciatica, I had no interest in practicing my spirituality, my workouts changed completely, I didn’t enjoy anything I had before, and I constantly questioned my identity since it had changed so much, so quickly. A lot changed. Losing your identity while not knowing what your new identity is…well it was really hard for me.

But as the 9 months went on, I very slowly found a new identity. I was able to somewhat understand the lessons that had been brought forward and begin to adapt those into my new life and my soon-to-be future life. As I get older, I look back through different difficult moments and they have taught me so much…and this tough yet beautiful chapter was no different. I’m not going to act like I’m not happy AF that it’s finally come to a close so I can move on to a new lesson and chapter which is already way more enjoyable, but these lessons will come along with me as I raise my daughter, constantly learn from her, and grow day-by-day together. Here are some of the big lessons I learned over the last 9 months.

Surrender, surrender, and then surrender some more.

I have never said the word surrender more in my life than when I was pregnant. I had to relearn this lesson over and over and over again. And I’m sure I will learn it in so many ways throughout raising a child. Surrendering to change can be so hard, but it helps so much. I learned to surrender to the insomnia, I learned to surrender to her ever-changing birthday that she picked, I learned to surrender to asking for help, I learned to surrender to my completely different body, and so much more. And the more I surrendered to each experience, the easier things got.

Every phase comes to an end.

When I was dealing with insomnia and sleeping sometimes less than an hour a night, I started hallucinating and having some extremely scary and dark thoughts. I’ve dealt with some depression in the past, especially while on accutane, but this was even worse. It felt like this would be my life forever and I didn’t know how I would survive. Then sleep would randomly happen every now and then. Finally, after 32 weeks, I stopped puking. And by 35 weeks, I felt a sliver of my old self come back to life. The sleep, the puking, the depression, the dark thoughts…they all began to fade away. Those phases that I thought were my new life were finally gone. I believe this experience really set me up for the newborn experience and reminded me that each phase, no matter how hard or how wonderful, all come to a close at some point, so take what you can from every experience.

Your intuition is there for a reason. 

When I first got pregnant, all I did was read allll the books, listen to all the podcasts, follow all the professionals…and then I was instantly overwhelmed and even more scared than before. I wanted to be perfect – in diet, in lifestyle, in parenting, in EVERYTHING. And even though I learned a ton and I’m thankful for that, it somewhat took me away from my intuition. And at the end of the day, I hadn’t even met my daughter and experienced what HER needs were. With endless information out there, it can be hard to listen to your gut, but we all have that intuition inside of us for a reason. And when I began to unfollow pages, skip over the reels about motherhood, and no longer open messages on instagram, I was able to come back to myself and our needs as a family. It was very freeing!

You quickly find out what you really need and who you really need, leaving behind the rest.

Something that became very important to me, especially at the end of pregnancy, was protecting my energy. I was so exhausted from the pregnancy, from the loss of our dog Jackson, and from continued family stress, that I felt like I had no energy left for myself or my growing daughter. So one day I said no more. I was no longer going to waste my time or energy on people or experiences that didn’t fill my cup or bring me joy since I had missed out on that through most of my pregnancy. I stopped feeling the need to respond to everyone, I didn’t take phone calls that I knew would mess with my nervous system, and I began doing something every day that brought my joy. In the end, I became really selfish because I was able to see what was most important – my life and the health of my daughter. Learning these boundaries during pregnancy will absolutely carry over into becoming a new parent and creating our new family dynamic while figuring out what is most important to US.

Losing your identity may be setting you up for your new identity ahead.

We are constantly becoming new people…at least I hope all of us are! We are learning, adapting, growing, and evolving. And that evolution is really fucking scary sometimes. For part of my pregnancy, I didn’t like getting out of bed, working, working out, cooking, hanging out with friends, and it all made me not recognize myself. I didn’t recognize myself – mentally, physically, or spiritually. And that was really scary. But this experience was setting me up for my new identity, filled with completely new experiences that didn’t fully fit with my old identity. And that transition of identity will help me transition over and over and over again.

If you’ve struggled through something or if you’re going through that tough time right now, writing down the lessons you’ve learned along the way may help you grow and evolve in a really beautiful way. It may not be easy, even in the slightest, but those struggles will pay off in a way you may have never seen coming. Lessons are hard, new identities are harder, but the growth you’ll be able to see looking back will all be worth it.

Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.


42 thoughts on “Biggest Lessons From Pregnancy”

  1. I’m so happy for you!!! Congratulations! You were one of my first IG follows like 4 years ago & I’ve made so many of your delicious recipes over the years. Long time follower, first time messager. So funny story, I have been watching your stories & getting teared up with happiness for you & though my baby is 10, I just had to click on your cute stroller because it looks way different than mine was. Obviously I am now getting targeted ads for new moms & I ended up buying this nursing cover by Amma & it already arrived & it’s awesome! I bought it because I’m in early menopause & it sounded like it would work for these freakin hot flashes because it’s lightweight & breathable for the baby haha. And you can wear a bunch of ways & use it as a blanket or car seat cover. So I figured I should let you know about it, in case IG isn’t stalking you about it yet, and complete the circle! It’s
    Thanks for all you share. I have another whole thing I want to say about how awesome I think it is that your shared about your pregnancy before the “safe zone” but this is already so long so maybe another time.

