If you know me on a personal level, you have probably already heard the news: I’m pregnant!
This is, of course, the other reason I took a break from social media that I alluded to earlier but couldn’t talk about. We hadn’t shared the information with everyone we love yet, so I couldn’t very well put it out here on this blog, now could I? But, the cat’s out of the bag now, so here we are. I’m 15 weeks pregnant and experiencing all of the emotions I feel like one should be experiencing in this moment: excitement, terror, being overwhelmed. Mostly excitement, but still a healthy dose of the rest, as well.
If you’ve been a follower of this little blog, you know that I’ve debated about whether or not to have kids for a long time. You also know that I’m a huge advocate for people who want to remain childfree. I, myself, went from never wanting kids to maybe wanting kids to wanting kids for sure but not right now to now being here. I feel that’s sort of a natural progression, and reflects more how I’ve grown as an individual and within my marriage rather than a direct change of mind. It was always in the back of my mind that I’d have at least one kid, but I wasn’t in a hurry and it irritated me to no end when people would pressure me to get on with it already. Now that I have “gotten on with it,” I will say it’s been an incredibly illuminating experience, and the past 15 weeks have taught me maybe more than any other 15 weeks of my life. Here are a few things I’ve learned in my first trimester (and I hope to update the list each trimester, so stay tuned).
1. Even when you’re ready, you’re never really ready.
I used to HATE it when I’d tell people I wasn’t ready to have a baby and they’d say, “You’re never ready.” Yea, I get it, you can never be prepared for everything that might happen, but there is a moment when you are more ready than you were. When we got pregnant, Tim and I were ready. We had good jobs, enough money, a house in the ‘burbs, supportive family who live close by, and lots of love to give. We were absolutely prepared and we wanted to create a new life together.
However, now I see what people were talking about. When I found out I was pregnant, my first thought was one of panic. Things were going to change, and I wasn’t ready for that. Even though we were ready, once it happened, I suddenly wasn’t anymore, and I think that’s what people really mean. That said, I still believe there are levels of ready, and once you feel ready, you should take the plunge. Just know that it’s OK if you’re not super excited until later because you’re too busy being panicked. It’s totally normal.
2. People say the strangest (and meanest) things.
I’ve been called “huge” or “big” 4 times already – and I just started noticeably showing about two weeks ago – and one lovely person even told me to get myself to the gym. I’ve been warned not to eat too much because I’ll end up diabetic, and I’ve been warned that I’m not eating enough to sustain my life and the baby’s. I’ve been mocked for wanting organic baby products and food and I’ve been shunned for my lack of enthusiasm about breast feeding (I’m going to try – don’t get on me about that. It’s just not the part I’m looking forward to the most.) I’ve been told my cup of green tea is too much caffeine, and I’ve been told that glass of red wine I had the day before I found out I was pregnant might give my baby Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Keep in mind, we just started telling people we were pregnant at 8 weeks for family and close friends and 12 weeks for everyone else, so all of that has come in the past month and a half or so.
A word of advice: Unless one of these people is your doctor, don’t listen to anyone. And DO NOT GOOGLE to find out if they are right. You can find whatever you are looking for on Google, so it’s probably best just to listen to your own instincts and those of your healthcare professional. (I emphasize “your” there because you may have friends in the medical field. Just because they know things doesn’t mean they know your medical situation, so feel free not to listen to them, either.)
3. Your body truly isn’t your own anymore.
I’m not talking about unsolicited bump-touching (of which I’ve only had one so far) or backseat advice here. That’s an entirely different – and feminist – issue that I’m sure I’ll address later. Here, I’m talking about the sheer physicality of being pregnant. I’m saying that, if you are anything like me, you will have no control over your body anymore. You won’t want to eat things you’ve loved your whole life. The only things you’ll be able to stomach are cheese sticks and toast. The smell of your husband’s coffee – which you loved waking up to – will make you hurl. You’ll get splotches and acne. Things will grow and shrink. Your hair and nails will grow like weeds. You’ll be hot pretty much constantly. You’ll wake up at 2 AM and have to use the bathroom and then eat another meal before going back to bed. You’ll show early (like me) or not show until later.
Who knows if all of these things will happen or have happened to you, but some of them are bound to sound familiar. I had a hard time giving up control (what… me?!) of my body. I’m one that likes having a plan. I planned to manage my weight gain and go to the gym 3-4 times a week and then walk for 30 minutes on other days. I planned to eat Paleo throughout my entire pregnancy. And while I have done a lot of those things (my weight gain has not been huge, despite what people have said to me – see #2), the biggest lesson I’ve had to learn is to ditch the plan and listen to my body. I suppose this is also an important lesson to learn about babies too, since there’s just so much you can’t plan for.
I’m also going to add a 3B here: Buy maternity clothes whenever you want. People will tell you they waited until they were in their third trimester. They’ll tell you to buy bigger shirts and pants to get through as far as you can. I’m not really sure what’s up with people’s aversion to maternity clothes. They’re cut for pregnant ladies so they’re more flattering, and they are really comfortable. I’ve been using a belly band since week 6 and wearing maternity shirts since week 13 and I’m wearing my first pair of maternity pants today. I popped early and my pants and shirts just didn’t fit. Every pregnancy is different, so do what you need to do!
4. Learn to grow a tough skin early.
See #2. Smile and let it go. If it truly gets on your nerves, tell them. If they are your friends, they’ll understand. If they’re not, screw ’em.
5. Enjoy it while you can.
I’m not into the cutesy baby stuff. I’m just not. I really love baby shoes (see above pregnancy announcement), but that’s about it. On top of that, when people told me to enjoy my pregnancy in those first 8 weeks when I was bent over the toilet puking my guts out, I wanted to punch them in the face. But we announced our pregnancy with both of our families there at the same time by handing out mugs that said, “The best moms get promoted to grandma,” “the best dads get promoted to grandpa,” etc. and it was so much fun. We’re going to do a gender reveal with a pink or blue cake on my 30th birthday. I believe this is what people mean when they tell you to enjoy it. Sure, pregnancy pretty much sucks the life out of you – because you’re giving life to someone else – but it’s OK to have fun with it, too!