To those who are curious as to what pregnancy is like, veteran Mamas who need a good laugh or husbands who should know what their wives are experiencing.
During the last nine months, I had quite a few ladies approach me to ask what pregnancy is like. I got questions from, “Is it really that bad?” to “I just want to know if everything goes back to normal.”
The short answer…. no. No its really not that bad and no not everything looks as it once did. I’ve heard every pregnancy is different. The below is a series of things I experienced with both my pregnancies.
First Trimester: Weeks 1 – 12
You will likely not even realize you are creating a life for the first few weeks. However, some sure tell signs are the amazing morning sickness coupled with the intense exhaustion. They should change the name to morning sickness because it definitely does not confine itself to “morning” hours. I was nauseous all day long. (I learned after the fact its called morning sickness because it usually only lasts the first part of your pregnancy).
A huge reason why you’re constantly feeling queasy is because your sense of smell goes to a super heightened status. Turns out, an incredible sense of smell is not always a good thing. Most things in the world smell bad, real bad. To battle this, I found eating Jolly Ranchers for some reason helped that terrible feeling.. so I downed bags of them.
The lack of energy makes you want to go to bed at 7pm… every night. If this is your first pregnancy, you can have that luxury. I advise you to take it! For every subsequent pregnancy, sleep is hard to come by because everyone knows that Moms don’t get a break 🙂
I feel like the first trimester is really the most difficult. You’re not expecting it (at least I wasn’t) when suddenly this wave of sickness and fatigue captivate you. Plus, you’re baby is still the size of a blueberry, and technically you’re not supposed to share the exciting news until 12 weeks, so you really have nothing to show for it.
Second Trimester: Weeks 13 – 27
Usually once you hit the second trimester, the constant nausea fades. You also get a ton of energy back and start feeling somewhat normal again. Super exciting!
While you think you’re doing pretty good, out of nowhere, you get these fierce emotions that hit you… hard. These emotions can come in the form of irritability, most commonly geared towards the innocent (I may or may not have experienced a few bouts of road rage with complete strangers). They can also show up as irrational sadness. Sometimes, you feel guilty about the way you treated those innocent souls who were on the flip side of your irritation, so this can trigger the water works. I also clearly remember crying for about 20 minutes because I put my slippers on the wrong feet… no joke.
Another challenge in the second trimester is “pregnancy brain” aka “momnesia.” If you look up the term, they gently describe it as small bouts of forgetfulness. Let me tell you, pregnancy brain is real. I couldn’t remember anything! I was so afraid I would forget my shoes in the morning that I always carried a spare pair in my car… though I think I only had to use them twice. If you know someone experiencing this, please be patient with them.
Third Trimester: Weeks 28 – 40+
The third trimester is when things start getting exciting. You get the people that come up and poke, yes.. poke, your belly. You also get the people who make the unintentionally rude comments like, “Oh .. you must be due any minute!” – when you’re actually only 6 months in – or, “Wow! That’s one big baby in there!” As if you’re not already feeling uncomfortable in your own skin, such comments just add fuel to the fire.
This is also when you’re likely to outgrow your entire wardrobe except for those few maternity outfits you splurged on, that you have to wear over and over. Putting on shoes? Forget it! You can barely see your feet let alone reach them to tie a shoe… flip flops all the way.
Later in the third trimester, you might start to see some stretchmarks… not always in places you expect. There are some creams out there that are sworn by many moms, definitely worth a shot. Since you’re carrying so much extra weight, the swollen feet / hands and back pain will kick in around this time. One of my best purchases was a heating pad to help the lower back.
You’ll also get the exhaustion back at some point during this phase. This time, you can attribute it to the inability to sleep because you’re uncomfortable, especially if you’re typically a stomach or back sleeper – which you can’t do either, you wake up with the need to pee at least three times, then can’t fall asleep because your baby has developed some brute strength and is using it all night.
One of the last things you’ll deal with is the sudden fear of delivery. You’ve made it this far in the pregnancy and have been so focused on everything else, that you haven’t really thought much about how this baby is going to enter the world. It can be pretty terrifying to ponder what the actual birth will be like. While there are some crazy stories out there, most deliveries are super easy and successful… so I hear.
The Silver Lining
Now, I know that most of what I just described doesn’t sound like the most pleasant time of your life. While it is all 100% true, what you didn’t read between all the body changes is how completely amazing it is to experience this incredible miracle.
There are no words that can describe the feeling that runs through your body when you feel your baby move for the first time, and every time after that. Only you get to sense every movement they make for their first nine months of life. You can feel their tiny little hiccups, cute boney elbows, and their hands reaching for you.
Your voice is the one they hear consistently throughout the day, the one they come into this world knowing and craving. She loves to hear you sing to her, even if your voice is like mine.. a little off key. The emotions that you feel are also shared and felt within the womb, try and make them positive ones.
During this short period of time, you are one. She is always with you, and is a great listener to anything you have to say. You have this incredible ability to protect her at all times… knowing that in the not too distant future, you will get to hold her in your arms.
For a quick moment, which flies by so fast, she is an extension of you and no one else in the world is able to experience what you are living every single day. So, while you might experience some challenges during this time, every single minute of it is completely worth it to create an unbreakable bond you will have with your child for the rest of your life.
– Mama of Roses –