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.

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  1. Brittany says:

    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!

    1. juli says:

      i’m not totally sure. i just asked my FMD to order tests to check all those numbers and i went in for a blood test!