I find myself awake again during what I'm begrudgingly naming "my insomnia hours" during my second trimester of pregnancy. After waking up every hour from 10 to 3, I've hit that sleepless stride of 3-6 am foggy alertness, uncomfortable frustration and exhaustion — for the countless night in a row.
I've drank a few glasses of water, stretched, done squats, eaten, cursed, prayed, had brief moments of pure hope when I thought I was maybe drifting to sleep again, fake cried (turns out I have more in common with a toddler right now than a 30 year old woman), and done deep breathing — but tonight I've given up and decided to write.
Overall, what I've experienced is that pregnancy is a mixed bag. Many of my friends have fantastic experiences and for every woman's sake, I hope they do as well. Mine has been difficult, but I'm also finding humor in the process — along with moments of pure meltdowns.
I love hearing positive birth stories, and the insane capability of a woman's body to carry, nourish, and birth a child. I have never tried more in my life to focus on the positive. But I also have the deep need to talk about the parts that aren't so easy — because growing a human is amazing, but it's also a messy, difficult, and uncomfortable process. And that's something that needs to be talked about too.
Below are some of my observations during my first pregnancy; the unhelpful, the helpful, and the things I'm finding to not be so "beautiful" and "miraculous".
Unhelpful Comments / Gestures
You better sleep now — you never will again.
You're only sleeping 3.5 hours a night? You'll be so used to being exhausted and not sleeping by the time your baby arrives.
Your boobs hurt now? Just wait until your milk comes in.
If you feel sick, just distract yourself and it will go away. (Nice sentiment, but I've been puking so much at work that I find myself wondering why American Standard chose the font and color of their logo for their toilets.)
When my milk came in I was like a DD. Wait, is that even a real size?! (Yes, it is. It's the size I was before this whole process began. Let's not talk until I can breathe again without holding up my chest with my hand.)
It doesn't matter how much you moisturize your skin — your boobs, butt, thighs and stomach will still be covered in stretch marks. Forever.
Whatever you do, just do your kegels! (I think we need to talk about the complexity of the pelvic floor.)
We are happy for you, but we can't be around you right now. It's too painful for us.
You really need to make a registry. *Makes registry. Everything on your registry is way too expensive, so I got you this instead!
Manager telling entire company in a weekly brief you're working on maternity plans.
Wow, you got big. (Believe me, I know. I keep hitting my stomach with the bathroom stall door while exiting.)
Your entire life is about to be flipped upside down. Enjoy the last moments now.
Gesture: Random people touching your stomach. (Because apparently when you're in a very vulnerable position with your changing body and would prefer to not be displayed, it's now OK to actually touch you.)
Helpful Comments / Gestures
I'm here. Let me know if you want any resources or have any questions about the process your body is going through and preparing for baby.
Can I get you anything?
How are you doing with this process?
You can do this.
You're doing great! Keep going!
Be patient with yourself.
It's OK to let others take care of you.
You are strong and capable.
It's OK to be scared and overwhelmed at times.
Do the best you can and be OK with that.
Bras: Are a pain. I promise you'll find a comfortable one in your size. Let me know if you want me to go shopping with you — a hundred times.
It's OK to not like being pregnant. It doesn't mean you're going to not like being a mom, or that you aren't grateful that you're growing a healthy baby.
Gesture: Receiving a really clear and easy to follow step by step process of what you need to do to go on maternity leave.
Gesture: People understanding you feel terrible, and being willing to come to your house and sit with you until you need to nap, or understanding why you cancel plans.
Where I Hit the Jackpot: 1. Having the best, most intuitive caring husband in the world. He knows when I'm going to puke before I do, and always has a bucket or bowl on hand. He also buys and makes me healthy, delicious food. (Ok, I could probably do an entire post on how great he is, so I'll just stop here.) 2. Having countless women (of all ages) around me at work, and in my personal life that have gone through this before and continue to support me in ways that are so amazing I can only describe as a pure art form. Thank you to all of you.
The Not-So Beautiful
You could be sick the entire time.
The word "comfortable" has left my vocabulary from before I peed on a stick and it said +.
Finding your first stretch marks.
The overwhelming amount of heavy boobage and boob pain.
Not being able to breathe unless you hold your boobs up.
Riding in a car.
Your crotch turning a blue/purple color.
Your crotch feeling oversensitive and uncomfortable.
Excessive gas. (In all fairness, this could be considered beautiful for the brief amount of relief you feel.)
Gaining more weight than you ever have in your life and having to switch to the mindset that it's healthy and temporary.
Ongoing increased discharge throughout pregnancy and the up to 10 weeks of bleeding after.
Saying goodbye to little pleasures: a glass of smooth red wine after work, soft cheese plates, sleeping on your back, walking for miles without having to find a bathroom, the way your body fits against your partner's body, starting the day off without puking, and really hot baths.
Battling insurance companies for coverage.