if you follow this blog, you know i did a self-portrait series last year in which i challenged myself to reflect on some personal feelings going on during each month through both writing & a self-portrait.

it was an experience that encouraged growth, change, reflection & also dedication -- it was so good for the soul. i was able to get all the way through the month of November, leaving December still lingering in the midst.

i did however actually begin my December self-portrait post.
i called it ‘bodylove’ … aaaaand that was pretty much as far as I got.
i knew i had to speak about this, but i felt so much resistance to do so. i began the post far too many times in my mind & even my dreams. i imagined my ‘self-portrait’ to be my feet on a scale & the ‘number’ to be replaced with some sort of word…


but instead i was stuck in an inner battle of the struggle between finding the time to write & actually making the time to write,
because i knew i needed to.
however, the truth is i was also going through something at the time that i didn’t quite realize was stalling this process even more so.

we had been trying to get pregnant for almost a year & half.
during this time i was hormonal, stressed & definitely not feeling any ‘bodylove’… although trying to desperately!
trying to just ‘let go’ & allow what is meant to be, to be.
both Mark & i had been checked out & everything looked ‘perfectly normally, great & healthy’ according to our doctors.

so what was it then?
why wasn’t this as easy peasy as everyone had made it out to be?

i have been blessed with an incredibly FULL life in so many ways, don't get me wrong...
however this one piece was missing.
i have always known that i wanted to be a mother…
it was & is embedded in my soul.

& BOY was i ready!!!
my best friend kept reminding me that none of this ‘was in my control’
& that once i got pregnant, that wouldn’t be either
which was SUCH a tough concept for me to grasp,
yet now i really know how very true it is.
‘all is in God’s perfect timing,’ i would remind myself daily.
i would pray to Him for whatever to be in His will to be…
although if he wouldn’t mind hurrying it up just a bit, that would be great!

it was also around this time that a fire was planted within me that i needed to share this part of our journey & story.
that people all too often talk about ‘how easy’ it was to get pregnant, but not 'how hard' it was.
that we all too often share what we feel is GOOD... & not what we feel is ‘bad’.

but the truth is, there is absolutely nothing "bad" or shameful about ANY of this.
it is what it is, & it is
& heartbreaking month after month.
it is something that NEEDS to be talked about.
we NEED to support each other.
everyone is different & we have our own journey to go through,
but that doesn’t mean we can’t relate or find HOPE in each other.

for me, & our story, i began taking prenatals the month we were married, i did the ovulation kits,
i logged everything about my cycle, i went on the search for the perfect obgyn,
i did 4 detox/cleanses within a year, i even tried clomid (which made me feel miserable),
but it wasn’t until i began acupuncture that i really noticed a difference.
i felt more calm,
& less stressed.
i also felt for the first time in a very long time, HOPEFUL.
my acupuncturist,
Jeff Rogers (whom i can’t recommend enough!!!),
told me about an app called 'Fertility Friend'
& asked me to start measuring my basal body temperature every morning first thing before i got up.

( the view from where i lay when i get my acupuncture treatments taken with my iphone )
a month & a half of his treatment later,
there finally came that precious day when i took that darn pregnancy test
& i quite literally couldn’t believe my eyes.

it was around 6:30am on a cold January morning.
Mark was actually headed out the door to an early meeting & i ran out of the bathroom & could barely get out in a gasp,
‘honey! I think we’re pregnant!’
we both ran into the bathroom together, and sure enough,
those two happy stripes were shining through!

the happenings afterwards were as you would probably have guessed it –
we hugged each other SO tight, we cried, we smiled, and just simply stared at the test & then at each other.

we then sat down on our couch & prayed,
in that quiet early morning stillness & darkness.
we prayed, we thanked, we rejoiced hand in hand.
i don’t know what your story is or where you are in your life right now.
you may never want to have kids,
you may think it will be nice someday,
or maybe you have been trying for longer than you would like to even admit...
but I am here today to tell you that
it really is going to be okay.
it is.
God’s timing is truly perfect.

i also know you may be thinking,
‘well that’s easy for you to say – you’re pregnant!’
but the truth is that even pregnant,
i STILL have many daily fears.
i am aware that miscarriages happen
& that absolutely everything about this journey is
completely out of my control.

i have to let go of worry as much as i can & replace it with TRUST, every day.

i have to put all my faith in the unknown…
knowing that in the end,
it WILL be what is meant to be.

and that is why i HAD to write.
...because through all my personal frustrations & heartaches month after month,
getting pregnant has given me not only a sense of renewed HOPE for myself,
but for ALL OTHERS facing similar difficulties.
i truly believe that if it is on your heart, it WILL happen somehow & someday...
even possibly through ways we didn't see at the time, like the precious gift of adoption.

above all else,
i want to remind you today to never lose
because when it does happen,
whichever way that may be,
you will understand
at that VERY moment
that it is
‘perfect’ beyond measure,
worth the wait,
even the heartache,
in every way.

back in March,
we had the honor of the talented Jessica Claire capturing some photos of us
on the beach at the Mayakoba in the Mayan Riviera.

i was almost 13 weeks here so not really showing much, but definitely feeling pregnant.

it was such a kismit blessing for her to capture these images of us.
thank you again Jessica!!!
we will cherish them forever.

here are a few of my faves that she so wonderfully captured :
my heart
& remember that notion of ‘bodylove’ i mentioned above???

well one of the many challenges that come with pregnancy for me has been allowing myself to really love my body,
regardless of what I ‘think’ it should look like -- knowing that this is one of the greatest gifts i could ever receive.
...once again reminding myself that many of the changes are hormonal & completely out of my control.

the first trimester was so much harder than i ever expected
exhaustion to a level i have never experienced before & nausea every day until my 15th week.
all completely worth it, of course! but definitely new to me on so many levels.
i have SUCH a newfound respect for all mothers who are pregnant AND already have children to tend to!

lastly, i have an entirely different look on how i view my body now.
it is beside me that i am actually growing a living being inside of me! in ways, i feel so strong & powerful.
yet, it also feels a bit surreal. i just can’t believe the miracle that is happening inside of me!

there are some days when i look at myself & i don’t ‘feel’ like myself... & definitely don’t look like myself.
but on more days than none, i feel this tremendous newfound sense of ‘bodylove’.
an appreciation of what my body is doing & what it knows to do so effortlessly.

i feel a renewed sense of gratitude for this incredible body that God has gifted me with.

with an honest degree of hesitation,
i asked Mark to snap a few photos of me this past weekend.
i did it for three reasons –
1) truth be told, i have had a number of people asking me when i would share a photo (you know who you are! )
2) i just recently reached 6 months & there is just something about that number that resonated with me so i wanted to capture it &
3) to remind myself that, at this very moment, i am 100% pure bodylove….
to accept the things that i cannot change & embrace the changes that will continue to happen,
not just through pregnancy but throughout my entire life.
they are all beautiful & a gift in their own special way.

i also want to give M A J O R credit to The Daily Method in Birmingham –
which has honestly changed my world.
with alllllll the workouts i have done in my life, i have never felt so strong, lean & toned as i do with this powerful method….
and this is coming from a woman who is 6 months pregnant!
i can’t even begin to imagine what this will continue to do for my body post baby!!!

so without further ado,
here are a few of me at 6 months,
taken by my sweet hubby this past weekend while we were up in Boyne soaking in the sun.
ha! we couldn't resist.
& of course i had to get a few with my boys!
just love them SO much!
lastly, i leave you with two thoughts to ponder…

when is the last time you really gave your sweet BODY some LOVE?!


what are YOU hopeful for today?!

with love & gratitude,

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