Things you don’t expect about being pregnant

7/02/2014

IMG_20140622_171429_419 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.

Dusty

7/01/2014

I’m not usually one to get out of bed early and sit alone in the morning hours. When I wake up super early, too early to rouse my husband and take my dogs outside to do their business, I usually stay in bed. I cuddle up to one of the sleeping masses for heat and comfort and daydream. I lie still and quiet and use that time for meditation and solitude, albeit surrounded by creatures.

So the other morning I surprised myself. When I woke up at 5am I didn’t want to stay in bed, I didn’t want remain still in quiet contemplation. And I didn’t. I got up. I grabbed a bowl of yogurt and I curled up in the corner of my couch with a large blanket and my ipad to watch the season finale of The Walking Dead*. It was still an hour to myself. But it was different and for that I was grateful. Because sometimes just doing a little something different can be a nice change of pace.

*I wrote this post a while ago–I’m not that behind on my pop culture television–and never posted it. Lately I’ve been feeling the urge to clear the cobwebs from this space and make it my own again. So here we go…

November 3, 2013

11/03/2013

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Dear 14-year-old Brandi,

Here’s the thing, I know you are a super awkward human being. You aren’t good around new people and have a really tough time in any situation requiring vulnerability or emotion.

But this summer you are going to go to summer camp in the mountains in Colorado. You are going to have SO MUCH fun and make a ton of friends. The last night of camp there will be a dance. I know your gut reaction to any situation is sarcasm, but honey, it just doesn’t always play well.

Let me just tell you what I did and let you decide on your own how to proceed. There’s a cute boy I’d been making eyes at all week. I also blushed uncontrollably because like I said, human interaction wasn’t always my bag. Anyway, the morning of the dance we were both in a group of people talking. He turned to me and asked if I wanted to go to the dance. I blushed and emphatically rolled my eyes and said, “uh, no!” His face, in response, fell faster than I have ever seen and he looked heartbroken! I didn’t even imagine he would take me seriously and had to back track and fumble through an apology and plea to take me despite my acting like such a dick. We ended up going together but it was weird and I just felt bad the whole time. This sort of informed my dating life for a while, and it did not go well.

So I know I said I’d let you decide how to proceed, but I need to offer a little piece of advice. Instead of holding everyone at a distance all the time maybe try just being open and honest. You can answer people truthfully without sacrificing your ever so hard exterior. And I’ll probably thank you for it. And you’ll for sure get a lot more dates. ;)

Sincerely,
28-year-old you (ew, I’m double your age! barf)

November 2, 2013

11/02/2013

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Dear me 36 hours ago,

Ok so I know you are in the middle of a club on your first night in Vegas but pay attention. Well actually first, don’t agree to dance with that guy. He seems nice but will grind up on Rachael and you’ll have to give her your engagement ring so he’ll back off.

Back to my point. You aren’t a gambler, so you will only bet modestly. For example when you get back to the hotel tonight you will put a dollar in a machine and will win 30 cents at which point you will cash out because you’re up.

But tomorrow, your time, not mine, you will go to the Cosmopolitan Casino and will double your money. I only bet $20, but you can change that. Go big, lady! Also, at the Wynn on Saturday morning, stop when you are ahead! Learn your lesson from the day before, stupid.

Ok, that is all for now, talk to you tomorrow.

Yourself in 36 hours.

November 1, 2013

11/01/2013

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Dear 17-year-old me,

Here this goes. A friend of Rachael’s (Sam, you know her) started this project where she writes a letter to herself every day in November. I (you? we? this is going to get complicated) was floating the idea of doing the novel November project, but this sounds pretty fulfilling and easier so I’m going with it.

I should start by being honest. I’m writing this on a plane on October 31. Well, actually, thats’s a lie. I did write it yesterday but it was lost so I’m redoing it the exact same today because I’m too lazy to come up with a new letter. You see me, Rachael, Jaime, and dad’s girlfriend Julie (oh yeah, dad and mom get divorced) are on our way to Vegas for the weekend and I thought there would be a good chance I’d wake up hung over tomorrow and skip the first day so I’m cheating a bit.

In this first letter I felt the need to let you down a bit. Nearly nothing about how you picture your future life is accurate. You do not become a super star prosecutor who makes it her life’s mission to right the wrongs of a big city. You (I? seriously, confusing) do become a lawyer, but it’s basically in name only as I don’t really practice. Truthfully, a lot of times I feel like it was a big waste of time and money. Feel free to learn from me and skip it. But you will miss you on meeting cool people, be forewarned. You certainly aren’t a world traveler. You just got your passport last year.

Also, you are not single and fabulous. You get married at 20. I know, girl, I know. Cry it out. Your dream of an independent life is crap. And to pour salt in the wound you end up really liking to crochet and may or may not have a drawer of craft supplies. But you do still hate the word craft and have stuck to your guns about not having kids. But we’re kind of considering it, so don’t hold your breath.

Really, nothing goes how you think. I mean life is great. Our husband is amazing. We travel a lot around the country, have four pets we love to pieces, and a home that actually feels like home. But I’m definitely a bit lost and have yet to see where this life will take me. Maybe we can talk it out over the next 30 days.

Sincerely,
28-year-old you.

Oh and one last thing. You are in college and claim you like tequila, and since we both know that’s a bit of an exaggeration please do us both a favor and say no to at least a few of the shots that end up in front of you on your 18th birthday. Our liver and esophagus will thank you.

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