As a young woman watching aunts, cousins, and friends have babies; I began to create a picture in my head about how it would feel to be pregnant.
I would be celebrated and strangers on the street would tell me I was glowing. I would lovingly caress my baby bump sending positive thoughts to my baby. I would do yoga and have a beautiful tan and feel like a goddess capable of growing a life.
When I got to experience the real thing this was FAR from the truth!! There were some days I felt good, but the majority of the time you can go from glowing to garbage in 3.5 seconds.
We polled some of our audience to ask about expectations VS reality and here are some amazing experiences they had.
"I was more tired than I imagined, asleep at the drop of a hat!" - I remember this like it was yesterday. I am a massage therapist and I could fall asleep DURING a massage! If the music was right and the person wasn't talking! I would come home from work and fall asleep on the couch immediately. I'd take nap between clients in my room. The tiredness is unreal, and I think before you experience it many people assume it won't be that bad for them, or that we're all complaining too much. Let me tell you. The TIRED is REAL!
"There is no glowing, unless its the drastic temperature changes" - I've seen pregnant people glow and I know it is possible. However the hormone roller coaster not only changes your body temperature often but also how you view yourself. You may experience glowing, but you also may experience hot flashes, and many moments of discomfort and frustration in your changing body.
"Read the books, but don't READ INTO the books" - we have access to so much incredible information but ingest it all with a grain of salt. What works for one may not work for another. There are variations on the average. Your baby may measure small (which can be very stressful) but its just how you carry. Jane down the street may be measuring ahead (also equally stressful) but its just her anatomy. Your baby could end up being bigger than Jane's. Use your own brain to dissect and analyze information to pick and choose what resonates with you.
" I thought my belly was going to pop a lot earlier than it did. I was expecting to look pregnant at 3 months" - this one spoke deeply to me. I didn't look VERY pregnant until I was 9 months. I remember clients not even knowing I was pregnant at 7 months. I am an average sized woman. I just had a super strong core at the time, and my belly didn't really relax and stretch until the very end. The second time around was much different. TIP: I found wearing pregnancy specific clothes helped me feel more comfortable. Maternity clothes hug you in all the right places to accentuate your curves and are worth the investment into some basics.
"I thought I would gain weight, I lost more. I kept thinking something was wrong?" This is sooooo common and rarely talked about. I know many women who lost weight, especially in the first trimester. The stress of thinking something is wrong with you can be suffocating. Talk to a dietician if you are concerned. Often this goes hand in hand with severe morning sickness or nausea. It can be completely normal but its always wise to check in with your trusted health care providers.
"I thought morning sickness would stop, it did not" - many people experience nausea or vomiting that lasts until week 20, but not all have an end. A handful of people experience these symptoms through the entirety of their pregnancy. Its best to know this information so you can prepare yourself. We aren't trying to scare you, we are empowering you with knowledge that it is possible.
"I thought I would enjoy it!" - Again, HUGE myth. Not everyone loves pregnancy. So many people suffer and it is a challenge to get through their days. There is prenatal depression. There are people that have a list of symptoms and just feel like crap the entire time. The general population then forgets to be kind and say stupid things like 'isn't it just the most beautiful experience?' and you feel like you're a horrible human for feeling like you do. But its NORMAL.
Our best advice, from people who have been pregnant:
Give yourself GRACE: Relax on the judgement and meet yourself where you are. You are your normal.
Don't get caught up in comparisons with others who are pregnant in your life. You are different humans. There are variations in every pregnancy.
Establish what works for you. Do you need a nap every day? Do you need your partner to help pick up some slack. For me I had a co worker make me a piece of toast between every client because I was so nauseous I needed to eat between clients.
Adapt and Pivot. You are not the same as you were before. You are growing a baby. That comes with challenges and changes.
When you hire a doula you get support not only for your birth, but your pregnancy as well. We are by your side to ease worries, fears, and anxieties. Emotional support through your pregnancy from an experienced person who is unbiased can be incredible helpful for your mental health and well being.
We'd love to hear from you, follow us on Instagram or Facebook and let us know, what were your expectations VS reality in your pregnancy??