No matter how much I read and talked with friends about pregnancy, so much of this experience has been uncharted territory for me. I thought most of the things-they-don’t-tell-you would be related to the birth, post-partum and caring for a newborn, but there have been so many unexpected feelings and experiences during the baby-growing process:
- that my belly button would not become an outie (though it tried hard).
- that it would be so difficult to really believe she’s really in there,
- and that I would never stop worrying about losing her.
- that water retention would reduce the appearance of cellulite.
- that I’d survive giving up caffeine and actually enjoy being caffeine-free.
- that I would spend so much time rubbing my belly,
- but that I wouldn’t care at all about the stretch marks.
- that my regular bathing suit would fit for ¾ of my pregnancy,
- but that I wouldn’t be able to wear any footwear besides flip flops.
- that I would be so thankful for Poise pads,
- and the granny panties that cover my up-sized rear end.
- that I could still shave my legs at 38 weeks.
- that I would be so forgetful and clumsy.
- that I would so enjoy being kicked.
- that my pets would already be jealous of the baby.
- that my already-supportive husband could take it up so many notches.
- that I would not feel a need to over-plan for the birth.
- that I didn’t really have any cravings for nine months, and then I did.
- that I don’t feel scared or anxious about the birth,
- but that I do about taking care of her after.
- that I’d discover I’m physically and emotionally stronger than I thought.
As for what’s next, I know I am in for so much more of the unanticipated and the surprising. I’m OK with that. This process has taught me a deeper appreciation for navigating the new and unexpected in life, a life where I can find joy in being kicked and gratitude for stretch marks.
What did you find surprising about pregnancy?
Jennifer Wilson has reached the 38-week mark and is ready for this baby to get the heck out of Dodge. She writes 31 and Pregnant, a column about navigating first-time pregnancy in Champaign-Urbana.