I am 7 months pregnant. We New Englanders just finished (yes, just in May) another long frigid winter where we still haven’t seen the sun for days. I look like a real life snowman. Exactly like a snowman. Although I’m usually big on ‘don’t let em’ see you sweat’, it’s time to just say it. Baby body the second time around is awful. Real life snowman like even.
For those of you who know me, I know what you are thinking. So Either stop rolling your eyes or get off this blog. I’m sick of the stigma that ‘thin’ girls can’t possibly feel poorly about their bodies . Body image affects all women. ALL WOMEN. So let me just get that out-of-the-way. Besides, pre-baby body wasn’t thin…just perfectly proportionate thank you very much. So now that we’ve gotten that out-of-the-way…
My New Body
The list of pregnancy complaints is long. I’ve been the same weight and size my entire life and even after having Bailey returned back to ‘normal’ for the most part. I had Bailey at 29 and am now 34. This pregnancy has been entirely different. My doctor says ‘your body just remembers’. Horse shit. My body hates me, that’s what’s going on. It’s not just about weight or size but about how this second pregnancy body makes me feel.
I’m struggling with this new body. I’m struggling that nothing fits me and maternity clothes make you feel even worse about yourself somehow. I”m struggling that I’ve now had to buy bras in different cup sizes multiple times. My skin and my hair are acting differently. Let’s not even get started on how I have to pee every 30 minutes. I don’t feel beautiful or sexy. I feel heavy, tired and huge.
Every now and then I’ll hear a woman say ‘oh I miss being pregnant’ and I want to turn around, shake her, get very close face to face and say “are you insane?!” Yes, my story is just one side of the story and there are women (who are perhaps paid very well by some baby making service?) that love being pregnant, who will tell you pregnancy is all roses…I’m here to tell you, it’s not. My normally boast of being self-confident is well, confused.
Let’s Talk About Hormones
Let me tell you, they are real. So fucking real. My first pregnancy was okay. Minimal hormone changes, none of the weird shit that was supposed to happen did and my hair continued to look amazing.
This time around I can literally feel the hormones swirling around inside of me. I can feel them in my body brought on by the slightest thing that causes irritability. My boyfriend deserves a trophy for putting up with me. I have learned to recognize when my hormones are stirring up and it’s terrifying. I’m crying. I’m sobbing. I can’t complete full sentences. I’m angry and all of it I don’t understand. I mentally wrestle myself to recognize and come back down. So when you are dealing with a pregnant woman no matter what type of context, hormones are not a myth. They are very real.
I just want my body back. I want myself back.
Aches, Pains and Nausea
The first trimester, I was classically sick like you read about. Nauseous, hurled over in pain, couldn’t sleep. The only thing I could eat was pizza. Pizza was my savior. I gave up coffee in the first trimester. Mix that misery with a cold New England winter and all I wanted to do was crawl into a hole and hibernate. How could this pregnancy be so different from my first? I didn’t want to move. I wouldn’t get dressed or put on make up for days or even try. I just kept telling myself I needed to get through it and it would be better after the first trimester just like they say.
At the end of January I took a hard fall on ice landing on concrete. I went flying through the air like superman during a snowstorm. Oh yeah, lots of people saw. It was classic. My body ached and I started to have back pain. Combine that with a body that has extra pounds on it from growing baby and boobs and it’s not good. (I am sure my steady diet of pizza and hibernation didn’t play into my favor either.) My lower back pain continues to the point of tears at night and my doctor recommended physical therapy.
Mental Health Check
When you become pregnant, your body is not your own. The physical changes are immense. You are growing another human inside of you. I am reminded probably every 3 minutes by my very active baby extending a body part into me and not retracting it. All. night. long. You will be directed to get plenty of rest. I am a single working mother, exactly where does the rest come in when you already have kids?
Yes it’s magical and amazing, but creating another human is also an overwhelmingly insane task that’s actually going on within your body. I believe a lot of woman are afraid to talk about their pregnancy woes publicly for the same fear that women don’t talk about how hard it is to have a newborn: we are afraid of being judged. Afraid of the idiot with the lack of insight who will say ‘aww but it’s all for the baby’ or make comments about our ability and desire to be a mother. None of the way I am feeling takes away from my passion to be a Mom again and my excitement for the new baby being here. That will always naturally supersede everything else.
Many women face depression during pregnancy and many factors through out pregnancy can be signs that a mother will suffer from postpartum depression after the baby is born.
With 11- 20% of woman experiencing postpartum depression, why are we not talking about this sooner?
According to the Center for Disease Control, out of the 4 million live births each year, 600,00 of those women suffer from postpartum depression. Those are only the ones we know about. The ones that have asked for help. Think about that. How many cases could be added on to the statistic that we never know about?
So yes, I just want my body back. I want my waist back. I want my boobs to go back to their regular size and my veins to stop showing on my pale New England skin. Mainly, I just want to feel normal. I want to have the energy and enthusiasm to be my normal ambitious self. I want to stop snapping at my family because of my raging hormones and my god, I want to sleep. With an incoming newborn that will have to wait, but it’s still on my wish list.
There is a mile long list of advice that I could give…eat right, sleep as much as you can, work out…but I’m not taking half of it so why should I expect you to? The reality is that just because you’re pregnant, the world doesn’t stop turning and allow you to do these things as easily as it sounds. The biggest piece of advice lately is to stay stress free which is just about as realistic as a purple glitter spotted Unicorn. Prioritize the best you can what you need to do for you. That is my only advice.
First step on my agenda is owning my opportunities. Own it. Talk about it. Do what’s right for you and I’m here to tell you, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to not love your body or to not love being pregnant. It’s okay to cry when nothing fits in your closet. It’s okay to eat the pepperoni pizza! All these feelings are normal and as long as you are taking care of yourself and your new baby then it’s really okay.
I would love to hear anything that’s worked for you or anything you may be struggling with. If you are experiencing any signs of depression while pregnant, I urge you to talk to your doctor about it. You can find more information by CLICKING HERE.
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