a discussion about my what my experience is at 22 weeks, pregnancy weight gain, and what is "normal"
As of today, I am now 22 weeks pregnant, which begins the last week of my 5th month.
I cannot BELIEVE how quickly this second trimester has been flying by!
I know these last three months are going to be the longest, so I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch… but so far, pregnancy has not been all that bad.
Of course there have been rough days. The first trimester was by far the worst. Even without morning sickness, I had constant fatigue and terrible cramping that would keep me glued to my heating pad all day. But this second trimester has been much easier.
Without sugar-coating anything, I’d definitely say that, so far, my experience has been entirely different from how I expected it to be.
I expected backaches and foot-pain and nausea and trouble with mobility, insomnia, and irritability… swollen feet and ankles, shoes that won't fit, areas I can't shave...
And I know I am not out of the woods yet. But, I think a lot of those symptoms that we associate with pregnancy are more characteristic of the third trimester. It is when you are at your biggest, so there is more strain on your feet and your back and it is trickier to get up out of a chair, etc.
I think the last three months will by far be the hardest.
But, I’m relieved that the first two trimesters weren’t even half as bad as I had feared!
So, what have I been feeling these days? Pretty much entirely normal!
My appetite is still bigger than it was before I was pregnant, but nothing compared to the voracity of my first trimester.
My energy level has returned to, mostly, normal. I say mostly only because I still get tired more easily than I did pre-pregnancy. But it’s no longer to the point where I have to take a nap every day.
The last few weeks have been disrupted by external circumstance. I mentioned in a previous post that my work had done some renovations. The construction dust and the fumes from the paint and the varnish SERIOUSLY affected me. They made me dizzy just standing in the building and then left me with a headache for the rest of the night after going home. Others found the odor unpleasant, but I was far more sensitive than anyone else. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed my heightened sense of smell… but this was one instance where I definitely did not! (I'm curious to know if other pregnant women have felt as affected as me from paint fumes? Please, do share!)
The following week, I caught the flu. Thankfully, it wasn't as severe as they warn pregnant women it might be. I never had a high fever, just a low-grade one.
However, it is safe to say that those were a rough three weeks!
And, that was all BEFORE the coronavirus really hit!
What else has changed in these 22 weeks of pregnancy?
I went from a 34B/32C to a 32DD!
AND THEY ARE STILL GROWING!!
This, of course, sounds like an excellent problem to have. On paper.
In reality, ladies, it’s expensive.
I still have not found a nursing/maternity bra that I like. I’ve tried a few. They have virtually no support.
If anyone has recommendations for a good brand, PLEASE SHARE! Until then, I have given up trying to buy new bras.
How’s the baby bump coming along, you might be wondering?
Ha, well the answer depends on what time of the day you ask!
When I first wake up, I am hardly showing at all.
By the end of the day, after I have eaten, I definitely look like I am showing! Even after breakfast alone, you can tell the difference.
I think it is because I’m so short... With a baby in my stomach, once I eat food there is nowhere else for it to go but out!
And, even then, it doesn’t look like a baby bump. Not in my opinion, anyway. It just looks like I’ve eaten a bunch of food.
With the right outfit, it can look like a cute maternity bump. But, naked, not so much.
So, as you may have guessed, the above photos are of me and my virtually nonexistent "bump"... all but two of these pictures were taken before I had breakfast. There is a visible notice (at least to me) in the two where I had already eaten. You can hold your cursor over the pictures to see how far along I am. But, in case you are reading this on a phone (in which case, I apologize, because the formatting is sometimes awful!) then, in order from left to right, it begins at 4-5 weeks, then 12 weeks, 15, 18, 19, 20, and the last one is 21 weeks pregnant.
Women are conditioned from day one in life to feel inadequate.
Whether it’s your weight or your nose or that mole, most of us have just “that one thing” that we would change if we could.
It’s part of our mass consumerism culture. Women are an excellent target for capitalist companies trying to push their beauty products.
We have been manipulated and convinced into believing that we are never quite as good as we could be. Which is why there is always some makeup product or diet pill or exercise regime that we can buy into to that’ll make us that much better.
But, the truth is, the system is designed so that, no matter what, we never feel it is enough.
From the magazines we read to the advertisements on billboards and the movies that we watch, we are constantly bombarded with impossible-to-maintain beauty standards that tell us, without saying a word, that we will never be perfect.
And, even knowing that this manipulation exists, it can still be a very difficult, if not impossible, mentality to combat.
I’m 5’ 2” and I have always been petite but, even given all my efforts, I’ve never been immune to these external pressures. I’ve had to do all manner of mental gymnastics throughout my life to combat negative feelings about my body. Like many women, I do not always succeed.
Often, the image that I see in the mirror does not reflect the reality of what is there.
So, when I first discovered I was pregnant, I was nervous about gaining weight and how that would affect my self-esteem.
