There are a few things that I wasn't quite expecting when I blissfully entered into pregnancy nine months ago. When I looked at pregnant ladies before all I felt was warm fuzzies--their glowing, round, ideal and wholly other state of "pregnancy." The rich thoughts and feelings and surprises that are often going on inside a woman's mind never occurred to me. I really didn't know much about the physical changes, but I knew even less about the emotional changes. It's kind of surprising how little real information had permeated my happy, independent, childless world. Here are a few of the things that took me off guard:
1. I didn't expect to worry so much. Is the baby moving enough? Is the baby moving too much? Will this hurt my baby?
2. I never imagined that my mind could be so fixated on an invisible little creature--counting every kick, constantly rubbing my belly until all my shirts are worn out in the front, losing interest in other things I used to love.
3. I thought pregnancy would be more uncomfortable. Here I will admit that I've been really, really blessed. I made it through the first trimester with a little nausea, but I didn't throw up even once (a great relief for a vomit-phobe like me). I've only had swelling once. I'm almost ashamed to even admit how easy the pregnancy has been... as though I should feel guilty for getting off easy when so many women struggle. Maybe it's the prenatal vitamins (Professional Prenatal, I've heard it can make such a difference!) or good advice (like: eat frequently when you start to feel nauseous, it's a blood sugar thing) or just good genes, but I definitely thank God for this.
4. I never expected how much the liturgy and communion would come to mean to me. Of course, eating my veggies has been important... but eating God regularly has fed not only my own soul with peace and comfort from my fears for baby's well-being, but also seems like the best nutrition for my little one. Communion services have become even more real and personal. I'm going to give birth to such a little sacramentalist. ;)
5. It had never occurred to me how the rhythms of pregnancy prepare a mother for the rhythms of baby care. The waking up every few hours all night in a panic to go to the bathroom or ravenously hungry, the need for frequent feedings, and more sleep seem pretty similar to the kinds of things my baby will need and the ways that I'll have to adjust my schedule through the early months. Change can be good.
6. I thought I'd get used to looking in the mirror at my new figure. It still seems so surreal to me. In one way, it feels so comfortable and natural it hardly feels like I've changed at all. In another, I look back at the early pics in my weekly belly album and think "was I ever really that thin?!"
7. I never imagined that I would have trouble gaining enough weight. But with my corn allergy preventing me from pigging out on whatever I wanted when I wanted it, and the extra work involved in making food from scratch, I've gained just enough for a healthy pregnancy, about 25 lbs.
8. I thought pregnant bellies were all the same: round. But, funny enough, there are different shapes and mine often has a little bulge in a spot to the right of my belly button where baby loves to kick in the same place over and over again. So weird.
9. I didn't expect how introverted I would feel all the way through pregnancy. I've really turned into a homebody. I like to be around people, but I really like to be alone with my thoughts. This was great for my writing through the second trimester, but into the third I was so self, home and baby focused I've hardly even written beyond a few journal entries. Very surprising to me.
10. I thought that since I wasn't feeling particularly uncomfortable, I'd be able to be patient in the final weeks, waiting for the baby to come on time. But the last month of thinking cautiously, "Anytime now!" has really worn on me. No matter how many times I tell myself, "Babies come anytime before 42 weeks," it still feels tiring to get to 41 weeks tomorrow without any significant signs of impending labor (barely even a few Braxton Hicks contractions). I've begun to doubt my sanity, asking myself: "Is this really a baby or like an octopus tumor or something?" and despairing, "Will it ever come out?"
Ah, well. I hope you've enjoyed this tour into the mind of a pregnant lady. Hopefully I'm not crazy and I will actually have a baby within the next week or so. I'm really looking forward to seeing that adorable little face!