Pregnancy is a funny thing to experience.
This photo was from about 33 weeks. I’m now mucccch larger all of a sudden.
I’ve never experienced a physical process that involves so many varying opinions (opinions in general) and conflicting “facts”. When I’ve succumbed to the sweet whisperings of Google, I’ve learned:
- If you can’t sleep, have cramps, feel nauseous, vomit, your wrists and fingers feel like fire and/or your pelvis (or any body part) hurts, congrats, you’re pregnant. You’ll give birth at some point. Stop googling your symptoms and “labor sign?”.
- If you’re 38+ weeks pregnant, you’ll probably go into labor soon.
- Nesting is a cute word someone came up with for when you realize you’ll have no time to do anything/will not want to do a damn thing, so you start cleaning and organizing all your shit in hopes that when things have a place, they won’t pile up on your kitchen table. I do the same thing before I go on vacation. I “nested” this weekend by organizing our wine and baby bottle cabinet, which, yes, they are the same cabinet.
- The chances of finding incredible wisdom from Sally in Nebraska in the black hole that is online message boards is slim. I’ve done my research. It’s like watching a miserable movie and you have to finish to find out what happens because you’ve already invested your time in it, and then Netflix cancels your account mid-movie because there are too many users. Sally says she was feeling a cacophony of symptoms, and, HEY, ME TOO! and everyone is anxiously refreshing their screen to learn what Sally’s doctor said on Monday, because obviously it will be the same diagnosis for us and our mental sanity ALL HANGS IN THE DIAGNOSIS, but she just disappears into the abyss. That jerk. Or, you learn that Sally totally ate cold cuts while pregnant and her baby is just so unbiasedly perfect so it’s fine if we all do it because #research.
- “Padsicles” are a thing and while I can imagine them being helpful, it’s alarming. Don’t click if you’re looking for some kind of homemade freezer pop recipe.
- If your baby “drops”, you may go into labor in a week. You may go into labor in 5 weeks. Don’t wait up.
- Your cervix being dilated (sexy) a centimeter or two contributes absolutely no valuable information as to the timeline of labor. (Also, please never request my dilation status unless you’re my mom or my BFF. WTF.)
- If you’re still working at 38 weeks pregnant, you’re a tough mom. If you’re still working at 38 weeks pregnant, you’re a horrible mom. Choose the opinion you have and you can find plenty of people who agree with you.
- There are a million opinions on things you can do to “induce labor naturally”. If they “work”, chances are it’s a coincidence. You’re 41 weeks pregnant, lady. It’s just that time.
Deeper (sort of) thoughts:
- This week will be my 37th week of pregnancy. It didn’t go fast and while it’s an incredible thing, I’m not going to pretend it was magical. There is so much pressure on women to be so full of joy during pregnancy and if you’re not, word on the street is you don’t love your child enough. Thankfully I know to ignore that shit. There’s this idea that the beauty of growing a human outweighs all physical and mental discomfort. Your concerns about your change in identity are brushed away with phrases like “but you’ll have this sweet little baby” and “it’s all worth it”. I’m sure there’s truth in that, but it’s disappointing when pregnancy is painted to be a time of pure fulfillment while ignoring the mental and physical changes a mother is going through. Even though I feel mostly level-headed about it, I feel like every conversation is a fight against the weight of others’ expectations.
- As for labor (and parenting in general), I’m adjusting my attitude from “I’m terrified” to “I’m incredibly excited to face one of my biggest fears, overcome it, and be free of this fear”. This change in mindset has been life-changing.
- I’m struggling with all the “vulnerability” and “honest posts” when it comes to motherhood. I used to appreciate a good “honest post” about life, but something about them now – especially the parenting ones – seems to pull me down. Maybe it’s my brain wanting to ignore the challenges that lay ahead, I’m not sure. I can imagine how hard motherhood is, but it seems like “how hard it is” is the main theme these days. I’m avoiding social media more lately because I think it contributes to my own anxiety and nerves. It doesn’t feel like a supportive community. Mothers seem to carry so much guilt and it breaks my heart. Maybe I will have a change of heart when I’m caring for a human here in the world, in a different way than I am now, and maybe I won’t…but every time I say anything like that, someone will inevitably tell me how “everything is going to change when that baby comes” and I get it…but will my entire identity change? Does my entire sense of self and all my beliefs and motivations change? Stay tuned.
- People compliment me for things like “not swelling” as though the women who do just didn’t have enough willpower. I’m not sure if I appreciate them noticing my ankle bones or if I’m annoyed that people feel the need to comment on the appearance of pregnant women.
- I used to always ask pregnant women “how are you feeling?”, thinking I was being kind and that everyone seems to focus on the baby and never on the mom, so I wanted them to know HEY I’m thinking about you. Now that extra word, “feeling” just pisses me off.
- Friendly reminder: Hyperemesis is NOT morning sickness and the two should not be compared.
A stranger waved me down to tell me “chinese food induces pregnancy”. What’s the most ridiculous “advice” you’ve gotten about pregnancy/labor?