The Things I’ve Learned While Carrying a Little Pea Inside My Pod

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I was celebrating my 32th birthday when I second guessed myself before ordering a third round of mojitos. “It’s been a while since the last time I’ve used my Kotex pads in my beach bag”, I thought to myself.

The next day we were flying to Orlando, Florida to go to Halloween Horror Nights + Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, so I did what any slightly paranoid human being would do. I took a lab pregnancy test.

It came out positive.

That’s the moment my life changed. In an instant. One minute, I was extremely excited about wine tasting + upside down roller coaster riding. The next, I could only think of one thing:

I’m going to be a mom!!!



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Everything else took the passenger seat.

Now I must confess, before I found out I was expecting, I knew pretty much nothing about pregnancy. I mean, only the basics – the possibility of morning sickness + the importance of belly oils to avoid stretch marks, but other than that, I was clueless. Clue. Less.

Being so close to the finish line, Olivia could pick her birthday any minute now, I wanted to share with you a few things I’ve learned about pregnancy + becoming a mom + expanding my tolerance for a lot more mess in my life and business. Whether you’re a mom-to-be + new-mom + pro-mom + mom-of-a-furry-creature-or-cactus or wish-to-be-a-mom-one-day, I think you’ll find something of value in this list. Or at the very least you’ll get a good laugh out of some of these.

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Here I go, the things I’ve learned while carrying a little pea inside my pod named Olivia Larrinaga Carles:

  1. Being pregnant is a freaking miracle. We lost our first baby. He’s teeny tiny heart stopped beating around the 3-month ultrasound. The pain we experienced, David + I, was inexplicable. It was the first time in my life I couldn’t “fix” what had happened. And that was very hard for me. That feeling of complete impotence. When we got the news we had been given another chance to be parents, we didn’t care if we were having a girl or a boy, if we were having twins or triplets, if the baby was a Scorpio or a Gemini. Nothing mattered but our love for this new life, this MIRACLE, that was growing inside of me. We just felt so incredibly blessed. They say, babies that follow a loss come from the rainbow. I absolutely believe it now!
  2. Pregnancy is the happiest reason to feel like crap. Every leg cramp + every food aversion + every sleepless night + every emotional tantrum + every ninja kick that took my breath away in the wee hours of the night… all of it feels irrelevant. I know this may sound masochistic, but I swear, these have been the happiest days of my life.
  3. My patience is a limited + precious resource that I now guard with my life. These days, the little patience I have left is exclusively reserved for my family + my community + top priority projects. No guilt or shame about it either. I’m not even looking to optimize my patience or apologize for losing my cool when my buttons are pushed. I’m actually enjoying this new “I give a darn about you, if you’re not worth my energy” attitude. Try it, it’s liberating.
  4. Other peoples bad moods + insults + attitude problems no longer ruin my day. It was about time, right?
  5. I actually don’t like Oreos that much. I only craved Oreos when they weren’t allowed. When I found out I was pregnant, I let my internal Yedi Council guide my choices. When I removed restrictions + punishment from the equation, I was pleasantly surprised to find out I’m not the Oreo Monster I thought I was. I’m much more of a homemade carrot cake kinda girl. Big revelation.
  6. Surrounding myself with people who I like + like me back is so important. Having a loving support system of crazy aunties + grannies to laugh about pregnancy symptoms or ask stupid questions, like whether or not I could take bubble baths while expecting, was the biggest blessing. Simultaneously, I divorced every relationship that cost too much effort + time + head aches + constant disillusionment to maintain. Olivia truly gave me the courage to embrace petite committees and fire every whiny + pessimistic + energy sucking vampire in my life who is dimming my glittery eyes without feeling bad about it.
  7. Life is not that complicated. We complicate things by saying “yes” when what we really wanna say is “no”. I thought it would be hard to clear my calendar + stop overcommitting + make room for baby Olivia. It wasn’t. People are actually pretty cool + understanding when you tell them, “I’m flattered beyond measure that you would think of me for _________, but as you can probably tell my priorities are set on baby making right now. I apologize I can’t do this amazing project justice.”
  8. Pregnancy is not 9 months, it’s closer to 10 months. I’m kind of neurotic about timing + planning, so finding out the process was an additional month was an unexpected curveball.
  9. WOW I’m not completely incapacitated. Pregnancy is not synonymous with being sick. What a breakthrough! Of course I’ve had my Unnecessary Freaking Out Over Nothing Episodes post eating the entire Christmas buffet table or a big ass-burger the size of my face all to myself, but other than that, I was very happy to  find out I was able to go about my day-to-day things as usual. Although I’ve noticed I get more doors opened + everyone seems to want to help me at the grocery store. That’s been nice.
  10. Watching Game of Thrones while pregnant is a terrible idea. Baaaaaad indeed.
  11. Every dementor has a patronus. All of the changes that happen during pregnancy are so weird that it’s easy to assume there’s a scary new symptom + ache + pain around the corner. But the thing I found surprising is that even the toughest hiccups have remedies. For example, in my 26th week I started experiencing shortness of breath when sleeping on my back. It freaked me out. My doctor recommended adding more pillows + my auntie Aurita gave me this magical Nikken blanket. PUFFF!!! Problem solved! Just like that. I learned that there is always a charm for every curse that stand in the way. Always.
  12. Some people… GOSH, are seriously annoying. People suddenly felt like it was appropriate to comment on everything, whether it was my weight + the size of my belly + my diet + even my lifestyle decisions for when Olivia is born. If I need breastfeeding tips + morning sickness tricks or any sort of advice for that matter, I’ll seek it – Google it + enroll in a course + hire a mentor + e-mail a friend or ask my mom. Thank you!
  13. People who don’t give unsolicited advice are my favorite kinda of people. Seriously you guys are awesome!
  14. People notion of boundaries shift when they find out you’re pregnant. Why? Strangers would randomly grab my stomach + others would over share every detail of their horrifying birth stories. It’s bizarre + I had to keep reminding myself not to take it personally.
  15. If I didn’t plan for it, it didn’t happen. I was so forgetful about taking my folic acid + my prenatal vitamins until I got a 7 Day Weekly Pill Box Organizer to store my required supplements. As it turns out, just like with any other important project in life, if it’s not scheduled it doesn’t exist.
  16. Having a baby belly is a lot like having Aladdin’s magical lamp, but better. I’ve asked for frozen yogurt in the middle of the day. Granted. I’ve asked for back massages with lavender oil. Granted. I’ve asked for a very specific color of turquoise napkin for my Life is Messy Kitchen Book Launch Party. Granted. I’ve asked for M&M milkshakes. Granted. I’m gonna miss this for sure.
  17. Furry creatures know something was up. We have a labrador named Hagrid – Keeper of Keys and Ground of the Larrinaga Carles Headquarters. He’s the size of a jumbo jet + has the personality of an unsupervised puppy dog on sugar high. I was a little nervous when I found out I was pregnant, because he has the tendency to knock you over when he sees you coming with a frisbee. Actually, when he sees you coming, period. But even before we knew a little baby girl was coming, Hagrid strangely became so gentle with me. He stopped tackling me. He suddenly just wanted to cuddle + lick my feet. Something changed that we can’t explain, but I swear, he knew, before we did, that Olivia was coming.
  18. Belly oil is my BFF. 
  19. Changes are gradual. I assumed that changes to my body would happen suddenly, to the point where it would be difficult to shave my legs or get out of bed. While both of those tasks are becoming increasingly challenging, the changes have been slow. One time, when I was brushing my teeth, I noticed that I was splashing water everywhere. I thought that maybe something was wrong with the faucet, but realized it was my bump that was getting in the way LOL.
  20. My choices sculpt our future. There is something about creating life + bringing that life into the world that gives you perspective. Perspective ladies + gentz. I believe our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past + present. And with each insensible decision + every act of kindness, we give birth to our future. Which is why I’ve been making more environmentally friendly choices, like picking cloth diapers over disposables + installing bamboo flooring instead of something Made in China, and taking greater interest in impacting positive changes in order to leave our Earth a better place for my daughter.
  21. As my belly grows, so does my heart. While I’ve always considered David to be sweet, I wouldn’t have necessarily labeled him as a particularly sensitive guy, before I got pregnant. But he was overwhelmingly supportive of me every step of the way + watching him whisper into my belly every morning + sing songs to Olivia (her favorite “La Espera” from Cultura Profetica) + play Deepack Chopra audiotapes on fatherhood + take an interest in the smallest details of our baby’s life, brought out a new side of him that I’m absolutely head over heals about. I didn’t think I could love him any more, but seeing him in his new role as a dad has made me realize I was wrong.
  22. Babies erase your loser scripts. I’ve always been a little self-conscious about my thighs. About my spider veins. About cellulite. About how I look when I put on a bikini. Any body issues or insecurities vanished the second I found out we where gonna be a mommy. Olivia just makes those silly thoughts fly away, like clouds with the wind.
  23. You really do glow. It’s not just me + my new found over-confidence. Yes moms are excited about becoming moms, but it’s more than that. As it turns out, glowing skin is a very real thing for pregnant women. While pregnant, the amount of blood in our bodies will increase by 50%. The extra blood ends up showing through the skin in many areas, particularly the cheeks. On top of this, our preggo hormones cause the oil glands to become more active, resulting in a softer, shinier appearance. The result is a noticeable glow (aka Mayi feeling like a goddess).
  24. The father-to-be is also a little pregnant. You should see us at every wedding we go to. We attack that dessert table like a lion attacks his prey. You could swear we are both pregnant. And David heartburn is nothing to joke about either. Call it sympathetic pregnancy or whatever you want. It’s real And, I happen to think it’s the cutest thing ever!
  25. Pinterest is dangerous. Baby clothes + nursery projects + dressing the bump… oh my! It’s already too late for me, but if you can, safe yourself. Run the other way. That place is a trap.

