Wow, only 14 weeks left to go… how can that be already?! I know I say it practically every week, but I honestly cannot believe how quickly the time is flying by!
Maybe, I keep saying it because it’s been so unexpected for me. I thought pregnancy would be the exact opposite. I’d anticipated that time would move agonizingly slow, with me counting down the days as though it were a prison sentence. But, I’ve been happily surprised by how pregnancy has been exceeded my expectations… in more ways than one.
I always knew that I wanted to have kids, from a very young age, but I was terrified about being pregnant. Absolutely, unequivocally petrified. I had all of these pre-conceived notions about what it was going to be like. Frankly, I thought that I’d hate it. I used to joke that I was going to be a nightmare of a pregnant woman. I thought I was going to be a horrible bitch to everyone around me and that I’d be massively emotional, with mood swings that rollercoaster up and down… I thought that I’d hate my body, which would forever be ruined according to most sources, and that I’d have all of these constant aches and pains and symptoms.
But, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about those pre-conceived notions… I wish I could go back in time and show myself what it would actually be like. Because, almost nothing about my pregnancy has lined up with them.
I have always had an incredibly weak stomach. So, I was sure that I would be a candidate for the worst morning sickness. Have you ever heard of hyperemesis gravidarum? It’s a rare condition that only one in fifty women get where they have extreme morning sickness that lasts the duration of their pregnancy… Yeah, I was certain that I would be the one in fifty. Turns out? I didn’t have morning sickness at all! I had a few days of feeling nauseous in the beginning, but absolutely nothing compared to my expectations.
I thought that I would be an emotional, moody wreck. After all, I’ve been known to be a little capricious in my time. It was a running joke for years that I would make a terrible pregnant woman. “God help the man you have kids with” was something I heard on more than a few occasions. But, turns out? There’s been no rollercoaster here.
In my first trimester, I had a little bit of an adjustment period because my body needed drastically more sleep than I was getting. So, there were some days when I was overtired and I became incredibly sensitive.
One day in particular, I was at work and lord knows what in the world triggered me, but I had this crying episode that lasted pretty much the duration of my shift. I kept having to excuse myself to the bathroom to regain my composure, only to have it shatter again a few minutes later for absolutely no reason at all. I won’t lie, that was both awful and completely mortifying. I told co-workers that I was throwing up because it seemed an easier pill to swallow than to confess that I couldn’t stop crying. But, the good news? It was just that one really bad night. Otherwise, there were only a few other days that were a bit topsy turvy.
Overall, my mood has been surprisingly steady.
Sure, I’ve had my ultra-pregnant moments where things that normally would never have made me cry, did (like an episode of Mad Men, for the love of God.) But, as far as random outbursts, snapping remarks, feeling irritable and edgy… virtually none of that. Both my husband and I have remarked, on more than one occasion, how very even keel I’ve been.
In the same vain, I thought I’d have massive anxiety.
I’ve read that it’s very normal for pregnant women. Whether or not you were already an anxious person before, the hormones actually help nudge you in that direction. And I, by nature, am a worrier. But, with a few coronavirus moments notwithstanding, I’ve had virtually no anxiety. I’ve not had any of that fear that keeps you up at night, worrying what kind of parent you’ll be…
The closest I’ve come to that is that I once had a dream that I gave birth to a pickle and I ate her. And I had another dream in which I didn’t know how to hold a baby and I kept picking her up wrong and not supporting her head or neck. But, as far as waking moments go, no anxiety at all. As for the dreams, they gave me a good laugh in the morning.
In regards to physical symptoms, yes there have been some of those.
I had terrible cramps during my first trimester and there were the quintessentially sore breasts.
Now, towards the end of my second trimester, I have begun feeling breathless on a semi-regular basis.
I do get the very occasional backache. Sometimes, I get restless legs at night. And, I pretty much constantly need to pee.
