Pregnancy is hard. Not as hard as motherhood itself, but it is not the sunshine and roses too often portrayed. Between morning sickness and seeing your mummy tummy expand, that illusive pregnancy glow is more like a faint light from a flashlight running low on battery power.

The only thing I really love about pregnancy is the end result. That beautiful tiny human that comes from forty (ish) weeks of being put through the gauntlet–preparation for motherhood. The flutters are pretty cool, but the idea that there is currently a teeny tiny person floating around my insides is just weird.

The first time around, there is really nothing I enjoyed about the process. The changing body was not something I accepted with open arms. The constant nausea and the fire of  non stop acid reflux were unfortunate side effects. The crippling prenatal depression–yup didn’t know THAT was a thing–left me unable to find joy in any bit of pregnant life. There was no glow, I was no Fleur Delacour and even likening me to Hagrid would have been insulting to him. Pregnancy was supposed to be this amazing experience so say the books which made me feel like a dud, and if I was a lemon as a pregnant woman, what the hell kind of mom would I be?!

With my first pregnancy the small simple things that bring so many people joy left me numb. I was not really into any pictures, but tried to keep up with the Joneses. The selfies were well angled and taken twenty times prior to being posted. I did not want to document that body because of the crazy delusions I was telling myself.

The lies, the nerves, the fears were all very real the first time around. While I know now that many of those thoughts and feelings were falsehoods I created in the vortex of my depression, the residual effects of those lies had me nervous for the second time around. I knew I wanted a second child, but the thought of living through that darkness was not one that had me jumping to the bedroom.

Fast forward to take two, and I told myself that this time around would be different. Well, that’s an easier statement than execution. All pregnancies are different, but this one did not start off on the right foot. The aches started earlier, the pain started earlier and the stomach sure grew faster. At eleven weeks I was told there was a slight cause for concern and that I had to take it easy. At fifteen weeks I found myself in the fetal position daily thanks to the pains from cramping, sciatica and chronic back pain. At twenty three weeks, I feel as I did when I was thirty three weeks with my first.

For weeks it took everything I had to make it through the day–to fake it–with my kid because these are her last months being an only child. I want to make this time with her count, but holy hell is it tough when you feel like you are crumbling, and when the pain is at times blinding.

But these are her last months being my only baby and I don’t want to squander that. I don’t want to make it any less special than it deserves. So I’ve been taking a step back. I’ve prioritized. Knowing I need to allow myself to break and bleed, I have let myself off the hook. While she’s up, I’m up. I’m playing with her, loving her, and soaking in all those giggles; however, when she’s asleep, I let myself breathe. I let myself heal. As a result, my house is less tidy, the dishes might be stacked higher than Everest, I just might be working through one or two series on Netflix instead of blogging (sorry about the absence!), but my heart is happy.

It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to not do it all. It’s a lesson I am glad to be learning because it’s a reminder of what really matters in being the best mom I can be. Presence.

With this pregnancy, I am trying to be more present. I am trying to enjoy every flutter and kick, something I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm for the first time around thanks to the darkness of PD. Even though I feel like a blimp, today I even made my husband photograph my bump, my bump, my lovely baby bump because the snow was too beautiful a backdrop not to.

This time around I am trying to be happy. Despite the pains, despite the tears, I am fighting to find the joy, and fuel that pregnancy glow, but in the end, I know now that not loving being pregnant is okay, and that there is absolutely zero correlation in your abilities to love that baby when they are finally out of your body and in your arms.

Working through the struggles and finding the balance is definitely what has been needed for me to enjoy pregnancy the second time around.