Top 10 best pregnancy perks:
1. Your body has a utilitarian purpose. It isn't just about being in shape to be cute, or to wear fun clothes, or to have some vanity induced quest for attractiveness. Your body is to grow and house a baby -- as your belly and hips swell, your face breaks out, your skin stretches...it is all for an actual PURPOSE.
2. Taking long walks with your husband (and subsequent foot rubs). After 5 months I couldn't run anymore...I took up walking as a not-so-challenging but still helpful form of exercise. These 30-60 minute walks have brought us closer together, even if we are just chatting about our days, what's for dinner, or what we have to buy at Baby's R Us.
3. Support from unexpected places. I have really loved the guidance from friends both near and far, as well as closer relationships I've built through facebook, instragram and the like. People I haven't talked to in ages, or weren't that close to pre-pregnancy have really shown to be huge motivators throughout these past 9 months. It truly takes a village.
4. Your body's natural inclination to desire what it needs. For me, this was a shit ton of fruits and vegetables. What is it about sugar snap peas and (currently) pineapple that my body craves and why? I understand why some women get pica during their pregnancies...sometimes such food is beyond satisfying. Is there something my body is missing that it is gaining through crushing through these delicious green beans? See also, quests for greater meaning for things....and taking a more holistic view about the world in general.
5. Making you more thankful. The obvious here is having an appreciation for your own mother, and what she has done for you (and Niter was the best!) .... but to also to celebrate other mothers (young and old) in your world...it makes you have a greater understanding of the struggles, joys and triumphs that women go through. From being terrified for loss the first few weeks, with every twinge being a sign of impending doom...to seeing your friends celebrate their baby's 1st birthdays, and the excitement around having that one year notch of success under their belts.
6. A greater sense for what's important. Having been an anxious mess the majority of my life, it is hard for me to "let go" of past hurts. I can be very self critical and have always put too much emphasis on what everyone else is thinking. Having a greater purpose than myself has made it alot easier to determine if something worrisome is really going to matter in a week, a month, a year. It doesn't mean I have a tougher skin, it just means I have less time to devote to desperately clinging to situations I regret, people I no longer speak to, and continuously over-extending myself to people/activities that don't warrant my time and energy.
7. The initial flutters, and eventual strong kicks from your baby...this has hands down got to be one of all mothers favorite parts of pregnancy. For 19 weeks I studied my own belly, and waited, and waited and waited to feel anything. I am glad that although I have an anterior placenta, that I was able to feel him as early and consistently as I have. Jerome loves his kicks too.
8. People giving you the pass because you're pregnant. It's okay to cry in the restaurant/at work/at the grocery store for no real reason because hey...hormones.
9. The obvious : buying baby shit. It's cute, it's bright, it's fun to organize. We have been truly spoiled by friends and family....and of course I may be really, really, really good at shopping. I hope this baby boy is thankful for all the love and endless amounts of plastic stuff bestowed upon him! People have asked if our nursery had a "theme" or color and when I've shown them photos they have been blown away at his nursery. I couldn't be prouder of how our hard work came to fruition.
10. The excitement. It is palpable. The world loves a pregnancy/baby. People want to tell you how their own pregnancies went, how they carried, their labor stories. Or just to smile and share a knowing look when you waddle down the culdesac. People have been really supportive, complimentary and kind (for the most part...) and for that we are grateful!
Top 10 not-so-fabulous bits of pregnancy
1. Lack of control. While it's great your body has the greatest purpose in the world carrying a child, it is nerve-wracking to not fully understand the how's and why's and maybe's of the anatomy and physiology of carrying a baby to term.
1st trimester : is there even a baby in there?
2nd trimester : is my cervix going to keep this baby in to viability?
3rd trimester: is a normal delivery even a remote possibility for me?
Not to mention, why is my hair so scraggly? Are these breakouts going to leave scars? Are those stretch marks? How much weight am I gaining already? Will my boobs EVER get bigger? (Okay so that one is for vanity purposes alone, if I was ever going to get boobs I figured it'd be during pregnancy) Not so much.
2. The industrialized notions of prenatal care. I feel like sometimes I am a number, shuffling through the system. Stats on someone's paperwork somewhere. While the quality of care has been great, the bedside manner has been virtually non-existent. The "reasons" why you can and cannot qualify for care based on insurance or the doctor's discretion can be really frustrating, as is waiting for appointments upwards to 2 hours at a time for less than 10 minutes of actual interaction with your doctor. I know I should really seek out a therapist if I want to get all touchy-feely about this huge change in my life, but sometimes it feels like the practice I go to invests only as much as needed to get through their appointments.
3. People who don't care. Not everyone is a "baby person". Not everyone will understand the challenges of getting yourself dressed and out of the house at a decent time when every step you take causes your pelvic bones to grate on eachother and make you limp in pain. Or you're so nauseous it is everything in your body not to drop your head down on your desk/vomit all over the place. Not everyone will care that you're excited you picked a name, painted the nursery, got maternity photos done. And that's perfectly fine. Pregnancy is your own little joy-fest, as mundane as some of the milestones are, they are yours to enjoy - alot of people get annoyed with the sonograms, bump and shower photos inundating their newsfeed - let 'em block you/hide you/make passive aggressive statuses about you. Just own this, this moment, this joy...nothing else matters. Laugh about it and carry on.
