If I've learned anything throughout this experience, it's not to listen to other women's horror stories or read too much into pregnancy books. Sure, both can be a source of useful information, but they are more often a source of unnecessary stress and worry.
To celebrate this milestone, one that I am not ashamed to be proud of, I've decided to document some of the misinformation I was given about pregnancy and my personal highs and lows. I know I'll always look back on this time in my life as being very special -- and there are some moments I hope I never forget.
What I found not to be true
- Constipation: Some books made it sound like my colon would forget how to function, leading to debilitating constipation and hemorrhoids the size of Manhattan. Maybe it's all of the fruit and fiber-filled cereal I eat, but this hasn't been an issue for me. Even with prenatal vitamins chock full of bowel-binding iron supplements.
- Bloody gums and teeth problems: Again, maybe it's because I drink a half gallon of milk every day, but I would like to smack the woman who told me that all of her teeth nearly fell out. She had me worried I would end up looking like a dental "before" picture when I haven't had even the slightest problem.
- Swelling: I guess this doesn't inflict everyone. I'm still able to take my wedding bands on and off. Maybe not with ease, but it's not like trying to force them over a corn cob either.
What I WON'T miss
- Maternity clothes: At the beginning, they seemed so awesome in all of their comfy elastic goodness. Then the elastic started digging into my flesh, making me contemplate on more than one occasion whether it would be wise to simply snip a few cuts into the waistband of my jeans to create more breathing room. I look at buttons and zippers wistfully at this point.
- Prenatal vitamins: Burping up that herbal garbage is enough to make me want to vomit my entire stomach. Not just its contents. The whole organ.
- Acid reflux: I had never eaten a Tums in my entire life. Now I need one after ingesting something as inoffensive as a banana. And once, while I was sleeping, actual acidic liquid crept into my throat. Not even an entire container of Tums could tackle that bullshit.
- Shortness of breath: Walking up a flight of stairs shouldn't feel like the equivalent of running a marathon.
- Worrying: There is a lot of uncertainty that comes with being pregnant. Not knowing what my body is doing at any one moment is enough to keep me up at night. Not to mention whether the baby is developing properly. And I'll be more than happy to put fears about labor and delivery behind me.
- Urine and blood samples: Ugh, I still haven't completely mastered peeing in a cup. And my veins do NOT cooperate. I'd make a horrible drug addict.
- Fat jokes and the constant commentary on my eating habits: Enough said.
- Feeling huge: Some days I just want to be able to bend over without grunting.
What I WILL miss
- Baby movements: This is by far my favorite part of pregnancy. I am so in love with every stretch and kick that I can't help but break into a smile when she moves. Then I place my hands on my belly to experience it inside and out. I feel so connected to her. Much more than just physically.
- Feeling beautiful: Sometimes, when I look at my profile in a mirror, I know this is the most gorgeous I've ever felt in my entire life. Even more than on my wedding day.
- Voluminous hair, flawless skin, perfect nails: Apparently having a crapload of estrogen in my system agrees with me.
- Indulging in a craving: Finally getting that particular random food is such an intensely satisfying feeling. I know with certainty that I will never enjoy strawberries the way I did that one night I ate an entire container and heaved a huge sigh of relief when I was done.
- Ultrasounds: There is nothing more emotionally gratifying than seeing your baby in utero.
- Strangers' reactions: Some people just smile. Some ask whether it's a boy or girl. Some just wonder when I'm due. Either way, people I don't even know show me they care and want to share in my excitement.
- Wondering, wishing, waiting: A new baby is the ultimate gift to look forward to.