    1. hahahaha isn’t it funny how when you look at ONE thing, your whole instagram feed and ads can change lol? love that you found something through that, though! and thank you so much for following along for so long, that’s so damn rad! it’s been one hell of a journey and it’s been so cool to experience the love on the other side of all the hardships and frustrations. so freaking in love with this little girl!

  2. Juli,
    Ok, I wanted to tell you that most people (even lactation consultants) don’t tell you a couple of very important lessons about breastfeeding. And since I lose interest in long messages I am going to bullet point them.
    1. Breastfeeding is something you BOTH need to learn.
    2. Lanolin over the breast (colored part and nipples) will help make nursing more bearable.
    3. Breast milk is a healer for your breasts too.
    4. When you try to get her to latch on, try to get her mouth open as WIDE as you can (when she’s screaming for food is best, sounds cruel but as soon as she feels the nipple she will latch on. YOU WON’T SUFFOCATE her, that’s because her nostrils are bigger to allow for nursing.
    5. The more she latches on to the whole breast (colored part) the LESS you will be sore.
    6. Feel your breasts, if you notice lumps concentrate on massaging those when she’s nursing. It will prevent problems later and make you feel a lot better.
    7. Try to spread out feedings, a super long feeding before bed will get you 3-4hrs of sleep. This prepares them for sleeping through the night.
    8. Nursing and crying are exercise for the babies.
    9. Did you know that the only distance the baby sees clearly is the distance between your eyes and her’s? This is why we feed them in that position. It’s all a bigger plan in the universe, let the bonding begin!
    10. Around week 2 start feeding her with a bottle. There are debates about water, but whether you do water or strictly breast milk if you don’t introduce her to a bottle then NO ONE else will be able to feed her until she eats and drinks from cups and plates. Bottle rejection is HORRIBLE.
    11. You are FREAKING awesome, and courageous!
    I have followed you since before your first book. I get a lot of strength from your blogs and your perseverance! I can’t tell you how much I wish I had had someone like you when I had my kids. HOWEVER, you being your natural you, taught me a lot; most importantly I learned that we have to pay attention to ourselves and do what’s right and that particular moment. Congratulations

    1. Wow this is SUCH great information! From Juli and Julie <3
      I'm getting ready to start the whole pregnancy journey, and following you, Juli, on IG has been so helpful since I'm still a little apprehensive…

  3. I’m not a new mom (not even close lol) and I got so much out of this! Your journey has been so inspiring! Thank you for being so authentic and sharing these precious moments with us. Love love love you and so happy for you and your new family!

    Also, I sent this over to a girlfriend of mine who just found out that she will be a mom!

  4. Just came to say CONGRATULATIONS on having your baby! What a huge, huge milestone! I remember when you were firmly on Team No Kids haha, just remember it’s normal to still feel that way even after you have one. Be easy on yourself. xoxo

  5. First off, Congratulations! Thank you for such a beautiful truthful reflection of your experience. I’m 34 weeks with my second and appreciate the advise of follow your intuition. With my first pregnancy I read so many pregnancy books and immersed myself in the “perfect, ideal birth.” I was going for a birth center birth and we ended having to transfer to a hospital. I was devastated for over a year (then I surrendered and now appreciate my birth story) This time around I am focusing on the process and just connecting with my son and husband. I’m just trying to follow my body’s lead on all aspects and I’m open to any type of birth. Again, thanks for sharing your experience because it’s helped me to be accepting of my own and been a reminder that life is unpredictable and it’s still beautiful in all it’s ups and downs.

    1. i love that! these little ones have their own plan with birth and sometimes we have to embrace that plan. but that’s so good that you have surrendered to your birth story. i know for so many, that can be so challenging. but embracing what happened can ease so much stress for the next birth that you have! you’re a rockstar, georgette! and so close to meeting your newest family member!

  6. Hi Juli! Congratulations on beautiful Avery! I’m 18 weeks and man am I struggling. It’s been so nice to follow your honest journey and allow myself to feel all the feels. I went through infertility and IVF so boy do I feel blessed but man I hate being pregnant. It’s been awful. I wake up and try to remind myself that today can be the best day of my life – you’ve turned me on to looking for the positive. Thanks again for all you share!

    1. i’ve talked to so many women who have done IVF then feel guilty about not loving pregnancy. for some, pregnancy blows. but so many hard things are worth doing because the outcome is transforming. and birth/having a baby in your life is truly transforming. try to do things you love throughout pregnancy and enjoy those last moments with a child. that helped me enjoy pregnancy at the end and put me in a good headspace for birth!!

