The Journee to Parenthood.

Now that I am almost 9 months pregnant I figured it would be a good time to document some of my thoughts on Tom and I becoming parents in just a short amount of time!

If I had to sum up pregnancy in two words my words would be: weird and surreal. Weird because I know that there is a human in there, but my brain can not picture what this baby looks like, it’s tiny little personality, or how it’s getting out. Surreal, because even though I am at the end of my pregnancy the baby clothes are washed and my hospital bag is half packed… it still does not really feel that real.

I wanted to document some questions we have gotten along the way. I always loved reading stories about pregnancy and marriage so I thought I would share a bit about our very own story.

Did you know you were ready?

Not really. HAHA. Tom and I both knew that we always wanted kiddos and that was something we talked about long before marriage (almost 5 years ago now WHAT!?!?)

Elicia always wanted a big family- the louder the better. I really do thrive in chaos and noise. Tom says 2-4 kids ūüėČ We also always knew we wanted to wait to build a strong foundation in marriage and grow in our faith together. We also had so many places to see and discover first. We spent the first four and a half years of our marriage navigating being newlyweds, then marriage and life abroad in Korea– and next¬†Morocco. Endless adventures together and countless countries explored. Tom even hit his newly formed goal of 30 countries before 30 years old!! It was important for us to wait to grow our family even when our peers and friends were having kids years before us. & I have to say– that was the best decision for us. I feel that with each passing year we grew stronger as a team and each year has truly gotten better, together.

How did it all begin?

Nothing, absolutely nothing can prepare you for seeing the positive results that you are pregnant. No matter how planned or unplanned the baby might be. Even when my stomach started to grow, we saw the heartbeat and the baby move on the ultrasound, then I began feeling the baby move, then Tom felt him or her move- it just all felt and continues to feel so surreal. This is a story for another time, but Tom was shocked and very anxious and needed time to process it all- which I think is probably normal for most men! I have to say though after the initial shock wore off it has been a total joy observing him take it all in. I also think it’s important to add here that babies can take TIME! Do not be discouraged if it’s taken you a few months. A couple (with no fertility issues) only has a 15% chance of conceiving each cycle. So many couples told us that they got pregnant on the very first try. That is NOT NORMAL! At all. I wish someone had told me that. Be patient. Good things take time and it can be months ūüėČ

How’s pregnancy been?¬†

It’s not as scary as people make it. Now, I know I have had a great pregnancy. Some women¬†just struggle so much with sickness throughout pregnancy¬†and I truly feel for them. My mom was pregnant with my littlest sisters when I was high school and she was sick the entire pregnancy. It was awful. Overall, my pregnancy has been great. I have continued working out 4-5 times a week, eating pretty healthy, and I was even able to run up to 33 weeks. The last two weeks I’ve been doing lots¬†of low impact workouts and mixing in some- prenatal workouts here and there. (Thanks to the awesome blog Nourish Move Love!)

That isn’t to say pregnancy hasn’t had it’s challenges. Sleep is a debacle each night and I am sleeping in 3-4 hour increments these days. I definitely had nausea the first four months and smells OH THE SMELLS. I didn’t want to eat anything except for fruit the first 20 weeks or so. I am out of breathe A LOT. Working out consistently has¬†kept and fueled a healthy pregnancy- that I am sure of. It helps combat lots of those pregnancy symptoms, helped a ton with heartburn, achey butt/leg muscles, and the breathlessness I feel (ironically!) It hasn’t always been easy- but I don’t think pregnancy should be really. You’re growing a human. Lots of people have asked how much weight I have gained. We don’t actually own a scale and so I never really know and that has been the best thing for me. In the beginning of pregnancy I knew that my body would change. I knew that if I ate healthy and kept working out that baby would gain exactly what baby needs and I accepted whatever that was going to be. I have gained 23 pounds as of 2 weeks ago at the doctors office. So I’m calling it 25 and I still have six weeks to go so it’ll be more and I am okay with it. I want a strong and healthy babe!

What’s your birth plan?¬†

Keep me healthy. Get baby out healthy.That is it. BOOM. I am not opposed to meds. It’s 2017, I am so thankful for medical advancements, ¬†and I have nothing to prove to anyone. I have always been in awe and cheer f0r women who decide to do no meds- but I know myself and¬†my pain tolerance so we are going in with an open mind. Because let’s be real- I have never felt that pain and never given birth and it is totally out of our control the circumstances for that day. I trust our doctor and that God has gone before us.

