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5 Pregnancy Truths I Want My Friend to Know

Sadly, there will be no more babies for me. I've been blessed with two healthy and beautiful boys, both now in the rhythm of school, sports and activities. Our baby gear has long been sold or given away. But that doesn't mean I won't always get giddy with anticipation when I see a friend who is newly pregnant.

Today, a friend of mine revealed she is pregnant for the first time, and my mind swarmed with things I wanted to tell her.

Here's what I want her to know.

1. Pregnancy is when you are at your most powerful

"All systems are firing!" I used to think to myself. It's when everything that has not been asked to work suddenly has shifted into high gear. I was constantly amazed at the changes and adaptations of my body as my babies grew. And my hormone high helped me to love everyone and everything around me. Honor your body and the amazing job it is doing.

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2. Drink chocolate shakes

Fat is great for brain development. At least that's what I told myself as I ordered chocolate shakes almost daily during my pregnancies. (I ignored the sugar content, natch.) Eat healthfully, but also enjoy the eating for two. You are supposed to gain some weight, so don't obsess over your own body. Obsess over the body you are building inside of you.

3. Birth hurts

I've done it both ways—with the assistance of an epidural and without. The benefit of the epidural is that it hurts a lot less. I remember a lot more because I wasn't preoccupied by the pain. The benefit of giving birth naturally, for me, was the knowing I had it in me to deliver a baby just like so many millions of women before me had done. It was the hardest thing I had or have ever done, but I'm happy that I was able to overcome the pain to deliver my second child the old-fashioned way. And yes, without drugs, I was up and walking around almost as fast as the Princess of Wales. Almost.

4. Ask for help

One of the biggest gifts in my life is the time my parents (who live thousands of miles away) spent at my home after I had my two children. They stayed for four weeks. My mom did all of the laundry, my father fixed things around the house and mowed the lawn when my husband returned to work. They made sure everything around me was taken care of so my husband and I could give the attention we needed and wanted to give to our newborn. If your mom or dad, or aunt or best friend can't be there for you in that way, ask other moms for help. I would love to match baby socks from the dryer or change a crib sheet.

5. It's not always going to be perfect

Motherhood is messy, and it's not a job for wimps. When my children were small, those were some of the hardest days of my life. I beat myself up when I felt as though I had failed at being a "great mom," and rarely celebrated the days when I was one. But, as they say, the days are long, but the years are short. It's so true. I feel as though I blinked and my baby was turning 10 years old. Savor the moments you can, take pictures and breathe.

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You have all of the answers, you just need to listen to yourself and find them.

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Image via Twenty20/rebeccaW

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