Pregnancy has been a joyous and easy journey for me. My skin is glowing, my energy levels are high, and I have actually never slept better in my life. People stop me on the street to compliment me on my beautiful growing belly and to tell me how pregnancy suits me. Working as a dental hygienist, constantly bending over patients has proven to be quite easy and my slowly growing midsection has not proven to be an obstacle at all. I am truly lucky, especially since this is my first pregnancy.
Okay, I hope no one actually read that without gagging a little or happened to believe a single word of it! Let’s be real…pregnancy is a really beautiful thing, but that doesn’t mean that it is free of challenges, especially if this is your first time and you don’t really know what to expect. I knew that pregnancy was going to be physically challenging of course. I mean, there’s the inevitable growing of the midsection and the weight gain (I’ve actually never seen these numbers on my scale before!) What I didn’t realize were the emotional and mental challenges I would also be experiencing.
I’m currently 21 weeks pregnant and expecting a baby girl this October. I feel excited, nervous, and overwhelmed—basically all the main feelings that women feel when they find out they’re expecting. I’ve bought all the baby books you’re supposed to read, and learned what I can do to help relieve nausea, help an aching back, and how to fashionably dress up your baby bump. But the most important lesson I’ve learned so far is to let things go and to just go with the flow. There’s a lot that is in our control, like what type of foods we can eat, taking adequate rest breaks throughout the day, and drinking enough water. But there’s also a lot during pregnancy that we can’t control! I couldn’t control the strong round ligament pain and cramping I started to experience later in my first trimester, and was in so much pain I couldn’t stand upright. I couldn’t control the varicose veins and additional cellulite that started popping up all over my legs, which made me feel so extremely self-conscious. I couldn’t control the hormonal acne all over my face and back, no matter how many types of topical pregnancy-safe treatments I tried, and felt like I didn’t recognize my face in the mirror anymore.
I learned that what I can control is how I react to all these new changes to my body, which I have to say was difficult for me to do. My body is growing and changing to accommodate this new life that is inside of me. My cramping and ligament pain meant that my ligaments were stretching and my uterus was growing to make more room for my daughter to grow strong. My varicose veins meant that there was more blood flow strongly pumping through my body to help keep my daughter nourished. My hormonal acne meant that there was a surge of hormones needed to keep my daughter on pace with her growth and development. All of this is for her.
I’m planning on taking this new “go with the flow” mentality when it comes time to deliver and finally meet her. Things may not go as planned, and that’s okay. Epidural, no epidural, natural birth or unplanned caesarean…all I can do is control how I react to whatever comes up, to keep calm to the best of my ability, and remember that in the end I’m going to be holding a beautiful baby girl in my arms that made all of this worth it.