This is not a blog I thought I’d be writing this year! But that’s how life goes isn’t it? We never know what’s around the corner. But, I want to share my journey with you, as women and men that support all that we do at Lumi. So, I’d like to announce that…I’m pregnant! Yep, my Husband and I have a baby on the way!
Even writing those words is bizarre to me. Gosh – ME writing a ‘pregnancy’ blog! Am I qualified? Do I know what I’m talking about? Am I wise enough?
Despite the answer to these questions, the fact is that I’m pregnant! And no matter how I feel about the answers to those questions above, this is now my story. Whatever happens, this happened.
It’s exciting and scary and joyous and overwhelming and terrifying all at the same time! Being co-in charge of another human’s life – whoa! Although confident I’ll rise to the challenge, motherhood is not something that has featured in the experience section of my CV! Future interests, maybe, but experience – absolutely not! Yet pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood is something that millions of women have done before me and millions will do afterwards. It’s one crazy journey that unites women across the world. It is a shared experience that so many women have, and even those who haven’t – have shared in, many in some meaningful, significant way.
So, I’m not one to keep things quiet. I’m open and friendly and I’m generally happy to share myself with people. I’m also loud. Very loud, in fact. This was made obvious when I was recently announcing my pregnancy to a lovely friend. After the initial shock and joy, she said through giggles “I just love this. In the hospital, I just know that you will be shouting from every orifice. Everyone in the whole ward will hear you!” I couldn’t help but laugh (Because it’s no doubt going to be true (!)). But there was one thing she also said afterwards was more profound. It was: “Cat, I love that you’re going through this, because I just know that you’ll be real. You won’t sugar-coat anything or say it wasn’t that bad – you’ll tell us all really how it is”.
So, in the interests of being real, something I really pride myself on, allow me to indulge in my current pregnant musings…
We at Lumi often write a lot about the personal expectations we have of ourselves – that we as women punish ourselves for not being perfect, for not being as good or as beautiful or as established as other women in our lives. Whilst I have begun to undertake this journey of pregnancy, I find myself, rather ridiculously (whilst going through every emotion possible – potentially hormone induced, of course) worrying about what people would think of me. A girl married and pregnant in this day and age before she’s 28!? Is this something that I would judge someone else for? Or would I be overjoyed like all of the people in my life seem to be for me? (Despite my initial preconceptions that they wouldn’t). Why am I being so ridiculous when I have been blessed with this incredible gift? Am I allowed to be happy about it?
See, I’ve never thought of myself as a ‘mummy’ type, which is strange given I’m a caring, kind, and dare I say it, a ‘maternal’ type of person. I’m protective and I genuinely have compassion for people that I know and don’t know. So why aren’t I a ‘mummy’ type? And what’s wrong with being that way?…
Maybe it’s because I was afraid of thinking of myself that way.
See, I currently live in London, one of the busiest, most famous, and at times most spectacular cities in the world. It’s a city where you don’t often see women with prams in their 20s. Well, at least in my area of inner-north London. I’m actually scared of joining a future mothers group here and being the youngest Mum in my area by a mile!!! What will they think of me – these established, intimidating career-women that probably will have the best prams, advice, baby clothes and parenting books? Will they look down on me as a ‘baby’ myself? How will I allow me and my baby the equal respect that we deserve as ‘equally new’ mothers with these women?
But then – stop it, Catherine! Stop amusing the musings. Because this is not about other people, or mothers I’ve never even met yet. It’s about my growing baby and my expanding family. It’s about thinking about bigger things. It’s about me allowing myself to have happiness in this incredible time and to experience all of the weird and wonderful things that go along with pregnancy and motherhood! (Surely all mothers reading this would have a fair few war stories of their own!)
One of the reasons that we started Lumi was because we just didn’t see a lot of other women’s organisations that were supporting women holistically. There are networks for women in business and entrepreneurship, women that want to progress their career, women supporting each other in different industries. Then, there are networks for pregnancy, mothers of young children, etc. But where is the organisation supporting women not just as mothers or in their career, but as a whole woman with diverse interests, friends, experiences, stories? We’ve always wanted Lumi to be this organisation.
And so, because we are all unique, why can’t we have babies in our 20s? Our 30s? Our 40s? Whose writing the rules on the ages for motherhood, career and everything in between? The less we judge each-other and ourselves, the more free we will feel to make these decisions and actually experience happiness and joy when wonderful things happen. Not pure worry or fear or tentative-ness or anxiety – but JOY. How amazing would it be for me – for my family and future child – to be overjoyed at this new life stage I’m entering! Sure, it’s normal for new mothers to feel nervous about the future and parenting (and frustrated about the when-will-this-nausea-flipping-well-end bit!?) but what about also remembering just how beautiful life is and will be. After all – supporting and/or raising child is such an important role in this world.
So, musings aside, I am doing my best to allow myself the joy to experience this blessing. And even if there’s one woman out there that’s reading this and feeling the same – I encourage you to push through to the joy in the other side also! Whether it’s about a pregnancy, a new baby, a new job, a new relationship, a new anything. Allow yourself the freedom to be joyful!