It's one of those things that I've wondered "what it felt like" my whole life. I mean seriously--a HUMAN BEING growing inside of you? Creepy.
I wondered what it felt like when the baby kicked. I wondered what it felt like to actually give birth. I wondered--let's be honest here--what it felt like to be fat. So many unknowns that felt so far away from where I was in life.
Then suddenly, here I am. I am pregnant.
Even as my husband and I started trying to get pregnant I thought it would never actually happen. I'm not really sure why--maybe it was because my mom had trouble getting pregnant, or maybe it was because I had so many friends that struggled with infertility. I'm not sure. It took us 3 tries to get pregnant (whoop-de-doo), which I know is nothing, but it was interesting how each time we found out I wasn't, my mind went immediately to "of course I'm not." Of course this is happening to me. Of course I can't have kids. Of course I'm going to get this trial in my life. It's funny how quick I was to assume that I wouldn't get to have the great gift of procreation in my life. Maybe some part of me thought I didn't deserve it or something, like why should I get to experience this when so many women cannot? I honestly felt guilty.
But as this pregnancy has continued I've concentrated on what an amazing blessing it is to be able to create life. I fully recognize how lucky I am. Through every difficult part of pregnancy I've tried to focus on how many women would kill to be feeling what I'm feeling--both the good and the bad. This was not easy at times, and sure I've still done my fair share of complaining (I mean seriously, 14 weeks of being REALLY sick...come on), but I still try to thank my Heavenly Father every night for the opportunity to be a mother.
Now that being said, pregnancy is weird. There is just a LOT of stuff that I didn't realize before I got pregnant. Here are some RANDOM things I've noticed:
1. People look at you.
I don't specifically recall staring at pregnant women before I got pregnant, but holy cow. The minute I started obviously "showing," it's like people just want to stop and stare. And occasionally touch...awkward. There's something about a pregnant woman that just draws the eye. I often wonder what people are thinking. Sometimes I imagine them thinking, "OH MY GOSH THAT WOMAN HAD SEX!" Well, duh. Can't avoid the obvious implications there. Other times I wonder if they're judging me for who knows what or if they just can't help but notice that I am with child. I mean, I guess you can't help that. Regardless, it's something I've had to get used to.
2. People congratulate you on being pregnant without looking/acting pregnant.
This is an interesting one. I've found that I get constant praise for not having many of the typical late pregnancy symptoms. I've received praise for not waddling, not being swollen, and most certainly for not gaining any noticeable weight anywhere but my stomach. Now I've been incredibly lucky in the second half of my pregnancy. I feel like I've got to skip some of the horrible pregnancy woes only because of how terrible the first half of my pregnancy was (again, REALLY sick). It was the only way the universe could right itself in my opinion. I am also very tall and naturally thin. I cannot help this fact. It does make me wonder if all pregnant women feel the pressure to look like this:
We've seen in the media lately what people think of you when you look like this:
People can be brutal! Again, I've been grateful that I've pretty much maintained my figure (minus the belly), but I do wonder if everyone will be so kind if on my second or third pregnancy I DO waddle or I DO gain a little somethin somethin somewhere OTHER than my middle. I feel the pressure to stay thin while pregnant and I'm sure a lot of other women do too. I just find it funny to be complimented constantly on something that I really have no control over.
3. People are very sensitive and opinionated about birth.
This is the same phenomenon I discovered when I became a vegetarian. I had no clue how strongly people felt about meat until I stopped eating it. It was like I had joined some evil religion or something. I had NO IDEA. Birth is quite similar. After literally years of research ( I became interested in birth options when I was in college) I decided that giving birth naturally with a midwife at a birth center was the right path for me. Knowing what I know there was no other option in my mind. I think that giving birth--no matter how or where you do it--is amazing. All women are heroes for going through so much to bring life into the world. This just happens to be the way I have chosen to do it. I don't talk about it with a lot of people because many of them immediately freak out. It's like I just told them I'm doing an unassisted birth in the middle of the desert just for fun or something. I'm not...by the way. I've just had to get used to the fact that birth is a sensitive topic for a lot of people.
Again I think it goes back to what I experienced as a vegetarian. A lot of people think you are judging THEM for eating meat so they react strongly. I think it's the same with birth choices. Because I have chosen to give birth without drugs or other interventions people think I am judging them for having gotten an epidural or whatever. Let's be clear that I'm not. Like...at all. I feel that as long as a woman is educated about her options and about all of the interventions/drugs/choices she is offered wherever she is giving birth then she is empowered. The only time I get upset is when I see women not taking responsibility for how their birth went, when they let other people make decisions for them because they think others are "more educated" or whatever. It's up to the mom and dad to be educated and to take responsibility for their birth.
4. Your husband still thinks you're hott.
I will admit I was a bit scared about getting pregnant because I assumed Daniel would find me less attractive. He's never seen me with a giant belly, so would it be gross to him? Turns out, it's not. I still have to remind myself of this at times because it's easy for ME to not always love my new shape. He still wants to kiss me, touch me, hold me, and....all of that. I don't know why this came as such a shock to me, but it did! I still got it! Of course, being a lot larger up top doesn't exactly hurt the situation, but I'll still keep assuming he loves ALL of pregnant me! ;)
5. You will be asked the same few questions.
Sometimes I want to make a t-shirt that says:
Yes, I'm pregnant.
I'm ___ weeks along.
It's a boy.
No, we don't have any names picked out.
I think having this t-shirt would save me a lot of time. It's not that I really mind answering these questions (and I've found myself asking the exact same ones), I just think it's funny that we haven't come up with more creative quetions! Just get used to providing these same stock answers and you'll be good!
Anyway, as my pregnancy continues (for about 5 more weeks!) I'm sure I'll remember and notice other funny things about pregnancy, but I think this post is long enough! Overall I have loved being pregnant but I am VERY excited to actually meet this boy who is rolling around in my stomach like he is doing the harlem shake or something. Seriously dude, what is going ON in there?!
Your thoughts on pregnancy?
Me at 34 weeks (I'm on the left) and my friend Keeley at 38 weeks
The two expecting couples!