If you’ve been following The Rebel Mama for a while now, chances are you’ve read Nikita’s posts about all three trimesters of her pregnancy with Rebel Baby numero uno, all aptly titled, “It’s actually not that bad.” Bahaha! Ok, sure!

A few years ago I found out I was pregnant just 3 short months after I got a phone call from Niki letting me know about her own wonderful news.

“I can’t believe we are pregnant at the same time!”

“Thank God I have my best friend to go through this with me!”

And on and on with all of the things you feel when you are lucky enough to be going through all of these crazy changes with one of the true loves of your life. And while I was lucky to have one of my besties just a few steps ahead of me the whole way I will say our experiences couldn’t have been more different.

I’m not like most of the Rebel Mama writers. I don’t usually post about myself. I am the birth photographer, the one who posts about the amazing stories of the days when families become families and precious angels are brought into the world.

I am a southern girl who rarely swears and can often be described as ridiculously upbeat and peppy, and while, like all of us Rebels who like to keep our views on motherhood as real as possible, I often do so with a side order of rose colored glasses… Until the day Nikita sent me her pregnancy posts and I believe my exact response was, “you can fuck right off!”

My first pregnancy wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great either. Before the first trimester was over I had spent nearly 10 weeks being overwhelmed with nausea, I was bloated everywhere, I had terrible acne all over my back, if I didn’t wash my hair daily it looked like I had dipped it in a vat of oil (what happened to that beautiful hair I was promised?), my skinny jeans were packed away and had been permanently replaced by leggings, and the number on my scale had gone up by at least 20 lbs.

My second and third trimester followed much in the same fashion; the further I got into my pregnancy the more I turned into someone I had never been before. I made all of the classic pregnancy mistakes; I overindulged, I stopped working out like I had been before, and by the middle of my third trimester I hated looking at myself in the mirror. I couldn’t handle what my body had become which not only caused massive levels of anxiety but also made me feel like a terrible mom already.


Photo taken by my wonderful, beautiful and uber talented friend Eliza Morrill

When all was said and done I gained nearly 75lbs before the birth of our son. I thought I was going to love being pregnant, love watching my body change and hold life inside of it, but I had lost who I was and it was awful.

Luckily, after Coulter was born, breastfeeding came easily, I healed and recovered quickly from my unplanned c-section, I got my eating habits back under control, was cleared to begin working out, was back in my jeans within 6 months, and lost all of the weight by the time he was 9 months old.  THANK GOD! I looked like me again, I felt good about myself again, and before I knew it…I was pregnant again.

BKP2016_RM Preg Blog 3

Bound and determined to not relive my first pregnancy experience, I immediately made a promise to myself that this time would be different, that this time would be better. And, for the first 23 weeks it was.

I was eating like I should, working out like I should, and generally feeling pretty great about this time around.

I will say I had pretty awful morning sickness during the first trimester and running around after an extremely active toddler helped me to stay more active myself, but knowing what I went through with my first pregnancy kept me motivated to stay healthy if for no other reason than my own sanity.

Things were great, I was beginning to think that Nikita’s version of pregnancy was something I might be able to experience for myself, #PregnancyGoalsRealized, and then I got hit over the head with a pretty big dose of reality.

I spent the first 4 months of my current pregnancy so focused on staying healthy for my family and for me and in the most ironic twist ever, I ended up sicker than I’ve ever been.

BKP2016_RM Preg Blog 2

During an extended hospital stay in May, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. In the last few months I have been admitted to the hospital on 3 separate occasions, spending almost 30 days total in the hospital. I’ve had more tests run than you could imagine. I have had absurd amounts of medicine pumped into my body and this baby (so much for regular strength Tylenol), I see multiple doctors weekly and it is pretty much a miracle that I have been able to keep this baby cooking to full term.

As this pregnancy is coming to an end and I look back on both of my experiences, I guess the thing I walk away with is that every pregnancy really is different. You can only control so much of what is happening to your body and you have be to be ok with letting go of the things that are out of your control. Kind of like being a mom in general.

Pregnancy is hard, even the best of them (ahem, Nikita Stanley x 2) are beyond tough on our minds and our bodies. As women, it is incredible the things our bodies go through to make a human, that’s right MAKE A HUMAN! And whether you look like a supermodel smuggling a basketball under your shirt at 39 weeks or you’re crying because your scale no longer registers your weight and you have no idea how it got that way, the thing is, just look at what we’ve created! I think we are all pretty fucking (ahh! I said it again!) incredible.

BKP2016_RM Preg Blog