When we found out that we were pregnant, I was scared and nervous, but I also felt like I knew a lot about pregnancy from my friends and reading. I felt pretty prepared for what was next. Or so I thought.
Here’s a comparison of my pregnancy expectations v. realities. Now – this is just MY version of pregnancy. What is yours like?
Expectation: I will love every single minute of pregnancy.
Reality: I think women feel pressured to say that they LOVE being pregnant. It’s almost as if you aren’t a constant glowing, smiling pregnant lady, people think there is something wrong with you, you’re ungrateful, or you don’t love your baby. Look, pregnancy is hard (and I had an easy pregnancy). And just like parenting, just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. But it’s not all roses and sunshine – another person has literally hijacked your body. I’m looking forward to the baby being on the outside so I can take care of them in a different way… and I can go back to rolling over in bed without groaning, getting out of a chair normally, drinking big glasses of wine, etc. I like 90% of the pregnancy experience. I refuse to feel bad about the other 10%. It doesn’t mean I don’t love my baby.
Expectation: I will be a pregnant runner.
Reality: I wrote about this pregnancy expectation on my Week 29 update. As much as I wanted to be a pregnant runner, it just did not happen. Running while pregnant did not agree with my body. After my 5K at Week 16, I was reduced to walk/running, and shortly after, I quit all attempts at running altogether. You know what? I’m okay with it. I really do miss running and can’t wait to get back at it, but taking a 21 week break (so far) has been kind of nice. The key has been to find OTHER exercises that I can do and enjoy – namely, swimming. Swimming has been my lifesaver throughout pregnancy!
Expectation: My body is going to change a lot and, beyond the cute baby bump, I am probably going to hate it.
Reality: I have gained about 32 pounds thus far. 32 pounds on my 5-foot, 3.5-inch frame. Even though a lot of it is pure baby and baby accessories, that’s additional weight no matter how you slice it. My thighs do this awesome rubbing-together thing – that induces bleeding! – when I wear dresses. I’ve got more cellulite. I have to wear the Husband’s pajamas bottoms… and not because of the bump (because of my widening rear). I know that my breasts will never, ever look the same when this is all over. I look back at pre-pregnancy photos of myself and cannot believe I looked so fit. Damn! Hindsight is 20/20 – I thought I was a little out of shape when I got pregnant. But you know what? I don’t hate my 9 month pregnant body at all. In fact, I usually actively love it. And I don’t just like it because it’s the cost of baby – I like it because it’s my body. A few years ago, when writing the first Operation Beautiful bookand editing a story about a woman struggling to come to terms with her post-baby body, I decided that no matter what journey my body went through – whether I gained weight, lost muscle, my boobs got big and saggy, I got stretch marks and cellulite – I would never hate my body again. And I’ve made good on that promise. It’s not always easy to keep the promise, but when I start to feel negative, I make myself take off all my clothes, stand nekkid in front of the mirror, and think as many positive thoughts about myself and my body as I can. It’s totally corny, but it truly works for me. (I also love The Shape of a Mother site – it’s the ultimate mood lifter.)
Expectation: I’m going to be sick as a dog.
Reality: I never threw up. Not once. I didn’t really have terrible food aversions either. I never knew this before my own pregnancy, but not everyone gets morning sickness. I’m thankful! However, I did not anticipate how exhausting being pregnant would be – I get tired so easily. I wear out fast. Especially at this point, my body aches all the time. It is a grueling experience physically, even if you’re having an ‘easy’ time.
To read more of my pregnancy expectations v. realities, head over to Healthy Tipping Point.