When I read that you should only gain 20-25lbs by full-term, my goal was to gain 20. Exactly on the nose.
At first, the rate at which I was gaining was something that I found incredibly alarming.
By the end of my first trimester, I had gained approximately ten pounds, half of my goal weight. And I still had more than half of my pregnancy left to go!
Every time I looked at the scale (which I limited to only when I was at my doctor’s office) I would cry.
Not figuratively, like I would be a little upset inside. I would ACTUALLY cry.
So, let’s get into that, shall we?
This is an incredibly personal topic. Obviously not one that I am overly keen on sharing.
But, I know that other women go through this same line of thinking and self-doubt.
I know it because I’ve seen the posts on social media and I’ve spoken to friends and family. Which is why I think it’s important to discuss.
I’ve touched on some of these points in a previous post, but I think it is worth going over again.
After choking back tears to discuss this with my midwife, she gave me some reassuring insights.
Pregnant women gain weight differently and at different rates.
A weight-gain graph (like this one in the picture) is ridiculous.
It impossible to create one that can be inclusive of all women.
We are all so different!
First of all, the weight you are gaining is not all fat.
You know how heavy water can be, right? Well, blood is even heavier. And you have more than doubled the volume of your blood.
Your uterus has also grown. There are differing reports on which fruit it resembles the most, but for the second trimester I’ve seen some compare it to the size of a cantaloupe and others to a papaya. Either way, it’s gotten pretty big! Especially when you think that it’s normally the size of a small plum.
Not to mention, now there’s all that amniotic fluid in there.
Your water weight has gone up as well.
Then, in addition to your uterus growing, your breasts are, too! Your mammary glands have been filling up with milk and, guess what, that adds weight.
All this before you even begin to factor in the weight of the actual baby! (At my ultrasound two weeks ago, she weighed 11 oz.)
The good news is that this is all weight that goes away once the baby is born.
Your amniotic fluid is gone, the volume of your blood reduces, your uterus shrinks back to normal, and your breasts will, too, once you have finished breastfeeding.
That’s ten to fifteen pounds gone without even having to think about hitting the treadmill. (And, if you are planning on breastfeeding, that apparently burns a ton of calories!)
I want to make an important side-note here: I am not trying to put an emphasis on losing weight and being thin! That is not what is important. At all!
What is important is that we are healthy and that we feel good about ourselves!
I am just spelling this out for those who, like me, might take comfort in knowing that the changes are bodies will go through are not permanent.
And, because we are so conditioned into looking at those numbers on the scale and thinking "oh no!" it can be helpful to know that there is a different perspective to be had.
So why did I gain my weight so quickly when the charts suggest I should have gained much more gradually?
Because every woman is different.
If you listen to your body, it knows what it needs.
I didn’t have morning sickness in my first trimester and I was exceptionally hungry. My body was telling me that it needed fuel. And, sure enough, the rate at which I was gaining has slowed down DRASTICALLY in my second trimester.
Some women gain all their weight early and then taper off. Others are too nauseous to even think of eating in their first trimester, so they gain most of their weight later on.
Everyone is different.
Of course, if you can’t stop yourself from finishing off a whole pan of brownies every night (no judgment! Pregnancy cravings are legit), bear in mind that will obviously affect your weight gain, too.
But, as long as you listen to your body and try to eat right, whatever is happening is what is right for you.
Which is why, at 22 weeks, when I first wake up, I still barely look pregnant and yet I am about 20lbs heavier than I was at the start of this.
I won’t lie; I’m not perfect and I still occasionally worry about the changes that the next 18 weeks will bring to me physically.
But, I’m doing better about trusting my body.
And, at least now when I see the scale, I don’t cry.
Knowing what all goes into the numbers that I’m seeing has been helpful.
I hope it helps you, too.
This is what I’ve been feeling 22 weeks in. I figured I’d take a break from the whole coronavirus fiasco and get back to basics.
How about you? What’s your experience?
I’d love to have someone to compare with!
What a time to be pregnant, huh?!
By now, this virus has affected pretty much anyone that might be reading this. No matter where you are. Whether you are being asked to stay at home or you know someone with the virus, this has touched all of our lives.
My brother said to me recently, “I think it’s never really the perfect time to be having a kid.” And, while that might be true, I think this particular period of history is a little unprecedented. Yes, it is always stressful to be pregnant. But, I might argue it is considerably more stressful to be pregnant (especially with your first child) during a pandemic.
The other day, I wrote what I hoped to be a reassuring blog with some information about pregnancy and the coronavirus. You can find it under Categories in the sidebar menu to the right side of the page, entitled "Coronavirus."
(The Categories sidebar is in alphabetical order. If you are new to my blog and would like to read my posts in chronological order, you have to use the archives. I’d also recommend reading the Welcome to my Site post as it will give you a clearer picture of what I’m trying to create here. And I apologize for any formatting errors. I am new to blogging and still working out the frustrating kinks!)
