Which kind of person are you - realist or optimist? If you're a realist, this list is for you!
Pregnancy can be really difficult, some days it can feel nearly impossible to get through. But it isn't all bad. There are moments that bring joy and secret excitement when no one is looking - all it takes is one baby kick!
There are some tricky moments though. Especially during pregnancy, things may not happen as you may hope and this is even more true for childbirth. Sometimes pregnancy symptoms can really make it seem like everything is coming to an end!
But - what if the horrible time you're having is actually good? One of the keys to a happy life is learning to find the good amid the bad.
So if you're the type to see the glass half full then lets get on with it! Create a bit of synthetic happiness in your life. Getting everything you want (natural happiness) is nice, but there are plenty of days, weeks or months (dare I say years?) when what we imagined does not fit reality. What then? That's when we look for the good among the bad.
Do you think that being sick and tired during pregnancy is bad? Well so did I, but think again. Number #1 is a huge struggle for me, but let's not get ahead of ourselves...
15 Extreme Fatigue
Chances are you don't sit around all day doing nothing, right? You have work to do, people to network with, duties to perform, but you can't keep your eyes open! Pregnancy is tiring.
If you find yourself craving some sleep, remember that our bodies tell us what we need. So listen up! Progesterone is increasing everyday while you are pregnant and this rise in hormones contributes to fatigue. The American Pregnancy Association states that, "Your body is producing more blood to carry nutrients to your growing baby. Your blood sugar levels and blood pressure are also lower. Hormones, especially increased progesterone levels, are responsible for making you sleepy."
Why do you think that companies like Google and Apple allow their employees to take naps while on the job? Turns out naps are good for you and for business. Our short term memory is reset and it's time to get to work again. Allow yourself a break now and then. You need it, the baby needs it, and your work will not suffer - it may even improve!
14 Morning Sickness
Yuck. I hate throwing up - who doesn't?! Nausea is the worst symptom of pregnancy, in my opinion. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development conducted a study with approximately 800 women and tracked their symptoms during pregnancy and the result of each pregnancy and found a link that suggests that women who experience some sort of nausea can feel good about the discomfort because it indicates a healthy baby.
In an interview with CBS they said, "their risk foris greatly reduced. It’s helping to tell them that they have a healthy pregnancy and that this is a good thing.” But they also make sure to tell women that the lack of nausea does not mean a baby is not healthy.
If you find yourself bowing before the porcelain god every morning or going to bed early with an upset tummy, you can excuse yourself with a frown, and then secretly smile to yourself when you're alone. This moment is fleeting and your body is developing a sweet child.
13 "How Are You Feeling?"
Are you tired of hearing that question yet?! Am I just mean or does that question, ad infinitum, bother you too?
Truth is, when someone asks you that it just means they care. Way to go, you have friends! They want a chance to share the experience, to know what you're thinking and how you're feeling.
You may be tempted to answer the same cliche thing to everyone, but stop for a moment and consider how you really are doing. This is a chance for your to experience community and to be vulnerable during a critical time. Sharing life experiences help relationships grow more deeply and you'll need that. Take a lesson from the people of Denmark. The Danes have something called "Hygge," pronounced Hoo-ga. That's what you need with your friends during pregnancy and labor. In our independent culture it may be tough to come by, but click on the word above and read up on the concept. And have yourself a "hyggely" time!
12 Round Ligament Pain
It's that moment you have been tailor sitting and decide to get up. Or it's the time you've been in a car for a while and jump out real quick. Ouch! What the heck was that shooting pain in my hip?!
It's probably round ligament pain. There are two ligaments on each side of your uterus that are supposed to help support it. But as your uterus grows, it bears down on these ligaments. They start to feel the weight and might protest. But, having this pain helps you slow down. It's a sign that your uterus is getting larger!
Round ligament pain is just a symptom of the progression of the pregnancy, which is wonderful, however you should always talk with your health care provider about any pain you experience.
If ever there was a time to get fat, this is it! Gaining weight is par for the course. Now you may not enjoy weighing yourself, but when you do remember this: Your weight is a number, but you aren't.
First of all, if you're eating well, you've got about 6 pounds of good bacteria in your digestive system. That's not even related to pregnancy! So technically you're 6 pounds lighter than the scale shows.
