Owning Your Pregnancy, Glow or no Glow

Image Courtesy Unsplash

Image Courtesy Unsplash

So here I sit, writing this post at nearly 34 weeks pregnant. This is my first pregnancy and like most women, I had no idea what to expect. Well, almost no idea.

In the early days of my first trimester I was guilty of having downloaded two or three different pregnancy apps. As the days and weeks ticked on, I became somewhat obsessive over my “daily updates.”

What could I expect this week? More often than not their predictions never lined up with what I was actually experiencing.

Sometimes I felt discouraged. “Damn, I gained too much weight this month.” And sometimes I felt optimistic. “Yes! I guess I managed to avoid heartburn.” And then before long I just gave up on it altogether.

Why? Because we can read books, download apps, talk to our friends and family, but in my experience, I don’t think any of that can really prepare you for what the next nine months have in store.

I sometimes looked to the app to validate what I was feeling and make me feel more “normal” but that wasn’t always the case. That’s because being pregnant is 100%, no questions asked, a completely individualized experience.

There’s no such thing as cookie cutter symptoms, no linear chart predicting weight gain, and certainly no comprehensive “how-to” manual.

The thing is, that for whatever reason, it’s almost as though our society has put an Instagram filter on pregnancy. We all hear about the joys of pregnancy, the bursts of energy, and of course, “the glow.”

We see photos of expecting mothers lovingly cradling their ever-growing bumps, wearing long-flowing dresses and basking in the golden light of a sunset. If that’s you, you go girl! You are a pregnancy goddess and I wish I could be like you.

But I wanted to give a shout out to the other mommas…

The moms so riddled with morning sickness they’ve memorized the pattern on their bathroom floor, who carb-load for weeks on end because vegetables suddenly suck… and forget chicken! And who cry during cereal commercials or because someone just ate their chocolate chip muffin.

I’ve personally hit my share of speed bumps along the way.

Early in my first trimester I developed carpal tunnel syndrome, in not one both BOTH of my hands. It was extreme and unlike anything I ever anticipated. It was constant numbness and pain nearly 24 hours of the day, being unable to hold a toothbrush or do my hair, and complete exhaustion from lack of sleep.

It escalated to the point where I needed custom-made hand splints and cortisone injections to manage the pain. For a while I tried to play it off like it wasn’t as bad as it really was; I didn’t want to be viewed as weak and I had a hard time asking for help when I had only just started my pregnancy.

It took some time but I finally I accepted the fact that it was OK to not be OK, and the rest just kind of fell in to place.

Pregnancy is amazing, but it can be very hard. I think we need to stop being so self-conscious about the tough stuff because we aren’t doing ourselves, or anyone else, a service by viewing our struggles as wrong or as complaints.

I am certainly not intent on frightening anyone away or discouraging you from going through this experience yourself, I just wanted to be level with you. It’s OK to be tired, it’s OK to be sore, just find your person (or people) and talk about it! You literally have a tiny human growing inside you. We’re kidding ourselves if we think that’s not going to throw us some major physical and emotional curveballs.

Just own it your pregnancy, the good, the bad and the ugly.

I still get butterflies when I go to an ultrasound, or sit and watch as my stomach flips around like there’s a little alien trapped inside.

There are moments that are pure magic and those are the moments that I will hold on to well beyond the nine months. Just find what works for you and learn to be honest with yourself .

Jocelyn Lundberg