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Ahh, pregnancy. This has been a journey unlike any other. If I’m being 100% honest with you, it’s BY FAR the hardest thing I’ve ever done. At the time I am writing this, I am 34 weeks along. The countdown is on until hubby and I meet our little bundle of joy — a baby boy that was quite literally an answered prayer.
On a side note, this was the perfect lesson about being careful what you pray for. If you ask for something, make sure you are absolutely certain and prepared for the answer. Because sometimes God delays his answers, but other times he will grant you your wish immediately. You never know how and when He will respond, so proceed carefully and wisely any time you are asking for his influence in your life.
Just my two cents anyway… 😉
God DOES Answer Prayers
In our case, He answered my prayer immediately. I found out I was pregnant on August 25th, 2019. Three weeks before that, I asked God to allow us to either get pregnant or not. To make it really clear whether we were supposed to be birth parents or whether we should move on and explore other options.
Hubby and I had just decided to start trying for a baby and my delicate heart knew it could not handle a long, drawn-out process of trying and “failing” each month. I have seen what infertility has done to friends and colleagues and how difficult it has been for them. My heart breaks every time I hear that someone has gotten their period again or miscarried again when all they want is a healthy, happy baby.
After going through a very emotional and stressful past 3 years of losing my brother, losing my dad, losing my dog, going through a stressful move, suffering a violent dog attack, and a bunch of other personal and professional things, I just knew I couldn’t take any more losses. I specifically remember that prayer that day. I simply said,
“God, if we are meant to conceive, please make it happen. If not, please make it clear that this is not our path.“
And then boom, 3 weeks later I took a pregnancy test and well, here we are. Week 34. 😲
God is good. God is great. God works on his timeframe.
God never gives us more than we can handle (even though sometimes we may look up at Him and say “umm, I don’t think I can handle this!“).
And God DOES answer prayers so make sure you’re ready for His answers.
25 Things I Wish I’d Known About Pregnancy
Now, although I know that baby boy is a direct blessing from God, it doesn’t change the fact that pregnancy has been hard. It’s stretched me in ways I never knew I could stretch. It’s challenged me in ways I could have never, ever imagined.
Here are 25 things I wish I’d known about pregnancy at the start. And I’m pretty sure that in the next 6 weeks or so, I will discover even more than I could add to this list.
Question for my fellow mamas! What things do you wish you had known about pregnancy? Leave me a comment below! I’d love to hear! 🙂
1. You can do everything”right” and still end up with complications.
I have done #alltherightthings during my pregnancy and I have still run into some complications. I am not going to go into specifics in this post, but I will just say that it was a humbling reminder that just because we do our best, it doesn’t always guarantee we will get the specific outcome we had planned on. In these moments, it’s HOW we respond to what is happening to us that makes us or breaks us.
2. You can plan all you want, but there is nothing predictable about pregnancy and birth.
Ain’t this the truth? I really thought I would have a relatively simple and predictable pregnancy. I mean, I was doing all the right things after all. 🙄😂 Little did I know there would be all sorts of twists and turns, ups and downs, and unexpected things to come up along the way. As someone who is a recovering type-a perfectionist overachiever, this was again a humbling reminder of how much work I have to do around this need to control and plan everything in my life.
3. Pregnancy is hard on the body. Yes, it’s natural and normal, but there is no denying that it is a stressor and strain on every aspect of your physical, mental, and emotional health.
It doesn’t matter if you are in good health or poor health when you get pregnant, it will be a stressor on your body. It will push your bodily systems (specifically your endocrine and cardiovascular systems) to their max. For some people, this stress on the body never manifests in anything other than minor, annoying symptoms. For others, it might manifest in more complex problems like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, anemia, etc. We truly have no way of knowing how our bodies will respond until we are in the thick of it. I know women who are in what would be considered “ideal” health who have had many complications. And I also know women who are in less than “ideal” health who have managed to avoid anything serious.
And that’s just talking about the physical aspects. Pregnancy will also stress your mental and emotional health in ways you may have not expected. That’s why it’s really important to be open and honest about how you are feeling mentally and emotionally and never be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
4. Your perfect pregnancy diet will go right out the window.
I found out that I was pregnant at 4 1/2 weeks along. I spent the next few days planning out my “perfect” diet, with the “perfect” macro ratios, and the “perfect” micronutrient balance. I ate that “perfect” diet during week 5. And then I woke up at week 6 and the food aversions hit me full force. Eating became the biggest challenge of my day (well, other than staying awake that is). Everything made me nauseous and want to gag. Cooking anything was difficult. Even thinking about getting takeout was gross to me. So yeah, that perfectly balanced pregnancy diet? It got tossed right out the window…
5. Yes, you will have food aversions and they will be strong.
The food aversions hit me like a ton of bricks. I never expected to wake up and feel disgusted by pretty much everything. It was a feeling unlike anything I had ever experienced. I talked a lot about it in my First Trimester Recap post here. Things got better around week 20, but I have still dealt with certain aversions the whole time. I am looking forward to baby coming and maybe being able to eat more normally again. Fingers crossed…
6. Your sleep will be disturbed from day one… And it only gets worse by day 196.
My sleep got messed up immediately. And for those of you who know me well, you know how protective I am of my sleep. If I don’t sleep well, I don’t feel well. If I wasn’t waking up to go pee, I was waking up because my hips were hurting. Or my lower back was hurting. Or it was 1 am and that’s when my insomnia and dragon breath heartburn set in. Yeah. It was like that from day 1 and has only gotten worse the further along I’ve gotten.
