|Photo by Lynn Michelle Photography © 2012|
(This photo has nothing to do with this post, really, except that it's our first photo as a family of four...you just can't see the fourth member yet! I just love the photo.)
Fair warning...this post is probably less about actual stereotypes than it is about my own pregnancy and how I'm feeling about it right now. I'll probably try to put up a disclaimer about most of my pregnancy posts, just like I do with my #PregnantTweets on Twitter. I know, it's my baby and I can talk about it when and where I want, but I do also know that it's not everyone's preference to read all about it, so I try to give warnings so that these things can be skipped over by those parties with less interest!
But, as I approach the end of my first trimester (only about a week and a half left...), I wanted to talk about how I personally have felt about this versus some of the stereotypes and "common ideas" about pregnant women and first-time mothers. Sometimes I fit right in with the stereotypes, and sometimes I feel completely crazy and alone in my thinking (which is probably more normal than I'm giving myself credit for).
Stereotype #1 -- Hormones
Okay so this part is no. joke. Think PMS almost all of the time. Sometimes I will literally well up and start crying at a Subaru commercial (the dog grows up with the family and he's got gray hairs in his fur and he loves his baby!!! WAHHHHHH!!) and sometimes the lead on my mechanical pencil breaking makes me want to lay down in the highway and sob until I'm put out of my misery. Okay, maybe that's exaggerating a little...but not much! The roller coaster of emotions is legit, and it makes me feel like I'm losing my mind sometimes. I try really hard to keep them in check so that those around me don't get weirded out (or get their very heads ripped off their unsuspecting bodies by me), but sometimes it's easiest to just cry over the Folger's commercial and feel better about it.
Stereotype #2 -- Sickness and Fatigue
Fatigue? Yes. I need naps after every meal. On Thanksgiving Day, I really and truly felt as though I might faceplant into my pumpkin pie. I've got some super weird sleeping patterns happening, and there are times at work when I have to get up and take a walk or else I really will fall asleep at my desk. I'm doing my best to listen to my body and give it the rest it needs, but make sure I get SOME physical activity in. I'm not doing so great at that.
Sickiness? Man, have I been lucky. I've only thrown up once and that was when I was brushing my teeth and gagged myself brushing my tongue, but Michael says that one doesn't count since it was "self-induced." I get nauseous if I don't eat when I'm hungry, and there have definitely been time when I know I need to eat but literally nothing sounds appetizing. But no foods themselves have made me sick, and I've kept everything down! Huzzah!
Stereotype #3 -- Anxiety/Nerves
I don't know if this is an actual stereotype or not, but good LORD has it been an issue for me. Until we had our first ultrasound on November 6th, I was really working myself up into balls of crying anxiety, absolutely filled with fear that something would be wrong. When we finally had our u/s and I saw that little bean-shaped blob with its heart just beating away, I put my hands over my face and sobbed with relief.
Since then, my anxiety levels have significantly dropped. I feel a lot of peace about my pregnancy...or at least I have until the last couple of days. Some of the first trimester symptoms (like the ridiculous bloating and other TMI issues) are going away and I feel a lot more "normal," so naturally that worries me. I'm very anxious for my December 18th appointment to hear the heartbeat again and confirm that the little BabyMonster is still growing and developing away.
I blame the internet for my anxiety. Seriously. Friends, if you decide to get pregnant, just stay off the internet. You won't, but at least I can say I tried to tell you. Stay away from The Bump message boards (those girls can be mean and VERY misinformed/uninformed and all you will see is be stuff about miscarriages and it WILL freak you out) and don't Google everything. That's not all that is out there, but it's all that will stick in your brain. Before the internet, we didn't hear about all this stuff as often and we were blissfully ignorant. Try to stay that way.
Stereotype #4 -- Pregnancy is Magical and You are a Blessed Vessel
I'll let you know when I start feeling this way. I promise. :)
Stereotype #5 -- You, First Time Mother, are An Adorable Little Moron; Here's Some Free Advice
You can't tell how I feel about this one already, can you? Seriously. I don't mind tips on how to curb the nausea, or how a body pillow may help me to be comfortable enough to sleep...but some of the more personal choices (such as prenatal testing, breastfeeding, diapering, etc.) are just that -- personal. And individual. And it's really hard to hear other moms get all defensive and judge your choices just because they didn't make the same choice, or a choice didn't work for them. Every woman is different. Every pregnancy is different. Every child is different.
I'd like to try breastfeeding exclusively and cloth diapering. Both may be abysmal failures; I don't know! But I'm gonna try.
I'm not doing prenatal scanning/testing. It doesn't matter to me because I'm taking the baby God is giving us. I pray every single day and night that I have a "normal," healthy baby, but I also pray that God will prepare our hearts in case He has something else (and more challenging) in mind for us. It's fine if other mothers just have to know! But it's also okay if I don't. Everything will be revealed in its own time.
We're not finding out the gender. I don't care if that makes it more difficult for you to buy cute outfits for my baby...there are plenty of gender neutral and ADORABLE clothes out there if you wanna shop for the little Alien! It's also okay if you have to know because you're "too type A" or "too much of a planner" (other moms' words -- not mine)!
Stereotype #6 -- Pregnant Women Can Only Talk About Their Pregnancy
I'm really trying not to be this person. It's hard NOT to talk about it all the time when it's all you think about, but I know that it's annoying to hear about it constantly. So, if I get annoying at times...be patient with me and wait for it to subside a little. But don't TELL me if I'm being annoying. Because that will hurt my feelings and make me cry. See Stereotype #1.
And, since we're full circle, I'll wrap this up there!