4. Not getting the "benefits" of pregnancy. The glow, the shiny hair, the great skin, the kindness of strangers. My skin broke out worse than puberty, my hair never got full and lustrous, and I don't know if it's Baltimore...or what, but I notice no real change in the atmosphere of folks around me. My friends in NY and PA have marveled at how nice people are, holding doors, giving seats, or just smiling and being excited and engaging in conversation -- which HAS happened to me when I have traveled out of MD....but locally not so much.
5. The pain. Nipple pain, pelvic girdle pain, hip pain, calf cramp pain, digestive pain, lower back pain, can't-get-comfortable-too-hot-it-hurts-to-turn-over pain, it-feels-like-someone-dropkicked-my-crotch-pain, nothing-tastes-good-and-I'm-hungry-pains, just to name a few. I also hear that childbirth can be painful.
6. Lack of patience with people's "kind suggestions" and stories. Yes I know I carry big. My "oven" cooks 'em big I guess. No, there's only one. Yes, they've done sonograms. Multiple times. Yes, my boobs are small, I know. I wish they'd get bigger, too. Sure, I'd love to tell you how much weight I've gained. That's awesome you only gained 20 pounds and lost it all in 5 weeks. Doesn't seem to be the case for us. No, I don't know how I can get any bigger, but I'm sure to find out these past few weeks. Yes, I do have stretchmarks, I think it has something to do with my rapidly expanding belly and child that is gestationally large for his week-age. Yes, I stay hydrated, have slathered creams on each night and take very good care of my body. It's awesome you didn't get any, heredity is a bitch for some of us. Yes, I am still working out. It is okay for your heartrate to go over 140 BPMS. Yes, I've asked my doctor and gotten approval. Sweating is okay, lifting is okay, HIIT is okay. Yes, we are excited. Yes, we know our lives are going to change. Yes, we've heard they cry alot. I too, hope to not get a colicky baby. Yes, I am aware our sleeping is going to be affected. Yes, I know diapers are dirty. Yes, I have changed them before. Yes, I understand cloth diapering can be hard. No, I don't think I'll give up on it and go to disposables. Yes, I know breastfeeding can be a challenge. I am sorry it did not work out for you, but please don't try to put fear into my efforts. Yes, it does make sense for us financially for me to stay home for awhile. No, I don't think I will regret it. Yes, I understand this may make me "less employable" in the future. Yes, I think "staying at home" is a full time job, daycare providers get paid a decent fortune for this. Yes, I think it is economically more feasible to put $1500-2000 in our pockets than pay a stranger to watch a 12 week old baby. Yes, I know labor is hard, painful, life threatening. I am just going to go at it with my best intentions and take what comes as what needs to happen to have a healthy baby-healthy mama. No, we are not sharing names...no matter how many times you ask. No, I can't give you initials, or middle names, or swear you to secrecy. Once the name is out there, it's out there, and that's something that takes away from the "special" part of it that seems intimate as a family. Yes, my husband is black, so the baby will be mixed. No, I can't guess what "color" he will be. Yes, even full-black babies are born really light. It takes months for them to get their "full color". Yes, I hope he has an adorable full head of curly hair too. I will love him even if he is bald. No, it doesn't sadden me he may not "look" like me, because he is created as nature intended and I will love him however he "turns out". Yes, I do hear alot that "mixed babies are the cutest", but that is not why we had him, we wanted a baby. No, I am not currently worried about him "having to pick a side", he will be Baby Boy Lovelace, with Leah and Glenn as his parents, and that is all the identification he needs. Ahem.
7. Not being able to buy/fit into all the cute summery clothes. Probably going to be stuck in some hideous-post-baby excuse for a bathing suit complete with ruffles and skirts all summer.
8. Awkardness. I can't cut my own toenails really, I have to tie my shoes to the side because it is all I can reach. We all know that shaving is a bitch, and I have about 7 pair of underwear that actually fit. My granny panties are fully on and popping and I've had horrible panty lines since 5 months on. About 3 "workout" shirts fit, and I am constantly tugging them down to not look like the trashy girl working out with her belly hanging all over. I have flat out given up on maternity pants for these next few weeks. They can burn in a fire as far as I'm concerned. Shit shall be awkward and uncomfortable for the duration!
9. The list of things you can't have/do. See also :good sushi, horseradish, caffeine, booze, skydiving, illicit drug use.
10. Being worried about blowing out my tailbone and ladybits in one fell swoop or having an unnecessary c-section and regretting not going through with "traditional" labor. Or blowing through the former AND having a c-section to boot!
Here is a nice photo of how he is turned, and why it could be detrimental to my tailbone health (and sitting down ability)
I can't wait to have this kiddo, and come up with a whole new set of lists....hopefully all of them will be cheery displays of the perfect labor! Cross your fingers for us!