When we first started trying, it took me 3 years and 3 months to get pregnant with our first son.
During that time, I idolized pregnancy — the time to slowly move from my pre-mom to my mom life. Ahh! It would give me time and focus, and motivation. It would make things even clearer. And everyone would walk in circles around me and worship me.
Well, it didn’t quite work that way. But since I’d waited so long for that magical moment, the hurdles didn’t bother me the first time around. I just noticed them.
When we got pregnant again, it happened within 3 months of first trying. Quick and painless.
I am now almost 8 months pregnant and I see pregnancy for what it is. No pink glasses.
And while I and hubby had agreed on having two children, even if we hadn’t, I’d still be done with this. Pregnancy alone would be enough to make me give up.
I’m not writing this to make you give up. Having children is one of the most fulfilling, life-changing experiences.
I’m writing it to tell you that it’s okay to feel that way and you are not alone.
I’m also writing it to share my coping mechanisms if you’re currently struggling with the same problems.
And so that you give it to your partner to read. Because men.
You feel like shit for 3+ months.
Maybe there are a few lucky bit**** out there that cruise through that part undisturbed, but for most of us, the first 3 months of pregnancy are hell on Earth. Sickness, dizziness, throwing up, exhaustion. And if there’s a potential problem in your body, it’ll develop now. You’ll get vitamin deficiencies. You’ll get gestational diabetes (even if you barely fucking eat!). You’ll get anemia.
Prepare: No big plans during the first three months. Sit back and relax. Take walks and maybe do some pregnancy yoga, and that’s it. Take it easy at work. Cancel nights out. Cancel trips. I went to France at the beginning of my first pregnancy and hated it! How can you hate France? Just get pregnant before you go.
Cancel whatever you can and keep a low profile. Make sure there’s always a clean restroom nearby because you might have to sit on its floor and stick your head in the toilet.
You are not yourself.
I’m a voracious reader. Except when I’m pregnant.
I get a million writing ideas a day. Except when I’m pregnant.
That soft spot you develop when you become a parent, that can work to your benefit. It makes you more empathetic and in touch with who you are.
But when I’m pregnant, I’m all soft. I can’t focus. Discipline is out of the window. I’m fresh out of ideas. My brain feels mushy and chaotic.
Prepare: Don’t push yourself at work. Don’t take on new projects. Relax. Do what you want. You’ll feel like yourself again after you give birth, even if it takes a while. Definitely postpone big decisions.
You don’t have enough energy. For anything.
I am lucky. Between the babysitter, his dad, and his grandparents, I only absolutely have to look after my son for a few hours a day. They let me relax the rest of the time.
They let me write an article or two if I feel like it.
Or cook a meal, if I’m in the mood.
And if not, they let me binge on Netflix.
I don’t know what I’d do without them.
I honestly don’t have the energy to walk for 5 minutes unless I absolutely have to. Just this morning my husband was driving me to Starbucks and asked me if he could drop me off a bit further because he was headed the opposite way.
And I said “NO!”
It’s August, it’s hot and my belly is huge and heavy. Sorry, husband.
Prepare: Make sure you have help. Create a financial plan that includes a nanny. If you’re not a single mother, discuss things with your partner — how involved does he plan to be in raising your child or children?
“It takes a village to raise a child” — African proverb
You can’t count on your own body.
Everything is a challenge. And sometimes contractions start out of nowhere.
If you’ve been a regular at the gym, you may have to rethink it. And I’m not even talking about the cases where doctors recommend bed-rest. No, I’m just talking about the average pregnancy.
You’re not just responsible for you anymore. You’re responsible for a whole other life. You can’t dismiss aches and pains. Sometimes it takes you an hour to get your breathing back to normal after you’ve, wait for it, stood up from the couch.
Prepare: Take taxis. Drive, if you feel comfortable. Do not attempt long walks. Do not bike, and if you do, let it be a short distance. Balance is becoming a bit more difficult anyway in the second part of pregnancy.
Yes, staying physically active is important, but do it on your own terms. I walk around our yard. It’s not that hot there, plus I can always sit if I feel tired or contractions start.
Loved ones get on your nerves.
The mood changes can be brutal. Close friends could seem to you like total jackasses. Everyone around you who dare to eat or drink what you shouldn’t should be punished by law. Everything is annoying as fuck.
Prepare: It’s best to try to count to 10. Get a journal and pour it all in there. Sure, you can speak up if something is really bugging you, but beware — you can say things you don’t mean and hurt people just because you’re a bit “out of it”.
This too shall pass. You’ll become a parent and it’ll be awesome. Difficult, but awesome.
Just hang in there, okay! And think before you, oops, do it again.
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