Pregnancy is a miraculous time in a woman’s life. A time when you are literally “one” with your child, and life is beautiful. Our bodies are amazing, ladies! We can grow a whole person inside our bodies in around 40 weeks!
Men, we do need you! But, your physical contribution in comparison to our pregnancy isn’t miraculous or amazing. Sorry.
When you’re pregnant everyone compliments you, congratulates you, and accommodates you. You’ll gain thicker, fuller hair, a “glow” and bigger boobs! Yass pregnancy!! True. Annnnnnnd false.
If you know anything about me, you know that I LOVE pregnant women. They hold a beautiful power and strength. I love pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and [mostly] everything in between. We. Are. Amazing.
Now, for those of you who are getting pregnant for the first time, I want you to know about some of the things that may accompany this time of bliss. I don’t want you to be in shock, like I was with my second pregnancy.
There were days when I would look at Derek, holding back tears, I would shout at him, “WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY BODY?!”
You should know that my first pregnancy with Landon was amazing. I hardly experienced any of these symptoms, just a bigger appetite, belly, boobs and eventually a bigger butt. Thank you 2 AM pint-sized feedings of Ben and Jerry’s Brownie Batter. Hey, this is a judgement free zone.
If you prefer to stay in the ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ category, I understand. Stop reading. Now.
15 Truths About Pregnancy
1. Your body is no longer your own. This is the most important thing to understand. Everything else follows this one fact. You are the physical provider for a growing, thriving human being.
2. Start your kegels before you become pregnant. If not, every time you sneeze or cough you will have to change your underwear. There are even apps to help you with your kegels.
With Adeline’s pregnancy I downloaded Kegel Kat. The cat is wearing a headband, and meows on the “squeeze” part, it always made me giggle. When I was pregnant with Oliver I did not take my own advice. #thirdchildproblems I, clearly, didn’t do as many as I needed to and suffered 2 weeks of bladder incontinence postpartum. I had to wear adult diapers.
3. You may become very acquainted with your toilet bowl. You may even deem yourself a “professional puker” like I did, because some days it may feel like your job. Try to find the silver lining in everything or it will be a long 9 months, with this one, it’s hard. I know. Trust that one day, the nausea will stop and you will be able to eat normal food again.
4. Sometimes you’re going to feel like punching your husband in the face as much as you love him. Say no. Punching is never good for a relationship. Especially if he’s only asking you if you want almond butter on your toast. “What kind of questions is that?!?! Of course I do!! UGGGH!!” Breathe, respond, smile, and walk away.
5. It’s hormones. It’s always hormones. There will be days where everything makes you angry, or cry uncontrollably, or laugh hysterically. Take it in stride. If it’s an angry day, try to warn your husband and keep your distance.
He will thank you in the end, and you will love him more for respecting your space. Side note: beware of Johnson and Johnson commercials. Especially the one with the mom giving her baby his first bath, and she says, “I never knew the love of my life would be short, bald and fat.” That one, it’s good for an “ugly cry”.
6. Find a support group. On days where I pee my pants from sneezing I sent texts to my “Breast Friends” text thread about it. It makes me feel more normal to get a text back saying, “I hear you, I did that 3 times last night.”
7. There will be days where you cannot get out of bed from exhaustion. Sometimes after taking a 5 minute shower, you will need a 20 minute nap, because that was SO EXHAUSTING. Take that nap. Take lots of them, even if that means calling a friend and saying, “I’m running 20 min late.” If you have good friends, they will understand.
8. You will pee all the time. All the time. In the first trimester it’s hormonal. The third, it’s because you did such a wonderful job growing a baby, and he or she now likes to use your bladder as a trampoline. Don’t get frustrated when you have to run to the bathroom because your bladder is SO full, and two drops come out. That means that had you not made it to the bathroom, it wouldn’t have been as bad as you originally thought.
9. Sometimes it feels like the baby knows Kung-Fu, or is a very tiny kick-boxing professional. It hurts. Again, breathe through it. Once the baby is born, you will miss those movements.
10. You will fart. Even when you try not to. I don’t think I need to elaborate on that.
11. You will grunt like an old woman. Every time you get out of the car (why are some of them so low to the ground?!) it may sound like you are trying to push the baby out already. Really, some days I was reminded of helping my Granny get in and out of the car. It wasn’t everyday, just on the days when I was overly exhausted. Let your husband open the door for you, and on days where you feel like an old woman, ask him for a little help getting out. Then, make sure you say, “thank you”. And mean it.
12. Your body will hurt at times. Find a great chiropractor, and trust your body’s ability to heal and change. Your pelvis is going to shift, and the ligament laxity necessary for birth is going to add instability of your joints (this is supposed to happen). You will ache. Badly. Again, find a chiropractor. Find one that practices Webster Technique, they will help balance your pelvis, creating more room for your baby and more comfort for you. I’m so grateful to have married to mine, trust me, they are an essential part of your pregnancy team. Also, I’ve found prenatal yoga helps. Remember, our bodies were made to do this, but sometimes we need help.
13. Sleep will become a hard thing to accomplish at night. Between getting up to pee, the checklists, leg cramps, and indigestion it will seem impossible to sleep. I swear to you, Derek had to help me roll over to get out of bed to use the bathroom. Sometimes I would get stuck on my back with no energy to roll all-the-way-over and out of the bed. I have a good husband. Remember how I said to take naps. Take naps.
14. You may feel like the most popular, interesting person with all the appointments you have to go to. They will want to know what you’re eating, how much weight your gaining, how you’re feeling and what your plans and preferences are. Look at these intrusive people as your baby’s first fan club. It will be easier and more fun that way.
15. Baby brain is a real thing. The baby gets all those nutrients, essential fatty acids, and everything else first. Then you get the leftovers. Sometimes, there are no leftover for memory. Are still days where mid-sentence I forget what I was saying. Gone. No idea. It was like trying to read a blank page with no page to turn back to and reference for a little information. It still frustrates my husband. Take fish oil, rely on checklists, post-it notes, and the patience of others.
So, there you have it, pregnancy IS beautiful, but it is also hard, and not very pretty at times. But those good parts, they really are great. So great that we have overpopulated the planet. Go us! Treasure the life-giving moments of pregnancy, and laugh at the rest of it.
God has a sense of humor, we should too. Perhaps He is preparing us to love a little person with all the same digestive, sleep, and emotional issues we had for the last 9 months. Life is beautiful, trek on, create more life and do it with your fuller hair and glowing skin!
To our men: Thank you. Thank you for loving us and still finding us beautiful despite all these “fun facts”. We need you, not only to get pregnant, but to love and support us while we are pregnant.
I’ve now gone through pregnancy without and with a husband. Derek, you made each pregnancy a thousand times easier. Thank you for the times when you held me while I cried for no reason, for cleaning and cooking while I couldn’t stand the smell or even the sight of food, and for loving our kids when I was too weak to get out of bed. Thank you for helping me get in and out of the car and bed. And thank you for the reminders that I am beautiful even when I didn’t feel it. You are amazing, I love you.