Wednesday, May 7, 2014

6 things that have surprised me about pregnancy

You all might have taken a look at the post I wrote in March titled 6 things that have surprised me about marriage. I realized recently that there are quite a few things about this pregnancy that have surprised me. In fact, I thought I knew so much about pregnancy, but now I realize I really didn't know much at all!

So here are MY most surprising revelations at 35 weeks pregnant:

1) Pregnancy literally affects every part of your body. 
Did you know that any moles you have will get bigger? Me neither. Or did you know that your leg hair might start coming in ticker or thinner? Me neither. Did you know that you will be very prone to gingivitis and bloody gums? Me neither. Did you know that your veins become more visible (I have a crazy network going on right now), your digestive system slows down, you burp more, your sinuses swell, and your immune system will actually be suppressed so your body doesn't reject the baby (making you easy prey to all those lovely viruses lurking around)? Yeah, me neither. And that is just the tip of the iceberg! LOTS more changes than I anticipated. I have come to realize there really isn't a single part of your body that isn't affected.

2) Healthy pregnancy weight gain can be difficult to come to terms with.
Perhaps because I have always been slim and never had a lot of weight fluctuation, watching the numbers on the scale go up and up and up has been a little unsettling. I know this is good weight gain. I know this is healthy. I know my baby needs it. I am usually not obsessive about my weight (I try not to fluctuate too much due to the cost of having to buy clothes in other sizes). But y'all..... I have seen numbers on the scale I have never even considered seeing before. And it has not been easy. You really do have to give your entire body over to the baby. I've gained what is considered a healthy amount of weight, but still. I have felt a little guilty at feeling so unsettled about the weight gain, but have since decided that it is ok to feel this way. The changes are so drastic and so fast, it is normal for any woman to feel unsettled about them.

In just over 20 weeks I went from the photo on the left (13 weeks pregnant) to the photo on the right (34 weeks pregnant), where I weigh almost 30 pounds more. Big (though happy) changes!

3) Negative comments and advice are normal
I think it is just another side effect of a culture that sees children as a burden. It is much more culturally acceptable for people to see their children (and the pregnancies and labor that produce them) as a huge ordeal. AND they want to tell you all about their ordeal. A good 90% of women I meet have a comment to say that starts with "Well you just wait until..." "Enjoy this now because...." or "_____ is the absolute worst during pregnancy!" "Labor feels like (some negative description), you better get your epidural lined up". It's interesting how we are so much more likely to talk about the negative things that happen during pregnancy and forget about the positives, such as......

4) Feeling your baby move around and learning their personalities while they are on the inside is the most magical thing in the world.
From that very first little "thump" letting me know that he/she is there and growing, to the much more forceful jabs in the ribs, there is nothing more wonderful than feeling this baby move. Every little movement is a reminder of just how blessed I am. It is also so reassuring to feel that our little one is healthy and strong. I don't care how sore my ribs get, I don't really care how little sleep I get due to the baby's hiccups, because I will never get to bond with this baby quite in this way ever again. I am cherishing this time.
Our little one at just 6 weeks was only 3mm long (the baby is the little white spot inside the black kidney-bean-looking-thing).
5) Pregnancy cravings aren't all they are hyped up to be
I have heard so many stories about crazy pregnancy cravings. I assumed these cravings would be uncontrollable, and that it is normal for pregnant women to want to eat sour cream straight from the container. I have since learned through my pregnancy and those of women around me who are pregnant right now that pregnancy cravings really aren't that bad. Sure food in general just sounds wonderful, and there are some things I really enjoy and want more than other things (I'm really into any kind of fruit that is juicy), but my cravings aren't the uncontrollable beast that I was expecting. It really is possible to eat healthily (and normally) while pregnant.

6) Everything just gets a little harder as the pregnancy goes on
I always heard that if you exercise and are used to being active, it is easy to keep active throughout pregnancy. This has definitely not been the case for me. While working out and staying active was quite easy up until the end of the 2nd trimester, the 3rd trimester has been a little different in this. Even little things are harder these days, much less an exercise routine. It's more difficult to roll over, get out of bed, or get in and out of the car. If I drop something on the floor I'll stare at it for a moment wondering if it is really worth the effort to pick it up. A mile walk can seem like a marathon, and a shopping excursion is a big event. It is kind of funny how I have begun to really evaluate things in my life based on whether or not they are really worth the seeming Herculean effort it takes to complete them. Not to mention the swollen feet and ankles when I've completed the task :)

What about you? What were some things that surprised you about pregnancy?


  1. My last two boys were natural delivers and I was surprised at how little it hurt compared to my anxiety and fear over the years. It was actually manageable pain and a relief to push! Our bodies are amazing. I was also surprised how different my pregnancies could be. Each one has had different ups and downs. I hope you are having a good last trimester and I'll be saying a prayer for a healthy mom and baby!

  2. I agree - nothing can really prepare you for your first pregnancy! There are also so many differences between pregnant women, or even between two pregnancies of the same woman it's impossible to predict what your own will be like! Your approach is the best - enjoy it while you can, it's such a short time, and look at the changes in a positive light.

  3. I was surprised about how different each pregnancy can be. With my daughter, I gained weight EVERYWHERE. Close to 60 pounds. With my son, I barely gained 25 pounds and it was all in the belly. I looked like I had a basketball under my shirt. So strange how different they were.


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