This mama-to-be might have missed out on the mojitos + said sayonara to sushi for nine months, but it was worth every single second of waiting for Olivia. Every. Single. Second.

What about you? What lessons did you learn while expecting? Any funny revelations or big aha moments? Leave a comment below + let me know!


  1. Aw Mayi! I love these 🙂

    I just read through this post and sang out, “Oh yes!” at least a dozen times. Pantsie is concerned, I think…wait…no, she just wants me to feed her. She is also having some sympathetic pregnancy feelings for you, apparently.

    It is really true that your heart grows with your belly – but even more. Imagine little Olivia and how she will grow as the years go on. Each inch higher the notch on the doorframe raises, each new pair of sneakers you have to buy (AGAIN!? ALREADY!?), and every emotional growth-spurt you see her through (first boyfriend break-ups and ice cream splits) – your heart will keep on growing alongside her.

    It’s the most remarkable – the most impossible miracle – and I think you nailed it perfectly here, my friend.

    I can’t wait to see the next piece of this miracle happen, and for all of the *everything* that follows. 🙂 🙂 🙂


  2. Mayi, que lindo fue leer todo esto!
    Estoy segura de que la única razón por la que no te he dado consejos no solicitados es porque no nos hemos visto LOL!
    Yo SIEMPRE les digo a mis amigas sin que me pregunten mis tips para enseñar al bebé a dormir toda la noche, soy insoportable!
    (Te escribí un mail)
    (No lleva un consejo, tranquila)
    (Pero nunca que no te extrañe…)
    (Aún estoy a tiempo)

    1. Jackie no seas loquita si tu eres del “Petite Committee”, el inner circle de aunties de Olivia. Las tias de Olivia tienen unlimited access pass + mas bien son mi Yedi Council. Estaria perdida sin sus consejos!!! Yo me refiero a la cajera del super + a la amiga de una amiga que en el baño se pone a cuestionar el tamaño de mi pancita para la cantidad de meses que tengo… ESOOOOO ES INSOPORTABLE. Tu? Tu eres una hadita madrina 🙂

      1. Si Jackie, porfavor los tips para que los bebes duerman 🙂

        Mayi, si tienes dudas / necesitas consejo sobre los pañales de tela escribeme o preguntame. Escribi un par de posts al respecto, Yu ya tiene 16 meses y nos siguen encantando como funcionan, es una de las mejores decisiones que tomamos con respecto al “equipo” para el bebe 🙂

        1. En seriooooo? Por favorrrrrrrr!!! Necesito todos esos tips. Mi queridísima Haydee ya me compartió los suyos, pero todavía me siento un poco intimidada con la parte del po-po cuando salga super aguado. Soy toda oídos.

  3. “Pregnancy is the happiest reason to feel like crap” 100% agreed. It could be very uncomfortable and often painful, but it was such an amazing experience.

  4. All of the above – totally 100% perfect!

    I found that my self confidence was sky high and I also found my ability to wait patiently increased. Even in traffic jams, I just sat there thinking: I’m not wasting my time. I sitting here growing a baby!

    Good luck and much love to you Mayi – such joy!

  5. I agree wholeheartedly to what you have written and want to say congratulations again… and just wait, because you’ll be learning even more when she arrives… motherhood will be another grand adventure! Woohoo!!!

  6. I loved reading these.. Thank you for taking the time, to share with us. My eldest, is nearly 40 and it has been my greatest joy and proudest accomplishment, raising good, responsible children, to fine adults.
    I loved every single year, and age.
    Thank you for bringing back so many reminders, and for us grandmothers, {your mom, very soon} A newborn, is so so special.. Congratulations!!!!

