My pregnancy was definitely a growing experience.
And not just in the belly area!
I experienced depression, morning sickness, and complete exhaustion.
I worried that I wouldn’t be a good mother – that I couldn’t love my child the way he deserved. I worried that he wouldn’t like me!
But in the end, it all worked out. And I was a stronger person because of it.
As I reflect back on the pregnancy, here are a few key things I learned.
1. Sometimes, morning sickness doesn’t end after the first trimester
Or sometimes you don’t have any at all. Or it comes on somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately, I experienced the first – neverending morning sickness.
Morning sickness disappearing in the first trimester is not always the case. Oh, how I wished that was true for me! The first trimester came and went, and I felt worse and worse with each passing day. I actually lost weight, which worried family members (though, not my doctor,) and I could barely stand to be out of bed. And when my doctor prescribed me some anti-nausea medicine, it made me sleep for 14-hours straight, which isn’t good when you have a job to get to and school to attend.
So if you are feeling sick past that twelve week mark, know that you are in good company. It’s miserable, I know, but try not to get upset at other people who go on and on about how much they love being pregnant. I’m sure they have their own trials that they don’t display publicly on Facebook!
But it’s worth it!
2. Support is essential
I’m not just talking about support for your growing belly either!
We didn’t tell anyone I was pregnant until I was about 11 weeks along. Well, except for a random girl who cut my hair when I was about five weeks pregnant. And if you ask Forrest, he’ll tell you there’s no way we will not wait that long to tell family next time. Because as wonderful as he is, he’s not superman. And, especially during those first few weeks, I know he wishes there would have been some other people for me to talk to.
Having a few people that I could confide in — my fears, insecurities, and irrational thinking — made all the difference. For some reason, I was terrified to tell people I was pregnant. Now that I look back, I realize that is silly, and I recognize that I needed others to know, so Forrest and I weren’t going through it alone. After we told people, I still struggled with some things, but it was easier, because I had people looking out for me. I was lucky to have an incredible husband who was always there for me, but it was nice to have family and a few good friends to talk to. One of my best friends, Megan, and I emailed a lot during my pregnancy, and I don’t think she realizes how much I needed that.
Plus, I think it makes pregnancy more enjoyable when you can share the experience with everyone else. The amount of excitement that our families and friends showed helped me feel not so down.
And if all else fails, and you don’t tell anyone you are pregnant, the nurses at the doctor’s office seem to be pretty good listeners. When I went to my first appointment, I think I cried to the nurse for about 20 minutes, and she was a great listener.
3. And you might want a brutally honest friend
Or at least take a birthing class. I have heard many stories about women who had no idea what to expect when it comes giving birth. And, quite frankly, they are quite shocked when it comes down to it. Because I was pretty much the first of my friends to have a baby, I didn’t really have a lot to go off of. My sisters did tell me some things, which I found to be extremely helpful, but for most of the stuff I found out, I pretty much read on TheBump.com. That’s a site that doesn’t leave any details out, and tells you just about every possible thing that could happen during pregnancy and labor and delivery.
For everything else, the labor and delivery class I took at the hospital was awesome. Because I’m a big fan of no-pain deliveries and was planning to get an epidural, the class just focused on preparing for the birth and afterward.
Since I had Jack, I’m very open about the whole pregnancy/birthing experience. While some probably don’t totally appreciate (or won’t admit it!), I’ve had several people thank me for telling them everything I did. So if you ever want to know about my experience or get some advice, just let me know 😉
I’m updating this after my second pregnancy, and I agree with this one COMPLETELY. Fortunately this time around, I had Hilary – my labor and delivery nurse friend. She kept me sane. She has an awesome online prenatal class if you don’t have someone like that. And even if you do, awesome class.
4. Google is NOT that friend
Do not, and I repeat, do not, use Google. Okay, if you are doing a search for something that is not at all related to pregnancy or health, go for it. But if you find yourself wanting to consult a search engine for anything related to your health or pregnancy, I highly recommend not doing this.
I often Googled, “How does a baby change a marriage,” while I was pregnant. For someone who was already struggling with some depression, this just amplified it. I was convinced that having a baby would be the end all.