But, honestly? That’s pretty much it. And NONE of those were even half as bad as my pre-conceived notions would have had me believe. Feeling breathless is by far the worst—and it does SUCK. But, that’s going to pass here soon. Peeing all the time is certainly an inconvenience, but I’ve become pretty accustomed to it. And the cramps weren’t fun, but they’re gone now.
There are things that I miss about not-pregnant life. I miss being able to workout on a regular basis. I hate that weeding my garden is a project that now has to span over the course of several days because of how worn out I get. And I miss staying up all night dancing and drinking with friends (though, hey, I wouldn’t be able to right now anyway thanks to quarantine!) But, those are very mild inconveniences compared to the avalanche I thought my body was going to suffer. When I think of the onslaught of adversities I had expected from pregnancy, I really feel like I’m getting off very easy.
Now, I know that a lot of the physical symptoms that I expected might just be characteristic of the third trimester. I’m sure that it will be the worst. But, by then, I’m so close to the finish-line… Even if they are awful, I will still be able to say by the end of this that they weren’t as bad as I’d thought they’d be. Because three months of terrible is way, way better than nine!
As for the body image concerns… I’ve touched on that a little in past posts.
Unfortunately, given the society that we live in, we are brainwashed into thinking that thin automatically equals beautiful (which of course it does not!) and we are conditioned into being obsessed with our physical attractiveness. So, it can be difficult to just suddenly turn that switch off in your brain. But, the bigger my stomach grows and the more that it looks undeniably like a baby bump, the easier that battle is for me. I won’t lie and say that I’ve woken up every morning delighted with this giant protrusion on the front of my body… but some days I genuinely have! And every day that goes on, I can honestly say that I love it more and more. There are times (with increasing regularity) that I feel so incredibly sexy and confident and beautiful! I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to that stage, but I have.
Here’s another thing I never thought I’d say...
there are some parts about being pregnant that I, honestly, really enjoy!
I love how often I laugh these days.
Not just a light chuckle, either. I get that giddy schoolgirl, laugh so hard it hurts, fall to the ground and can’t breathe kind of laughing fits… all the time now!
It’s something that, in adult life, we so rarely get to experience anymore. It’s like reliving a part of my childhood in a really beautiful way.
And nothing compares to the extreme love that I have when I feel my baby girl inside of me, kicking away. Even when it’s a bit uncomfortable, I love every single flutter of movement.
I love imagining who she’s going to be.
My eagerness to meet her and to have her in my life outweighs every discomfort by a million to one.
I wish I could go back to a younger version of myself and tell her these things. To reassure her that pregnancy wouldn’t be all that bad. Yes, it has its struggles. But, there are some incredibly beautiful, rewarding elements to it, too.
All of that being said, that doesn’t mean that I will miss being pregnant.
I know that some women feel that way. I don’t think I will.
When I tell people this, I think they misunderstand me, though.
Yes, I’m looking forward to having my body back without these limitations.
But, more than that, I’m looking forward to meeting my little girl and to having her in my life! I’m more excited for this than I’ve ever been for anything before.
Anything I’ve enjoyed about pregnancy is completely overshadowed by my eagerness to usher in this new chapter.
So when I say I won’t miss being pregnant, it’s not to suggest that I’ve hated being pregnant. I haven't.
It’s because I'M READY FOR MOTHERHOOD!
But, I’ve been very happily surprised by this pregnancy experience. I wish I could share this with anyone out there who, like me, was really scared of what it was going to be like.
My next post, I’m going to write about some of the books that I’ve read that have been so incredibly reassuring and empowering when it comes to the fears of childbirth. But, that deserves a post of its own! So, stay tuned. Hopefully it can be of some help to you, too.
In the meantime, what did you think pregnancy was going to be like? Were you like me and scared? Is there anything you wish you could tell your younger self? I'd love to hear about your experiences, too!
I'm Kelsey! Proud Iowan native, world traveler, writer, wife to the most incredible husband, and now soon to be mother