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What I Would Tell Blake Lively About Pregnancy

Photograph by Eric Lively

When I saw the Blake Lively pregnancy announcement heard 'round the world, I couldn’t help but smile at what was undoubtedly happy news for Blake and her man, as well as a stunningly gorgeous picture of an expectant mama.

But my smile was a wry one, because after years of work as a labor and delivery nurse, and four babies of my own, it’s easy to see beyond that glowy backdrop of happiness and into the real awakening of what it means to be a mother.

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So, Blake, congratulations and all, and I really do wish you the happiest pregnancy, and I’m pretty certain that kid is going to pop out looking camera-ready the moment he or she is born, but let’s also get a few things straight about the unfiltered reality of pregnancy and parenthood:

1. All the money in the world can’t protect your child.

It never really gets easier.

One of the hardest parts about parenting, if not the hardest part, is the constant worry that comes along with it. It creeps up at you when you’re watching your baby sleep, it haunts you at night, it grips your heart in fear at the doctor’s office, and somehow you have to find a way to live between the fear and the worry. But it never really gets easier.

2. You will feel certain that no one has ever loved her baby more.

Thousands of women are giving birth at this very second, and yet, when it happens to you, you will feel certain that no mother in history or to come will ever, ever love her baby as much as you love yours.

3. You’ll never know if you poop on the delivery table.

At some deep, primitive level, we’re all the same.

Or wherever you end up delivering for that matter. I’m guessing you may be the type to have serene water birth as your husband kisses you lovingly on the cheek, but still, the point is, at some deep, primitive level, we’re all the same. And no mother gives a literal shit what happens during delivery, as long at that baby is out.

4. It is OK to treat pregnancy like a miracle.

I know a lot of “mom” articles and advice, much like this one, tend to point out the tough parts about pregnancy and parenting, all in a good-natured way, of course, but when I look at the beautiful, glowing picture of you cradling your baby bump, it does remind us all that pregnancy really is a miracle. When you stop and think about all that has to happen for a woman to get pregnant, and then the incredible fact that from tiny cells an entire, perfect human being is formed in only nine months? It’s astonishing. So, yes, post all the pictures you want because you deserve to celebrate that.

5. You are about to cross a threshold only you can enter.

Women who have gone through pregnancy and childbirth change forever.

When you’re pregnant, it’s totally cute for you and Ryan to be ever more in love, giggling over baby names and watching in awe as your stomach moves with the human being inside. But something happens to a woman when she goes through childbirth. I’ve seen it time and time again, in following my patients up until delivery, and then witnessing the transformation that happens after birth. It’s in their eyes, their presence, the very way they carry themselves. Women who have gone through pregnancy and childbirth change forever. They have gone to the very depths of physical limits that a person can ever go and they hold the weight of the world, with the intertwining of life and death, inside of them. And try as they might, it’s a threshold that your partner simply won’t be able to cross.

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The bottom line, is that while most of us mere mortals are not announcing our pregnancies with sun-kissed backdrops and crashing Web servers in the process, we will be right here alongside of you.

Enjoying the good, the bad, and the beauty of motherhood.

Which is definitely something we should all “preserve.”

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