All that weight is spread out and essential for the growth of the baby. Here's a breakdown of each area and the approximate weight it adds to your body: Baby - 7.5 pounds, Amniotic Fluid - 2 pounds, Blood - 4 pounds, Bodily Fluids - 4, Breasts - 2 pounds, Fat - 7 pounds, Placenta - 1.5 pounds, Uterus - 2 pounds.
Did you catch that?! Fat - 7 pounds! Enough said.
10 Unsolicited Advice
Okay we all hate it. The stranger that comes up to you and tells you how you should do something differently. They've seen you, like all of 2 seconds before their opinion forms about what you're doing wrong.
The tough news that even if you're pregnant, you have the ability to control your reaction and feelings when you encounter that person. Sorry, don't let your husband read that. What if you played down your emotional response that someone was so "bold" to offer your a critique? What if you actually listened to them?
What possible motivation could they have? Go ahead and give them that friendly head nod of approval with a smile. But take it a step further. Think about what they said. It may turn out to be the best advice you ever got. If you step beyond the world of social norms, you may find yourself taking in some wisdom. File it away and save it for later. Or just trash it, but do it with a smile because they mean well, and it's fun to be cared about so much by strangers.
9 Bloody Gums
So I am sort of phobic about the dentist. I do it, but only so I don't have to spend more time there later in life. You see? Dentistry problems don't go away, they get worse. So doing your time there is essential. Once I went 5 years without getting checkups. And yep, you guessed it - 5 cavities. One for every year I missed. And no, I don't eat candy all day long, just at night before I go to bed.
But seriously, the dentist is important, and so are x-rays, but you get a free pass when you're pregnant! Having bloody gums is usually a sign of not brushing and flossing well and the dental hygienist will look down upon you with a frown and tell you how you could be doing better. I hate that feeling!
However, when you're pregnant, they just smile at you the whole time! Leading experts agree that the hormones are to blame, again, for your inflamed gums. Your bleeding gums aren't your fault; even if you haven't flossed 7 times this week. Play that pregnancy card. Play it until you can't play it anymore.
8 Nothing Fits
Your favorite shirt, those jeans you just bought...put them away. Maternity clothes are your new friends. But don't despair, they are becoming more and more fashionable. Check out Pink Blush or A Pea in the Pod and see how much has changed since your mom had you!
It's like getting an excuse to shop and spend money on yourself, I mean...for the baby. So as you see the scale tipping, remember that you're just around the corner from a whole new wardrobe.
So dry those tears over having to "give up" your jeans. It's true, it'll be a while before you can squeeze back into them (a bit longer than you'd guess), but that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice looking great. In fact, you may even look cuter than ever cause everyone loves that baby bump.
Have you freaked out yet? Emotions can be scary when they make us feel an intensity that we're not used to. But they are just that...feelings. Nothing has actually happened.
Pregnancy can be an emotional roller coaster, we've all heard that. But I hope you know that the emotions are not you! They are just feelings. Feelings don't define us. They are indicators of something else that's going on inside of our mind. You can thank your moodiness for giving you a hint that something may be wrong in the way you think.
You'll be amazed what kind of perspective changes you'll come to if you get the thoughts out of your head and get some much needed rest. Sometimes even speaking them aloud will help me to realize how ridiculous I sound. Let's thank our feelings, because they erupt when something on the inside needs to be dealt with.
You can give a gift to yourself by recognizing your feelings, and then choosing the next ones you will experience.
I forget where I put my keys everyday, but now that my baby is 4 months old, I guess I can't claim "baby brain" anymore. During pregnancy and especially right afterwards, you may forget where you put your keys, your car in the parking lot, or your sanity. But this only means you can pull that pregnancy card out again and ask for help. Now, no one can help you find your keys any better than you can. But, use this to your advantage and put your feet up. I'm not talking about apathy, but about giving others the chance to step in and do the regular stuff (dishes, laundry, errands, cleaning etc). This will give your mind space to spend energy elsewhere.
Allowing others to help you can be challenging. We want to do it all ourselves, kinda like my toddler says, "I can do it by all myself." And he can. But you know what? I love helping him. I know he is capable and it's fun to watch him develop, but there's a joy that helping someone brings the giver. You can give the gift of being helped. People around you are longing to come to your aid and your forgetfulness exists as the perfect excuse. Just don't forget to ask!
