Pregnancy & Pessimism
I made a lot of assumptions about pregnancy, and for most of those assumptions, I assumed pregnancy was going to suck.
I get motion sick. Like, ridiculously easily. Which everyone says practically guarantees morning sickness.
I'm on the shorter side, and keeping weight off after 24 has proven easier said than done.
I like wine. I really, really like wine.
But... honestly, if my pregnancy has had any sort of hallmark thus far, it's "average." Like, when I had my 20 week ultrasound the baby was measuring at the 49.5th percentile average.
Sure, first trimester came with a pretty steady feeling of being the kind of hungover you get when you didn't MEAN to have that extra glass or two, it just happened. Like, you can mostly function, but maybe you're not all there? I don't think I even realized quite HOW tired or nauseous I was until I was out of it, and was kind of like "huh, vomiting on my coworkers doesn't feel like as much of a valid concern anymore." But I never actually got sick (though there were a couple of times I refused to move, because I was pretty sure if I did it was all done for), and I really feel like I can't complain much when I compare my first trimester to many women who I know.
I assumed that I would probably wind up being pretty healthy. I work out regularly, I eat pretty decently if I'm in the swing of things, really my main vice for the past few years has been drinking pretty regularly. So once that was off the table, I was sure I would be mother earth health goddess. So much kale!
Oh God, guys. I can't tell you yet if it's a mental thing, or an actual pregnancy thing, but you know what sounds like garbage to me? Vegetables. My dietary standards have been way more "day after a holiday party" than kale goddess. I just want fat and carbs, rinse repeat.
It was a little more understandable first trimester when the undercurrent of queasiness was a constant and the idea of a chicken breast made me want to hurl myself off the roof, but I've kind of lost that excuse for the last couple months. (Side note, if you may become pregnant, I don't advise buying the pre-shredded rotisserie chicken pack at Costco unless you want to hate yourself until you finally throw it away.) The sugar cravings have also been insane -- I think I was averaging 2-3 bags of sour patch kids a week in the first month or so after I found out, before eventually it settled into "ice cream, please, and make it every single day."
Anyway. Because this is my blog and I'm not dispensing this to any specific person, I'm giving you some unsolicited lessons I've learned.
1. If you're starting a sentence to a pregnant woman with "just wait until..." you're the one who should just wait.
Oh my GOD this is so frustrating. Every pregnancy is different. Every. Single. One. So if someone is not having morning sickness/having morning sickness past 13 weeks/not in pain/not showing/afraid they're showing too much/etc./etc./etc./etc. and you want to tell them that some other outcome is ABSOLUTELY going to happen, they just haven't reached that point yet, put a cork in it. Seriously. On that note...
2. Don't talk about your own experience with pregnancy as if it is the one true pregnancy.
I've learned to try to be VERY self-aware of this. It's tough, it really is. Because it is YOUR one true pregnancy. But seriously, dispensing advice in black and white terms to people who are trying to conceive or less pregnant than you is really obnoxious. I always try to make sure I pad anything with something along the lines of "my experience has been xyz."
The only hard advice I'm going to give you is go run and buy some Lululemon Align leggings the second you see that second line, because SHIT those things are comfortable.
3. Your body changes are not like strapping a pillow to your stomach and calling it a day.
I was... a bit unprepared for how much my body would change, and how quickly. People really hone in on the pregnancy changes they can see, and if you ask a random person, I think they'd think the physical changes are basically like "yeah, it's like strapping 15 lbs of weight to your stomach!" Wrong.
The physical changes are SO real before you're even showing. It's crazy how much my lung capacity went down like, immediately after I found out. And frustrating as hell, for someone used to working out and being in decent shape. It's hard to explain that "yeah, I'm barely showing, but my blood volume is also doubling so it's essentially like I'm at high altitude all the time" when you're sucking wind after climbing a flight of stairs. Your ab muscles also go to pot REAL quick. Getting off the couch or out of bed involves more of a barrel role type motion than I'm willing to admit, and it's solely because that core strength to just pull yourself up doesn't exist anymore. And it's really hard to lift anything when you have to work around your stomach. My next post could probably be titled "things I lifted and then regretted in the last month," and it would be longer than this one.
4. Seeing a therapist while pregnant has been a really, really good move.
I've seen a therapist before, but upon getting pregnant I knew that I absolutely needed to see someone who had experience with pre and post-natal anxiety. Anxiety has long been something that has been a part of my life, so it was no surprise that all the unknowns of pregnancy and the reality of being pregnant after a miscarriage brought up some pretty intense anxiety responses. Having someone to help me work through that anxiety and give me productive coping tools has been invaluable to having a healthy pregnancy.
If I were to give any blanket type advice to a pregnant woman, it would be to at least consider seeing a mental health professional. I'm honestly a little scared to publish this blog, because I'm afraid by putting it out there that my pregnancy has been normal, I'm going to ensure something dramatic and terrible happens. But thanks to my therapist, I also know that that's called "magic thinking," and is 100% an anxiety thought. Boom. My copays at work, people.
Overall, though, it really hasn't been as bad as I was expecting. That's with a HUGE ASTERISK that I'm only 25 weeks. I was convinced pregnancy was going to suck, end to end, and that really hasn't been my experience.
I'll be glad to have my body be my own, and predictable, and not change week over week. I'll be glad to return to having a couple glasses of wine on occasion, or be able to have some beers during football season. I'll even be weirdly happy about "dieting" and having some sense of control over my weight and not having to worry about whether what I'm eating could potentially have a direct impact on someone else. I'll be glad to be able to sit for any length of time without some weird searing pain across my right ribcage.
But, I had gotten a kick out of starting to see and feel the kid move (ha). Things felt way more real once we found out the sex and had a name, and I've enjoyed getting the house and our lives ready for having a kid. I've actually been fairly happy with some of the lifestyle changes I've had to make (oh yeah, I kind of forgot I'm a bit of an introvert). I've enjoyed deepening some friendships and making new ones with people going through trying to conceive and pregnancy and new motherhood around the same time. Nesting hormones have made me CRAZY PRODUCTIVE.
I don't LOVE being pregnant, but I'm appreciative of the fact that I am. It isn't the worst thing, and it isn't terrible. It's proven to be a tolerable, if weird, season of life.
I'll circle back to the tolerable part when I'm 39 weeks, though.