Final thoughts on being abroad and being pregnant:

Of course it’s been hard to be away from our family during the entire pregnancy and there have been moments of sadness or loneliness because there aren’t birth classes or the support like back in the states readily available, I can’t communicate with the hospital staff, and we don’t have family around to gather together and celebrate the most exciting time in our life. (Just to name a few)

On the upside, Tom also pointed out that being abroad has simplified a lot of things. We have less distractions around and less commitments to attend to as we mentally prepare for parenthood. We have less people to consult for advice, but the people we surround ourselves with are really great parents and have a life similar to what ours will look like as an expat living abroad with kiddos. We value that information and even though we have less to consult for advice the advice we get is very solid. Lastly, we have a lot LESS baby stuff than we would back in the states. Everything I have came in a suitcase (okay maybe two) from the states when my sister in law came to visit us and from friends that went back home at Christmas break and loaded up for us!  We have no baby nursery and just the bare minimums. Which kept things pretty easy for us- especially since we have another big move on the horizon.

Lastly, I am doing a mama devotional which I have LOVED & I am sharing that along with some pregnancy must haves below, ¬†but this stuck with me and I’ll end on this note because pregnant or not I feel that this applies to my entire life.

“God’s gift of pregnancy wasn’t because I deserve this incredible blessing, but rather God’s way of showing his love and perfect timing.”

My mama must haves for pregnancy. I feel like there isn’t a ton you need, but I really had to prepare in advance because all of this (except the Argan oil) is from the USA and we can’t get mail in Morocco! So at 12 weeks pregnant I begun to make a list of what I wanted from the states which is when my friend Jenni went home to the states and loaded up & later my sister in law. I also did not get anything for these recommendations…but when I love a product I have to share.

Starting from the top left:

1.//DRESSES. I have lived in dresses (and leggings) my entire pregnancy. Seriously. Especially since I needed to look put together for work. Old Navy maternity was a huge hit especially since they have petite and the price point was right for me. I stocked up on about six dresses and basically that has been all I have worn. The top blue dress is for our baby shower next weekend and that is from Pink Blush.

2.// ¬†Tubby Todd. 100% natural belly balm- citrus avocado. It smells SO GOOD. I discovered this company on instagram probably over a year ago and couldn’t wait to try their products. I am in love. The best part is that they are toxin, gluten, paraben, sulfate, artificial fragrance/color, BPA, and animal cruelty FREE. I also bought their baby travel kit for when babe arrives and I love all their products. Find them—> here!

3.// Argan Oil. SOOOO many things I could say here. Argan oil is crazy cheap and made in Morocco so it has been apart of my daily routine at least twice a day. I love and rant about the miracle properties of how wonderful Argan oil has been for me– and no stretch marks yet. I know nothing can prevent stretch marks, but I do think it’s helped a ton. The moroccan ladies swear by it and I now know why.

4.// Hospital & new mama robe. From Pink Blush. 

5.//Good reads. First Time dad (the stuff you really need to know) ¬†by John Fuller. Quick and easy read. Lots of practical info for Tom. He really liked it and read it in a weekend! & for mamas: Waiting in Wonder- Growing in Faith While You’re Expecting by Catherine Claire Larson. I have really loved doing this devotional each day!

Bottom row

6. and 7.//¬†Blanqi¬†leggings and Belly band. Okay this has to be my BEST pregnancy investment. I wore one or the other of these every single day. Not only are they well made, but they provide support. I wore them working out, with the dresses, or with a long shirt over the top. ALL THE TIME. I have not gone a day without one of these. The band allowed me to wear all my normal work pants/jeans the first 6 months of pregnancy. Both of them seamless and providing support, a company started by two best friends, I am ALL ABOUT THESE and every pregnant women needs them. I would have also purchased their maternity support tank top, but it was on back order before my sister in law came to Morocco so it wasn’t available! I also found this company on instagram! Find their awesome stuff:¬†here!