There's a very good reason you may be hitting the edges of furniture and almost losing your balance these days. Relaxin, a hormone that is released to give your uterus more room to grow, makes ligaments softer to aid in that process. And, thanks to your new friend Relaxin, you'll be getting tiny bruises for a bit.
Relaxin is circulating all over your body. Fit Pregnancy gives a good timeline of how this hormone changes your abilities. They recommend yoga to exercise and become more aware of your changing body. Have you noticed a trend? Your body is, little by little, trying to get you to slow down!
Before you think that you'll be set to right after the baby comes, think again. It took this long to get used to the belly and it may take a bit to rebalance after the birth as well. So it looks like you've got a way to go, but look on the bright side...you only have to carry your belly. Let others do the heavy lifting for a while!
I'm pretty sure you're with me on this one. Cravings are what brings on the extra weight. We all know that extra doughnut doesn't bring needed nutrients to your baby. Well, maybe not even the first one! Cravings are inconvinient. They wake people up in the middle of the night. They cause detours on the road and cause us to be late to appointments.
But the good side is that we are usually the one who gets to choose the restaurant when we go out with friends. It's like a pregnant woman filter must be used each time a food-related decision is made. And I'm okay with that. I like Thai food all the time, and if my friends can feel good about themselves by deferring to me while I'm pregnant, well that's fine by me.
Dangerous conditions can also be found through paying attention to our cravings. Pica, a Latin word for magpie (a bird who eats almost anything), happens when a woman craves dirt, chalk or other non-food substances that lack in nutrition. The American Pregnancy Association has a great write up on this condition and what to do about it. So whether you're craving pickles and ice cream, or some good ole dirt, your cravings mean something. It's not a senseless trigger, it's a gift.
Okay this is it! You're having contractions and it's time to have that baby. How can pain be something positive? Well what about a shot? What about getting your eyebrows waxed? Pain is a part of life, but rarely does the outcome have such a positive effect.
My husband had a kidney stone a few years back. That kind of pain is horrifying to watch. He writhed in the bed, unable to keep water down. He ended up in the ER, a couple bags of water later, an ultrasound and some morphine and he was as good as new. Sounds a bit like labor right? Ultrasound, hospital, IV hookups, pain meds. But the result is very different.
Some midwives call contractions "productive pain." How'd you like to go through all that pain and get a tiny rock? Well aren't you glad all that pain ends in having a baby?! I remember the most comforting thought during those contractions was, "That's one step closer to holding my baby." Pain is difficult yet, but some of the best things come on the other side. That is, unless you're passing a kidney stone.
2 Stranger Stares
Strangers never touched me that early, but I wasn't famous. There's a little invisible line between the pregnant belly and a stranger's fingers. But it's so small that most people disregard it. What good can come of this bizarre, imposed affection? I was racking my brain on this one, truly, but I guess the best answer I can come up with is that you are being celebrated.
Think about it. A stranger, who has no reason to even notice you, comes up and wants to touch your belly. They are celebrating life. They are celebrating the most basic human experience, reproduction. It truly is a beautiful gift to be able to reproduce and you are a magnet during pregnancy to those who celebrate that fact. Maybe a better response than feeling awkward would be to put your hand upon theirs and make that human connection.
Why cause stress and get all up in arms about it. Hands down, pun intended, it's not a crime (not yet, although a Pennsylvania court charged a man with assault). Lesson for me is that I'll choose to think the best of those who are touchy, but the lesson for you non-pregnant readers is to ask permission or have self-control.
1 "When Is The Baby Due?"
You'll probably get asked this by everyone you meet. It's sweet at first, but eventually it can become annoying. Now for those of you who choose the date because of elective C-section, you don't have this trouble, but for the rest of you it's a long 9 month road.
At first it's super fun to say the due date over and over again. But toward the end, it can be cumbersome. Once I had a sister-in-law who asked me multiple times a day. I got phone calls, texts etc and the question was always the same. Ugh! She probably thought it was funny, but it drove me nuts.
The baby will be born when the baby is born. And, I'll let you know. Why is it so tough to hear this so often? I think it's because it's hard to wait for something good. It's such a fun countdown to the next phase of your life. The clock is ticking and it's not going to be long before you're holding that baby in your arms and wondering where the time went!