Today’s guest post is written by Faye, a mom of two (soon to be three) and blogger at Leap of Faye.
Pregnancy is a beautiful thing. A soon-to-be mommy, a vessel of LIFE, nurturing and growing a tiny little human inside. It is incredible. And we moms swoon over it, sharing our experiences on this absolute miracle with anyone who will listen.
Only – we often forget to share the reality. You know – the not-so-pleasant aspects of pregnancy that drive us crazy. The things that make us despise being pregnant, even though it is supposed to be the most wonderful time of our lives.
I am of the camp that the concept of pregnancy is amazing, beautiful, and all the rest of it. It is the actual experience of pregnancy that can be downright miserable. This is my third time at the rodeo and I’m tired of pretending that all is perfect. I wish I had been made aware of the not-so-wonderful aspects of pregnancy before my first. Then maybe I wouldn’t have felt so alone in the experience.
“Morning Sickness” is the understatement of the century.
Who coined this name? Was it an innocent husband who watched his wife vomit once in the morning before heading off to work? Or is it true that some lucky women really do only experience sickness in the morning? If so, I’m not one of them. With all three of my pregnancies, I was sick 24/7. Morning, noon, and night. And I’m not talking some slight queasiness that dry crackers could relieve. I am talking about violent non-stop vomiting, gagging, and dry heaving up until 20+ weeks of pregnancy, the kind of illness that prevents you from focusing on anything other than getting through the next hour. Each time. And significantly worse with each subsequent pregnancy.
Let me save you the suspense – nothing helps. Not the crackers, not the ginger, not the wrist bands, and not the acupuncture. The best advice for poor family members is to just let the soon-to-be mother rest, hold your tongue on how it will end soon, and commiserate with her as necessary.
The glow of pregnancy results from a sheen of sweat.
I really looked forward to the glow of pregnancy that everyone talks about. The smooth radiant skin that would make me look more youthful and beautiful. And don’t get me wrong – there is indeed a glow. It is the light reflecting off the constant sheen of sweat covering my face. Whether from the incessant vomiting during the first trimester or the clammy overheating of the third trimester, I find myself constantly wiping my face to get rid of said glow. Frankly, I think I prefer my regular non-pregnant and non-glowing skin.
“Eating for Two” equates to one extra granola bar a day.
This was going to be the single best component of pregnancy for me – the ability to finally throw fitness and diet caution to the wind, scale back the workouts, and eat whatever I want. Because of course – I am eating for two of us now! Imagine my disappointment when my doctor corrected me, advising that a pregnant woman only requires an additional 300 calories a day. What?! Is that it? Food is the only comfort. Drinking is off limits, certain amusement park rides are off limits, and the tiniest of human beings is now in control of my entire body. Food was going to be my comfort! My one vice. And it turns out that I am granted the equivalent of a small smoothie a day. But sugar-free of course! Because gestational diabetes is always a concern.
Everyone becomes entitled to intimate details of your life.
Pregnancy inexplicably opens the door for any stranger to ask anything they want about you and your family. Some questions are reasonable: When are you due? What is the gender? Are you feeling well? Others are a bit – well – intrusive: Was this planned? Are you having a vaginal birth? Are you going to try again for a boy/girl? Even worse than the questions is the unsolicited oversharing. Sure – I welcome tips from anyone to make my life easier. But we literally just met in the Target line – I don’t need nor necessarily want to hear about your episiotomy and post-delivery hemorrhoids. You had a natural birth, you say? That is truly awesome. But I don’t need to hear a rant on how anyone who opts for pain medication is a horrible mother. The worst is the touching. Oh, all the belly touching. It makes me feel like a circus animal on display. As we stand there awkwardly, you with your hand on my belly, and me silently willing my baby to kick or move on demand. And when he doesn’t – well – I smile apologetically as if I have somehow failed because you did not feel movement.
Hormones are crazy-making.
I am an emotional hot mess. I can go from laughing to crying to anger in 0-60. There is no control. I have become Sybil. And at times I can literally feel the hormones surging through my body. I have experienced a fit of messy blubbering while reading a bedtime story to my sons (granted, it was The Giving Tree, but still). I have shouted in irrational fury when the hubby ate a candy bar I was saving. And I have laughed to tears over a cat video on YouTube – a frigging CAT VIDEO. Yes, I am definitely losing a grip. And the good news for ladies who breastfeed? I have found that normalcy doesn’t resume until close to the one-year mark post birth (usually around 9-10 months for me). So hang onto your seats!
The exhaustion starts well before the baby is born.
Everyone knows that the first several months with a new baby will wreak havoc on the parents’ sleep schedule. What isn’t discussed is how those months of exhaustion actually begin for the mother well before the baby is born. The first trimester is a complete sleep-fest. Sleep is deep and waking hours are spent either vomiting or looking forward to more sleep. The second trimester affords us a bit more energy – we are able to plan and do more things. This is good, because forget about sleeping during the third trimester. I am walking around like a zombie. Deliriously tired, but unable to sleep. If you’re tired, just sleep! says the hubby. Groundbreaking advice! Except that the baby kicks all night, my massive stomach has squished my organs to the point where breathing is becoming difficult, I am congested, and there is no comfortable position. With my first pregnancy, I naively thought that as soon as the baby was born I could catch up on at least a night or two of sleep. Boy was I wrong. So now I simply accept this as practice for the months and months of sleeplessness still ahead of me.
Holding your bladder becomes an Olympic sport.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Once that third trimester rolls around, it becomes nearly impossible to hold it. The pressure of the baby ensures that nature’s call never stops shouting. I have literally been walking out of a restroom only to turn around mid-step and have to head back. Yet another reason sleep is elusive – with so many bathroom breaks, it’s hard to get any rest at all. Activities and outings are planned around a restroom radius while I take mental note of all restrooms in the immediate vicinity. My advice is stay close to home or places where no-line restrooms are abundantly available.
Of course, the bright side is that pregnancy is only temporary. However long it seems, it eventually ends. And the sweet reward is that beautiful precious baby arriving to meet you for the first time. As soon as those little eyes lock onto yours, all is forgiven and forgotten. You decide, in that instant, that you would do it all over again – in a heartbeat – for this single moment. For this miracle. And you’re suddenly connected with all of the women who have been through it and walked this path before. Who understand what pregnancy and delivery really mean – both the amazing and the not-so-great. And you know with certainty that every second was worth it.
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Faye is an almost-40-something mother of two (with a third on the way!) who has recently left a 20+ year career in the financial services industry to pursue her passion of writing and to spend more time with family. She chronicles her experiences in making the leap to self-employment, her adventures in parenting, and her other favorite topics on her blog Leap of Faye. She can also be found on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.