The truth is that, while most doctors agree on the information that I shared the other day, they also agree that there haven’t been enough reported cases of pregnant women with the virus to be certain of anything just yet. I have read a couple of recent articles involving a study of UK patients that suggested a few infants whose mothers had the virus did show symptoms after birth (though all of but one were mild and didn’t require medical intervention.) However, there was one baby that did have difficulty breathing and required medical assistance and recovered quickly thereafter.
That’s why I am writing this now, because I don’t want to mislead anyone. Frankly, nothing is certain yet. Most everything that doctors say in regards to pregnancy and the virus, at this moment, is conjecture based on what few cases we do have on record. But, so far, their conjectures are mostly reassuring.
Nonetheless, the UK has listed pregnant women in the same risk category as people aged over seventy. If you read into why, it’s because anyone who is recommended to get a flu vaccine is listed as an at-risk person. The idea being that, the same with the flu, if a pregnant woman were to fall ill with this, she might have a more severe case. Specifically, she might have a prolonged fever, and therefore a risk of miscarriage.
The other rationale I read was that, as the baby grows bigger, our organs shift and there is strain on our lungs; as well as the fact that we are already breathing for two. With that in mind, it’s not irrational to assume a pregnant woman in her third trimester might have an extra hard time with a virus that targets the lungs. Given all of my research, and therefore to the best of my knowledge, thankfully very few pregnant women with COVID-19 have had severe cases. So, hopefully, the likelihood of this is rare.
In my opinion, everyone should be staying at home as much as possible right now. I have a surprising number of friends and acquaintances who, even now, believe the coronavirus to be an overhyped flu. They still go out; several are on vacation in Florida. I, personally, find this behavior reprehensible as they are endangering not only themselves, but the lives of countless others. But, perhaps there is reason to suggest that we pregnant women should be that much more cautious. We ought to severely limit our contact with other people and practice social distancing when we do go need to go out. And if you are not already in a state where shelter-in-place is mandated, you should self-isolate as much as possible.
This virus is not just stressful in terms of our health, it’s scary financially as well. My husband and I were both restaurant workers so, like many, we are now out of a job. I had already missed roughly three weeks of work prior to this debacle. My restaurant had done some renovations and the paint/varnish fumes made me horribly sick, so I couldn’t be in the building. (Sensitive noses can be a pain sometimes!) After that, I caught the flu. The actual flu, don’t worry, not the coronavirus. So, it was already hard enough saving for our first baby BEFORE… now, it’s impossible! If you are feeling similar strains, I’m right there with you. I know many are in the same boat.
Thankfully, I live in a state that has stepped up its unemployment program to embrace all of us who are affected by the virus. We should be getting our benefits in the next week. Of course, it is not enough to be putting anything into savings. But I am grateful that it should be enough to cover our mortgage and our bills. Right now, that is more than a lot of people have. I don’t know how we are going to afford all of the baby supplies we still need, now that a shower seems very unrealistic, but I suppose we will just cross that bridge when we get there. One day at a time, right?
As bad as it is for me and many others, though, I cannot even imagine what health workers are enduring right now. Many have to be quarantined away from their families and the general public. That really puts it into perspective for me. All I’m being asked to do is stay at home!
These are certainly scary times that we are in, friends. But stress and panic only make it worse!
I’ve said this before, but I’ll repeat it now:
stress is far more harmful to my unborn baby than this virus likely would be.
(It’s pretty much my mantra these days.)
So what do we do about that? How do you combat stress in a time of extreme uncertainty and worldwide struggle?
Personally, I focus on the things that I am grateful for.
I am grateful that I have a roof over my head and plenty of food to eat.
I am grateful that my family members are safe.
And, though it is true quarantine is an inconvenience, I’ll be honest and say that I am grateful I have so much free time!
This as an excellent time to tackle all those projects that I’ve been wanting to for ages but have never found the time.
I can catch up on reading that stack of books on my shelves that have been gathering dust.
I can write! I am working more on my novel.
I can stay in shape and workout from home (I never liked going to the gym anyway.)
I can learn a language online or teach myself to play guitar.
I can prepare the baby’s room and organize the house.
My husband is delighted because he can play FIFA on the Xbox as soon as he wakes up with zero judgment. "I'm being socially responsible," he can say now with a grin.
My point is that there are endless opportunities to fill our time with!
And, though these are scary, unchartered waters we are all swimming in… there are certainly things to be grateful for.
Personally, I want to use this time as wisely as I can.
Eventually, life WILL return to normal and we will all go back to our busy lives.
I hope that I won’t look back on this period with regret, wishing I had done more.
I want to make the best of this bad situation.
In the coming weeks, we will all be tested. Whether it’s our patience, or our wallets, or our health… we will all feel the strain of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Let's be good to each other in this time of need. And try and take these days to appreciate what you can.
