My friend, Sarah Doolittle is expecting her first child in the next couple weeks and bravely shared her journey and pregnancy story to create connect around what real motherhood is like. We all experience pregnancy so differently and each story is worth sharing. Many of us feel alone in our experiences, and when we feel alone it is that much more intense when you are experiencing challenges. When we are able to share our stories and connect with others is when we gain the inner strength to move through the challenges of parenting, pregnancy and birthing.
Sarah is a yoga teacher, truth speaker, spiritual leader, mindset coach, Jesus follower, health advocate, Lululemon ambassador and is currently writing her first book and growing a sweet baby girl. I hope you enjoy this essay written by Sarah Doolittle.
“At the beginning of this year I felt strongly that I had entered into a new season of life, and I could feel that something was coming soon that would rock my world. I felt unsettled and prayed continuously for God’s will over my life. I felt change coming but I didn’t know what HE wanted that to look like. So I prayed, “Lord, make it literally impossible for me NOT to live your will. Take away what no longer serves me, bring in what you want me to have, make your way clear. Not my own, but your will be done.”
Mid march my prayers began to be answered in ways I never could have expected. Some in ways of incredible blessing, and others in unexpected ways I never would have foreseen or asked for.
In a matter of three days I broke my toe making it nearly impossible for me to walk, found out I was pregnant with our first child, lost my regular teaching schedule as gyms and studio doors closed, had all my events canceled, and began quarantining bc of lockdowns due to covid. I went from doing a lot to being forced to do nothing.
It was exciting and shocking to find out we were pregnant at such an interesting time. It was such a blessing, but also scary. We had no idea what was going to happen in the coming months in the wake of covid with health, jobs, finances, etc. as we began planning and preparing for one of the biggest changes of our lives becoming parents.
My biggest fear going into pregnancy/motherhood was that I would lose myself and the freedom I so deeply cherished. I was feeling so good in life and I was scared to lose that energy, along with my own goals and plans for my life. I thought my fears might come true once the baby came, but I felt myself slowly beginning to unravel at week six when I started getting all-day nausea and fatigue. I didn’t know if or when it would end and I felt so miserable I could barely function. I had such horrible brain fog that writing, speaking, creating, even connecting at times, what I love most, became impossible to do. I couldn’t think clearly and I didn’t feel at all like myself. It felt like I was constantly out of it and in a daze of survival.
I’d go to bed anxious thinking about the fact that I’d have to eat tomorrow when nothing sounded good, just to stay alive and keep going. I had no idea pregnancy could be so hard. I just thought I’d get get bigger and have nine months before my life really changed, but I was so wrong! I had done a lot of prep work and was healthy as far as I knew going into pregnancy so I didn’t understand why it was so hard for me. It seemed so much easier for other moms-to-be. But pregnancy along with everything else going on in 2020 made me feel like I had gotten knocked to the ground with my face in the dirt, unable to get up. I had to just surrender and lay there, allowing whatever process was happening within me to take place and to just let it be. I had to continuously battle the desire to resist my reality and experience. I’d get caught in judging myself and comparing myself to others or what I thought I should be doing, frustrated continuously at myself for my lack of ability. I was forced over and over again to let go and give myself grace. But it felt embarrassing and uncomfortable.
Taylor, my husband has been an incredible support this whole year, and thanks to God we were able to buy our first single family home this year! It’s been such an incredible blessing, along with the blessing of a child, but the process of moving, having to make so many financial decisions, along with the body and lifestyle changes this year, it all has felt very consuming and overwhelming at times when I already felt I had so little to give. I can be very hard on myself so I’d often get caught in a loop of feeling like I was failing, which I still often do.
I started to finally feel better around twenty-four weeks, but after being broken down so hard for what felt like so long, it took a while for me to trust myself again and to get back up to bring myself to the home stretch I’m facing right now. Now I’m trying to take a breath, prepare, and gather my energy for labor, birth, first time motherhood and the postpartum phase that comes next.
I’m so used to loving, caring for, supporting and inspiring others, but this year I’ve been forced to prioritize myself and my small circle. Which is uncomfortable and not my norm. I’ve had to embrace the discomfort of my life not looking perfect or what I would have expected, me not feeling at all like myself which has been the hardest part, and accepting so much help and support from others because I’ve actually really needed it. I’ve been called to lay a new foundation for our growing family and keep things really close to home this year as I prepare for what God has planned for my future. I don’t know exactly what that looks like or when, but I do trust him.
It’s been a year of extreme discomfort, in both blessings and challenges. I’ve already shared the discomfort of change and challenges this year, but I must also say that it’s been extremely uncomfortable in how blessed I’ve been this year as well. It’s pushed my beliefs about what gives me value and how much I deserve. I feel at times that I don’t deserve what I have or the love I’m given. I am five weeks out from my due date and I have a healthy baby inside of me, a beautiful new home bursting more by the day with baby stuff, surrounded by much offered love and support at this time.
I wish some things could have been different this year, but I’ve come to believe that we are given the experience we need in pregnancy to prepare us for what is to come. And I’ll be honest, I think it was time for another challenge and a bit of a slap to the face haha! I needed something to challenge me and my beliefs, something to throw me off and make me ok with imperfection, something to prepare me for all that is to come with being a mom and the next ways I will serve others in the world for many years to come! I’m thankful for this experience for the humility its given me, and the ability I now have to walk alongside other mamas or people going through similar challenging experiences.
It feels like this beautiful girl has needed to take a lot of my energy and spirit this year to be born into this world, and I guess that’s the beginning of the sacrifices we make when becoming a mom, but I feel the depth of her presence already and she is totally 100% worth it. I am blown away by the grace, beauty and strength she already contains and I am excited to meet her and blessed to be chosen as her mom in this life.
Not sure if any of this is “inspiring” but it’s real and I wanted to just share my experience with you all, not for any kind of pity whatsoever, but just to remind you that whatever is making you uncomfortable this year is ok, you’re not alone, you’re doing great, we grow the most in our challenges, and we’re all in this together. Nothing of this world ever stays the same, all things change, and if you’re going through any kind of tough time just remember that it’s a normal part of life and there is beauty in all things.”
Essay by: Sarah Doolittle
Photography: Jessica Holleque
Sarah Doolittle modeling for Ella Frances Yoga
Stay connected with Sarah on Instagram, @Liveyourgreatestlife