My Season: Josie Ortega

Hi Friends!  Today is the first day of a special series on Long to Love!  Inspired by Cup of Jo’s Balance” series, where she featured five different women sharing how they juggle work and motherhood (even if you don’t have kids, it’s fabulous), I was inspired to host a similar series here.  So, this week, we all have the joy of hearing from five fabulous girls who are all in different stages of life.  Their instructions?   Keep it short, simple, and totally honest.  As for our guests, I could write a post on each of them for how wonderful they are.  Let’s just say, we’re in for a treat!

First up, is my cute friend Josie aka “Pretty Josie”.  You make recognize her from her guest post, or her fabulous blog, Tell Me A Story Josie.

Here she is practicing for motherhood with Baby Hannah Capps:

Name: Josie Ortega
Age: 27
City: DC/Alexandria, VA

Current Season: Expectant Mom
1.  What is one thing/things you can’t live without?

Sunshine and being outside at least a little bit each day. I asked my husband what my answer for this one should be, and he said, “Candy, and . . . The Bachelorette.” So that’s an interesting insight on our different perspectives. (And that’s the last of his answers I’ll be sharing.)

2.  The current book(s) by your bedside table are…

What to Expect When You’re ExpectingI’m bored!; Jesus Calling; recently finished The Help; just wrangled up a few good beach books and a stack of magazines for vacation this week (PTL!).

3.  Your number one song played on iTunes is…

Hilarious question! Especially since my answer is Nat King Cole’s “Silent Night.” A more accurate reflection of this season in my life is my Avett Brothers channel on Pandora.

4.  Fill in the blanks:  If I didn’t have __________, I would be _____________.

If I didn’t have this sweet baby girl in my belly, I would be drinking a lot more margaritas this summer!

5.  What do you like best about your current season?

Everything about pregnancy has not been a breeze, but it is definitely a lot of funto dream and plan, to have friends (and strangers) excited about this new life, to get freaking adorable little person clothes! 

More generally, obviously it’s a huge transition time. So it’s an opportunityor rather it forces youto step back and get perspective, reassess, and hopefully re-embrace the priorities you really want in your life. I’ve enjoyed having that time and having good, honest conversations with my husband about what we want for our family, for me professionally, for our lives. 

6.  What is one difficulty or burden you’ve experienced/are facing in your current season?
 Especially during my first trimester, I felt terrible–physically, emotionally, and any other way you can think of. It was challenging to realize and admit to myself that I needed to take it easy; challenging to communicate with my husband and not blame him for what I perceived as his lack of understanding; challenging to be patient, to trust God, and get through each day. **Not everyone’s pregnancy is like that, but I just want to be honest with you, dear readers!**

7.  Tell us one way you’ve seen or experienced God during the past year.
God has been faithful to provide what I need each day. He knows what I need better than I do, and He’s answered my prayers so that all I can do is say Thank You. When I was feeling alone, he brought me a friend close by who is pregnant and experiencing the same symptoms, so we could encourage each other and not feel so isolated. He has used disagreements in my marriage to make our relationship stronger and prepare us for what’s coming. He has opened a new ice cream shop around the corner from my office!

8.  What is one name of God you have come to appreciate lately? 
Creator and Provider. If He is the author of life and the one weaving together this baby, then He is surely to be trusted in all other areas. There’s so much to worry about when you’re pregnant, but in reality any of our lives could end, or drastically change, at any time, and it’s out of our control. (Sorry to be morbid!) Terrible things do happen in our broken world, but God is loving, powerful, and ultimately sovereign. So my only option is to hope in God, ask for His mercy, provision, and blessing.

9.  What’s one Bible verse that has been a lifeline for you recently?  
Romans 5:5 Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

10.  Where do you go to be encouraged or inspired?  
I go to my friends; a good book that tells about a great adventure; a beautiful place with trees decades older than I am; an antique shop full of fascinating, old, perhaps useless? objets d’art. Or more practically, to a quiet morning with my coffee. (Yes, I drink a cup of coffee every morning while I’m pregnant. I don’t feel bad and neither does my doctor!)

11.  Do you have any advice for other women who are in, or may be entering your season soon?  
Yes! Everyone is different, and I mean in every waywhen to have babies, whether to have babies, what to do about work, how to be healthy while pregnant, which type of delivery, which parenting style, what clothes (please don’t give me any tacky ones!), where to live, big belly or small, you’re not showing, you’re huge!

As impossible as it is, do your best not to compare yourself with others. Advice from my wise Uncle Steve: “Talk with a lot of people and get their advice, then do what you want.” Everyone’s experience is different.

On the flip side though, it is a terrible idea to try to do this in a vacuum. You are not a rock or an island, so ask people for help when you need it, and probably even when you think you don’t need it. Especially when I was feeling so rotten, the main thing that helpedsomething that’s incredibly challenging for mewas opening up with my friends and being honest about what I was experiencing. I need their help!
A couple more practical tips:
1- No one pays as much attention to your body as you do (that actually applies for everyone, not just those who are expecting!), so don’t worry or be offended at remarks about your tum tum, or lack of remarks, or whatever. You’ll probably still be offended no matter what anyone says. And if you’re talking to a pregnant lady, just say, “You look great!” (With the understanding that she still might be offended.)
2- Put your feet up whenever possible, starting as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. Not only does this have physical benefits (better circulation to prevent swelling, etc.), but it’s a tangible reminder for you that there’s a babe growing inside so you should relax and take it easy. Serenity now!