If you are a parent who never gets enough time with your kids, enjoy these moments.
If you are partners who work on opposite schedules, enjoy your time together.
I will keep writing here. Pregnant during the coronavirus—stay tuned!
But, as always, I promise to find some positivity to share during these dark days.
Please share your experiences with me as well!
If you are expecting, too, how do you feel being pregnant right now?
What has your quarantine experience been like?
How has the coronavirus impacted your life?
What are you grateful for?
Alright, folks, well the results are in!
We got our 20 week ultrasound.
Are you ready for the big gender reveal?
IT'S A GIRL!!!!
My husband and I are delighted!
Honestly, we had no hopes one way or another… we just wanted our baby to be healthy. Which she is! She’s got a strong heartbeat, lungs, and kidney, and all ten fingers and toes. We are very happy parents!
Everyone told us we were having a boy. Almost to the point where it was kind of annoying, just how sure they were. I didn’t have any morning sickness. I had a voracious appetite. This and a few other old wives’ tales had people convinced. So, in a very petty way, I am happy to tell them that they were all wrong. Because, you know how I feel about people making assumptions!
My midwife says she runs into it all the time. People that heard if you carry high, it must be a girl. If you carry low, it must be a boy. And all other manner of superstitions. But, she says every woman is different. A person would need to have a hundred babies before they could even begin to draw such conclusions with certainty. She’s seen women who say they were terribly sick with all three of their baby girls and for the fourth pregnancy they weren’t, so they were sure it’d be a boy. But, guess what: girl again! I think, personally, that it must be much more about the biology of the specific woman than the gender of the child she is carrying.
And though my mom isn’t around to ask, as she passed away a few years ago, my dad says that she was never really that sick with either my brother or me… so perhaps genetics is a factor, too.
While everyone told us we were having a boy, my husband and I, of course, had our own guess, too. And we actually guessed that it would be a boy as well. But, that’s only because I had completely forgotten about the dream that superseded this all! Otherwise, my opinion would definitely have been a different one.
When I knew I was running a little late on my period, I had a dream. My face was wrapped in cellophane wrap and I was lying on my back, suffocating. Then, a little girl that I knew in the dream to be my daughter came and tore the plastic from my face and saved my life. I awoke and I instantly thought to myself: I need to buy a pregnancy test!
I will say that it’s kind of nice that we have finally broken my husband’s family’s tradition of having all boys!
His grandmother is over the moon to finally have a great granddaughter.
It also means that, lucky for my husband, we no longer have to debate the name Oswald.
It was one of the first things I said to him.
“It was never a debate, Kelsey,” was his reply.
Ha! That’s what he thought…
Already a few people have talked to me about how fun it’ll be to dress our daughter up and to play dolls with her… and that would be fun, I totally agree! If she likes that sort of thing. But, there are a couple of things I’ve always thought strange about this line of thinking.
First and foremost, my daughter is not a doll. I am not having her so that I can relive my childhood fantasies of dress-up and costumes. (I don’t need her for that because I relive those every day, by myself, by changing my outfits three or four times a day!)
Please, don’t misunderstand me. I get the urge and I get that it can be fun.
There’s no shame if you DO enjoy doing those things with your little girl!
I am not here to judge!
I am only explaining how I, personally, feel; which is that you shouldn’t expect that your girl will love these things as much as you just because of her gender.
Which brings me to the other bone I have to pick with that mentality:
you have to raise the child you have, not the child you wish you had.
If my little girl likes Barbies and playing dress-up, then believe me I will love nothing more than joining in!
But what if she doesn’t?
Lots of girls don’t!
What if she loves playing in the mud and climbing trees and rough-housing?
Girls can love those things, too!
As a society, I think we have become too constrained by these so-called “gender roles” and a lot of people feel trapped by them.
There is no such thing as toys that are exclusively for boys or exclusively for girls. Some little boys like to play with dolls while other little girls love monster trucks.
There are no such things as girl colors or boy colors. Girls can like blue, boys can like pink.
And, while there are differences between men and women, I believe that there are less than society would have us think.
Look at traditionally masculine versus traditionally feminine character traits after all.
Boys are strong while girls are fragile.
Boys are stoic and girls are emotional.
Girls are nurturing and gentle; boys are tough and rowdy…
They’re all bogus!
Both boys and girls can cry equally, love equally, nurture equally. And girls can be just as stoic and tough and rowdy as any boy. Character traits of that sort having nothing to do with your sex, in my opinion and experience.
That’s why, especially in this day and age, I find these sorts of forced gender norms not only ridiculous, but potentially harmful.
Let me spell out why.
Imagine a girl is raised in a household with a mother who really wanted to dress her up and do her makeup and play house with her (and of course there is nothing wrong in wanting to do those things)…
but, this particular girl doesn’t like those activities.
And her mom is disappointed, to the point where the little girl knows this and can feel it.
