Pregnancy: My expectations v. my reality
Today is a very big day, indeed! Today marks 37 weeks of pregnancy. That means that Iâ€™m officially â€˜termâ€™ (although Iâ€™m not due until 40 weeks), and if BabyHTP was born today, he or she would not be considered premature. What a relief! There are, of course, many health advantages for BabyHTP if he or she decides to bake another 3 weeks, so I hope he stays put.
All things considering, Iâ€™m feeling pretty good. Trying to keep up with exercise (lots of swimming this week!) and walking, although I fare better when swimming.
And, with the exception of some mural painting, the nursery is totally finished. I organized the closet by adding more shelving and sorted out the changing area. I think this is what people talk about when they talk about nesting.
(My mom thinks Iâ€™m having a girl â€“ hence, the dress.)
In other newsâ€¦ I know I scared a few people by not posting at all on Saturday â€“ I got many emails and comments asking if I was in labor. I promise that, when I do go into labor, I will put up a post indicating that the baby is coming (assuming itâ€™s not an emergency situation). I not only write a blog, but I am a voracious blog reader, and it kills me to wonder whatâ€™s happening to a blogger if they go MIA â€“ I hit refresh a million times, I complain to my Husband, I check Twitterâ€¦ I want to know what is happening! So â€“ I promise. I wonâ€™t leave you hanging if I can help it. I also plan to put up another post when the baby arrives to let everyone know weâ€™re okay, but I wonâ€™t be revealing the sex/name until the end of the birth story because thatâ€™s how weâ€™ll find out.
So â€“ todayâ€™s post is on my pregnancy expectations v. my reality. When we found out that we were pregnant, I was scared and nervous, but I also felt like I knew a lot about pregnancy from my friends and reading. I felt pretty prepared for what was next. Or so I thought.
Expectation: I will love every single minute of pregnancy.
Reality: I think women feel pressured to say that they LOVE being pregnant. Itâ€™s almost as if you arenâ€™t a constant glowing, smiling pregnant lady, people think there is something wrong with you, youâ€™re ungrateful, or you donâ€™t love your baby. Look, pregnancy is hard (and I had an easy pregnancy). And just like parenting, just because itâ€™s hard doesnâ€™t mean itâ€™s not worth it. But itâ€™s not all roses and sunshine â€“ another person has literally hijacked your body. Iâ€™m looking forward to the baby being on the outside so I can take care of them in a different wayâ€¦ and I can go back to rolling over in bed without groaning, getting out of a chair normally, drinking big glasses of wine, etc. I like 90% of the pregnancy experience. I refuse to feel bad about the other 10%. It doesnâ€™t mean I donâ€™t love my baby.
Expectation: I will be a pregnant runner.
(Source â€“ My buddy Jen!)
Reality: I wrote about this pregnancy expectation on my Week 29 update. As much as I wanted to be a pregnant runner, it just did not happen. Running while pregnant did not agree with my body. After my 5K at Week 16, I was reduced to walk/running, and shortly after, I quit all attempts at running altogether. You know what? Iâ€™m okay with it. I really do miss running and canâ€™t wait to get back at it, but taking a 21 week break (so far) has been kind of nice. The key has been to find OTHER exercises that I can do and enjoy â€“ namely, swimming. Swimming has been my lifesaver throughout pregnancy!
Expectation: My body is going to change a lot and, beyond the cute baby bump, I am probably going to hate it.
