5 Things That Surprised Me About Pregnancy
Pregnancy for me has been a whirlwind experience. My husband and I got married this last October and before I knew it, I was pregnant by the end of November! Needless to say that brings me to the first thing that surprised me:
How fast you can get pregnant once you get off birth control.
I’m sure we’ve all heard rumors that if you’ve been on birth control for awhile, once you get off it may take a long time to get pregnant. Well for some reason, I was under the assumption that it would take longer for me to get pregnant the longer I was on some form of birth control. Obviously, we know now it’s not the case. As soon as you get off most types of birth control, it is possible for you to get pregnant. It took me by surprise. Here I am, newly married and preparing for an even bigger life change. My husband was thrilled but I was stunned. I felt terrible for not being ecstatic but I was freaking out! And then I stopped and thought to myself, why am I feeling this way? We wanted a family. We’re not young anymore (we’ve been together 8 years and I’m 32 and he’s 36) and we didn’t want to wait too much longer to try and have kids. And most importantly, I realized that it was a gift. A gift that so many women don’t get. There are so many out there who would love to be in my situation and have tried and tried, I should be thankful. And you know what? It made all the difference. I sat back and told myself to enjoy the ride and prepare myself to meet my new little girl or boy!
The overwhelming tiredness.
Ok, we all know you get tired when you’re pregnant. You’re carrying another life inside your body. I get it. I’ve been around enough pregnant women to know that’s part of the process. What surprised me was that I was more tired than I have ever been in my entire life. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. During my first trimester (I found I was pregnant pretty early on, around 5 weeks), I was still working and it was really tough being on my feet and trying not fall asleep at the same time. And naps were the best! No more waking up from a nap and feeling worse than before. I would wake up feeling refreshed and energized. Little did I know I had a lot more to look forward to…
How I felt about my changing body.
This one was the major surprise for me. As a personal trainer and also someone who worked in retail, I was fully prepared to gain weight and kind of excited about buying maternity clothes. My two favorite things are shopping and working out and in the beginning, I wasn’t gaining weight that rapidly and still able to wear some of my “regular” clothes. Well as the weeks wore on and I gained more and more weight, the urge to continue my workouts were less and less and I was shocked at how I felt about my weight gain. Not to mention how shocked I was that I didn’t feel like working out. People were asking why I wasn’t posting pictures on Facebook as much. It was getting harder and harder to just walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes and I was used to running for miles. Add to that the misconceptions of how I thought I was going to look and I was starting to slip into a funk. I always envisioned I would look like myself but with a cute little belly instead of almost 60 lbs heavier with swollen hands, face and feet. As someone who trains all kinds of women and preached about loving your body and living a healthy lifestyle, I was surprised that I wasn’t happier with how I viewed my body. I didn’t realize at all that I was going to look the way I did or feel the way I felt. Now, at 37 weeks I can see the light and even though my feet are so big they look unrecognizable and my lower back aches so much I’ve resorted to lying on a heating pad most of the day, I’m comforted with knowing that all of this is for a reason. Soon, I will meet my little boy and see his little face and it won’t matter how big I was. All that will matter will be that he’s healthy. And I’m comforted by that thought. That and the face that you burn a lot of calories breastfeeding!
All the gross, unusual and worrisome stuff that goes along with being pregnant.
All you moms out there know what I’m talking about and I can’t believe nobody warned me! Between the vaginal discharge, the itching and rashes, the threat of the Zika virus and not being able to shave or see my bikini area for the past 5 months I have thoroughly grossed out myself. Who knew that pregnant women got hemorrhoids? Who knew that sometimes you have to wear pantiliners and that I need to buy pads for after labor? Who knew that your hands and feet can go numb and tingly when you’re asleep? These are all things that you will be told that you have no control over. With all of the multitude of things that the body goes through during any given pregnancy I end up feeling sorry for not only myself but my poor husband. But only for a few seconds, because after all, this is his fault, right?!
Not caring about missing out on your usual social life.
Last but not least, I was very surprised that I didn’t care as much about not drinking or hanging out with my friends as they go to clubs or bars. When we found out we were having a baby, like I said before, we had just gotten married and we had returned from a week away in Gulf Shores at a friend’s beach house. We were planning our longer honeymoon to the Caribbean when I took the test and I told my husband there is no way that I’m going now that I can’t drink! Might sound crazy to some but we know how it is growing up New Orleans … drinking and being social with your friends are just part of our DNA. It was hard to go to parties or out to dinner and not be able to drink, in the beginning. As time went on, I ended up not missing the drinking (I know I sound like an alcoholic but you all know what I mean). You start nesting and getting the baby’s room together. You feel tired and don’t even want to think about getting dressed up to go out. Let’s not forget we’re having one of the hottest summers we’ve had in quite some time here in New Orleans. Who feels like being out when you’re big and pregnant! The best part is knowing that my baby is safe and making sacrifices for him is worth all the drinks and partying in the world. Something becomes more important to you once you hear that heartbeat or see that ultrasound picture. The biggest surprise is the feeling you get when you realize you are about to bring a new life into the world and about to experience love like no other and I can’t wait.
Carmen is a personal trainer focusing on women’s health and now pre- and post-natal workouts. She does in-home as well as outdoor workouts in the metro New Orleans area as well as the Northshore. She grew up in New Orleans and now lives with her husband in Slidell where they are expecting their first child this summer.