The girl might grow up to feel like she is somehow less of a woman, which in reality couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Or, imagine a little boy who is very emotional, and he cries whenever he falls down or whenever he is angry, and he doesn’t like to play sports.
But his dad had always dreamed of raising a stoic little football star and the little boy knows this and can feel that he has let his father down.
He might grow up to think that there is something wrong with him, that he isn’t as masculine as the other boys.
These kids can feel not at-one with their own identity and all because of these ridiculous gender roles!
Being female or male doesn’t come with prescribed activities. And to force those gender roles onto children, in my opinion, can do more harm than good.
As a parent, it is perfectly natural to have hopes and aspirations for your child.
There is nothing wrong with envisioning yourself teaching them your favorite hobby or passion and hoping that they will love these things, too.
But, I think these dreams should come with a heavy dose of realism for the “what if they don’t like it” event…
You have to raise the child that you have; not the child that you wish you had.
Which is why I’ve been very careful when imagining raising my daughter, not to have these preordained notions of gendered activities.
I want to nurture my daughter into becoming the best person she can be, whatever that may look like.
I want to help her find the hobbies and the passions that SHE loves.
Sure, it’ll be great if they line up with mine. But that’s not a prerequisite.
I will love her no matter what.
I want to be very clear that I am not trying to lecture any of you on how to parent your child!
I am not preaching about what is right or wrong when it comes to imagining future pastimes with your kid.
These are just some of my opinions in regards to gender roles with children and the importance of having, what I consider to be, realistic goals.
I sincerely hope that this doesn’t offend and that it may have even provided a new perspective for you to consider.
So far, my blog has felt fairly one-sided as a catalogue of my pregnancy journey and my thoughts and feelings on certain subjects. But, as always, I really encourage you to write me! Either in the comments below or in a private message.
What are your opinions on gender roles with children?
I’d love to start a discussion!
It's on all of our minds.
Schools are being closed, concerts cancelled, whole cities on shutdown.
We’ve seen virus scares before… SARS, H1N1, bird flu… but never like this. Never has there been a global reaction like this before, at least not in my lifetime or that of anyone else that I know.
It is a scary time to be pregnant!
But, in case you don’t already know, here are some facts that you might find reassuring:
I see a lot of women on social media who are panicked. Anxiety is through the roof when it comes to thinking about how this will affect our families and our children.
I also see a lot of people who are, strangely, trying to downplay the virus as a “media stunt” or an “overreaction.”
I think an appropriate response is to fall somewhere in between those two extremes.
The good news is that this is not the end of the world!
But the bad news is that, yes, this virus is serious.
For most of us, we will have a mild case and then have the antibodies so that we do not contract it again.
But, for the elderly or those with compromised immune systems (of whom there are a lot in the world!) this is a big deal.
We all need to be cautious, not just for ourselves, but for our loved ones and the strangers with whom we come into contact with that might be at-risk.
It is dangerous to spread misinformation and to insinuate that this is all some sort of election-year conspiracy (another theory I’ve seen gaining a lot of traction.) It is not. This is real, folks, but let’s arm ourselves with facts!
There are a few myths I’ve seen circulating that I would like to dispel.
Of course, I am not a medical professional. But members of my family are and I have been keeping myself very well read on this subject.
An excellent source of information that I learned a lot from was a podcast with Joe Rogan and a member of the Center for Infectious Disease—give it a listen!
One of the things he talks about are preventative measures—what can we do to keep ourselves from getting sick?
Well, here’s the bad news. Not a whole lot.
I see a lot of tutorials and funny memes about handwashing and how long to wash your hands, to sing Happy Birthday etc… And of course we should all wash our hands! (We should have been doing so anyway!) The virus can live on surfaces, so it’s possible if you touch the door-handle after a sick person has and then you touch your face, that you can get infected.
But, unfortunately, this virus is airborne. And data suggests that, so far, most of the contracted illnesses have been from breathing the same air as those that are infected. That is why it is recommended that at-risk individuals avoid crowded areas. That is also why the cruise ships we have been seeing have been cesspools of infection, because the contaminated air has been being circulated throughout the whole ship! So, yes, wash your hands… but, also, it’s important for us to be realistic.
Which brings me to one of the myths I’d like to dispel: face masks. The surgical masks you see everyone wearing, like the ones in the photo I’ve used—people, these are useless when it comes to keeping you from getting infected! Surgical masks were designed to prevent surgeons from sweating droplets or breathing onto patients’ open wounds. They aren’t designed to keep germs away from the surgeon! They are not airtight.
If you are sick, you should wear a facemask out of courtesy to others. It will not be a foolproof method, but it will help prevent you from infecting others. That’s the only time you should wear a facemask.
The only facemasks that are effective are the ones we should be reserving for our medical professionals. Of course our instincts are to protect ourselves and to protect our families. But, right now it’s time to think about the community on a whole as well. Because, it is most likely that you will have a mild case if you catch this virus. But, for those that don’t, they will need a doctor. So we need as many doctors and nurses in the field as possible!