8.// Baby Boy Bakery My First Year Baby Journal by Jacqui Saldana. I have followed this mama for a few years and she has her own biz! Her story of strength, resilience , and faith amazes and inspires me. The journal she created is perfect. A baby journal that has it all but keeps it clean, classic, and simple. I love spending time writing in this about our soon to be baby and can’t wait to document his or her first year. She also creates adorable cooking kits for kids/mamas and toddler journals too. The size is perfect too for traveling/living abroad. ¬†Check out her products: here!

9.// Athletic wear. I still fit into all my workout shorts/capris but I purchased a couple essential workout tops from Old Navy Maternity. A tank and a long sleeve lightweight top. If you follow me on snapchat you know that I wear the same top again and again…haha! I had to add the workout piece¬†and give a huge shoutout to Lindsey at Nourish Move Love for her incredible workouts! She also just released prenatal workouts over here that I am going to be doing my last month of pregnancy! Workouts for all and they are CHALLENGING- can’t rave enough about them.

10.//Not pictured but should be included// Online breastfeeding classes done by Lindsey Shipley, an RN, Childbirth Educator, and IBCLC-certified Lactation Coach… this is especially helpful if you’re abroad because it can be done anywhere on your own time! https://lactationlink.com/¬†

“When are you having a baby?” – A question I answer every single day.

A question I get almost daily “When are you having babies!?” and if you are guilty of asking me this question: I don’t blame you. It makes sequential sense, right? How could I forget the ever annoying chant I learned as a kid “First comes love-then comes marriage- then comes baby in the baby carriage.”

Do I want kids? YES. Absolutely. I want lots. If I had it my way we would have more then 4. I love big families and I love kids. I grew up with a mom who did in home daycare, I went to school for elementary education (with a minor in early childhood), I’ve worked in a daycare, I was a nanny throughout college, I’ve coached, been a camp counselor, and my parents had 2 precious baby girls when I was 15 and 17. To say I love kids is an understatement. I can’t tell you enough how much I LOVE them. Now, I spend my days as an English Teacher. I read articles about birth, being a mom, and pregnancy. I find it all so incredibly fascinating. When my mom was pregnant and I was in high school I read the entire “What to Expect When You are Expecting” book because I found the miracle & growth of life so astounding.

You get the picture. I love kids.

But why does everyone keep asking when we are having our own? What if I had been trying to have kids and just couldn’t? What if I just didn’t like kids? Maybe people are just curious…and before we were married I am sure I was to blame when asking others! ¬†I talk about kids a LOT because I am with kids a LOT. Those that are close to me know that my dream is to be a mom. Not simply and plainly put, because if you have been with a child from dawn to dusk/woken up multiple times a night to care for an infant (not to mention the 1 billion other things moms do) then you know that being a mom is the hardest job that is out there.

My answer is this: I don’t know. I don’t know when I am having a baby because God likes to laugh when we make plans. Every time it seems like I have it all figured out God mixes things up. Right now Tom and I are loving it just being the two of us. I love the freedom to sleep, eat, shower, teach, and hike as we please. I love that I can love on the kiddos I teach and go home to peace & quiet. I love that we can travel all over this side of the world together- just Tom and I. I am loving the time getting to know my husband and build our marriage.For those whose journey looks different then mine- I am loving all your posts/pictures of your kiddos that flood my news feed. Your babes are precious & I scan Facebook for pictures of your little darlings as often as possible. Trust me- you can ask my husband how often I show him pictures of all your cute babies. I was chatting with my sister in law and I came to realize how thankful I am for my husband. A guy who is so fiercely devoted to me, who loves God, and who would do anything for others in need. I am thankful that I get to spend the rest of my life with this man. I am thankful for this immense gift I’ve been blessed with that I know I am so undeserving of. A gift that 5 years ago I was terrified would never come…and then it did.

So.  Right here. Right now, I am so incredibly happy. With Tom.

I don’t know when I will have a baby (and you should know it kills me to give you a quick answer) because what if it happens in 5 years, in 3, or tomorrow? What if it never happens? I know that things always work out exactly as they are supposed to and this is one of those big life things that I’m choosing to trust God’s plan for Tom & I.

but please. Those of you with the babies or soon having babies: Keep the pictures coming. Seriously, I love them. #can’tstopstaring #lovethemall

With lots of love & baby thoughts,