‘He looked at me and said, ‘You’re pregnant.’ I chuckled and said, ‘That’s not part of the plan.’: Mom overcomes ‘guilt’ about not enjoying pregnancy to embrace the joy of Motherhood

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“After my husband and I were married in March 2016, we had a plan. In 1-2 years, we’d start ‘trying’ for a family but… things don’t always go according to plan. This was the beginning of our first ‘plot twist.’ A few weeks after our honeymoon I started feeling ill. I couldn’t place my symptoms and chalked it up to some sort of virus.

Courtesy Kayli Van Wagoner

One day, while I was talking to my husband about how I was feeling. He looked at me and said, ‘You’re pregnant.’ I chuckled and said,’ Yeah no, that’s not part of the plan.’

A little advice never take your first pregnancy test when your home alone. I’ve never cried like that in my whole life. Those two lines showed up before the minute was even up. I took another. Yup, still pregnant.
I was so happy to know that I could and was carrying life within me. I’d always wanted to me a mom, and it felt like a dream come true. But at the same time, terrified of what this would mean for our future and the plans we’d made.

Courtesy Kayli Van Wagoner

We could have never anticipated what would happen next. I was sick. Like super sick. Most women experience morning sickness but what I experienced was pure hell. So. Much. Vomiting. Up. I was soon diagnosed with Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) it is a pregnancy complication that is characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and possibly dehydration. Feeling faint may also occur. It can be extremely debilitating and cause fatigue that lasts for weeks or months. It affects about 1 percent of pregnant women, and usually goes away during the second half of pregnancy.

But mine didn’t go away. I can count on my hand how many days I did NOT vomit. I was hospitalized numerous times. My body felt like it was being starved. What little I could keep down, went straight to baby. I would become car sick going over 5 miles per hour. I’d get sick walking up or down a flight of stairs. Not to mention all of the other difficulties of pregnancy on top of it all.

Courtesy Kayli Van Wagoner

It was awful. I felt guilty for not enjoying pregnancy. I hated how my body was changing. Prior to pregnancy I was at the peak of my health. I ran a 5k every day, if not twice a day. I ate well and was a dancer.

Courtesy Kayli Van Wagoner

And now I was watching my stomach expand more and more. I couldn’t even do low impact exercise and ended up being bedridden for the majority of the pregnant. I felt depressed and alone.
I spent months wondering why this was happening to me. Why me? Why didn’t anyone tell me about the hardships of pregnancy? Why had everyone romanticized this? I vowed to be open and honest about the challenges of pregnancy, and to encourage others to talk about the tough and ugly stuff too. I felt completely unprepared for the challenges that came with pregnancy. I’d wished others had spoken up about the not so pretty parts of pregnancy.

Courtesy Kayli Van Wagoner

Was it worth it? Absolutely! December 2016. The day I met my precious son, was the most beautiful sense of understanding. That many great things, come with great sacrifice.

Courtesy Kayli Van Wagoner

Then another ‘plot twist,’ I become pregnant only a few months later with our second son, it came with the same challenges, but now we had experience on our side. We welcomed him February 2018.

Courtesy Kayli Van Wagoner

And then once more, another ‘plot twist,’ with the same challenges, but now we had even MORE experience on our side. We welcomed our daughter March 2019.

Courtesy Kayli Van Wagoner

We recently celebrated our anniversary by having a photoshoot. To celebrate that we’ve had 3 kids, in three years! 3 terribly hard pregnancies with over 30 hospitalizations. 3 pregnancies with pain and suffering. 3 beautiful births and 3 healthy babies. Plot twists can take you on the most challenging, ugly, beautiful and rewarding journeys.

Courtesy Kayli Van Wagoner

I’ve stayed true to my vow. And sharing this story is part of that vow. When asked about my pregnancies, I don’t romanticize it. I tell the truth; I had really challenging pregnancies with several complications. But in the end, it was all worth it in order to have my 3 beautiful and health children. Many women have contacted me, stating that they felt like they could never be open and honest about their pregnancy experiences.

Courtesy Kayli Van Wagoner

My hope is that all women who become pregnant/mothers, will know that they’re not alone. Sometimes things don’t go the way we want them too. When we speak up as women and mothers, we are helping others. This is incredibly important for maternal mental health. When we come together as a group of individuals, our message can be shared to the masses. Speak up! Share! You are not alone.”

Courtesy Kayli Van Wagoner

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