Written by: Allie Lotzgeselle
As I am now well into my final trimester, and trying to enjoy my last 10 weeks being pregnant, I thought I would take a little time to reflect on what my first two trimesters were like and what I learned. The first 6 months of my pregnancy were pretty amazing! No matter what anybody tells you about what to expect, being pregnant is a totally new and unique experience that no one else can really prepare you for. While I did do a lot of reading and research beforehand, the expectations and the reality of things did not always marry up!
Expectation: I would spend the first trimester throwing up non-stop
Reality: Not even once! I felt like complete crap the first 10-12 weeks, and was incredibly exhausted, but that was the worst of it. The exhaustion was something I was definitely ill-prepared for, as there are no words that can accurately describe how incredibly lethargic I was. I did experience a lot of queasiness and general “sick” feelings, especially in the evening, but compared to what I have heard a lot of other women went through during their first trimester, I would definitely consider myself lucky!
Expectation: I would be eating everything in sight and having weird cravings like the stereotypical pickles and ice cream (both of which I thoroughly enjoy)
Reality: Not so much. The first trimester brought on a lack of hunger that came with the queasiness. I really only wanted bland foods like basic Special K cereal and bagels, and had NO taste at all for any meat or colorful foods. None of the indulgent foods I normally love, like pasta and pizza sounded good. The only weird craving I had/have ended up being pineapple. I really do not normally care for the fruit, but once I got pregnant, I really started wanting it every day.
Expectation: Everyone would drive me crazy needing to know every single thing about my pregnancy and baby and offering up heaping doses of unwarranted advice.
Reality: Yup, pretty accurate. Everyone that finds out I’m pregnant, whether it’s someone I am close with or a complete stranger, wants to know every personal detail about my pregnancy. Now, this was not unexpected, and I don’t mind it one bit from people I know. But people ask all sorts of intimate questions and offer up more advice than I ever thought possible. A lot of older women even insist on asking if I take prenatal vitamins- as if I’ve never been to a doctor and prenatal vitamins are some miracle drug no one else knows about. The most surprising thing to me has been how many people disagree with me about aspects of my pregnancy or my choices: “No, you don’t want to do that. That’s not good”, “No, you’ll definitely change your mind”. And anything I say that is contrary to their specific opinion requires an explanation to them: the ‘Why aren’t you’ or ‘Why are you’ doing that questions drive me insane. The decisions my husband and I make do not require justification or explanation to anyone. Apparently when you’re pregnant, you lose all right to your own beliefs or opinions. I have noticed that a lot of older women (my parents age and up) are convinced their pregnancies were the way everyone’s are, and therefore if I do anything different, I’m doing something wrong. If they had hemorrhoids, I will too. If they didn’t get stretch marks, neither will I. If they decided to do one thing, I have to also. It’s pretty infuriating to be honest. There are a lot of things I hear about people doing, that seem too odd or unnecessary to me, but that doesn’t make them wrong and me right. I have no desire to encapsulate or preserve my placenta in anyway- but that doesn’t mean someone else is wrong for doing that, nor does it mean I need to question or criticize them. Almost everyone I have spoken to has a completely different birth story. Whether they tried hypnobirthing, opted for a scheduled C-section, or went at it without any epidural, everyone’s story is unique. I have loved getting to take pieces of information and things to try from each, to get my own distinctive and comprehensive idea of what my perfect birth would be, but I honestly wish women would stop insisting to me about how I should and will feel and think.
Expectation: I would find out I was having a girl, like most everyone else thought, and would be so much happier than if I were to have a boy.
Reality: I am having a boy and I couldn’t be more excited about it! I come from a family of girls. It is just my sister and I (we are both very “girly”) and we grew up on the opposite side of the country from our male cousins. I just always pictured myself having 2 girls like my mom. Growing up my mom kept saying she only wanted girls and wouldn’t have known what to do with boys. I kind of adopted that mentality. My husband and I always said we wanted one of each, but I always insisted that if I had 2 boys, I would be forever missing out and disappointed. I was also secretly hoping we had a girl to start, because that’s what I would be most comfortable with. During our formal ultrasound, when they announced it was without a doubt a boy, a little piece of me sank. I was excited for my husband, but just hit with a wave of insecurities because I don’t know what to do with boys! Even going to Target afterwards to buy an outfit to announce the sex to our family was hard- there’s maybe a handful of clothing choices for boys, and exponentially more for girls. However, the more I thought about it, the more excited I got to have a boy. Once we decided on a name, I became completely ecstatic and really let go of all my insecurities. Now, I actually find myself more nervous at the thought of ever having a girl! I’ve begun to notice teenage girls at restaurants, being super bratty with their parents and wearing next to nothing in terms of clothing, and now I’m thinking have 2 boys may be the way to go!
Expectation: Everyone (strangers included) would be touching my stomach and driving me crazy
Reality: Just in the last couple of months has my belly gotten big enough to begin drawing attention and touching. Strangers have not just gone up and started rubbing without asking first, and I have found that I am someone who really doesn’t mind being rubbed like a Buddha! Everyone who touches a pregnant woman’s belly does it out of an inherent excitement for the endless possibilities that come with a new life, and to be honest, it feels good! My stomach is just starting to itch a little, so when people start rubbing it, I want to lie on my back like a dog and say “go to town”! I really don’t enjoy people in my personal space so I was prepared to be constantly annoyed and bothered, but no one has overstepped, nor do I mind at all when my stomach is being rubbed.
This has been quite the learning experience with a few little bumps and surprises. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my husband, and some of the things I thought I was certain about, I’m surprised to see have changed. I’m hoping I’m able to enjoy my last trimester, and but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t more excited to be able to hold my son!
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