I was chatting with my friend L the other night, who is about 2 weeks farther along in her (2nd) pregnancy than I am. Another friend, who has decided (along with her husband) that she never wants to have kids, was sitting with us and nodding sagely when L declared, "There are some women who claim to enjoy being pregnant. I think they're all fucking liars. This sucks." I had to gently say, "Actually...I'm kind of enjoying it." And then point out that, unlike L, I didn't spend 2 1/2 months throwing up.
Yes, pregnancy can be a (literal) pain sometimes. I've had bizarre symptoms, like the sleepwalking, and normal ones like a bit of nausea and heartburn which has sent me, for the first time in my life, running for the container of Tums. (We're nearly out.) I've had aches in my hips and back, already, and nothing is ever quite the same two weeks in a row. But...it's still kinda fun. I think it's partly an attitude difference--even the "bad" symptoms I'm looking at rather like a scientist. I feel a bit like Jane Goodall, only instead of researching someone or something else I'm researching my own changes. "Oh! All right then, I guess this week I'm just going to wake up at every little noise during the night. Oh well, at least I have an excuse to take a nap every afternoon!" "Wow, the shirt that I could wear all right last week is in danger of being horribly stretched out if I try to wear it now. Guess it's getting packed up with the others and put away for now. At least I'll be happy to wear it again when I'm back to my old self again. It'll be like gaining a whole new wardrobe!" I'm having fun figuring out what's going on inside me each week and tracking the physical changes.
The fact that I've kept the lifestyle changes to a minimum also really helps. Yes, I've scaled back on my exercise a bit. But instead of Not Exercising, I've simply switched to gentler exercises and toned back the old ones which I kept. I'm not telling myself about all of the things which I can't do (I've had people ask me how "the whole not drinking for 9 months thing is going" who seem mystified when I say that it's not a big deal) and instead focusing on the changes which are taking place, getting myself excited about each stage. Baby belly's starting to show? Eee! I'll finally look pregnant, rather than just feeling it.
I've also found some of the Zen-ness that I so wanted at the beginning. Not that I'm calm, I'm far too excited for that. (There's a baby on the way! There's a new little person that I get to bring into the world, and I can't wait to meet him or her!) But I don't worry so much. I'm careful about things, like when we ride our bikes places. I go a bit slower and am careful to avoid anything which could throw me off the bike or cause an accident. (I mean, more careful than usual.) But for the most part, I've decided not to worry about the million and one things which *could* go wrong. I know some women obsessively check online sites about "is it safe during pregnancy?" and I guarantee those things are only around to drive you crazy with paranoia. Seriously, look them up. Nearly everything says something like, "It's mostly safe, but just to be on the safe side and to be absolutely certain you shouldn't do that/eat that/go there." It's crazy-making and I won't buy into it. I've even--shh! our secret!--licked the spoon a few times when I've been baking, despite the presence of raw eggs. I'm certain that someone, somewhere, will read that statement and be like, "SHE DOESN'T LOVE HER UNBORN CHILD!" but honestly, I think the stress of trying to do everything perfectly is much worse for me and Baby than whatever tiny risk I'm taking. (I've also--gasp!--eaten deli meat.)
One benefit to everything I've been doing is that I've honestly found it pretty easy to keep my weight gain down, and to have just a small start to a baby bump. (I know I said weeks ago that I was showing, mostly I meant to myself. My own view, when I look down, is totally bizarre and makes me feel much larger than I am when I view myself in the mirror. Even now, I'm pretty sure I'd have to tell most people for them to realize that I'm preggo. Which explains why I got wolf whistled and honked at three friggin' times last week while walking home. Unless the baby belly really does it for some guys?) I'm finally wearing maternity clothes full-time (mostly so that I don't accidentally stretch out my old clothes), which required a shopping trip last weekend. (Thank goodness nearly everyone in town was having an "it's finally summer" sale.) While I was at one of the shops I overheard two women behind me talking, one saying that she was there in search of shorts. The other said, in a very derogatory tone, that all of the shorts they had were "only for those anorexic women with basketball-like baby bumps". Umm...when did the ability to not put on 80 pounds while pregnant become something to deride? No, I'm not trying to fat-shame people. But seriously? "Anorexic"? I don't really want to brag, but I have found it rather easy not to pack on the pounds, basically by continuing my normal routine of exercising and eating a well-balanced diet, with just a bit more of everything to compensate for the extra calories I need. I'm back to oatmeal in the mornings (with frozen fruit mixed in while it cooks), and my biggest craving lately has been for fresh summer fruits. (Shane and I spent about $40 just on fruit at the store the other day...and then ate it all within 3 days.) I haven't been denying anything to myself, either. In the past few days alone I've had cake, a cupcake, and two small bowls of ice cream. It's plenty of sweets, but not too much. It just helps, too, that I haven't been telling myself that it's ok to binge on everything, or give into every craving (except the healthy ones) because "the baby wants it".
Shane's been having fun with my pregnancy too. I found out a couple of weeks ago that around that time the baby's ear bones were forming and it was starting to hear our voices. When I told Shane he leaned down close to my stomach and said, clearly, "You're adopted, Baby, and nobody loves you." I laughed so hard.
He's also been making fat jokes to/about me. In the presence of several friends, including the new-ish girlfriend of one friend (who has not been around me and Shane long enough to know how we work) I mentioned that I still had about 18 pounds to gain, thinking that this is a crazy number in just 5 short months. Shane said, "Well it's a good thing you're well on your way." I started giggling but the new girlfriend cried out a horrified, "You're such an asshole!" Shane had to point out to her that I was laughing, and "she gives as good as she gets, don't worry". Honestly, the fat jokes are reassuring. They're putting my weight gain (about 9 pounds at this point) into perspective. Also, it's just funny. When I joked the other day that I'm slowly turning into two people, Shane answered, "Yeah, and you're having a baby." We laughed about this to a friend, who didn't laugh but instead turned to Shane with a befuddled look and said, "Never, ever let her leave you. You will end up a pathetic, lonely man if you do."
And if you want a baby book recommendation, read "Bringing Up Bebe" by Pamela Druckerman. If you want to know what to stay away from, avoid ever opening "What to Expect When You're Expecting". That one falls into the category of crazy-making paranoia. Seriously, it will make you regret the fact that you ever decided to have a baby, and worry constantly. Just don't open it.