7 Hard Pregnancy Truths
"Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love." - Stevie Wonder
Hi. Still not in a place where I truly feel pregnant, but I’m convinced if I say it enough, I’ll start to believe it eventually. Also, all of these side effects make it impossible to ignore. So if you’ve been super irritated with my nonstop pregnancy talk, I truly don’t care because I have no control over any part of my emotions or body anymore. Which has inspired this blog post. Being pregnant is fanatical and dreamlike and fun and EVERYONE is so excited and happy to see you… but it also sucks ass. So here are some of the hardest truths of being pregnant (that I’ve found.)
You just no longer feel like yourself.
I am an outgoing person, most of the time. I love being around people. I get energy from others. I love meeting new people and being in a crowd and (in the words of Ariel) “being where the people are.” I’m also empathetic and kind. I’m impulsive and spontaneous, too. At least, I was all of those things. I liked most of those traits. But I feel as if I’ve been living outside of my body and watching myself unbecome Kelsea. Which is very hard. Being anywhere and around anyone is draining. Utterly draining. I am the complete antithesis of energized at all times. Forget empathy and kindness. I often watch harsh words fall out of my mouth like a mudslide. I’m selfish and angry, a lot. And I hate all of those traits. And I would love to (and I think I have a right to) blame this kid that’s making a home for him/herself in my body. But it breaks my heart everyday. Everytime a friend shoots me a look of “did you really just say that?” or Derek lets out a sigh of frustration. I hate pregnant Kelsea’s personality. She is nothing like unpregnant Kelsea and it’s so hard to come to terms with. But, it also is what it is.
Your tastebuds change.
For me, coffee has sort of become an identity. I bond with friends over our mutual love and respect for the perfect brew. My pre-personality “turned on” after I kissed a black cup good morning. It reminded me of my mother and my grandmother and my long days/nights working at that agency I hated and the times I used to sneak it in high school. It just felt like me. Derek brought me coffee at 7am one morning and woke me up for an Arsenal game when we first started dating. THAT’S HOW I KNEW HE WAS THE ONE. THE COFFEE.
So imagine my disdain as I type this note to you with a ceramic cup of Starbucks decaf that’s been polluted with French Vanilla creamer and 1839438 packets of sugar because THAT’S the only way I can drink it now. Because this child has robbed me of my favorite thing -- my love for the actual taste and essence of uninterrupted, undisturbed, black and proud coffee. A damn thief.
You feel alone. A lot.
I read blogs and articles and posts on posts about how you never feel alone when you’re pregnant. Maybe this is because I am still in the “oh woah, I’m pregnant? Crazy.” stage. But I constantly feel alone. I feel like no one gets what I’m going through and I know that sounds so dramatic because, c’mon girl, literally 983493 other people have had babies, gtfo your high horse-- but sometimes I feel too tired to respond to an email at work or walk upstairs to go to bed and I feel dramatic and I feel crazy and I don’t feel like anyone on the planet understands.
And a lot of the loneliness comes from isolating yourself. Listen, I can’t drink. I’m too tired to go anywhere. Being around people makes me feel worse. So I am alone a lot. And that’s by design. But that also sucks. And invites foreign emotions, like anxiety, into my life.
Your body changes.
Today, I’m wearing a pair of leggings, as pants, to work. Which is against dress code. It’s probably against a code of ethics. I might get fired, who knows. But honestly, this pair of leggings has a thick, tall band at the top and are among the remaining of my pants that don’t make me want to kill myself by 11am. I’m used to being thin. I’m used to high-waisted jeans and body suits. Having this pooch that won’t let my pants close and gets wildly uncomfortable when even the band from my underwear is against it… is… unsettling.
And don’t get me started on my boobs. They’re finally a decent size. I’m really pushing it in the 32B’s I’ve been wearing since 8th grade. But they hurt so much, all the time.
I stayed in a hotel earlier this week on a trip to Washington DC for work, and we all know how superior hotel mirrors are for some reason. Anyway, I was standing, naked, staring at myself in the hotel mirror and I looked pregnant. My tiny baby bump was protruding. My breasts were swollen and my nipples were even darker than usual. It was beautiful but it was also foreign. It felt like I wasn’t looking at myself. It was weird and just added to this whole weird, mysterious experience that is being pregnant.
You are so moody.
I’ve almost gotten to the point where I don’t even like being around myself, if that makes sense. I feel my mood shift, often, too late. But I say and do things and immediately wonder why. Why do I feel so offended right now? Why am I so disgusted by this? How come I got over it so quickly? Am I laughing now? I can’t do this. I was made to do this. Further exacerbating the experience is watching the people I love around me become drained with my changing moods, far more quickly than I do, obviously. It’s a helpless feeling.
Remember when I was like “I’m an outgoing and empathetic and kind person!”? I would’ve also stuck “Fearless” in there. I refuse to let my life be dictated by fear and I often shake my head in disappointment at the people that do choose to live their lives that way. That choose to hold themselves back from experiences because of their fear. That’s not me. Sure, I’m terrified for the first 20 minutes of every flight I take-- but that’s never stopped me from stepping on an airplane. I get anxious and nervous when I have to speak in public or give a presentation-- but I also LOVE doing both of those things.
But now, I feel fear in almost every step of my day. I walk from my car to my office in vigilant search of any patch of ice that could cause me to fall and harm my unborn child. Every new pain that enters my body is followed by debilitating horror that this is the moment I lose my child. I am a new, scared, panicked person most of the day-- which I do my best to hide. Because I’m ashamed of it. But I am constantly in fear of the future. What if I cannot care for this child God’s trust to me? What if I can’t maintain this relationship to my child’s father and I ruin my child’s life? What if something happens during delivery? What if my child is differently abled?
And worse yet, these fears hold me back. They are another brick in this new Anxiety Complex I’m building on the campus of my mind. I feel like I live in that complex these days, when I used to roam around in the meadows of imagination.
You’re going to make it.
Ope! Optimism for the win. The one thing that does conquer all of the shitiness that is being pregnant is knowing how much I already love my child. Whomever he/she is. How proud I am to be the harboring this life. How intentional I will be in showing him/her nothing but love and devotion and empathy and kindness. That holding him/her in my arms will be the sweetest release I ever experience-- the ultimate life experience. That will have made all of this blog post worth it.
And I’m up for it.