Reality: I have gained about 32 pounds thus far. 32 pounds on my 5-foot, 3.5-inch frame. Even though a lot of it is pure baby and baby accessories, thatâ€™s additional weight no matter how you slice it. My thighs do this awesome rubbing-together thing â€“ that induces bleeding! â€“ when I wear dresses. Iâ€™ve got more cellulite. I have to wear the Husbandâ€™s pajamas bottomsâ€¦ and not because of the bump (because of my widening rear). I know that my breasts will never, ever look the same when this is all over. I look back at pre-pregnancy photos of myself and cannot believe I looked so fit. Damn! Hindsight is 20/20 â€“ I thought I was a little out of shape when I got pregnant. But you know what? I donâ€™t hate my 9 month pregnant body at all. In fact, I usually actively love it. And I donâ€™t just like it because itâ€™s the cost of baby â€“ I like it because itâ€™s my body. A few years ago, when writing the first Operation Beautiful book and editing a story about a woman struggling to come to terms with her post-baby body, I decided that no matter what journey my body went through â€“ whether I gained weight, lost muscle, my boobs got big and saggy, I got stretch marks and cellulite â€“ I would never hate my body again. And Iâ€™ve made good on that promise. Itâ€™s not always easy to keep the promise, but when I start to feel negative, I make myself take off all my clothes, stand nekkid in front of the mirror, and think as many positive thoughts about myself and my body as I can. Itâ€™s totally corny, but it truly works for me. (I also love The Shape of a Mother site â€“ itâ€™s the ultimate mood lifter.)
Expectation: Iâ€™m going to be sick as a dog.
Reality: I never threw up. Not once. I didnâ€™t really have terrible food aversions either. I never knew this before my own pregnancy, but not everyone gets morning sickness. Iâ€™m thankful! However, I did not anticipate how exhausting being pregnant would be â€“ I get tired so easily. I wear out fast. Especially at this point, my body aches all the time. It is a grueling experience physically, even if youâ€™re having an â€˜easyâ€™ time.
Expectation: I will worry a lot.
Reality: I have tried really, really hard to have a panic-free pregnancy. For the most part, I have been successful. However, the worrying comes in waves. I am currently feeling very worried all the time. I worry a lot about BabyHTPâ€™s health. I have a hard time visualizing the baby because we donâ€™t know the sex, and I think that exacerbates the worrying about health issues (itâ€™s a weird correlation, I know, but because I canâ€™t see the baby in my mind, I worry about what could go wrong). Iâ€™m trying to let go of these negative thoughts and energy, but it is very challenging.
Expectation: We will enjoy not knowing the sex of the baby.
Reality: WE LOVE NOT KNOWING THE SEX! I know I just said it drives me a bit crazy, and it does, but overall, I love not knowing if BabyHTP is a girl or boy. It is so much fun, and I would highly recommend anyone who is considering not finding out to DO IT. I cannot wait to find out at birth. Itâ€™s going to be awesome!
Expectation: My â€˜love lifeâ€™ is going down the drain.
Reality: Without going into details, pregnancy does not have to mean the end of your horizontal polka activities. Sorry if this is too much information, but I felt the need to add this â€˜realityâ€™ because I canâ€™t tell you how many people teased me that the romance â€“ and all that it entails â€“ was over. I was terrified â€“ others made it sound like pregnancy was the worst thing that could happen to a marriage. Sure â€“ itâ€™s all different. But your marriage as you know it doesnâ€™t have to completely die for 9 months.
Expectation: Laboring is terrifying. Parenting is even more terrifying.
Reality: I am not scared of labor anymore, thanks mainly to my Bradley classes. Even if labor doesnâ€™t go according to my birth plan, I feel so much more prepared for ANY circumstance and know that I can emotionally and physically deal with it. Now â€“ parenting is actually truly terrifying. I think I can handle the newborn stage, but Iâ€™m so scared to be the baby of a bigger babyâ€¦ a toddlerâ€¦ a kid! Iâ€™m confident weâ€™ll figure it out as we go â€“ and figure that if I wasnâ€™t a little scared, I would be pretty stupid â€“ but still. Iâ€™m nervous to be someoneâ€™s momma. I just want to do the best job that I can.
All in all â€“ has pregnancy been everything I thought it would be? Nope. In some ways, it was harder. In some ways, it was a lot easier. In every way, it was more amazing and beautiful than I imagined. I have a feeling thatâ€™s what labor and parenting will be like, too. You never really know what itâ€™s going to be like until youâ€™re living it. Hold on. Itâ€™s gonna be a crazy ride.
Of course â€“ this is just MY version of pregnancy. What were your pregnancy expectations and realities?