What I Learned During Pregnancy

I just opened a new bottle of red wine and I’m feeling like I want to share… maybe even overshare.

Teagan is doing well. She’ll be 6 months in a little over a week and we are slowly adapting to life with hearing aids. Keeping hearing aids on a baby is a whole ‘nother blog post, but we’re learning to appreciate them and the sounds that they are allowing her to hear. We won’t know until her big hearing test in October how effective they are, but I can definitely tell a difference, and that’s such a wonderful feeling. She has therapy 3 times a month, which again, another post for another day…. but we’ve got lots of homework to work on with her and goals I never dreamed I’d have for a baby. Seems unfair to make her work so hard sometimes, but I know this is probably just the beginning of hard. Hoping we all get our sea legs soon, so that this begins to feel a little more like our norm. I think once I see it as that, I’ll worry less.

I started this blog post right about my 2nd trimester and kept it going until the end. Because, I swear something like this would have been hugely beneficial when I began this journey. Feel free to share with anyone who is pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or just in need of a fun read!

WHAT I LEARNED DURING (AND AFTER) PREGNANCY

1. Learn to take extra time for you – nap, take personal time, slow your daily pace, etc. Did I mention nap? Mario made me nap almost daily and while some days I hated being put to bed like a toddler, I was grateful for the added energy later that evening.

2. For those of you who are health freaks like myself: Don’t guilt yourself over a doughnut or a day of bad eating. Keep focusing on moving forward. You’re going to want a doughnut or two. Eat them, then have a healthy meal the next go round.

3. Pick a select few people and use them for emotional support. You’ll need it.

4. You can’t change people and the free advice they want to give. You also can’t change other people’s opinions. I was shamed for only deciding to take 8 weeks maternity leave vs more (hilarious, because after all was said and done, I took TWO. I don’t recommend that, btw), for even considering a natural birth, for wanting to give cloth diapers a try, for spending an arm and a leg on the daycare of my choice, and for refusing to reveal my unborn baby’s name. I tried so hard to handle this with grace, but it is NOT easy. I wish people would keep their opinions to themselves.

5. I’m actually a pretty private person, believe it or not. I didn’t want a ton of people at the hospital and I originally didn’t want to tell anyone when we went into labor. I wanted that moment to be special, experienced by Mario, myself and our daughter. I didn’t want pictures. I didn’t want social media. And, I didn’t want family and friends walking in on me while naked, braless or bleeding. I felt like I would appreciate visitors more at our house, than in a hospital setting. I was right about all of this… the circumstances were completely unplanned and scary, but every reason I had for wanting privacy was completely and utterly on point when the time came.

6. I’ve learned that I love my body. Watching my abs transform from a 6 pack that I worked so hard for, to a round home for my unborn child (also worked for) was absolutely amazing. I was so proud of it and excited to see what it was capable of during and after birth. I had a doctor recommend scar cream to hide my C-section scar recently. I don’t want it hidden. There’s so much to tell her when she asks about that scar. I want it there where she can see it. I struggled immediately after birth with watching my body go from this amazing baby factory to an empty, and oddly shaped figure. It took me weeks and months of positive self-talk as I watched things go back into place to actually appreciate the aftermath. The before and during are easy! It’s those weeks and months after that will play tricks on your mind. But, at the end of the day… I love my body for what it did and what it couldn’t do.

7. Google is the devil.

8. You’ll expect people to open doors or offer chairs in your third trimester. If you’re like me, and sporting a tiny bump, none of those will happen. Instead, they’ll offer you alcohol unknowingly and bump into you, not thinking twice. They’ll expect you to sit for hours without air conditioning and water. And you know what? That’s when you learn to speak up for yourself. I’ve learned to ask for cigarettes to be put out, for others to bring me water, for a/c or paper for a fan, and for people to excuse me while I use the bathroom two or three times in an hour. Pregnancy has given me a voice that I didn’t have before. I always put others before myself, but Pregnancy has taught me that it’s OK to take care of YOU.

9. If you have the ability to do so, splurge on cute maternity clothes. You’ll feel much better if you look good. Giant t shirts are fine, but a good maternity dress that doesn’t feel like a tent is a game-changer.

10. Just because your friends didn’t experience certain symptoms, doesn’t mean you’re a weirdo. When I started losing hair in my second trimester, I freaked. And, none of my friends had the same issue, so I felt alone. My doctor has had to reassure me more than once that it’s normal.

11. Crying is 100% acceptable. So is over-reacting. This is the one time in your life when you can get away with it without losing friends. This applies to during and after. Especially after. Good God, the emotional roller coaster postpartum is.

12. No matter how much reading you do, how many classes you attend, and how many videos you watch, nothing prepares you for the moment of giving birth. Your body was made to do this. Don’t forget that.

13. You can’t plan it, so don’t even try. I wanted to go unmedicated and have a vaginal delivery (TMI? We’re a little late for that, donchathink?). I took all the classes (12 total), hired a doula, watched videos and prepared, exercised, ate healthy… And then wound up with pre-eclampsia and in the hospital at 31 weeks with an emergency C-section. I attended my baby shower 6 days after delivery, went to work the Monday after I was released from the hospital (7 days post c-section) and put together the last of the nursery while she was in the NICU.  I definitely would not have wanted it that way, but it’s how my cookie crumbled and I like cookies, so I’m gonna go ahead and eat it. That was a weird metaphor. Oh well, you get my point.

14. And lastly, I learned how amazing my husband is. He saw things I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. He fought the flu with me in the hospital on a very uncomfortable bed, helped me to the bathroom more times than I can count, visited our daughter when I couldn’t leave the room, and treated me with more respect and care than I think I deserve. This was the most humbling experience of my life and he never once made me feel anything but beautiful. He is the reason I’m still standing and not defeated. This was the hardest experience of my life and there’s no way in the world I could have survived it without him by my side. Pregnancy taught me what real love is.

You and your pregnancy are exactly that. Yours. It’s a time when you get to learn so much about yourself, your body and your partner. Be in the moment, enjoy every second, and WRITE ABOUT IT (I invested in a fantastic journal HERE). Take LOTS of cheesy pregnancy pics, because when that bump is gone, you will miss it and there will be days when you can’t remember what it felt like. Pictures are worth so much more than you think… for you and that little life inside you.

And, find a way to tell your story afterwards. Because someone somewhere needs to hear it.

tamihallman

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