When I first became pregnant I wanted to know all of the symptoms I should expect. I wanted to be prepared. I’m the first of my friends to have a baby so I didn’t really have a close friend I could talk to about all of my body changes with. I asked around everywhere.
I wish that I didn’t do that. If I was having a symptom that wasn’t super common it made me wonder if something was wrong. Like for a good two weeks anytime I drank water, it tasted like metal. Everyone I asked never experienced that.
People speak of pregnancy as if it’s one size fits all.
“Your first trimester will be like this…”
“You won’t get sick after your first trimester.”
“Second trimester is the best.”
I’ve learned that pregnancy is just as personal and unique as marriage or the fights you have with your partner or the relationship you have with your best friend. It isn’t for everyone to know about. My pregnancy definitely could have been worse, but it was not easy. I threw up regularly until 16 weeks but then got sick again from weeks 22-31. My first trimester was so awful. I had no appetite, was always nauseous, and just couldn’t eat. Everyone kept telling me to try ginger, drink more water, vitamin B6, peppermint, gum, acid reflux medicine, crackers. You name it. NOTHING worked. I had to find what worked for me. (Which was light blue Gatorade and sucking on lemons lol).
Everyone will also tell you all the old wives tales. If you have acid reflux, your baby is going to have a lot of hair. If you are sick a lot, then you are going to have a girl. If your belly is round it’s a boy, if its wide it’s a girl. Please, for the sake of your mind, do not listen to these. It may seem like small, innocent things, but then you get yourself worked up and convinced that you’re having a boy/girl, but turns out it’s the opposite. This can be disappointing for some people.
Some women experience sickness, some don’t. Some symptoms won’t be in your What to Expect app and some you may not experience at all. (Some are really lucky like me and are sick the whole time). Some women feel extra beautiful and motherly, some are self-conscious. Some get stretch marks and some don’t.
I learned that when you talk to other women about their experiences it puts ideas in your head of what to expect or what will happen to you. Your pregnancy is entirely unique and you just have to take it day by day. Not gaining weight or avoiding certain symptoms are just a bunch of myths. Of course, you can try to prevent some things (stretch marks or gaining extra extra weight), but there’s no guarantee. Don’t feel bad if you hate being pregnant, it doesn’t mean you don’t love your body or your baby. Don’t feel bad if you’re lazy and sleeping a lot and not yourself. Your baby will make everything worth it.
I stopped working at 27 weeks and I felt like a weak woman because so many of the women I knew worked until they were going into labor. My body j u s t couldn’t handle it. I beat myself up about it for so long. After a while, I changed my mindset to be happy that I gave my body what it needed and I was able to afford to stop working.
When I say pregnancy is personal, I’m not saying don’t talk about it. I’m saying don’t compare yourself. If your friend is having great sex and has energy and her hair has grown 6 inches and you are the exact opposite, do not feel bad! Just do what you can to stay happy and have a good experience with your unborn baby.
I feel like I robbed time from myself by not enjoying my pregnancy in my own ways. I finally found what worked for me. Epsom salt baths with bath bombs, talking to my baby, singing to my baby, painting, sleeping, being lazy and relaxing, watching way too much TV, baking, and doing homework. While I wish I was able to go for runs, hikes, sit in the sun at the beach, stay up late to work on homework, my body simply could not handle it. So I settled and found my favorite Netflix series and ordered a few books. You just have to find what works for you and own it.
As hard as your pregnancy may be, try to enjoy it. It is the most you’ll feel like you’ll be able to protect your baby in their life. While s/he’s growing inside of you there’s nothing the world can do to hurt them. You get to say proudly that they’re getting everything they need.. the vitamins, water, and food YOU are providing for them. It also makes a huge difference that you’re taking care of yourself mentally too. So sit back, delete your Facebook app, and go start a bath. Put your hands on your belly and just enjoy your time with them there.
It isn’t forever mama, you got this.