Pregnancy is certainly an experience like no other. For nine months you are at the mercy of your hormones working to create a tiny human inside your frame that once held and only supported the needs of one person. Imagine this human growing inside of you, feeding off your life source for food and energy, reacting to life through you. It’s a crazy, beautiful, amazing and messy journey that can only truly be understood through experience.
I didn’t realize I was pregnant until about 6 weeks when I noticed my period was late. I casually went to Walmart for a pregnancy test, under the impression that I was just late, and the blood would soon show. I returned home and took the test immediately; three minutes later, my life would never be the same. I sat down on the floor and cried. Having been recently engaged to my long-time beau of 6 years, the plan for my life was wedding first, then maybe kids. At 29, I had not yet wrapped my mind around having a child and becoming a mom. All I could think about was how I wasn’t ready and how would I provide for this tiny human when I could barely provide for myself. I thought about how my life would change and wondered if this was something I could handle. Like the Lauryn Hill song, I knew “his life deserved a chance” and it was my honor to usher him into this world.
Soon after I discovered that was pregnant, the nausea began, and I could hardly eat anything, including one of my favorite foods, chicken. Thankfully I wasn’t constantly hovering over a porcelain seat, but the nausea the following 8 weeks was unbearable. Despite how hard it was to eat and how bad I felt, I learned early on the importance of fueling my body with sustenance as there was more than just me that depended on the food I ate. One very warm day in September, I stood in line at my favorite food truck for some vegan soul food and after standing in the heat with no water and little food in my belly, I found myself passed out on the cement, with scrapes and blood dripping from my hands and knees and a mean case of road rash on my shoulder. After gathering myself and obtaining my food and recovering from the embarrassment of the fall, my next mission was to load up on snacks, water and Gatorade, and vow that no matter how hard it was to eat I must eat something. By week 13 most of the nausea subsided, my brief allergy to chicken waned, and my appetite came back in full force.
My second trimester was marked by a surge in energy and the joy of eating returned. Each week I had a new craving from pasta, to tacos and quesadillas, burgers and hotdogs, to peanut butter and apricot jam sandwiches. I began eating double the number of calories at each meal to keep the little monster inside of me happy. Formally lactose intolerant, I found myself with the ability to consume dairy again. I began to devour ice cream and pasta for the first time in several years. Yet, peaceful sleep became something of the past. I found myself waking up 2-3 times a night to use the restroom and eat a snack. I had formally considered myself a champion sleeper, I could previously sleep for 10 hours without waking but since the pregnancy, that was a habit of the past. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I may not be a sleep champion for a while as I transition into this new lifestyle.
Mental challenges & Comments from those around you
While the hormones are working overtime to create new life, they began to throw my brain and emotions for a loop. I found myself having trouble remembering things and feeling even more sensitive than normal and I’m a highly sensitive person (link post). I had zero tolerance for any BS or anything that did not contribute to my health, growth or sustenance. When one is pregnant people are eager to give you advise, tell you their experience and comment on how your body is growing. While most mean well, what I’ve learned is that while many symptoms are shared, every pregnancy is different, so I learned to nod and take most advice with the grain of salt. Watching my body grow and expand has certainly been a challenge and comments from others on how big I began to get only made me feel worse. I am ever so grateful to those in my circle that reminded me that I was growing and glowing beautifully as my body was creating life.
Transition into motherhood
Now at 38 weeks, I am more than ready for the journey of pregnancy to be over. Pregnancy has taught me many lessons. It’s taught me to slow down. To listen to my body more intently. Pregnancy taught me to love myself and be grateful for what I can do. Pregnancy also taught me to know my worth and know that I am worthy of rest, love and nice things. Pregnancy has given me a certain clarity to the awareness of others and myself. I realize currently in my life as I approach 30 this summer, this adventure into motherhood is the next stage of my journey in womanhood and I am ready to embrace the unknown and see all the things I am capable of. I am excited about the new journey ahead of me, to parent a child of my own, creation, to love him fiercely, to teach him to be strong and brave and proud of who he is.
Suggested pregnancy reads:
Mama Glow by Latham Thomas
Nurture: A modern guide to pregnancy, birth early motherhood – and trusting yourself and your body by Erica Chidi Cohen
What to expect when you’re expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel