First things first, I want to start off by stating that I am not pregnant. If you are now thinking, “That’s weird, why would she say that? She must be pregnant,” then please see my prior statement. For those of you in my life who jump at the chance to presume I’m pregnant based on something as harmless as a blog post title (and you know who you are!!), I know how your suspicious minds work and just want to make sure we start off on the same factual page. 🙂
I’ve now been a mom for longer than I was pregnant, which is difficult to get my head around. What’s super strange is that I struggle to imagine what it felt like a year ago. I used to ask mommies questions about being pregnant when I was expecting. Most of them told me that they couldn’t remember, that it had been too long. Less than a year later, I feel the same way.
“Do you, like, throw up a lot?”
I thought that being pregnant meant you got these intense, odd food cravings, such as pickle infused ice cream, and got sick often (perhaps because your stomach wouldn’t approve of the pickle & diary combination under the best of circumstances?). And, not surprisingly, the most common questions I received when I was expecting was what cravings I got and how I felt. In reality, there are multitudes of other nuances that come along with being pregnant that are not as widely discussed.
Get in My Bellllay
Admittedly, the insatiable food cravings was one of the aspects about being pregnant that I was most excited about – second to growing my child, naturally! I couldn’t wait to feel so hungry for a bizarre meal that I just NEEDED to have right then and there that I would wake up my hubby at a godforsaken hour to go hunt for; however, that never happened, luckily for my spouse. What did happen is the breadth of food options I usually chose from quickly shrank. The doctor said I had to avoid alcohol and raw foods (such as sushi and rare burgers), which I had anticipated. Shockingly, I also had to limit other foods that could be harmful to the baby. I was told I couldn’t eat any shark, which really altered my weekly grocery list.
Culinary Falling Out
Having lost my shark staple (along with other less noteworthy food items), I was saddened to find that there were foods I couldn’t stand to eat. French fries gave me unforgiving heartburn. Shrimp, which I generally do enjoy, tasted rubbery and just ucky. I ate a lot of bagels, chicken salad and cereal because I knew they were safe. The ladies at the work cafeteria used to refer to my chicken salad and BBQ sauce wraps as my “craving,” and that seemed to make them happy, so I went with it. They didn’t need to hear me whining about my aversions, and thinking they were satisfying baby’s craving often meant that they would hook me up with an amply filled wrap.
Some pregnant women suffer from horrible sickness throughout their entire pregnancy. Fortunately, I didn’t throw up once. I’m not saying I felt breezy during the pregnancy – far from it! In my first trimester (and then some), I felt like I had the flu. I was exhausted by 4 PM – if not sooner – everyday, even though I worked a desk job and therefore didn’t have to exert much energy. I often fought nausea in the morning. Eating lots of plain, starchy foods and laying or even just sitting down helped a lot. In the last trimester, my nose was constantly running and I couldn’t figure out a way to turn off the booger faucet. I got used to blowing my nose every few minutes. Apparently, this condition is pretty common and is called Pregnancy Rhinitis, which luckily did not involve me turning into a rhinoceros for nine months, whew!
Five more minutes, Ma…
To compound the draining work your body is doing to grow a person, it can be difficult to sleep from as early as the first month of pregnancy. I had always been a stomach sleeper, and it became very uncomfortable to sleep belly down almost immediately. I had to teach myself how to sleep on my side, which did miraculously happen. That is, until the baby officially took over my body. No pillow or position seemed to be comfortable enough to last for more than a few hours. There were some nights where I’d fall asleep with my arm over my bump, and I’d wake up with a start after I’d feel a firm nudge from inside, letting me know that my stomach was NOT an armrest. Those moments were a fun reminder that there was a person in there, that I wasn’t just getting a frivolous Santa belly.
Everywhere I went, my bump got some attention. As a female, when someone makes eye contact with you, then looks below your face, it can feel awkward, as they’re probably checking out your brassiere area. The people you’d least expect to often check you out when you’re with child, and that made me feel super violated at first. I soon realized that it was my bump they were checking out. That insight made me feel slightly better when I’d get the once over, but I felt terrible about all the pregnant ladies I have probably unintentionally creeped out.
A pregnant body goes through physical changes that you can notice through ways other than your trousers getting tighter. As the baby grew, it seemed as though my hips had a falling out and were running away from each other. Once the baby reached a certain size, I was unable to bend over at the waist, which happened overnight. One day I could grab my phone or whatever item happened to fall out of my pregnancy butterfingers; the next day, I had to think it through and squat down.
Can it be?
While I had daily reminders of my little one’s amazing presence, the whole experience felt surreal. I didn’t fully comprehend that there was my child developing inside of me, despite the kicks I could feel and see, the sonograms that showcased my baby’s lovely features, and the other not-so-subtle changes that were happening. It took me hearing my baby’s first cries, getting peed on, and holding my little monkey (which all occurred in the first minute!) to realize that I am a mother.