Mat Leave: Day 6 - Reflections on being pregnant (39 weeks later)
As of Friday, I am 39 full weeks. This blows my mind away because I could have sworn it was just a few months ago that I found out I was preggers, so I don't understand how time has gone by SO fast where I'm pretty much fully cooked and my midwife team is alleging I can deliver any day now! Prior to getting pregnant - I knew NOTHING about being pregnant or babies. NOTHING. I feel like this cluelessness has helped me stay blissfully naive and (relatively) calm throughout the past 10 months. See - that's another thing that I didn't realize until getting pregnant, pregnancy isn't 9 months like everyone always references on TV. It's 40 weeks - so that means it's 10 months. That latter realization was a total kicker because when I found out I felt like I was being punked. How dare you media for lying to me, that has NEVER happened before…
For me, I’ve felt pretty darn lucky that so far everything has been pretty smooth sailing for me *knock on wood*. Minus some nausea I’ve felt earlier in my first trimester, I’ve been actually feeling pretty great. In fact, I would actually say I’ve felt better and stronger than I did pre-pregnancy, and it also helps that I had already been living the lifestyle of a pregnant lady prior to this for decades. Wait what?
What I mean by this is that I was eating a LOT before and always weird random foods at all hours of the day. For anyone who has ever known or worked with me, you’ll know it’s completely normal for me to eat pho or lasagna for breakfast and that I’ll pretty much be consuming food every 3 hours. They would also know that I’m prone to taking naps and that I’ve always been a snoozy person. As you can see - this lifestyle has helped well prepare me for being pregnant because it marked NO DIFFERENCE to my life. In fact, I’ve actually taken LESS naps!
Today’s post is dedicated to strategies I’ve employed that have helped me during this pregnancy. Note that everyone experiences pregnancy differently, it’s like a snowflake - nothing is the same. Nobody’s experience is identical and even from one child to another from the same person can be vastly different. This is important to remember because if you go through and read this list, none of it can work for you. But so far, the below has definitely helped me and maybe one of the things below will help someone else who is preggers or soon to be.
Here’s my list:
Don’t tell me your horrible birthing story. This one is #1 in my book. If you have a bad or difficult birth/labour story - please keep it to yourself, or tell it to someone who actually wants to listen to it (ie. NOT ME). If you have a great positive, CALM birthing story though - feel free to share (if I ask you). This is based on my belief that women have been having babies from the DAWN OF TIME and it cannot be statistically true that every single person’s pregnancy is horrible and awful (as TV leads you to believe). This is what our bodies are meant to do - so there is no bloody way that this process is as horrible as what the predominant discourse is that is widely discussed. So if you had a terrible experience - I’m sorry, but don’t tell me.
I take a probiotic, an omega fish oil and prenatal vitamin. I was doing the earlier 2 before but not routinely, so for the pregnancy I’ve been trying to be more diligent about doing this daily. The prenatal vitamin is a given to do.
Giving zero foxes - by this I mean it’s my body, my choice, my decisions, and I can choose to live the way I want to live unapologetically. I try to live this philosophy in life but it’s even more meaningful during pregnancy, when everyone and their neighbour seems to offer their input and opinion about you, your body, your pregnancy, your baby, etc. As long as I’m not coked out on the curb or chugging vodka like it’s going out of style - then maybe, just maybe, I’m allowed to have some sips of red wine and eat a piece of sushi now and again. Know what I mean?
Hypnobirthing - this isn’t for everyone but it’s worked tremendously well for Dan and I. We like to call it our meditation for birthing class because that’s exactly what it feels like. It’s really breathing and meditation strategies for dealing with the pain when you start going into labour. That’s it. I honestly didn’t think Dan would like it because he’s annoyingly all about “Science” but there is a tremendous amount of research and data that supports hypnobirthing and the philosophy and strategies behind it. Also the strategies we’ve learned have also been helpful in just dealing with the stresses of real life. The key is to BREATHE!
Birth team - I knew a long time ago that my preference would be to have a midwife rather than an OB. This is a personal decision that every person should make on their own, but is connected to my earlier point - my body, my choice, my decisions. What I have learned about the midwife route though is that you’re not just assigned to ONE person, you’re assigned to a whole damn team! So for me, I have a midwife + her senior midwife student and then the baby will also have a midwife + a senior midwife student (at least this is the way it’s set up at the midwifery practice I’m with). I also hired a doula (mostly for Dan) and my mom will be floating around in the background as well. This is the dream team. So far, I have no other experience to compare it to but my experience with my midwife team has been very positive, supportive and attentive.
Treat yo self - this goes without saying, whether you are pregnant or not. But when you are pregnant, it’s even more important than EVER. Massages, facials, manis, pedis, shopping sprees, eyelash extensions - whatever makes you feel good. I mean don’t go insane and live the life of a rapper if you can’t afford it, but I just mean don’t feel guilty about doing and buying things for yourself that make you feel good, especially because there are a lot of things about pregnancy that can make you NOT feel good.
Be kind and patient with yourself. Again similar to the above, this should go without saying whether you are pregnant or not but I find that it’s even more important to remind yourself when preggers. First - your hormones are going crazy. Second - the idea of birthing a human and then trying to keep it alive after is OVERWHELMING and can produce a lot of stress and anxiety at just the thought of it. That’s why I think it’s important to take it day by day and remember that everyday is not the same. Nothing is constant in life. So just chill out!
That’s it for my list!
Somewhere out there I hope that maybe one of these things will help some naive, clueless impressionable preggers lady who doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing (similar to myself!).