Look at Italy, after all. They have such a shortage of medical staff that they are unable to treat the influx of patients they have and, as a result, they are having to assess which patients they let die. That’s not because they don’t have the medicine to treat them, it’s because they don’t have the staff! How insane is that?
This is another picture we've all been seeing a lot of, right? The empty shelves of toilet paper. Let's talk about that, too.
Obviously, it is not logical to panic-buy and stock up for a year-long quarantine’s worth of items.
Panicking is never helpful, but remember that stress can actually be more harmful to your unborn baby than this virus can. So, whatever you do, let’s not panic!
But, is it rational to have an extra stockpile of some non-perishable essentials? Probably. The reality is that we all might be asked to stay home for a while to try and quell the spread. Again, this isn’t really for those of us that are healthy. It’s to protect those of us that aren’t.
Does that mean you should buy enough for the year? No. Be rational, people. The last thing we need are shortages of these necessary items. Factories can only make toilet paper so fast, so let's not buy so much that the whole country runs out!
So, in these scary times, remember:
We and our babies will be okay. So there is no reason for panic-level stress or anxiety.
But, also, let’s not downplay, either. Be conscientious for those in our society who are at-risk and vulnerable.
At the very least, this is an eventful time to bring a child into the world! Think of the stories we’ll be able to tell them when they get older!
For those of you who might be following my blog, yes I did discover the gender of our baby yesterday! Don’t worry, I am working on my next post! It will include our gender reveal but also a discussion on gender roles and how that pertains to children in this modern age.
I just woke up this morning and this seemed a far more pressing topic than my personal life. Stay safe and stay healthy, folks! This is a good time to be thoughtful and helpful to those around us. We will need a strong community to get through this as a society, but we will get through this!
And stay tuned for my next post! I promise it will be a happier one!
Okay, so I’m 20 weeks in. We know the gender tomorrow, which, oh my god I am SO excited for!!
But, like many couples, my husband and I have already begun the naming process. Thankfully, we are lucky in that we have similar tastes, so it hasn’t been that difficult. But, that doesn’t mean that we haven’t hit our share of bumps in the road.
Now, one thing you should know about me is that I am obsessed with naming. It’s always been my favorite process when I begin writing a new story and I take days, sometimes longer, pouring over lists and deliberating on the right one for the right character. I’ve also obviously taken great joy in naming all of our pets. My husband jokes that when we got our puppy he heard so many names brainstormed that it made his head spin. I even name my houseplants!
Which is why, naturally, as soon as I found out that we were expecting, I began the list-making process.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the joke, ‘you don’t know how many people you hate until you go to name your child?’ My word, is that true!
You can’t name your daughter Sarah because there was that one bully in elementary school who made your life a living hell. You can’t name your son Gabe because there was that one guy you used to party with who was a total waste-head.
But, for us, our biggest obstacle hasn't so much been all the people we dislike—it’s that my husband has SO MANY relatives! Particularly, male relatives. He has several uncles, two brothers, and another six male cousins. And some of those cousins already have baby boys. So, most of the usual suspects when it comes to boy names have already been taken.
That’s why the boy names have been a bit trickier.
It took a while, but we finally have a solid top five.
And, our tastes line up on all except one...
which I keep sneaking onto the list for the “just in case I convince him” fantasy.
It’s Oswald and I think it is adorable and, yes, I will die on that hill.
Just think of all the nicknames!
Oz, Ozzie, Wally, Waldo… they are endless and every one of them is cute!
Girl names are easier, in my opinion. Mainly because I decided what I wanted my baby girl, if I ever had one, to be named when I was young.
When my husband and I first began getting serious, I let him know what it was and he said he liked it.
Then, on our wedding night, we actually made a list of what our future babies would be named. I still have the piece of notepad paper with our horribly drunk handwriting; all of these scribbled out, ridiculous and now hilarious names. But my baby girl name was on there!
So, that’s why I was surprised when, it came to the girl names, we hit a roadblock. I reminded him of my chosen name from childhood and, suddenly, he said…
“I’m not too sure about that.”
Oh no! Nuh uh!
We have discussed this at length!
I had what I considered to be a verbal contract!
Not to mention, a written contract!
WE HAD AGREED!
Reluctantly, I have conceded into adding a few other girl names onto the list. After all, it is his child, too. But, you better believe that I am not done fighting that battle! I’ve even run the name by his whole family and everyone thinks that it’s lovely… I hold out hope that he will come around, too.
Naturally, friends and coworkers have all asked for the top picks, too. I don’t mind sharing, as I don’t know anyone else that’s pregnant that might “steal” our names (and even if they did, I don’t really care. It wouldn’t stop me from naming my child what I choose.) But I’m not going to share them here yet, not until they are official. As I said, I find the naming process to be an absolute delight—but, also, a very personal one.