  7. Mayi,
    Your post had me laughing, crying, reminiscing and cherishing my present all at once! 🙂 And even though you’re far away… you allowed me to take a peek into your life and into your heart.

    It is BEE-utifully written. 😉

    It almost makes you wonder… how can there be so much love in the world, so much love in every bee and in every flower and still see unhappy people roaming the Earth?

    Pregnancy and waiting for a friend to give birth brings everything into perspective. It re-calibrates everything and allows us to focus on what really, truly, TRULY, TRULY does matter.

    Everything else are just details.

    It just takes rubbing your belly for now, or looking into Olivia’s gorgeous eyes in just a few more DAYS to see your way through everything. To give birth and to be born. To find and to be found. To hold and to be held. To wait to hold Olivia in your arms and to give your the hug she’s been waiting for. To love and to be loved… forever.

    You may think you’re complete now… but every time we love someone new….someone who loves us back…someone who’s worth our time…. our road to completion starts again. And every child is worth our time.

    I’m soooo excited for you and for David!


  8. I’ve missed all of your pregnancy and am quite thrilled to learn this exciting news. Reading your blog today made me think you should turn this into a book with some of your wonderful are. Exciting news for you and David. Can’t wait to hear the day she decides to make her debut. Hugs & love to you all, Bee.

  9. Loved this Mayi! And some of the things you point to (a new perspective on what’s important, or the way our husbands become something new and greater and sweeter) just keep on expanding as that baby finally lands on your arms and grows, LIFE himself/herself. Sending you lots of love!

  10. Oh Mayi… funny but true I just thought like 2 days ago that you are about to give birth too.. 🙂
    I am so excited when I see someone being pregnant and even more if I can follow the process. 😀
    These little miracles that are growing are just unbelievably beautiful 🙂
    I hope everything is going well in the last few days/weeks and that giving birth is rather less stressful and goes quick 😀
    Wishing you all the best for you + your hubby and Olivia 🙂 🙂 🙂

    ~ Lisa xx

  11. Such a great list and so many I can relate to 100% right now with my own little tiny person due any day now. Pregnancy is pretty amazing… Even with the not so fun stuff that can come with it. Having kids really changes your perspective on everything. Wishing you all the best for the arrival of Olivia soon x

  12. Ahhh, pregnancy is the best right? Actually, the best just keeps coming. The birth, the 1st bath, the 1st giggle, the 1st tasting of real food, 1st day of school, etc., etc., etc. My 1st born just graduated from high school & the good stuff just keeps coming! It is the the most wonderful journey your family will take!!! So happy for you guys & can’t wait to meet sweet Olivia!


  13. Congratulations! I guess you’ve already started decorating your baby’s room. I can picture a lovely space with your sense of aesthetics. Frankly I didn’t enjoy every moments of my pregnancy because of my severe morning sickness. But I did enjoy seeing how my body changed. It was truly fun. In the last month of your pregnancy, you may see your big bump utilized as a cup holder or a book holder. Also you may find yourself spilling sauces, juice, anything on top of your bump all the time unless you’re so careful unlike me. Husband, friends joke and laugh about it but it remains as a beautiful memory that I’m still treasuring about. Wish you and Olive the best!

  14. ¡Mayi cómo me gustó este post! Yo no soy mamá (todavía) pero me has hecho reir muchisimo y estoy segura de que me acordaré mucho de ti cuando me quede embarazada 🙂

    ¡Y fíjate que tu aventura como mamá tan sólo acaba de empezar! Estoy deseando leer tus historias de mami primeriza ^_^

    ¡Un beso enorme y que todo vaya estupendamente!


  15. Mayi,
    you are such a gem! 🙂 so sweet and funny! <3 I can't wait to see what knowledge will your baby bring to you as her mama. I must say, I could write a book on this topic, what my girl is teaching me just by being her. Life is so precious! And so sweet with little miracles by our sides…But you'll see…any day now 😉 I wish you the best of luck <3

  16. Querida Mayi…seguro que para ahora ya eres mamá, y seguro que te has dado cuenta de que tu mundo y tu forma de verlo ha cambiado totalmente en un segundo de tu existencia, nunca has podido imaginar que se puede querer tanto a alguien que nunca habías visto, es indescriptible e imposible de explicar a personas que no lo son. Te deseo todo lo mejor, estas en una etapa preciosa de tu vida, con un bebé en casa que me muero de la envidia, jaja….los míos tienen 28 y 24 (jiji)….y quierele mucho, bésale mucho achúchale mucho….sobre todo disfrútala mucho….
    Mil besos ruidosos desde España (San Sebastián)
    Marialuisa Echeberria

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