With just a few weeks to go, I can hardly believe my pregnancy is almost over. In some ways, it has been nothing like I thought it would be. While thinking about the baby and what’s to come has taken up a huge amount of my brain space, I’m still surprised at how normal I feel. I really don’t even feel pregnant a lot of the time (unless I’m going from lying down to sitting up!) and I have no problem seeing my toes or shaving my legs.
Most of my knowledge of pregnancy before I went through it myself stemmed from the media, which we all know tends to exaggerate things! I figured at this point in the game I would be huuuge, waddling, crying, eating ice cream by the gallon, saying “get this baby out of me!”
So what has surprised me about pregnancy?
* That I’d Get Terrible Morning Sickness. Starting early on, I was shocked that I got morning sickness. You’d think the media would have prepared me well for this one! My mom didn’t get morning sickness and I have a pretty strong stomach. I learned that those two things don’t mean a thing. Even from pregnancy to pregnancy, women have totally different reactions. Luckily I was able to get it under control, but the whole first trimester was much, much worse than I was prepared for! I am hoping if I have a second pregnancy some day that I luck out and don’t get much. Hoping.
* That I’d Take So Long To Show. I’ve written about this a number of times, so it’s not news to anyone, but I really had no idea that it would take so long for the baby to get big in there! I figured I’d look about as pregnant as I do now at about 25 weeks, and I don’t think I really started to show-show until 30+ weeks. I figured all along that my small torso would lead to a huge bump, but I couldn’t have guessed more wrong.
* That I Would Gain Less Weight. I’m surprised at how my weight gain has hugged the lower end of normal. I think based on my history with being overweight in college, I just assumed that I would gain a ton of weight while pregnant. I assumed that the final months I would not be very happy with my body and would have a ton of weight to lose afterwards. Now of course I don’t really know how much I will have to lose quite yet, but I am not unhappy with my body at 37 weeks pregnant. Sure areas of me are much thicker than they used to be, and I have put on a normal amount of pregnancy weight, but I can still see my arm muscles and feel physically fit. I feel like my old self – just plus a big belly. Totally not what I would have predicted.
* That I Wouldn’t Be Moody, Grumpy Or Weepy. In the movies, the women always tear up at everything and yell at their husbands. “You did this to me!” The stereotype is that the husbands go through hell. In 9 months, I haven’t had any urges to be mean to my husband (perhaps that is due to a good relationship from the start) and really haven’t felt all that tearful or hormonal at all (except when watching A Baby Story : ) ). I’ve been lucky to avoid mood swings and the grumps too.
* That I Wouldn’t Get Heartburn Or Have To Pee All The Time. While for some strange reason I figured I wouldn’t get morning sickness, I did assume I would get all the other symptoms. I didn’t realize there was so much variation in pregnancy and that symptoms come and go. For example, I had bad back pain from weeks about 20-30 but now my back feels pretty great despite having a much bigger front. Some symptoms that I have others in my yoga class haven’t had at all, and unlike many of them, I never get up to pee in the night more than once – if at all. I’m thankful that I’m still sleeping pretty well too. It’s all just luck of the draw.
* That Sneezing Would Hurt So Much. This is due to a symptom I have – a tender muscle spot under my right ribs where little feet like to play. Still not sure what’s going on in there (but I’m almost positive – and so is my doctor – that it’s muscle and not an important organ that hurts), but gosh when I sneeze it’s the worst! I also can’t twist without making the muscle spasm and/or cramp. Backing out of a parking space when driving is quite painful!!
* That The Hardest Part Of Being Big Isn’t The Bump. I always figured the reason pregnant women were slow to move around was because the bump was soooo heavy. But now I realize the bump is pretty light – it’s everything aching on the inside – muscles, abs, ligaments, lower back, etc. – that keeps me from bounding out of bed or up from the couch. So many little ailments attributed to major structural changes all adding up at once.
* That I Wouldn’t Want To Eat Lots of [Junk] Food All Day. Although I definitely experienced some weird cravings, including a period where anything green totally turned me off, I’ve been surprised by the decrease in my appetite throughout pregnancy and the lack of change in my diet in general. Food just hasn’t tasted as good – even desserty foods – and I have been less hungry than I used to be. I figured I’d want to eat a box of cereal a day! There are two foods that I have loved this whole time: cheese and ice cream. Surprisingly though, I don’t want to go overboard on them. No cravings for fast food at midnight or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s for breakfast. A little ice cream is satisfying enough. This whole experience has been a wonderful time of intuitive eating. Another shock: that I wouldn’t go nuts going 9 months without beer + wine. It really hasn’t been that bad! But I’m also really looking forward to participating in the tasting of alcohol again.
* That It Would Go By So Fast. I have been trying to stop and say “ENJOY THIS MOMENT.” But even when you remember to stop and pay attention, the moments still fly by too fast. I keep thinking that I haven’t made enough videos of me pregnant. I haven’t taken enough photos. I DO have this whole blog to remember my emotions and thoughts, but sometimes I wish I could slow down time a little and really let it sink in what it feels like to be 29 years old, 37 weeks along and expecting my first baby.
* That Each Week Would Be Better Than The Last. I always assumed that as I approached my due date I’d get more and more uncomfortable and miserable. I’ve actually gotten happier and happier with pregnancy in general (although some physical symptoms are worse…). I didn’t really love being pregnant until the third trimester. Even in the middle of the second trimester I didn’t really have that “I love this and want to do it again” feeling that I’ve heard other women speak about. But now…now that I can feel him move, now that I have a sizable bump, now that nursery items are being purchased and delivery is getting close…now I love it. I definitely hope to do it again someday.
* That This Blog Would Be So Hard. I don’t regret writing BERF at all, and I’m thrilled that I have my pregnancy documented as an online journal. I’m also so thankful for those of you who have been supportive, positive and shared so many great tips and bits of advice. But overall, it’s been a lot of work and a lot more emotionally draining than I ever imagined. I’m very glad I created a new space to talk about pregnancy separate from KERF, but in some ways this experience has not been what I hoped it would be.
I feel now that I can’t be totally honest with my thoughts because pregnancy is such a sensitive topic and requires disclaimers in every post. There are topics I now don’t want to touch with a 10 foot pole. I wish I didn’t have to moderate comments to avoid people saying things like “You look fat” and “Stupidest post ever.” But thus is the internet. I have realized that I have no desire to be a mommy blogger when the baby is born. As much as I love reading the super helpful blog posts about sleep habits, baby gear, solid foods and cloth diapering that other bloggers have written, I don’t plan on continuing to write about topics on BERF. I just don’t want to open myself up for the kind of criticism that comes up, and I think motherhood is a part of my life that I want to keep more private.
That’s not to say that I won’t post 1,000 baby photos or pose questions for feedback as they come up, but I’m not going to turn BERF into a full-time mommy blog, which makes me a bit sad. I just know it’s the best decision for us. For the short term it will be a baby photo central (for me, my family and those who are interested) and in the long term, a memory of this journey. KERF is my passion and what gives me the most work-related joy at the end of the day.
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