It’s a little hard to believe that I’m halfway through my pregnancy! Since moving out of the first trimester things have been pretty good, but I thought I’d do another round of ‘What I Wish I Knew" for the last two months (yea, already!)
I’m having a little trouble putting this all into words. I type, delete, start over and over again. There’s a lot of vulnerability in talking about something so intimate as the tiny baby growing inside of you. Yet, I know from reading the blogs I love so dearly, it can be very comforting to know another woman is going through the same thing. Here’s what’s been going on lately…
Connecting with Baby: All in all, things are great. Baby is kicking and moving enough that Adam can put his hand to my bump and feel the activity. That’s been a big step for us as we grow to know and love our child. But I’d be skipping something big if I didn’t mention that it’s taken quite a while for me to feel really connected. I’m just starting to show and baby has just started to regularly move and that makes everything more real. We had our second ultrasound on Monday (more on that in a second) and I thought that would be the time when everything clicked. I’d see my child, feel an endless bond and we’d all go on our merry way.
But it didn’t really go like that and the expectations I’d set up for myself let me down for a good part of the day. This is a good time to emphasize that really, truly every pregnancy (and child!) is different. Later that evening was the first time we both felt the kicks and that helped us to put our heads on straight and since then, I’ve been feeling more like a mother each day.
My point in this? There’s no magic date to feel a strong bond with your unborn baby. Maybe you feel it immediately. Maybe it happens at birth. Maybe it takes a while after that. It will happen and it’ll happen when it’s right for you and your baby.
Expectations: Speaking of setting yourself up, pregnancy has been a huge shelf of expectations for me, and this time, I totally blame the internet (and myself for relying on the internet). Since 11 weeks I’ve been googling photos of things like “pregnancy 11 weeks baby bump” and comparing them to myself. Ladies, if spending too much pinterest and blogs have taught you anything (or is that just me?), please join me in realizing it’s a very bad idea to compare yourself to a photo or a google result or whatever you find online.
The biggest let down I had was the photos I walked away with after our second ultrasound and that deserves its own story. That was a kind of weird day for us, not being we got any bad news (saw the heart beating! Baby is the right size!), but because the substitute tech at our OB’s office had terrible bed side manner, scolded me for asking questions and acted like she’d never worked with an anxious first time mama. On top of all that, she left the doctor with a pile of unusable scans so we’ll be going back for another ultrasound once the full time tech is hired. We left with a photo of the spine (neat!) and a view of the upper and lower arm and half of the face (oh, that sweet little eyelid!) I treasure these images, but again, I set myself up to come home with ultrasound pics that looked like the ones on my friend’s fridge or facebook page. Comparison is the thief of joy. Avoid it at all costs!
Mobility Issues: Most of you know I look forward to getting to the gym twice a week and I like to do a lot of bike riding (not since pregs) and walking. Two weeks ago I thought I had pulled a muscle in a recent workout only to realize something was not right with my pelvis. The way the halves of it are separating causing me to be in terrible (TERRIBLE!) pain while walking, actively standing or getting dressed. The best way to describe it is like someone swiftly kicked me between the legs each time I move. Not a pleasant feeling.
There is an upside, which is that I got a brace I can wear to help with walking and I saw a chiropractor last week. It’s no surprise to hear that I have scholiosis (it runs on my dad’s side of the family) and my pelvis is really unbalanced, which can add to the pressure I’m feeling at the bottom pelvic joint. So I have some appointments scheduled (chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture) and I’m optimistic that I’ll be in good shape again. Emotionally the idea of not being able to walk (which I was planning on doing a lot of this summer) made me really upset, but I now that we have a plan, I’m hoping to get on my feet again. I still cheat and wear heels in my outfit photos, but a bonus (that I made up for myself): I need flat shoes, so I’m doing LOTS of shoe shopping these days. Yay.
Random Weird and Rude Comments: I don’t want to hear your pregnancy or birth horror stories. And neither does any other pregnant woman. It’s rude and scary to give an already anxious woman more to worry about. And it’s something for your therapist, not for an expectant mother.
I’m currently reading Great with Child by Beth Ann Fennelly (I really like it!) and I bookmarked this passage:
One of the really strange things I’ve come to learn about the culture of motherhood is that it’s very judgmental. The harshest critics of mothers are other mothers. I’m not sure why this is so - perhaps because expectant mothers receive so much hysteria-tinged advice that we feel paranoid (“Before every single bite of food you put in your mouth, ask yourself, 'Is this really the best thing for my baby?’” one book recommended - shortly before I hurled it across the living room.) So perhaps we’ve grown so confused and doubtful of our own instincts and abilities that we cling fiercely to the idea that our decisions are right - which must mean all other decisions are wrong.
