I found out I was pregnant in late July, and ever since I began sharing the news with friends and colleagues, the two questions I’m asked most often are how will I manage work once the baby is born, and if I’m going to start a baby blog.
I’ve been nervous to write about my pregnancy. I’m not exactly sure why, but I have a few theories: In the beginning, I was scared that I would miscarry. I also thought, in the enormous universe of mommy blogs, hasn’t everything already been covered ad nauseam? At 22 weeks, I’m now over the half way mark, but where do I start? I mean, who am I to talk about pregnancy? I know nothing.
Over the past few months, my inner monologue has become a tangled mess wondering where and how my voice might fit into this space on the world wide web. After reflecting on how I spend most evenings googling arbitrary things like, “Average size of 16 week pregnancy,” or “Can I eat flaxseed while pregnant?” I figure that no matter how many resources are available, there are still questions to be answered. And, after all, I’m not writing the follow up guide to What to Expect When You’re Expecting, I’m simply sharing my experience.
Perhaps the greatest thing I’ve learned so far is that everyone’s experience is different, and therefore every mother, whether she’s expecting, new, or a veteran, has a story with merit and wisdom to share.
Let’s try this out.
I cry. I cry easily. The sounds of whales singing makes me cry, an insensitive remark will have me in tears (even when it’s not insensitive,) I can’t handle sappy commercials about air travel and when my cat Harvey bit me, I took it very personally and bawled for thirty minutes. Being very emotional is normal.
2. You bloat before you show
I sent out a photo to friends with what I thought was my bump that had finally popped. I received texts like, “OMG, you look amazing!” and “So cute!” By the next morning, that baby bump had disappeared. I had sent out a photo of my constipated tummy. How sweet. Some women show real early! I’m nearly six months and, depending on what I’m wearing, many people would not even notice I’m pregnant.
Some women have morning sickness that goes on forever and feels like death. I was lucky to bypass this completely.
4. Oysters and Charcuterie
Fear tactics abound about what you can and can’t eat. I’ve eaten oysters and prosciutto and soft cheese. EGAD! The key is understanding the risks and choosing your food carefully. I won’t eat baloney from a gas station deli counter but I’m happy to enjoy a plate of charcuterie from a reputable chef.
5. Midwife or hospital?
This is a major topic of conversation. Just go with what feels right. You’ll know. And don’t let anyone knock your choice.
6. The best advice and help will come from your friends who’ve had babies
I’ve been completely blown away with the kindness and generosity from my friends who are parents. Early on, I was warned, “Don’t buy anything.” We haven’t bought a thing yet, (minus Dylan the plush lamb,) and already have a crib, a swing, a high chair, stroller and enormous box of baby clothes thanks to generous friends! The word “community” takes on a whole new meaning, and it’s beautiful.
7. It’s okay to be scared
I have days when I’m filled with excitement, gathering up favourite baby books that my parents read to me, dusting them off and organizing them in the nursery. I also have nights when I wake up from nightmares about not being ready. It’s all good and totally normal to feel happy, excited, nervous and scared all at once.
8. The human body is amazing
I wake up each day and look at my naked body in the mirror. It seems to morph, transform and change every day. I lie awake at night and look down at my tummy; it ripples, like a tiny wave on a quiet pond. I feel my baby boy give me wee punches and it makes me laugh.
Oh-my-god do I ever love my new boobs! People told me they’d grow, but I had no idea how much. Squeezing my cleavage and watching my breasts bounce during sex is a foreign feeling and a total thrill.