Toronto Zoo

Experiencing pregnancy for the first time

By Erin Koichopolos

On Oct 4. 2019 at 5 a.m., I found out I was going to become a mother. It was exciting, nerve racking and surreal all at once. Pregnancy and parenthood bring on a lot of changes – physically, emotionally and mentally. Yes, it can be trying at times, but it’s also something incredibly beautiful that should be honoured, appreciated and never taken for granted.

During the time of my pregnancy, I honoured my body by moving it purposefully, and not punishing it. I embraced every change, refused to resent it. I learned patience, and to not give up. Growing up, I was never one of those girls who was always dreaming about the perfect wedding; the gorgeous dress, the pretty flowers, or the big ring. I was the one dreaming about the day I become a mother. I never needed a husband to be fulfilled or prove my love to anyone – I simply wanted someone I could grow to love more than life itself, to be my partner, to be my best friend. I have found that, and I’ve been lucky enough to have him in my life for nearly 15 years already. I couldn’t ask for a better partner, a better friend, a better companion, a better person.

While pregnant, I was often confronted with questions like, “how are you feeling?” And I honestly didn’t have much to report. I wasn’t sick, not achy, but coping with the physical changes was the most significant adjustment. Sometimes, I felt guilty for sharing. I wasn’t ill, and at times, this made me feel guilty due to hearing about other people’s experiences – but everyone’s pregnancy experience is different.

Regardless of how I felt, I reminded myself each day when I looked in the mirror to remember what my body did for me – it gave me one of the greatest gifts in life, which has undoubtedly been one of the happiest times of my life.

It’s inevitable that your body changes during pregnancy. After all, you’re doing something beautiful – building and creating an entire life inside of you. When your body changes, it’s hard for your head not to get wrapped up in it. I looked back at pictures of me when I was (in my eyes) in my best physical shape. Happy, eating healthy, and sleeping well. I won’t lie. I miss that body and often think, “I worked so hard for that.”

However, I understood and accepted that what my body was doing and how it changed made it the greatest gift my body could EVER give me.

So, here’s to my fellow expecting mommas, or those who have just given birth: your body is beautiful, your body is doing/has done something truly spectacular, don’t punish it, don’t be hard on yourself, treat it well and it will love you back. Take care of yourself, honour your body and embrace the good and the bad with open arms.

Be in complete harmony with your growing baby and your changing body. Love every scar and every stretch mark just as much as you loved every muscle and every curve.