We are the questions we ask.

We are the way we inquire, curiously, about the world we work in.

As I was going through what was (for me), a difficult pregnancy, I looked to my partner and asked, time and time again:

“How do I make it through this?” 

It’s hard to believe now, but there were moments when I didn’t know whether it was worth it. I can go back and tell myself clearly now that yes, it’s absolutely worth it.

But then? Then, it was so hard.

How could I connect what I was doing in my body, what I was feeling, to what was coming ahead of me? 

And in his own frustration, he asked me,

“Well is there anything that you ARE excited about?” 

I realized that some of the worry, the stress, and the negativity — it was consuming me. It was becoming always. Everywhere.

We paused.

And began a simple ritual. A pattern of questions, each night, to help guide our minds towards the positive reflection, even amidst the challenges of near-constant vomiting.

#1: What was the best part of your day?

We whispered the questions to each other at night, just before drifting off into dreamland.

I’d have my pillows piled high under my knees and thighs, a body pillow wrapped around me to prop me up.

What are the moments that went right? What were the good pieces and the good bits?

And we’d look. We’d look hard, we’d look slowly, we’d find, we’d savor, we’d discover. Amidst the pain of it all, we’d find something. A sliver, a thread, a joy. 

#2: What are you grateful for?

We’d make a list of things that we were grateful for. 

I’m grateful that my body is working. I’m grateful that this is all working. I’m grateful that you’re here, even if I’m vomiting, and we get to clean up this mess together. I’m grateful I have a job.

Hope lifted upwards, wrapping me in its hug.

#3 What are you looking forward to about this?

In this case, “this” was the future arrival of our baby boy. Each night, we’d mention something we were looking forward to. Something in our hopes and dreams about this baby we were making.

This baby that was taking my energy, my body, my shape, my memory, my sleep. 

I’m looking forward to hearing him cry for the first time.

I’m looking forward to taking him on bike rides.

I can’t wait to hold his hand and feel his tiny fingers and toes.

I’m looking forward to discovering how he sees the world.

Through these questions of reflection, we’d connect.

We’d connect over our journey into becoming new parents. He would tell me about what he was scared of, what he was hopeful for, what he was imagining in the future.

We’d whisper it together in bed, holding hands, passing out like rockstar adults in the wee hours at 7 PM or 8 PM, on a lucky day.

Three questions to reflect

In the most challenging of times, try these on for size:

  • What was the best part of your day?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • What are you looking forward to {about X}? 

Want to hear more about the journey of being pregnant while working at a startup? I’m writing a new book and opening a new project to talk about growing businesses, growing babies, and being a mama in the working world. Find out more at www.startuppregnant.com.