I’m writing right now during my 37th week of pregnancy, reflecting on these past 8.5 months and feeling loads of joy. This has been an interesting journey, filled with lots of ups and downs (more ups!) and certainly lots of learning. I’m amazed at how well my body has taken to pregnancy and feel so bad for other women who have a hard time throughout theirs. I want to share a few things that I’ve experienced throughout this time – the not so good and the good. Let’s get the not-so-good out of the way first, there are much more GOOD to follow anyway! I’ve also kept a photo journal of my entire pregnancy to remember my experience and to one day show our baby. You can view it here (I’m constantly adding to it!).
During weeks 7-15 I struggled with nausea – NOT fun, very frustrating. It hindered working and especially teaching yoga. Once that passed I couldn’t have felt any better!
My husband and I thought it would be a good idea to start MAJOR construction on our home in April…thinking that it would be well over and done by late May. Umm, what the heck were we thinking? We are JUST putting our home back together (it’s the end of July) after a long, brutal, messy, cluttered, dusty, horrific 4 months of construction. I was miserable, completely out of my element, totally displaced and out of my mind (literally) throughout this time. So happy I can finally clean up and NEST now! Not to mention, our home looks beautiful after the renovations. Hmm, this starts in the not-so-good but certainly ends up in the very good category!
The unsolicited advice from others – a couple’s pet peeve, always! It’s one thing when I seek out advice or have questions about pregnancy or baby stuff…but to just be offered it without my asking, no thanks! I’ve gotten “advice” from plenty of people (both strangers and not!). I understand that they’re coming from a place of love (well, actually I think it’s more from a place of fear), which I can completely appreciate. However, I’ve noticed more often than not people just want to talk about themselves and their experience – HA! Humans are funny.
I’ve had food aversions, just a few, but man are they not pleasant. It’s mostly just meat, ground lamb, turkey or chicken…something about the texture of the “ground” part. Yick!!!!
I have found that many women have projected their experiences onto me (or try to) when they here that I’m pregnant and due in August. Many have been quick to go into the uncomfortable details of their August babies that they had in the heat of the summer and how hard it was with swelling, the heat, etc. (Luckily, I have had no swelling what-so-ever, and couldn’t be happier jumping into a pool to cool off and/or wear sundresses each day to beat the heat.) And way too many have bombarded me with the “pain” that they endured over countless hours, the tearing, the bleeding afterwards, etc. There is really no polite way of saying, “That was YOUR experience, and I didn’t ask to hear about those unpleasant details!”
During the first 5 months of my pregnancy I really didn’t show much but once I did start showing it looked like I had a beer gut more than anything. Staring, constant staring from others at my belly. UGH! You have to understand, my belly has always been my sensitive area (it’s where I have always held all of my weight so most of my life my belly has been the biggest area of my body – until recent years when I majorly changed my diet/lifestyle!). So those first months when my belly was finally popping I had a hard time dealing with the constant stares (I knew it was people wondering, is she just heavy in her midsection or pregnant?). Very uncomfortable. Now that my belly is so big, people STILL stare! It amazes me that both men and women (especially women!) can’t take their eyes off my baby bump. It’s brought so much self-image issues up that I didn’t even realize I had. But it’s been an interesting experience working through them and I’ve learned to not take it all so personally – my body is doing a miraculous thing right now and yea, this is what it looks like and that’s just fine by me! After the baby comes, I will continue to love and nourish my body the best ways that I can so that it can repair and function as usual…without concern about “losing the baby weight.” Oh geez, I just realized I’m going to have to hear a bunch of those comments after I’ve given birth!
My family and friends have been SO excited for me – it’s just been lovely to be fully supported and loved during such a sweet time. My husband has been extra sweet while our baby grows in my belly, making sure to work as hard as he can and to do whatever he can possible to make me as happy and comfortable as can be!
