The poems begin 8 months before conception and end a few months after the birth of my daughter. Here is the description:
“In this new book of poems from author Angelle Conant, she bares her soul and chronicles her first pregnancy full of ups and downs with wit, honesty and joy. It contains insights and stories from the early days of waiting for a little blue plus sign all the way to the birth of her daughter and beyond. But it is more than just personal anecdotes – this book of poems is an essential companion on the journey that is pregnancy. It will comfort and enlighten while simultaneously normalizing all the changes that are taking place within a pregnant woman’s body, heart, and mind. With each poem, an illustration shows the stage of pregnancy at which it was written. As the woman’s body on the page grows with new life, so does our understanding of a pregnant woman’s journey. In her unique and wise voice, the author speaks to the universal themes and experiences of bringing new life into the world. If you or someone you know is pregnant, this is the book for them. BONUS! This book also contains an appendix full of positive affirmations for pregnancy and motherhood that were created and used by the author.”
If you do procure a copy, I would love to hear your thoughts via email or a review on Amazon or Goodreads. If you’d like to be notified of any project updates, please subscribe.
This is the third installment of the Love Series and one that I drew back in 2014 when my husband and I were trying to get pregnant. After we decided we’d like to start a family, I thought things would happen pretty quickly after that – oh how naive I was. Month after month dragged on and still there was no plus sign on my pregnancy test and Aunt Flo was still visiting.
Well, I got mad. Then sad. Then mad again. I was so frustrated and distraught. “Why was this taking so long? Why hadn’t I eaten better? I should have never tried pot that time!”
For months, I tried to somehow fix it. Fix me. This was one of my dreams, to become a mother, and I felt like somehow it was my fault that it was slipping through my fingers. That somehow the choices I had made up until this point in my life were causing all of this. “This is probably happening because of all my stress. I should have worked harder to be less stressed!”
One day, I was feeling so glum and frustrated and realized that I needed to chill out. Let go. Trust the Universe. I decided it was time to send a little love to the area of my body that I had been not so silently seething at for months. Actually, I started to realize, the fury at my uterus had begun 7 years prior when, almost every month, I’d have debilitating cramps during my period. I decided that whether or not I got pregnant, sending a little love to my uterus would be good for the both of us. And it was.
A few months after I drew this picture, I became pregnant. Months later, during my unmedicated homebirth, I realized that those “debilitating cramps” I’d been having for years were actually very similar to labor! It was all worth it though because we now have a beautiful little girl and I don’t have period cramps anymore. 🙂
#3 in THE LOVE SERIES. Sidenote: This drawing was based on a medical picture, not MY uterus. I have no idea what that thing looks like.
What do I have against hard? Ever since my daughter was born, all I’ve been looking for is easy – the path of least resistance. I’ve shunned hard hard. So what is it about hard that I’m so afraid of?
My dear husband makes my life harder in many ways. I’m a neat freak, he’s…not. I love veggies and tofu, he… doesn’t. I’m a saver, he’s…not. But sharing my life with him is so worth the ‘hard.’ There has been so much joy and healing and fun and unconditional love because of him. And it’s only the beginning.
My daughter makes my life harder too. But she is so unbelievably worth it as well. Owning a home makes my life harder but it’s worth it. Being a stay-at-home mom, in many ways, makes my life more difficult, but it’s also worth it. Breastfeeding. Cloth diapers. Co-sleeping. Trying to get my daughter to nap on her own. Cooking unprocessed, whole foods. Eating low sugar. Self-care. Exercising. Meditating. Creating memories. All of these things require substantial effort and make my life ‘harder.’ But they also, in many ways, make it much easier at the same time. And they’re all things that I have chosen consciously and created within my life. And they are all worth it. And somewhere along the lines of exhaustion and fatigue, I’ve forgotten that hard isn’t a bad thing. I’ve forgotten that just because the path is hard doesn’t mean it’s the wrong path for me. If I’m presented with a hard path and an easy path, the universe isn’t telling me to take the easy path just because it’s easier. Giving birth to my daughter was hard but so worth it. So worth it, in fact, it didn’t even register as hard. It registered as a challenge but one I was happy to meet. And somewhere along the line I have stopped being happy to meet these challenges. All I want is easy. All I want is effortless.
