When you are looking at life in retrospect, it’s always so clear why certain things happened or what you could have done differently when you are not in the emotional thick of it.
I’m 40+ weeks pregnant today (40 weeks is full term, aka over 9 months -__-) and since I am basically at the end, I can talk about MOST of the 9 months in retrospect. I can more clearly see what I would have done differently and where I went right. So to any newly pregnant people, or if you are just in the stages of trying to get pregnant this one is for you.
I am going to go through what I WISH I knew when I first got pregnant. The advice I would give to my former self. So hopefully, if you are at the beginning of your pregnancy journey, or are starting to think about it, this helps you too. 🙂
- Stay in your lane.
You can’t compare an apple to orange because they are so different, besides the fact that they are fruit. This holds true with women and their pregnancies. Each pregnancy is so different and so unique, you can NOT compare yourself to anyone else.
When I was in the early stages of my pregnancy I was constantly comparing myself to the women around me that were pregnant or the women I was seeing on social media. “How is she staying so thin while pregnant?” “Does she have these back issues?” “Is everyone in on some secret on how to get sleep?!” These are all thoughts that ran through my head until I started talking to other pregnant women.
Once I did, the more women I talked to the more I realized we are all completely different and the same. I learned about the journey these women were on, the hardships they were facing, their fears, desires, insomnia, physical pains, and all the things in between that were happening behind closed doors.
It reminded me that like anything in life, you need to stay in your lane. Just focus on you and what is happening to you right now, without judgment or outside approval. We are all going through something, we are all different and the same, pregnancy is no different.
- Diet and exercise – Act like (almost) nothing has changed and listen to your body.
Being as health-conscious as I am, this was a big trigger for me. I wanted to know exactly how much I should change the way I ate and exercised to both prepare my body for a baby and stay in shape.
I tried to look online but there were so many different opinions about it that it left me more confused than when I started. So, I did what most do when faced with TOO many options, and I did nothing. I just did what I always did. I was living a healthy life pre-baby after all, so why should I change it?
For eating, once I got over 1st-trimester nausea I went back to eating the way I normally would. I added a little more carbs at dinner, but it was essentially the same as it was pre-pregnancy. I remained very vegetable and protein-based with some complex carbs and fruit. Then I would ball out on the weekends, per usual.
For working out, I kept my exact routine until I couldn’t anymore. Once I started noticing I was super tired or my body couldn’t move the same way anymore, I scaled back. The baby started to grow and walking up the stairs got me winded, so I just did what I could and walked a lot. I listened to my body.
Your body will always tell you what it wants and needs if you just listen to it. So tune in, and tune out the noise around you. You will know exactly what you should do.
- Shit happens, but you get through it.
The best advice I got on my wedding day was that “shit happens, things are going to go wrong and not the way you planned, but don’t let it get to you. Enjoy and take in every moment of the day.”
That is the same thing with your pregnancy, shit happens. Maybe you get a rare case of cholestasis, gestational diabetes, or a gall bladder issue. Maybe your placenta is acting funky, or you are sick the whole time, you got sciatica, or your fluids are low. Or maybe you simply can’t sleep well and your body hurts all the time.
Whatever it is, we’ve all got something going on, and we all keep pushing forward.
No pregnancy is perfect. No one has NO issues, scares, or is totally comfortable the entire time. A lot of shit is changing and a lot of shit happens. So do your best to just go with the flow. Do what you can to make it better and more bearable, but always remember this is temporary.
This is a very very very short time in your life where you get to hold and grow your baby in your belly. It truly is one of the most miraculous things that we can do, create a life. So don’t get discouraged or down on yourself. Nothing good ever came easy, and your bundle of love won’t come easy either. Just sit back, and try to enjoy it. And remember that this too will come to an end, and you have your little baby waiting for you on the other side.
- Take it all in.
When I first got pregnant, I was still my crazy obsessive self, trying to picture, plan, and predict what my future would be like post-baby. I was so focused and stressed about the after, that I would many times forget to be in the now and to truly enjoy being pregnant.
If I am being frank, that was really difficult for me at times. I was sick, then I couldn’t sleep, then I had body and back pains, it was like one thing went away and then another one popped up. Not to mention, I was constantly wondering how this would affect my professional and personal life. What was going to happen once he came?
Again, I was all caught up in the future and I wasn’t in the present.
Then when I was mid-freak out my coach said, “as a friend Emily, I want you to know, you don’t need to worry about those things right now. This is an incredibly short time in your life where you are creating another human life. You get to hold your baby close to you all the time. Enjoy this moment because it goes by faster than you think.”
Hearing that from her gave me the perspective that I needed. I could spend these 9-10 months worrying and wondering, OR I could just be present, enjoy it and take it all in.
What helped me slow it down and take it in was taking baths, something I never did in my adult life until I was pregnant. Every time it was like my belly would grow a little more and then eventually I could see his little kicks and jabs through my belly. It was wild and wonderful and always reminded me of the miracle of life that was happening right before my eyes.
Pregnancy is a wild ride and you don’t know what it’s going to be like until you’re physically in it. Since this is my first pregnancy, I went in clueless and a bit scared at times.
Even though I got advice from many people about many things, these are the 4 pieces of advice I would go back and tell myself if I could. The 4 things that I mentally struggled with most, and I wish I knew at the beginning of my pregnancy.
To you new moms out there or anyone who thinks they want to be a mom one day, hopefully, this will help you too. But remember, this is your journey, you do you and enjoy the ride. 🙂