If you read my Summer Has Arrived... post, you will already know that being pregnant is not always the most fabulous experience.
The reality is, not every part of pregnancy is glamorous and enjoyable. Personally, both of my pregnancies have been fraught with various health issues, from the expected to the unexpected. Here is a little summary of my experiences, and how I chose to deal with them.
- You get cramps. When you think they're gone, they will start up again.
Your body is changing, so be prepared for some major discomfort as your body adapts and grows to accommodate your developing baby.
- The "Pregnancy Glow" is a Myth.
I do not know what people supposedly reckon this whole 'glowing' thing is, but all I feel is frumpy and a little bit gross. I have had everything from teenage acne on my face to eczema in the nooks ans crannies of my body such as the inside of my elbow. I don't glow (unless I'm sweating!)
- Up to 90% of us will get stretch marks.
I used to hate stretch marks. To me, it always felt like they were a sign of me being fat. I then saw a post from someone who said that they consider the marks to be a rite of passage, and a sign that your body has done an amazing thing - it carried a baby. After reading that I began to accept them. It doesn't mean I have to like them, but I certainly wouldn't change the fact that I got them because I was (and am) pregnant.
Of course, everyone is quick to tell you about the little sleep you will get once baby arrives, but no one ever warns you about the lack of sleep in pregnancy. I now have to make sure that I turn all my electronics (including my phone) off at around 11 pm, else I would just be on them all night and not resting. Even if I am wide awake, it is better to rest in the dark than to have my brain working overtime at 3 am in the morning.
- Everything is tender and sore.
Yeah, I know. No one wants to talk about boobs. However, they are a big part of pregnancy and child-rearing. Thanks to the changes that occur in order to prepare your body for the ability to breastfeed, your breasts -along with other parts of your body - will get bigger and more tender as your pregnancy progresses. To try and ease the tenderness, I use Lansinoh TheraPearls, which can be placed in the freezer for a couple of hours before use and fit neatly inside your bra. They are also fabulous for relieving those delightful side-effects of breastfeeding. A well fitted maternity or nursing bra is also a must to help ease the pain. One of my favourites is the Hotmilk Lingerie brand.
- You will need to wee... All the time!
This is no joke. I don't drink anymore than I used to, but for some reason I need to pee twice as much. Plus as baby gets bigger and starts to do fun things like kick your bladder, you have to go, or you might have an accident!
- You will crave the strangest things.
With R I couldnt get enough of Skittles. I ate bags and bags of them. John started rationing me, because I was eating so many it was gettkmg expensive. Skittles weren't too bad on the scale of weirdness though. One of my friends craved gerkins. Another loved the smell of petrol. This time around I havent really had an on-going craving, but I do get one or two moments when I want something so badly we have to go and get it (like the night I sent John to get stir fry ingredients...)
- Hormones make you crazy.
Seriously though, I can be happy one minute, and crying at a children's TV programme the next. Pregnancy hormones are no joke!
- You get the most painful heartburn ever.
I have tablets for this now, but I still go through up to six pints of milk every couple of days. It can be super painful, and I cannot wait to find out if the pregnancy myth (heartburn = hairy baby) is as true for Little L as it was for R.
- Everything swells up.
This is a frustrating part of pregnancy. My shoes don't fit, my rings are tight on my fingers, and my belly looks like I swallowed a couple of basketballs. The water retention rate when you are pregnant is so much higher than normal, and it can be so annoying when you have to replace things like your shoes with a bigger size!
Do not worry, there are plenty of things about pregnancy that are totally awesome (and I will of course write about them too at some point)! Plus there are many things you can look forward to, no matter how many children you already have.
As for feeling normal and human again, all it took for me was giving birth and having a nice shower afterwards to start feeling like me again.