Sometimes I think about my life if I had never gotten married and had children, almost as a fantasy. And when I’m in a dark place, so weary, tired and run-down, it seems like a wonderful fantasy. But thinking about it now when I’m only slightly weary and exhausted, it just seems sad and devoid of the chaos and mess of life. This life that I have, that I have chosen for myself and created consciously, it’s hard but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It is time for me to stop choosing the easy path simply because it is easy. Sometimes that will be all I can do and that’s okay and forgiving myself for that and being gentle with myself will be the hard part. Because even when I take the easy path there is always a hard part that goes with it. So no matter what I choose I’m taking the easy/hard path or the hard/easy path. Writing a book while being a stay-at-home mom to a rambunctious 1 year old who doesn’t seem to want to sleep without her mom next to her will be hard. But it will be so worth it. Unschooling my daughter for the next 17 years will be challenging but it will so be worth it. Making time for my self care is freaking hard but it’s worth it. And making time for dates with my husband is hard but worth it. Making time for friendships and family is hard but worth it. It is time I stopped running away from hard. It’s not something to be afraid of – it is something I have chosen consciously, to create a life full of love, chaos, fun, mess and even challenge. Because an easy life, though seemingly wonderful at times, is boring for me and not the life I will choose for myself. This is the life I choose – time to go live it.
One of my teenage relatives was recently having a rough time of things.
This is what I would say to her (and my high school self).
I’m going to tell you something you don’t want to hear and already know: life isn’t fair. And sometimes, I think, a teen’s life can have extra bits of unfair-ness. First, there is school. Don’t even get me started on school. You can read about why school sucks here, here, and here. Then there is the fact that you’re almost sort-of an adult but not really. You are given tastes of freedom and independence but none of the trust or respect to go with it. “Be an adult. Stop acting childish” but also “Listen to me. Do what I say. You live under my roof, you have no rights.” This is in addition to the pressure and expectations of everyone around you: friends, teachers, parents, relatives, your church, your culture, the media, etc. And as the cherry on top are all of the ‘normal’ things in life that suck: trauma, abuse*, hardship, death, etc. What I’m trying to say here is that, generally, a teen’s life can really suck. And when your life has a tendency to suck, you tend to have a few bad days (or weeks or months or…).
This is for those times. The bad days. First, I’m going to give you some advice my mom gave me (yes, parents do actually know something from time to time): you can’t change anyone but yourself. Another gem from the old lady: what other people think about you is none of your business. And lastly: don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides (this includes the crap people post on Facebook). These three statements have profoundly changed the way I look at myself and the world.
MEDITATION : Am I spending enough time alone? Do I make time to deal with my big emotions? Do I make time to get in touch with myself and figure out who I am and what I want? Do I listen to my inner wise voice?
SELF-EXPRESSION : Am I making time to express myself in a way that feels true to my soul? Even if I’m not going to share it with another living person, it still needs to be expressed.
What I’ve just listed is essentially radical self care. And contrary to popular belief, caring for yourself is not selfish. It’s like they say on an airplane: you have to put your oxygen mask on first before you can help anyone else put on theirs. And let me tell you – self care isn’t easy. Change takes time and you will fall off the wagon. Be kind and gentle with yourself and just get back on. And don’t be afraid to ask for help or get creative.
And if all else fails, get some perspective: read a book, make a list of what you’re grateful for, help someone else, give back, focus on what you do have. The world is so much bigger and more beautiful than high school and you are stronger, wiser, braver, and more resilient and powerful than you know. Hang in there – I promise you it will get better.
Oh, and one final thing:
YOU ARE VALUED.
YOU ARE NEEDED.
YOU ARE ENOUGH.
YOU ARE LOVED.
All my love,
*If you are currently in an abusive situation, I urge you to seek help. Please call one of the hotlines on this page. You will get through this. You will survive.
