Oh yeah, I’m pregnant. It was surprising, but not really a surprise. Because we weren’t trying, but we weren’t not trying either…you know. And it was just for that one month, so we didn’t even really have time to think about it because we decided to wing it ONE month and things happen FAST, apparently. Anyway, so here I am now, 8 months pregnant (I know!). Officially out of the honeymoon trimester and feeling every bit of my massive third trimester. And while I certainly agree that I’ve had a very easy pregnancy, I wouldn’t call it a picnic.
So with that I bring you a real list of some unexpected things to expect during your pregnancy. Not like all that other stuff you read like “your mood swings will be CRAZY,” because, really, we all know that. This is down and dirty.
1) You know that line on your stomach that’s been there since you were 13 from the bending of your stomach when you sit down? It’ll disappear. Your stomach doesn’t bend anymore. It’ll be weirdly sad to you. Even though you’ve always wanted it gone because you thought it meant you were “OMG, so huuuuge,” (you weren’t, btw) you’ll sort of miss another piece of yourself disappearing before your eyes.
2) People will ask you how you’re doing or how things are going and you’ll want to say; “I am miserable. I can’t sleep, I can’t take a proper shit, I’m sooo tired, I’m constantly worried/stressed, I’m pretty sure I’m eating too much/too little/not the right stuff, I want to kill my husband, I can’t walk around the block without getting winded, and I have no idea what I’m doing,” but you won’t. You’ll say; “Oh it’s going pretty well, baby’s lungs are forming this week!”
The thing is, for some reason pregnancy is only supposed to be a magical miracle full of laughter and rainbows. But it’s not, it can’t possibly be, and not sharing the hard stuff makes it all so much harder. I mean, don’t get me wrong, a lot of times it’s really great, but not all the time. When things were really super rough in the beginning I was on a baby board (side note: good God, avoid them at all costs) and one woman was having a rough time and said something along the lines of, “This sucks, I hate being pregnant right now, I just want it over.” She was ripped apart. There was no love lost for the woman who “obviously doesn’t understand how lucky she was” and “who should appreciate this joy” and didn’t she know that there are women who struggle for years to conceive and never can??
I get it. Pregnancy is extremely sensitive, especially to those who are desperate to experience it and can’t, but by the same token, aren’t we all allowed our own experiences? I can say that there were some moments where I was in that woman’s shoes. When I got the flu on top of being over-the-moon nauseous in the dead of winter I was miserable. Pregnancy was new in the first place, it was changing everything about me, from the exhaustion to the sickness to the constipation to the bloating I was out of sorts and not myself and I hated it. But I was too afraid to tell anyone for fear of having my already fragile feelings ripped to shreds. For fear of being told I wasn’t being a good mother because I wasn’t enjoying every second of my pregnancy. For fear of offending someone with an entirely different set of experiences than myself. For fear of feeling even more alone than I was already.
I know this isn’t the reality we want when we applaud the gloriousness of growing another human life and eschew all the hardships, but it’s what can happen. So be prepared to smile and say everything is fine when it’s really not. And then call me after so we can sigh over what we’re really feeling.
3) Everything gets bigger. I know, I should have known my belly and boobs would grow. To which I say, duh. I just didn’t realize how much larger my ass would become, or how wide my hips would grow to be. Pregnancy doesn’t just happen in certain designated areas. It takes over everything. You secrete a pregnancy hormone that loosens up your joints so things are flexible when they need to be. Great, the body is pretty amazing, but that means everything gets all loosey goosey and you’re left crying in the mirror because you are just wider and bigger than you expected…everywhere.
4) You may have full-blown, what in the hell were we thinking panic attacks. It’s ok. It doesn’t mean you hate your baby. It just means it is so overwhelming and like I pointed out in 2, you don’t always have effective means of communicating what you’re feeling, so that leaves you having all the feelings all alone at once. Breath. It WILL be ok.
5) The common things you hear about pregnancy may not apply to you at all. I can’t really say I’ve had cravings. In fact, I probably asked my husband to get me weirder and more urgent things before I ever was knocked up. I don’t mind people touching my belly, the first trimester left me with horrible pregnancy acne, and the later into my pregnancy I get, the more congested I’ve become. These aren’t the typical things you hear are going to ail you. So don’t stress if you aren’t feeling like you are “supposed” to. You’ll know if there’s something wrong.
6) People complain that all pregnant women talk about is their pregnancy and their babies. And yeah, it’s all new and I like talking about it, but the truth is I can and want to talk about other things. The recent SCOTUS ruling? I have opinions about it. The new season of Orange is the New Black? I want to discuss it. But all people ask me about is my giant belly. And I’m ok with that, but don’t blame me for talking about it so much when it’s the only thing you ever bring up.
7) You don’t just fall into parent mode. Or at least I didn’t. It’s taken almost this entire pregnancy to come to grips with the fact that I’m going to have a baby at the end of this. That for the rest of my life I’m going to be a mother. That I have to care for another human being in a totally new way. It’s been a trip. One that I’ve enjoyed taking, but it’s definitely taken me a while and that’s ok. And it’s ok if that’s the way it is for you too.
So there it is, some of the real things I would have liked to know going into this whole thing.