Will I ever sleep again?? Zzzzzzz……
7. You will be more tired than you have ever been before… And that’s coming from someone who has CFS.
Whoa! The fatigue during the first trimester was crazy strong. Between not being able to eat and the utter physical and emotional exhaustion, I did not get much of anything accomplished during that time. Around week 20, I hit the “magic middle” part of my pregnancy and up until week 28, I felt UH-MAZING! And then the third trimester came along and the fatigue started to creep back in.
8. Issues from your past will resurface and you will have to do the work to move past them.
Yeah, there were a lot of emotional issues that came to the surface for me during pregnancy. Things that I had thought I had worked through and moved past suddenly popped back up for me. There was a lot of personal reflection, digging, and praying going on this whole time. It was obvious that there was still more work to do and I had no choice but to dive in and do it.
9. You will be more congested than ever before.
Almost immediately after getting pregnant, I started getting super congested. I thought I was coming down with a cold, but never had any other symptoms (I did eventually get sick a couple of times later on though). Turns out, I had something called Pregnancy rhinitis (also known as vasomotor rhinitis of pregnancy). Approximately 20% of women will experience this symptom. It started getting better as I entered my third trimester but has still never fully resolved. Once baby comes, maybe my sinuses will go back to normal. 🤞
10. Your taste buds will change overnight.
This was totally bizarre to me. Foods that I loved before became absolutely disgusting to me. I could pick up the slightest “off” taste in everything. I’d be eating something thinking it tasted great and then in a split second later, I’d be gagging. I don’t know if this change in tastebuds is a permanent thing (I hope not!), but it sure has been weird. And annoying.
11. Your sense of smell will be on par with a bloodhound.
Going along with point #10, my sense of smell became super sensitive overnight as well. I can’t even tell you how many times I’d smell something and would think it smelled rotten or “off” and then I’d ask hubby or my mom and they’d say “um, smells fine to me“. I started to smell things that I’ve never smelled before. Sometimes I’ll smell things that no one else can smell. I probably could give a bloodhound a run for its money right now…
12. You will suffer from information overwhelm.
Well, you won’t if you’re not like me. But if you ARE like me and like to be prepared about things you are going to be experiencing, then you will likely fall down the rabbit hole of researching #allthethings. Before you know it, your head is spinning, your heart is racing, and you’re wondering what the heck you have gotten yourself into… My best advice is to do your research, but don’t let it consume you. If you are a planner (like I am), NOT researching will drive you just as batty as researching. But the key is to not let your research start to overwhelm you to a point where you become paralyzed or afraid to make any decisions.
13. You will need A LOT of support.
Trust me, embrace the support. Ask people for help. Be honest and open about your feelings. Pick up the phone and call your confidant if you’re feeling sad, lonely, scared, overwhelmed, etc. Don’t feel like you have to do it all. People WANT to help you. You just need to let them. <– And yes, this is much easier said than done, I know. I still struggle with this every day.
14. Your emotions may feel overwhelming and chaotic at times.
Pregnancy hormones can do crazy things to our brains. But it’s not just the hormones. It’s the whole experience of growing and birthing a tiny human. Our bodies are so amazing in what they can do, but if you remember point #3 above, it’s also hard work and stressful on the body. Not only are we going through powerful physical changes, but we are also dealing with emotional shifts as we transition from pre-motherhood to motherhood. It’s OK to feel all the feelings and let them flow through you. Just make sure you are talking about them with someone you trust and allowing others to help you. Refer back to point #13.
15. You’ll have the first yeast infection of your life almost immediately after finding out you’re pregnant.
This may not happen to all women, but it did happen to me and it came out of nowhere. This never even crossed my mind and as someone who has never had a yeast infection (or any other vaginal issue) in my entire life, it really knocked me on my butt. I remember laying on my couch around week 6 sobbing because it was stressing me out so badly. 😭 I tried to treat it holistically, but nothing was working so I did have to break down and get some topical medication from my doctor. I was a wreck! I wish someone would have told me “Hey! You’re going to get your first yeast infection. And everything is going to be A-OK, promise!“.