  7. Congratulations! Your daughter is so beautiful and you are impressive how you dealt with it all, still got things done, still showed up for yourself in ways you could and you showed up for others which could not have been easy. Now your post pics of you and your daughter together and you radiate happiness – it is just so special and touching. Wishing you and your family all the best!!

    1. thank you so so much, Liza! i definitely love this part waaaay more than pregnancy. no matter how hard a day is, it’s so much more fulfilling with a daughter in my arms!

  8. Juli… this is an amazing writeup for post pregnancy and LIFE!
    I have been a follower for years… right after your 1st book!
    YOUR JOURNEY in Life has been very transparent and I love all that you have shared even when at first it bothered moi, but I learned from what you said or did!
    Thanks for sharing your life up to this point and being HONEST

  9. Thank you for the honesty and vulnerability. I am about 2 months along and seem to be having a similar start – hearing stories like yours makes me feel less alone and so much more hopeful for the journey and growth ahead! Keep sharing all the new mom material, you have no idea how helpful and inspiring you are. Thank you again ❤️

      1. Thank you for sharing. You’ve put into words a lot of the feelings I’m having at 32 weeks w my first. My biggest problem is being able to express these feelings and get support from my husband. Any thoughts or tips?

  10. Thank you so so much for sharing this journey! I’ve been following along since 2011 and have loved seeing all the transformations over the years but watching you become a momma has been the best one yet!! I am almost 13 weeks pregnant now and your life lessons just ring so true for me as well. Surrender really is the word for pregnancy!
    I can’t wait to continue to follow along your journey and learn so much from you!

    1. we were waking her up before to feed, every 3 hours. so yes, it’s still on demand, but now we don’t have to wake her up so last night she went 5 hours then 4 hours instead of every 3. i hope that makes sense!

      1. Hey Juli, I am suffering from severe Sciatica. I am not pregnant yet. Would you be able to tell me what helped you ease the pain or get rid of the pain for once and all! Thank you!!!

  11. I also really struggled with identity and my drastically changing body during pregnancy. I was about 3 months ahead of you in pregnancy, so it was really cool to follow along with you and your baby girl while I was experiencing similar things! Thank you so much for your vulnerability and for sharing all the things 😊

  12. Were/are you still working with your therapist to process all your emotions/learned lessons through pregnancy? Did you find it helpful?

  13. Loved watching your pregnancy! Can you link or send the articles about Microneedling when pregnant!? I can’t remember if you used numbing cream. Looking to decide on whether to do it. Mixed info online but I’d love to read what you read before talking to my dr more. Thanks!

  14. I have loved following your journey through pregnancy and now motherhood! Thanks for keeping it real 😀
    I keep seeing your frustration on Instagram with dressing Avery- I dressed all my babies from the feet up so you don’t have to go over their heads. Saves some screaming.

  15. Hi Juli,

    Congratulations, and a big huge giant thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us. I’m just beginning my journey to try to get pregnant and felt some relief knowing that one of my favorite influences and a trusted woman has shared so much. I’m trying to take it one day at a time.

    Do you have a prenatal vitamin that you took or recommend? Interested in your thoughts on that.

    Thank you!

  16. Juli – i’ve been following you since before your first book (I remember going nuts when you hit your snatch PR at regionals waaaayyy back). Its been wonderful watching you grow and expand your family. Congrats on your beautiful baby girl. I have a 5MO son and I was sick with hyperemesis/anxiety the whole way through, then I had a challenging L&D so I can really relate to your struggles. It’s SO wonderful to have your body ‘back’ as your own and that beautiful human that you MADE! There is a book that my aunt got me which I read all the time called “There Are Moms Way Worse Than You” by Glenn Boozan. It’s a baby book that I read whenever I am feeling down or uncertain about myself. It’s absolutely hysterical. Enjoy the ride, you are doing a great job. xo

  17. I experienced many of the same struggles during my pregnancy. It felt like immediate depression from the lack of identity, and the inability to maintain my regular routine. It totally threw me off in the worst way, but the lessons that are there for us to learn will set us up for the next adventure. I also had a lot of guilt that I wasn’t enjoying every moment of pregnancy. It felt a bit taboo to admit that. What it comes down to is that one person’s struggle does not negate another’s.

    What I really wanted to say, though, is that I’m currently going through one of the worst lows of my life and your post lifted some of the heaviness that’s been crushing my soul. There are some situations I just need to surrender to and remember they will pass as you stated. I’ll learn the lessons that are there, not only for myself, but to hopefully help others should they need it.

    I’m no longer on IG, so I miss seeing your posts, but it’s so much better getting back to blogs. I’m so happy for you, Brian, and Avery. I’ve been following you since the post-college days with Laura and it’s been so awesome watching your business/life grow and evolve.

  18. Could you share what techniques you used to help prepare for an unmedicated birth? Or if you’ve already shared, point me in the right direction? For example, did you use hypnobirthing?

  19. Hi Julie! I really loved following along with your nutrition journey while pregnant on IG! I remember you getting a test done to make sure you were getting enough nutrients without a prenatal. Do you remember what test that was? I want to do something similar. Thank you!

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