A while back I wrote a post of positive affirmations for my first pregnancy. Recently, I’ve been struggling and overwhelmed with Motherhood in general and when the original paper I wrote my pregnancy affirmations on fell out of my journal, I knew what I needed to do. Some of the affirmations are the same but many are new. We mothers have the most amazing and, at times, overwhelming, job around. May these affirmations remind us to be kind and gentle with ourselves and, in so doing, teach our children to do the same.
I am enough. I am strong, wise, grounded, kind and patient.
I respect my need for alone time.
I ask for help easily and with an open heart.
I respect my limits and needs.
I love and accept myself just the way that I am.
I focus on the things that truly matter and let go of the rest.
I embrace an imperfect and messy but happy and love-filled life.
I am doing the best that I can and my best is good enough.
I am a great mother.
No matter what happens, everything is going to be alright.
Your dear husband is probably wondering what this ‘self-gift’ is all about so please be sure to read this letter out loud.
This year I am gifting myself the power of “HELP NO.” (Get it, ’cause it sounds like “HELL NO.”) But really it is a two part gift of “HELP” and “NO.”
Let’s start with the gift of “NO.” Too many times you say ‘Yes,’ or more frequently say nothing at all and therefore OK, when you really mean “No.” And the two people who suffer the most because of this are you and Bill. You because you end up doing things you don’t want to because you previously agreed to it and then you’re angry and resentful or depressed. Bill because he is the one you most often say ‘Yes’ to when you really don’t want to because you think it’ll make him happy but you just end up angry and passive-aggressive with him.
So this year it’s time to start saying “No” (including to yourself). Which means you’ll have to start really taking the time to think about things before you respond instead of just saying “Yeah, OK, whatever.” I know! I know what you’re thinking! This requires time: time to put Ellie down, put your to-do list down and get in touch with yourself to know what it is you truly want. This bring me to the next part of the gift: “HELP.”
You need to start asking for help. Help with Ellie, help with the dishes, help with whatever it is you need help with so that you can get these 10 or 20 minutes EVERY DAY. These 20 minutes help you to stay sane and happy and in touch with your truth. And really, 20 minutes a day ain’t a lot to ask. 20 minutes a day for one year is less than 1.5% of the whole year! That’s a helluva deal for increased happiness. And it doesn’t always have to be Bill whom you’re asking for help. In fact, it shouldn’t be. You have wonderful family and friends who would LOVE to watch Ellie for 20 minutes or take her for a 20 minute walk. You are not superwoman and that is perfectly OK. In fact, it’s normal. So this is my gift to you – the power of “NO” and asking for “HELP.” Use it wisely.
All my love,
P.S. Eating better and starting yoga again might help too. <3
Happy Holidays Everyone! May your days be full of love, laughter, and joy! <3
This pregnancy, being our first, has been a whirlwind of changes and some fears have crept up in the process. Fear of judgment in my choices about parenting and birth. Fear that I’m not doing enough or not doing it right. Fear that things won’t go ‘perfectly’ or be what I think it should be. Fear that I won’t be strong enough to birth this baby. Fear that my body will betray me. Fear that I will betray myself.
After recognizing that all these fears were present (and bogus), I needed to put something better in their place and so I’ve created a few affirmations to do just that:
I am enough. I am strong, wise, and grounded.
I did my best and my best is enough.
I have done and am doing the best I can physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for my baby and my best is good enough. This baby will be whole and healthy and exactly what this baby is meant to be.
I listen to my inner wise voice. I stand strong in my truth and power.
I love my body. I trust my body. I am grateful for my body. My body is enough.
My body is producing the perfect size baby for me to birth naturally and easily.
I listen to my inner wise voice and all is well.
I am strong and resilient. I persevere.
I have faith in my strength.
I love and accept myself just the way that I am.
I honor my inner wisdom and stand strong in my power and truth.
I am a good mother.
I love this baby. I honor this baby. I am so grateful for this baby.
I honor and embrace my excitement and joy for this baby.
Whether or not you are pregnant, may these affirmations help you to recognize how amazing and strong you are as well. <3