As a soon to be first time Mom, I will be the first person to admit that I sympathized with pregnant woman, but I never empathized with them. I never thought about how my friends who were pregnant through the summer felt walking anywhere in the horrid heat. I think I felt bad for them, like it sucked, but that’s pretty much it. I hope I was a sensitive friend, but the harsh truth is that I may not have been. I am now in a place where I can physically empathize with every pregnant woman I see, but I also wonder if they are working through similar issues as I have faced during pregnancy. No two pregnancies are alike, but I have to imagine that SOME women are facing the same issues as me, right?
Five Pregnancy Issues That No One Talks About (in my humble opinion)
The Fatigue is Real - Wow. Just wow. I have never felt so extremely exhausted in my entire life. In my first trimester, and before I knew I was pregnant, I would wake up much later in the morning without reason feeling like an elephant was sitting on my body. I had to drag myself out of bed to find myself on the couch moments later. I didn’t understand how I was capable of taking so many naps during the day. Don’t get me wrong, I am a champ at sleeping, but this skillset was being tested at a whole new level. The difficulty in managing this fatigue is having conflicted mental feelings of having the will to get work done in conjunction with the physical inability or motivation to actually get the work done. I learned that the amount of work a woman’s body is doing at this stage is comparable to running a marathon every day to welcome this new being into her body. So yes, the fatigue is real.
Occasional Mood Swings Do Happen - I am not an overly emotional person, but I have found myself being awkwardly sensitive in the strangest of times and places. I was at Harris Teeter the other day trying to balance my grocery bag along with a jug of milk in my hand while shuffling through my purse to find the house keys. I placed my grocery bag near a bag of grapes. The produce man came over to me and asked if I could move the bag from being near the grapes, and I LOST IT. I just went on and on saying, “I’m pregnant and trying to find my keys. I’m hot, and I’m not squishing your grapes. I hate wasting food!” He must have thought I was crazy! Believe me, this isn't the way I typically handle things, but in this situation I was clearly overly emotional about grapes and grocery bags. On a more serious note, I am more sensitive about how I manage my business. (More about that in a separate post).
Pain All Over - Different parts of my body have ached as my body transforms to accommodate space for this little human being. As my belly grows, my skin feels itchy at times and sore at other times. My lower back tends to hurt after a long day on my feet, and the arches of my feet have this strange aching pain. Yes, everything tends to ache, especially as the DC heat kicks in. I got a taste of the heat a few weeks ago when we practically vaulted from winter into summer. I only have a brief idea of what is ahead, and I envision ice baths and popsicles in my near future.
Slight Depression Over My Body Changing - As a woman with a small frame, slow metabolism, and who works hard to stay in shape, watching the scale rise to numbers that I have never seen before has been hard to handle. I am lucky to have a spouse who is nothing but sweet and encouraging, and this helps with my psyche but I am still responsible for working through these body-related issues every moment. I know what I have to do, continue to eat healthy and in moderation. I have to stay in the moment and think about how this phase too shall pass. I do have a confession, cravings are a real thing, and I have been eating more carbs that normal - but somehow I need to balance my cravings in moderation too. That’s my crazy dilemma - I have these cravings, yet I want to stay in shape, yet I feel like I deserve to indulge just a bit because I am making some serious sacrifices. It’s a definite mind game that’s not even close to funny.
Fear of the Unknown - I am well aware that life is unexpected in so many ways. What is different about having a child is that you know (and hope) that your little person is bound to enter this world within an expected timeframe. Changes will happen for sure, but to what extent? This substantial life change is going to happen and this little addition will require a massive change in lifestyle, routine, and scheduling. There is so much that I have yet to learn and don’t know about what is to come. Some of it is admittedly scary because I am used to a routine that I have been accustomed to my whole life. I have only been responsible for taking care of myself, and I know what that entails. But another human being? There are SO MANY anticipated unknowns.
Perhaps my friends with kids didn’t want to talk with me about these issues because I wouldn’t understand what they were going through, and it would just sound like they were complaining. But this brings me to the conclusion that we don’t talk enough about some hardships of pregnancy because they seem to negative, weak, or taboo. The truth is that all these issues are real, and they need to be discussed for our own mental wellbeing. How amazing is it to feel like you’re not alone, and someone understands exactly what you’re going through? Isn't what we are all looking for?
I am learning so much about myself, what I am capable of, and my thresholds of tolerance. I am not one of the lucky ones who loves being pregnant, but I truly appreciate this miracle of life. It is awe inspiring; yet I will continue to be honest about what I am feeling because it helps me stay sane. I encourage you to do the same.
My Pregnancy Advice As a Soon-To-Be first Time Mom: Discuss issues that are on your mind even if they seem negative or embarrassing . Talk with your partner, a Mom’s support group in your area, or your friends who have children. Chances are that you will feel so much better letting that bottled up tension out, and you may even be inspired to figure out new ways to cope with these very real emotions. The most important thing is to stay true to you. ...and if all else fails, remember that life happens, and chocolate helps (in moderation). :)