This is how I’ve come discover an interesting pet peeve of mine, though. One that I never would have predicted would irk me and one that I can’t really rationalize as anything other than a weird quirk of mine. A couple of coworkers have thought it would be cute to take our top two names, the one for a boy (let’s say it’s John, though it’s not) and the one for a girl (let’s say it’s Mary), and now when they ask how I am, they will also say, “And how is baby John?” Or “how is baby Mary today?”
And, I honest to God cannot explain why this bothers me. But it does! Maybe it’s because those names haven’t officially been chosen yet? And because I find the naming process still too personal? It’s like they are invading somehow, I don’t know how to explain it. But I know I don’t like it!
I was venting to a friend about this one day and she said, “Well, maybe it’s a good thing that you hear the name aloud and you know you don’t like it. So you can cross it off your list.”
But, the thing is, I still DO like the name! I just don’t like it when THEY say it! How odd is that?
Now, it’s not just first names that are being decided here though, folks. Still up for debate is the last name. I’m one of those women that never understood why I should automatically take a man’s last name, no questions asked. I'm not knocking anyone that does...I am just quite attached to my last name! After all, it’s been a part of my identity for my whole life. So, when my husband and I married, I kept it. He never even asked me to change it, which is one of the many reasons he is wonderful.
What makes him even more wonderful is that he has always said he would consider taking my last name should we have children. As I’ve mentioned, he has many male relatives to pass on his family name. Whereas I just have the one brother left that could do so and he has vowed to never procreate. My husband and I agree that we want to share the same surname as our children. Of course, I don’t consider that a necessity for every family, it’s just our personal preference. And, because my husband is amazing, he has said that he isn’t really attached to his name and wouldn’t mind taking mine. Lots of people have tried talking us into hyphenating. But, both of our last names are foreign and hard to spell and pronounce and, honestly, to combine them just seems a cruel thing to do to a kid. So, the last name debate is still on the table!
To be honest, I probably will take his name. But it has meant so much to me that A) I was never forced and B) that he actually considered taking mine. When it is a choice and not something that’s just “what you do,” I find it a very invigorating and romantic notion. Forced into it, I would have felt like I was being stripped of my identity. But, since it’s my decision and not a prerequisite, I won’t lie I actually love the idea. It’s the uniting of families. The formation of our own.
In other news, I have finally begun nesting! I feel like I’m a late bloomer to the nesting party, but I’m finally at that stage. It’s one of those strange phases that’s easy to tease when you’re not pregnant, but then when you are… It does just kind of click like a switch one day and you feel this urge to PREPARE!
If it were up to my husband, he would have put everything off until a month or two before the baby was born. But, he was sweet and he obliged me. So, we finally got a crib and a changing table for the baby’s room. After searching everywhere for a new one, the best one was a two-in-one combo that we saw used on Facebook marketplace. It’s still in like-new condition and it’s a nice dark wood. It makes me happy every time I enter the room. I had originally wanted to get a convertible crib that could eventually become a toddler’s bed. But, honestly, this was too good of a price to pass up.
Except, now I feel the urge to do more!
My dad has cautioned me against going on a buying spree. He keeps insisting that loads will be bought for us at the baby shower and I need to wait.
But, I find it hard to rely on others’ generosity. It seems counterintuitive somehow.
Besides, I still can’t quite wrap my head around how it’s not rude to put high-priced items on your baby registry.
I have serious doubts that anyone is going to spend several hundred dollars on a high-chair or a stroller.
But, I have been told by countless people that “this is how it’s done”… so, gulp, we shall see.
It’s just that I am one of those doers. If I need something, I get it myself. If something has to be done, I just do it. There’s no point waiting for someone else to fix it for you when you can just go ahead and fix it on your own. So I’m not used to this… Not only asking for, but expecting, handouts.
But, if I can’t go out and get the rest of the main “big” stuff, I want to think of other things I can do to prepare in the meantime. It’ll be a long time yet before my shower and, as I have mentioned a few times, I am not a patient person!
Do you have any suggestions? What are some things that I could get or make or do to help prepare for the baby NOW? I need advice, please, I’m going nesting stir-crazy over here!
photo by Ben Wicks
I’m officially 19 weeks pregnant, almost halfway there!! It is crazy to me how slowly the first trimester went and now how quickly the second is flying by! We get to find out the gender next week, which is incredibly exciting. But it’s brought up a lot of, um, interesting conversations.
First of all, whether or not you decide to know the gender, it is your choice. I had assumed that was kind of a common-held opinion nowadays...? But, apparently it’s not!
As the saying goes, there's no wrong way to eat a Reese's (sorry, I couldn't resist!)
If you like the mystery, I applaud your fortitude!