16. You should use extreme caution when selecting your doctor.
Yeah, if you read my First Trimester recap, you know that I went through quite the debacle with my first doctor. All the stress led to a series of full-blown panic attacks and some pretty tough health flares. I was not in the best mental state when I selected my new doctor and in hindsight, I wish I had not rushed into a new practice as fast as I did. My current OB is not very holistically minded and it makes me wish that I had taken more time to find someone who was better aligned with my desires and values.
But, hindsight is always 20/20. Unfortunately, I can’t change practices or else I lose my medical health share coverage for the remainder of my pregnancy. So I’ve had to stick it out and make peace with my decision. But if I could offer newly pregnant mamas any word of advice, it would be to choose your doctor or midwife CAREFULLY and be really clear about what you want and what your values are so you can find someone who aligns with them.
17. You will be labeled high risk, but don’t let that define you.
I was labeled high-risk from the start of my pregnancy based on my age and my health history. This “diagnosis” really had an impact on my mental health and it wasn’t until just a couple weeks ago that I finally made some peace with it. It really took a toll on me for a while there. I’m going to talk more about this in a separate blog post because there is a lot to unpack around it.
18. Prenatal depression is a real thing.
As someone who has struggled off and on with depression almost my whole life, it’s no wonder that I have also struggled a bit emotionally during this pregnancy. My depression has not been severe at all, but there have been times where I have felt gloomy and melancholy. Thankfully, my family and a couple of my closest friends have been there for me. And most importantly, I have been more open with talking about my feelings than I have in the past, which has helped a lot.
19. You will poop A LOT.
Some women struggle with constipation throughout pregnancy. That was not me. I have had the other problem. I tend to run loose. I was told digestion slowed down with pregnancy, but I really feel like mine sped up. I went from being a steady 1 poop a day kind of gal to sometimes having to go 5-6 times per day. TMI? Nah, there is no such thing when you become pregnant. Boy, those pregnancy hormones do crazy things to the digestive system. 😲
20. You will fall in love with your husband in a whole new way.
My love for my dear hubby has shifted in the most unexpected way. Of course, I was already in love with him, but I see him and love him in a whole new light now. It’s really hard to explain the shift, but I really love it. Pun intended. 🙂
21. Your husband will struggle just as much as you, maybe even more at times.
While we, as women, are doing the hard work of building a tiny human in our belly, our husbands are right there on the journey with us. And they may struggle along the way. They may struggle a little or a lot, but don’t neglect their feelings. Don’t discount what they’re going through. Encourage them to talk to you about what they are feeling. I know my hubby had a whole range of fears and concerns that I never saw coming. I wish I had been more prepared to nurture him and support him better than I feel I did.
22. You will fall in love with your belly AND want to show it off.
As someone who now works as a body image coach, this is a big one for me. I have a history of an eating disorder and body shame that started at the age of 8. My stomach has always been my shame zone. Even though I’ve done years of work in this area and finally found true peace around my body, I won’t lie and say that I loved my stomach and always embraced how it looked. I made peace with it, but I never truly fell in love with it.
But that shifted around week 28 of my pregnancy. I was looking at my belly in the mirror and found myself admiring my new stretch marks. Yes, admiring them. What a bizarre feeling to have after a couple of decades of hating that part of my body. I even told my hubby that I wanted some pictures of my bare belly so I could always remember what it looked like. Here I was, growing a tiny human in my body, and my BELLY was making that possible. What’s not to love?
23. People will start giving you [mostly unsolicited] advice immediately.
The second you announce your pregnancy, be prepared for all sorts of unsolicited advice. Some of it might be helpful. Some of it may not. Some of it may come across as helpful, but with an undertone of judgment. Some may be downright snarky. You’re going to get all varieties. My advice is to take their advice with a grain of salt. Don’t let the snarky ones get to you. Don’t let anyone judge or criticize your decisions. Be selective about who you let into your special bubble.
24. You will feel disconnected from your baby until he starts moving. And then everything changes.
This might not apply to all women, but if I’m being honest, I felt pretty disconnected from baby boy until about week 19 of my pregnancy. It was around then that I started feeling the first “flutters” of movement. It was also the time where I finally started to show a little bit. Up until then, I was experiencing all of these symptoms but just didn’t have anything physical that I could see or feel when it came to the tiny baby in my belly. Once his movements started getting stronger, I fell more and more in love with him every day. And now, every time I feel a kick, or a nudge, or a round of hiccups, I can’t help but smile and my heart melts a little more…
25. God will use this pregnancy to teach you some deeply powerful lessons and show you exactly where your weaknesses and vulnerabilities are. And you will come out stronger than ever before on the other side.
Saving the best for last. I am certain that God had big plans for using my pregnancy as the biggest personal development experience of my life. I have learned so much about myself and my relationship with Him during this time. And I have so much more to learn. He has shown me exactly where my weaknesses and vulnerabilities are. He has given me opportunity after opportunity to work on them, to strengthen my perseverance, to deepen my faith, and to encourage my hope. There’s a lot I want to write about this, but I’m going to save that for a different post after I’ve had more time to sort through it all.