Also while I was pregnant, there was a listeria outbreak, stemming from canteloupe. And you better believe I was convinced I had it (because you know, my nausea couldn’t have been pregnancy related!), mainly from googling all of the symptoms associated with it. I happened to have an appointment with my OB/GYN around that same time, and when I mentioned my concerns he said this:
[clickToTweet tweet=”The Internet is for sports scores and the weather. Nothing else. #pregancywoes ” quote=”You probably have more of a chance of getting hit by lightning and a truck, at the same time, than getting listeria. “]
And I took that advice to heart. Obviously, some people do have serious issues arise with pregnancy, but even in those cases, I wouldn’t Google your symptoms, or any possible issues that have been suggested. Just talk to your doctor and voice your concerns. If something odd shows up in an ultrasound, most of the time, it ends up being okay. It’s not worth putting yourself through the stress trying to figure out what is wrong. I found this out when Jack experience rapid head growth — I scared myself silly with all of the potential reasons, when in reality, nothing was wrong. The kid just has a big head.
5. Find a Doctor (Or Midwife) You Trust
Who you choose to care for your during your pregnancy and delivery is essential.
Where I lived, there was probably an OBGYN on every street corner. It was hard to know who to choose. I kept being brought back to one in particular. I don’t know what it was about him, but I felt very strongly that he was the doctor for me.
And it turned out he was – I needed someone to reassure me, yet not justify all of my concerns. He was kind of “tough-love,” which some might not like, but I really needed. I wanted a doctor who was experienced and would get Jack here as quickly and safely as possible — and he did. His nurses were also incredible, and made the experience so much better. Not to mention the fact that at the end of each appointment, Forrest and I each got a chocolate truffle (it was delicious, okay?)
On the flip side, I had a friend who went to my doctor and hated him. And if you find yourself in this situation, switch. There’s nothing worse than feeling like your doctor isn’t an advocate for you, and that you don’t trust them (again…more on this when I talk about pediatricians.) There’s nothing wrong with switching, even in the latter part of your pregnancy, and I recommend doing that if you feel like it’s necessary.
Be sure to check out my post on how to choose the best OBGYN or Mid-Wife for you!
6. Old Wive’s Tales are Baloney
Most of the time, anyways. You know all those gender prediction tests out there? Well, if they were right, Jack would have been a girl. I’m pretty sure every single one that I “tested” said a girl was on the way. And, ironically enough, all the dreams I had when I was pregnant involved a baby girl. I guess my dreams aren’t accurate either 😉 Though they are kind of fun – here’s a post I did on gender prediction tests and how they worked for me!
I also think that the tips on how to put yourself into labor are kind of phony too. Most of them will probably just leave you feeling tired, and discouraged. Though I must admit, I do think that whole pineapple I ate a day before I went into labor had something to do with it!
7. It ends, and you might just miss it
No matter how long those nine months are, I promise, they eventually end. Pregnancy was not a wonderful time for me. And I wished it was over, multiple times a day. But, when it was over, I was sad.
Forrest had to attend a conference for one of his classes righ after Jack was born, and I texted him how I was so sad that I hadn’t enjoyed my pregnancy more and that I missed it so much. Of course, I loved having my sweet little baby way more than throwing up and having terrible heart burn, but part of my ached to have him kicking in my stomach again, going to my appointments, and even wearing my maternity clothes.
When we took Jack to his first doctor’s appointment, we walked by my OB/GYN’s office (they are in the same building.) And I was SO sad. I had come to really love my doctor and his nurses, and it made me sad that I wasn’t going back anytime soon.
So moral of the story is, enjoy your pregnancy if you can. Because it will eventually be a faint memory of the past. But, this is all in hindsight of course. We’ll see how much I enjoy pregnancy the next time around.
8. No pregnancy is the same
No matter what anyone tells you, you’ll never know what to expect from a pregnancy until you’ve experienced it yourself. Some people are sick the entire time, and others have never felt more wonderful in their life. Some people gain 100 pounds, while others actually lose weight (and still deliver a healthy baby!) I think it’s so important to not compare yourself to others, and realize that what’s normal for one person isn’t normal for another.
With that, you might think my advice and thoughts here are silly…and maybe for you, they are! But what I’ve said comes from my own experience, and from things other people have told me.
9. It’s worth it
In the end, everything was so worth it. Being able to hold my baby for the first time, and to watch him grow over the past year has been an incredibly rewarding experience. And I’d go through it all again if in the end it meant I got a baby as sweet and perfect as Jack. Forrest often says that he wishes that Katie now could have visited pregnant-Katie, and told me how happy I would be after Jack was born, and all my fears were irrational.
Wow, that was a lot. If you made it this far, then kudos to you! I promise, not all my posts will be so long 🙂 Is there anything you learned from pregnancy that I didn’t mention?