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Did you choose a 2023 Word of the Year? If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a word of the year (WOTY) is an alternative to choosing a New Year’s Resolution. By choosing one word to focus on throughout the year, you set the intention to bring focus and clarity to what you want to create in your life.
It’s never too late, so if you need help, head over to this post where I share the 5-step process I use every year to help me choose mine.
I’ve gone back and forth on whether to share my 2023 word of the year now or later. Or if I should share it and leave out the main “why” behind it. However, sharing the word without the real why doesn’t make much sense to me, and through careful reflection, I’ve decided to be vulnerable and share away.
So I guess I’ll begin with an announcement because it’s what ultimately guided my WOTY.
It feels both amazing and scary to type that out. Mainly because I’m not quite 10 weeks yet and because it doesn’t always feel real (even though the last 3 weeks of all-day nausea would beg to differ).
The truth is, I felt it may be “taboo” to share such an announcement so early when the “norm” is to share it once you’re “safe” in the 2nd trimester. Trigger warning: Not to mention our pregnancy track record: I’ve had 3 miscarriages. However, while I understand the chance of miscarriage is less once you’re out of the first trimester, I don’t know if I’ll feel “safe” until I’m holding our healthy baby in my arms. I also know that sharing the news before the 2nd trimester won’t affect the outcome.
Besides, I had planned to share our experience at some point, and sharing what I’m going through now feels more liberating than holding it in. Not to mention I feel called to share in the hope that my words will inspire someone else walking a similar path. Ultimately, my desire to share is greater than my fear, so here I am.
We found out we were pregnant just before Thanksgiving and heard the heartbeat at our first ultrasound when I was 7W3D. I cried the moment I heard it – happy tears, of course. I stared at the ceiling during that appointment instead of the screen ahead until I heard the good news from the ultrasound tech. It felt incredible to finally have a beautiful ultrasound appointment (I switched doctors since our last experience and am so grateful for the compassionate people at this new practice).
Despite that amazing experience, I’ll admit I struggled to get too excited or believe it was real. I sort of felt numb afterward. Mostly because I kept thinking, “just because I heard it now doesn’t mean I’ll hear it later.”
Yuck. I don’t even like typing that out.
I consider myself quite the optimist, and even I get trapped in fear. Thankfully, I’ve given myself permission to be excited (and scared), and instead of playing devil’s advocate, I’m trying my best to give this pregnancy all the love, joy, and hope I have. I’ve asked myself, “how would I treat this pregnancy if I knew our baby will be born happy and healthy?” Just asking myself that question makes me feel relief. It feels good to imagine the best possible scenario, and I will try my best to lean into that feeling.
We all know nothing in life is guaranteed, but why should I dwell on that? Thinking about what could go wrong feels uncomfortable and sad, and thinking about everything that can go right feels good. So I’m choosing to lean that way. It’s almost as though I’ve felt this need to let everyone know that I know what can go wrong, so they don’t think I’m a fool for feeling happy or optimistic.
How messed up is that?
I want this baby to know how loved they are vs. feeling my anxiety, worry, or fear. That doesn’t mean it won’t show up, but it means I can choose how I want to feel throughout this pregnancy. It’s a practice that often tests me moment to moment or day by day, but choosing love over fear, knowing I’m not alone and also understanding this pregnancy is now in God’s hands helps bring me so much peace. I believe babies come into this world exactly when they are meant to, and pray this little one is ready to join our family.
Our next appointment is on Monday, the 9th, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous or scared. I’ve even thought about waiting to post this until after that appointment, yet here I am.
Update: We heard the heartbeat at our 10 week checkup!
It’s okay to be scared and excited at the same time. It’s how we move forward that counts. Despite my fear, I’m allowing myself to get excited to hear our baby’s heartbeat again.
Let’s just say I’m doing a lot of praying these days!
This is what led to my 2023 Word of the Year:
While I was still mulling over a few words, with embrace at the forefront, I came across this text while reading about the Gene Keys, which immediately resonated with me. I had seen the word “embrace” show up multiple times, and this sealed the deal:
“Instead of wasting so much energy in trying to be certain, you will discover that there is great power in accepting uncertainty. Life is uncertain and you are a master of uncertainty. All you have to do is embrace it.” – Richard Rudd
I choose to embrace this pregnancy. Embrace love over fear, embrace faith, embrace the present moment, and embrace uncertainty.
Since choosing this word, I’ve realized it goes even deeper than that. I want to embrace my journey and all that I am, including my age.
I’ve never mentioned my age because I’ve felt some shame around it. I’m 39, and by the time we have this baby, I’ll be 40. I never thought I’d wait this long before we had kids, but I also never saw myself as a young mother. I can’t say I feel 39 or any other age. I just feel like me. And I feel good. It’s not until I worry about what someone else thinks of my age that I feel anxious.
My shame isn’t around becoming a first-time mom at 39, but my achievements, or lack thereof, at this age. It’s more of a societal issue that makes it easy to fall into the comparison game (if you let it).
Naturally, I always imagined I’d be more successful at this age, own our home, have less debt, and have a family. Our hefty amount of student loans (while we take accountability for them) has been one of the main reasons we put off having kids right away. And it’s funny that I mentioned owning a home when we chose to RV full-time instead of buying a house back in 2016. Yet I wouldn’t change that decision because I truly believe we were meant to go down that path, even though it was difficult at times. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for those incredible experiences, memories, and challenges.
We chose an alternative lifestyle, yet here I am, worrying about what other people think of our choices. So this year, I’m embracing our path and my age. I wouldn’t want to be 20 or 30 again, and I’m grateful for the life and spiritual lessons that have brought me here today. I hope you can say the same.
A few months ago, Eric and I spent some time in Vermont and New Hampshire and immediately knew we wanted to move there. We began planning a summer move, but a month after we got back, we discovered we were pregnant. So here we are, facing uncertainty about when or where to move. We both still plan to move but have no idea when. I feel comfortable with my current doctor, so we’ve decided to stay here throughout the pregnancy. We are open to whatever unfolds and choose to embrace uncertainty, knowing we will know what to do when the time comes. As someone who likes to plan, I’ll admit this isn’t always easy.
If you struggle with letting go of other people’s expectations, I hope you make 2023 the year you unapologetically embrace who you are and where you are in life. And if you’re more like Eric (who has never cared much about what others think), I hope you can have compassion for those in your life who struggle with the comparison game, and hold space for them to work their way out of it.
Did you choose a 2023 WOTY? Let me know in the comments!