If you don’t and you’ve just got to know, I feel you…
For me, I have zero motivation in knowing the gender except for genuine curiosity and just an altogether lack of patience. I couldn’t possibly wait another 21 weeks to find out! Also, it will be nice to finally narrow down our list of names.
But, interesting for me, has been to find people’s reactions when I tell them we will soon be discovering what’s been cooking in there. From strangers at the DOT to cashiers at the bank to coworkers, pretty much everyone has a similar reaction: “Oh, how else can you decorate the baby’s room?”
So, a few things here. First, I am not going to knock anyone whose motivation in finding out the gender is for decoration. Everyone is different! Nesting takes on a different form for each of us and it's an important process for a lot of women; it helps us feel closer to our little one and to prepare for the big changes ahead.
Some people also like using the gender-reveal as an excuse to throw a party. I am not one of those people as I find hosting more stressful than it is enjoyable, but if that’s you—have fun with it! I hear so much hate about gender-reveal parties... loads of friends have told me, "please don't throw one; they're gross." But so what if wanted to? That's my choice! (Just please refrain from using pipe-bombs, which is a surprisingly weird new trend... that's my only bit of advice!)
Whatever you want to do to celebrate this baby and help prepare for it--whatever makes you happy--that's what you should do!
BUT, I always resent when people make assumptions.
Their first assumption being that of course I am going to decorate the room.
Why is that a must?
I have been of the opinion that the baby will not care if its walls are white, pink, blue, or yellow. I always want to respond by saying, “I was thinking of painting the walls white.”
Their second assumption is that decorations have to be gendered.
Haven’t we gotten passed this as a society?
Girls can like blue, boys can like pink… When I say this to people, it is inevitably met with, “Oh, I know! I mean, you can always do a gender neutral. Yellow is nice.”
THAT IS NOT MY POINT!!
This is one of many reasons why gender roles are so constricting… they are just colors, people! And, in my opinion, babies don’t care!
Now, if you want to paint your little girl’s room pink or your baby boy’s room blue—all the power to you! I am not saying that there is something wrong with that. I am just saying that there should not be this preconceived rule that it’s a given. And I find it odd that so many people not only assume that it is, but project their assumptions onto strangers.
So far, my preparation of the baby’s room has been to remove all of my things and find new spaces to put them. The spare room, till now, has pretty much just been my walk-in closet.
People seem appalled that I haven’t done anything more yet. I’ve heard quite a few jokes about how millennials always put things off.
But, again, they are assuming that of course I will be doing more.
I just figured I would stick a crib and a changing table in there and, voila, it’s a baby’s room!
I was recently discussing this with a friend who works in pre-K education and she suggested using wall decals as a fun alternative to painting.
I still resent the notion that I HAVE to do anything to the walls, but I’m not immune to the idea that adding a little something might be fun. So, I have opted in for some wall stickers.
And, later in life, perhaps our child can choose the color they want their room to be and we can paint it together. That way, it can be a fun memory for us both. (It’ll definitely be a lot more fun when I’m not pregnant and the fumes won’t give me a headache, that’s for sure!)
But, something funny happened when I was discussing this with my husband.
I mentioned the idea of wall decals to him and he was like, “Well, of course we are going to do something that like. I was thinking stars and moons with little smiley faces.”
So, one thing you should know about my husband is that he is very sarcastic. And not AT ALL into decorating. He usually leaves all of that stuff up to me and will weigh in with either a “yay” or a “nay,” but, even then, only if he feels very strongly on the issue.
So, when I heard this, I was like, “Okay, now you’re just making fun of me.”
“Not at all,” he insisted. “We weren’t just going to leave its walls white like a serial killer’s bedroom.”
I have been laughing about this for days. I am sure it's funnier for me than for anyone else, but honestly I couldn't believe it! Firstly, I never would have guessed that my husband, of ALL people, would have such strong feelings about this! And second, because I guess that he, too, is against white walls for a baby—go figure!
So we have opted for a jungle theme. Boys and girls can equally like the outdoors and animals, after all. (Not that girls can’t like space stations and boys unicorns, of course.) There will be monkeys swinging from vines around the ceiling and big palm trees with a variety of jungle animals spread around the walls. I am looking forward to putting these up. I think it will be very cute.
In any case, I just wanted to share this with you. Perhaps as a cautionary tale not to make assumptions. And maybe as a reassurance to any of those out there who, like me, weren’t planning on a huge decoration...it's always nice to know when you are not alone.
Whatever we decide to do, that’s the right choice for us and our baby.
And at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks so long as we are happy with it.
Just don’t assume that what you choose to do is what others will want as well.
As always, please do share your experiences with me... Did you decorate your baby's room? Did you receive any outside pressure? I would love to hear from you!
I’ll be sure to let you all know next week once we found out if it’s a boy or a girl! Stay tuned.
I'm Kelsey! Proud Iowan native, world traveler, writer, wife to the most incredible husband, and now soon to be mother