A friend of mine told me very early on that pregnancy and parenting can be very polarizing. Either you’re Team Epidural or your Team Natural Birth. You’re Team Bedsharing or Team You’re-Crazy-That’s-Dangerous. Team Cloth Diapers, Team Disposables. (Weirdly, people can be a lot like this with food too as I’ve learned from my Paleo Police instagram comments!). I’ve had ideas on how I’d like to go through pregnancy, delivery and parenting for years but now I feel a lot better just keeping them to myself unless my conversation partner opens up first and we seem to be on the same page. Why? Because this is important to me. Because this is my child. Because this is MY choice. And because I don’t want to be judged or scared away from that.
I keep realizing more and more each day that there’s no one way to go through pregnancy and I know there’s no one way to go through labor and delivery. But let me figure it out, on my own. The human brain is wired to hold onto negative thoughts as a survival instinct so those kind of things stick. Please just keep it to yourself or lets compare notes after my baby is born.
On a bit of a tangent - I’ve also recently noticed that women with great pregnancies and birth experiences don’t speak up as much as those women with difficult experiences. Over the weekend two different women with young babies said to me of their deliveries “it was actually pretty fun! I didn’t have a hard time!” only to follow up with “I never really feel comfortable saying that, because I don’t want to feel like I’m bragging.” Au contraire! If anything, I’d like to hear more stories from women with a positive spin (and if you’re into that kind of thing too, I really loved all three of Adored Austin’s birth stories as well as the stories in Spiritual Midwifery)
At the end of the day, it’s my own wish (and wish for all pregnant woman) that people respect my choices, respect me enough to know I’ve researched and thought deeply about those choices and to keep the war stories for another time.
Pregnancy Blues: And we’re not announcing the gender of our baby with this. I was riding so high on my first 17 weeks of pregnancy. I had never felt better in my life or had been so up for such a long stretch of time. I thought that my super high hormone levels were going to carry me through 9 blissful months of emotional security.
Then something just clicked in the wrong direction. I had my regular appointment with the midwife and it went perfectly well. We heard baby’s heartbeat and even some swishing around and movement while we were listening. But that night, I came home and looked in the mirror and just started sobbing. I usually trust my instincts so I thought maybe something was wrong. I called my mom in tears just to make sure she and my dad were ok and she told me to try to get some rest and that she’d call me in the morning. I eventually calmed down, but it was the start of a pretty tough week.
The best way I can describe it is a removed, apathetic nothingness. I’m not really sad, but I’m not happy-go-lucky either. I can smile in my photos, be professional with my students and write happy emails to my family, but I just don’t feel right some of the time. I’m pretty sure it’s just the pregnancy hormones riding up and down, but as anyone who’s ever felt this way can attest, it’s just not fun.
I’ve definitely turned a corner since that week, but like the other stories I’m sharing, I thought it would be good to let other women know if this has happened to you, you’re not alone!
Luckily I told my midwife about this and she said it’s not uncommon for pregnant gals to obsess over negative thoughts or be super emotional. She helped me find a therapist to talk with through the rest of my pregnancy and postpartum and I’m really looking forward to it!
Maternity Clothes: Woof. I’m just not finding much that I like. They’re either very basic (black, gray or striped) or pretty ugly. Or just crazy expensive. I really (really!) love my pregnancy body, but dressing it has been another story.
As someone who identifies herself as a fashion blogger, I’ve felt a lot of pressure (both online and self imposed) to have flawless maternity style. I don’t see much activity on my outfit posts these days and it’s kind of a bummer. I want to be that super styling, fashion forward pregnant gal, but it’s not easy. In short, if you’re having a tough time finding things you like, you’re not alone!
The good news: I’ve done a little shopping lately at non-maternity stores (think boho summertime goddess - like yesterday!), I splurged on some fit-me-now-fit-me-later sunglasses and I’m making some new straw hats (plus those flats I mentioned), so I hope that can help me look and feel good.
At the halfway point I feel like we’re doing pretty well over here and taking on these challenges as they come. More often than not I’m excited and happy and feeling pretty good. But sometimes I run into road blocks, some big, some small, that require a little extra love or attention. Don’t ever let anyone ever diminish what you’re going through if it’s important to you. These things have been important to me and part of my daily life and I thank all of you who read this without judgment.
I know there’s a sweet sweet prize at the end of this pregnancy and I cannot wait to spend a lifetime with this child.
And one last thing… (for those of you who have wondered)… we’re waiting until the baby’s birthday to find out if we’re having a son or daughter! We can’t wait!
To read about my First Trimester, click HERE.