Monday, July 25, 2016

Rearview Mirror: Getting Pregnant/Pregnancy/Postpartum Life

They always say "hindsight is 20/20." It's true! Before you have a baby, you develop all of these expectations of what the whole process will be like. For me, almost everything was different than what I had expected. Let's look at the rearview mirror.

Pre-Pregnancy


It was a harder road than I thought it would be. I relate and empathize to all of those women who wake up every morning and take their body temperature to determine ovulation. I relate to anyone who has downloaded an app and learned more than they ever wanted to about gross menstrual stuff. I can't sit here and tell you that it took us very long to get pregnant, but I can tell you that our journey included miscarriage (post here), and that will always fall squarely into the camp of "difficult." If this is you, the community is much larger than you may feel like it is. Reach out to someone who can relate to your pain. I am always here if you don't have that person. 

My Advice: 

Do what makes you comfortable. If you like to put all hands on deck and chart your ovulation, do it! Knowledge is power. If you believe the less you care, the more likely it will happen, do it! Get yourself into whatever headspace allows you to embrace this happy, stressful and emotional time. Grab a good prenatal vitamin. I lived on those Gummy Vitamins - Vitafusion. Don't take them on an empty stomach because the extra iron can make you nauseated. You'll watch and notice every twinge in your body and wonder if you're pregnant. Feel free to journal it. 

Pregnancy

29 Weeks

Oh, how fun! I had no idea I was going to fall in love with this whole phase of life. I thought it was going to be this Diabetes-nightmare day-in-day out of puking and feeling crummy. It was the opposite. Although Diabetes was ultimately the reason for Eila's early arrival, it was very tame (and nearly dormant) most of my pregnancy. I felt tired and nauseated for the first 8 weeks, and then I felt magical. I felt magical because I knew my body was doing something magical. I would wait with anticipation for every new milestone. It was such a treasured time, and I have no regrets looking back because I let myself enjoy it. There were physical perks, too. My skin and hair really enjoyed those pregnancy hormones and vitamins. I never 100% gave up deli meat, coffee, or hair coloring, and we all ended up just fine. Pregnancy was awesome to the extent that I had to mourn it before Eila was born. I knew I would miss this part a lot (and partly because I was nervous for my new all-important role as mom).

My Advice:

The day before Eila was born at 36 Weeks. 

Enjoy every minute that you're able. I'm not suggesting you have to puke rainbows or anything. Puking isn't fun no matter the reason. But once all of that subsides, really meditate on what an awesome thing your body is doing. A few tips I think helped the whole thing go smoothly - if you can help it, try not to gain too much extra baby weight. Take walks, sign up for yoga, embrace your cravings for fruit or vegetables. Adding 300 extra calories to your diet per day does not look like a Big Mac. But that is your choice! Get a few things from the maternity store, but enjoy the wardrobe hacks with your existing wardrobe. Belting a dress or adding a blazer can go a long way. I lived in those at the end (see above). Buy Preggie Pops to get through the first trimester. Buy a good pair of maternity jeans to get you through the second. As for the third, grab a bunch of ice chips and enjoy the ride (okay, maybe that was just me).

Postpartum


It's a hard knock life for us. I mean, one way or another you're recovering. Your emotions are beyond your grasp and you feel an intense responsibility for this life in being who was just brought into a world that you believe may or may not actually be falling apart. And that is just the immediate aftermath. A little later,  the sleeplessness ensues. Or so I hear. We have been blessed with a great sleeper, and I am thankful for a good baby monitor. Getting out of the house was the ultimate game-changer for my mood. Once I realized that my life could go on as I remembered it, everything began to snap into place. Perhaps that's why we are still so keen on having Eila along for all of our experiences. The physical aspects were hard. That pretty hair I talked about...well, it all started to fall out. My skin started to take on sunspots in ways it hadn't before (sunstache). 

My Advice:


Accept help from others. Accept food from others. Find a good vitamin to mitigate hair loss (I did not do this and should have). Be patient with yourself, your body, your baby and your spouse. Things will not feel "normal" ever again, but the "new normal" is that much sweeter. Sneak away for a pedicure. Remember what it is like to have a beer at dinner. Doing all of these things for the first time will you remind you that you are human and not just a diaper-changing Mombot. It does go so fast. I look back at those 3AM feedings and think that seems like forever ago... all of the hard phases pass. So, when you're in the thick of something challenging and you think it'll never end, know that it will. Know that as that phase passes, the little one is also growing and changing. Those challenges can serve as distractions from some beautiful moments going on in front of you. My greatest lesson I learned for myself is not to let any challenge, judgment or setback distract me from Eila in her present greatness. Because you blink ...and they're nearly six months old.



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