It's super-easy, lemme tell you.
There are a million pregnancy books, apps, friends, well-meaning yet overstepping strangers, family members, and doctors to tell you alllllll the pregnancy information you need regarding conception, getting pregnant, fertility issues, pregnancy week by week, horrific labor stories (gee thanks, can’t wait), and so on. But some how, some way, there is this secret void of information that is not ever really communicated regarding pretty important prenatal topics such as your body changes, maternity fashion, taking care of your mental health during pregnancy, etc. So strap in friends, because at 6 months preggers, I gained access to some of the sh!t no one f*cking tells you when you’re pregnant.
The First Trimester
Obviously apps like TheBump and WhatToExpect have your pregnancy week by week changes—what’s happening to your body and what’s happening with baby, which is obviously fascinating, miraculous, and beautiful! You will read about extra perspiration and acne, but until you smell like a middle school boy after gym class and time travel back to your 15-year old self and suddenly wake up with bacne, no apps or books can accurately convey the stench and unavoidable hormone relic that pregnancy wreaks on your body during the first trimester. Key insight: nothing can really prepare you for the weird symptoms you may during the first trimester. It’s OK. They will subside, and then hopefully soon your hair will grow at incredible speed and have the shine and luster of your 21-year old self once again. Silver lining.
Not the government-mandated kind. This one hit me like a wave I never saw coming, and crushed me at first. I realize now that I did not mentally prepare to stop drinking in social settings while everyone else merrily imbibed. Nor did I emotionally prepare for my clothes to all of a sudden not flatter me or realize how closely my self-confidence was tied to how I felt in my favorite jeans.
Granted, it did not help that I discovered I was pregnant eight days after my position at work was eliminated, three days before my grandmother passed away, or that holiday party season was in full swing. I was emotionally unprepared. It was as if the universe said, “Here’s three new life-changing circumstances, nausea, excessive fatigue, chronic hormone headaches, no more depression meds, and a million people asking you the same questions while they get drunker and drunker, have fun!”
I still don’t know how to mentally gear up and be ready to accept and embrace the lifestyle transformations and waistband realities that pregnancy brings. All I know is that initially, I felt lonely, like an outsider in every situation, and after crying to my very calm husband, venting at book club, messaging old roommates about secretly “hating being pregnant,” rest and time, I started to turn the corner and began accepting where I was at.
The Second Trimester - Maternity Fashion
Why do I feel like I am the only one who doesn’t want to spend money on expensive maternity clothes!?? Admittedly, I am not much for shopping when I am not pregnant. I go on approximately two shopping binges per year: back to school (what am I twelve?) and spring fever (summer doesn’t arrive until July in Wisconsin, something has to get us through.) While pregnant, my shopping thinking was “why am I going to spend hundreds of dollars on clothes that are just for this phase?” So, I shopped Target Maternity, wore the same 4 tops to work all winter, until I went to my 24-week prenatal appointment, lifted my arm above my head and my doctor pointed out a tiny hole in my sleeve. I had no idea. I am glad he told me. Kind of felt like a bad Mom though. Like baby isn’t even here yet and already I look f*cking homeless. If I had just succumbed to the nonstop social ads and bought the $100 maternity tops that flood my feed on Insta and facebook, would they have lasted longer than Target’s? Ugh idk. I’m trying to find the happy medium here, setting a “fashion budget” for each trimester and buying a mix of less expensive/more expensive items to get through.
The Third Trimester – Mental Health Meltdowns
Maybe it was the global pandemic that resulted in months of lockdown. Maybe it was going off my antidepressants after finding out I was pregnant. Maybe I was born with it. Either way, I lost my sh!t multiple times during this pregnancy. I flipped out on the people I love the most. About things that seemed so trivial and foolish the next day. I couldn’t remember a time when I felt more frustrated, irritable, and like no one “gets it” than how I felt when I was pregnant. I think this is the universe’s way of teaching me that I need to develop better coping skills to be more patient, understanding, and f*cking calm before raising a child. In addition to thinking of three things for which I am grateful before going to sleep at night, I think of three things that I accept as they are when I wake up each day. In a world of seeming chaos with fewer and fewer things that we can control, I’ve realized I need to allocate extra energy to act with poise and grace.
What stuff did no one f*cking tell you that you discovered when you were pregnant?