Other women warned me about how everyone would overly touch my belly, including strangers, to the point where I would be sick over it. Totally not how I feel at all. I’ve welcomed ANY and ALL touches from family, friends, and even strangers! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve totally appreciated when people have paused to ask if it’s ok if they touch my belly, but I have never been frustrated by it. I love to see people so eager to transfer their love and excitement through their hands and onto my belly for my baby to soak right up. It completely warms my heart.
My absolute FAVORITE part of being pregnant has been feeling the baby move inside of me. On the night right before my 20th week I was lying in bed and felt like I had gas. I thought to myself, “What did I eat that I have gas?” I was totally confused (as I rarely get gas from the foods in my diet these days). Then I realized, the gas bubbles were not moving, but were rather happening in one spot! I realized, that was the first feelings of my baby inside of me! Now it’s to the point where I can feel whether it’s a knee, a foot, an elbow or even it’s bum moving around in there. I LOVE it!
Pregnant women really do get special treatment, and it’s SO nice! From “stork parking” to someone carrying groceries out to your car, it’s just never ending help from others. My family and friends have been on me since the start about what they can do to help in any way possible to make my life easier. Luckily, I’ve taken them up on it and it’s been such a relief in so many ways!
I’ve been floored at how kind strangers have been once they’ve see that I’m pregnant. I can’t tell you how many pleasant conversations I’ve had with checkout clerks (both women AND men!), and others while shopping. At the health food store an old man actually walked across the whole store to get to me after hearing me speak with the vitamin guy about prenatals, to personally congratulate me on my pregnancy and wish me well. I could barely hold back tears of sweetness once he walked away from me!
I’ve made sure to nourish my body in every way possible throughout this pregnancy (I also was on a preconception diet for a year and a half before I tried to conceive to prep it), and it’s responded with such Grace. On the days when I do have a bit of a struggle (aches/pains, nausea, food aversions, tightness, etc.), I know it’s just my body’s way of further teaching me to nourish it in other ways by honoring it with rest, relaxation and doing less. Cannot thank my body enough for it’s wisdom, and the fact that my yoga practice has helped me so much to tune into it’s endless cues!
My mother has been such a help throughout my pregnancy, especially as it’s nearing the end. She’s spent countless hours here at my house cleaning, organizing, painting, cleaning more, etc. She threw me the sweetest shower with my closest family and friends. She’s such a peach! I’m lucky enough to have her come stay with me for a bit to help me get on my feet with adjusting to life with a new baby after birth.
I’ve surrounded myself with a wonderful group of people/places to support my pregnancy and birth. I couldn’t be happier with my doula, the obstetrician’s I’ve went with and where I’ve chosen to give birth. I feel fully supported by all of them and feel confident that we’ll all work well together in bringing this baby into the world as healthfully as possible.
I’ve been able to stay active and moving throughout this whole pregnancy. In fact, when I sit or rest for too long my body actually aches from it! It feels SO much better to move. I’ve been practicing yoga each day to help assist my baby into it’s birthing position. I walk as often as I can around my block or even just around the house while doing chores or out shopping. I dance to get in some easy and fun movements into my day. I’ve made sure to do weight training, especially in my upper body so that it’s ready to carry around a little one. To compliment my active lifestyle I’ve made sure to make time to meditate, enjoy silence and relaxation, get plenty of unprotected sun exposure and spend lots of time in nature.
I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Umm, I’m lying. I’m a total perfectionist, to the point where it infiltrates every aspect of my being in a not-so-healthy way. This whole experience has been (and is continuing) to teach me the very important lesson of LETTING GO. This is a really, really, really hard lesson for me to accept, and it’s taking practice. As reluctant as I am to it, I know it’s happening for a very good reason and at just the right time (since having a baby is going to mean things being messy, uncertain, out of my control, etc.), and for that I’m grateful (now I just have to really embrace it!). It’s the ultimate lesson of yoga – to fully live in the moment, to ride the waves and go with the flow!