I’m going to be a mom. Any day now.
I say that with a proud smile every time someone asks me how far along I am. In many ways it’s also a scary thought, especially the not knowing part: when will I go into labour, how will I react and how much exactly will it hurt?
Anyone who knows me knows that I like to be in control. I don’t like change, and I always always have a plan B. But the longer I’m pregnant, the more I realize that I’m NOT the one in control.
It’s just that I’m a control freak. Maybe this stems from being a freelance writer and my own boss lady who’s forced to be organized and in control of constant deadlines. Or maybe I’ve always been like this. Either way, to accept that I cannot control this situation, the giving birth part in particular, gives me serious heart palpitations and my inner type-A is freaking the eff out.
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BEING PREGNANT FEELS LIKE…
Before I sound like a neurotic pregzilla, let me say how grateful and fortunate I am to even be pregnant. Many of you know that our little nugget has been long underway. Five years to be exact. We’ve been through years of fertility treatments, miscarriages, and the roller coaster of emotions that comes with it.
The cycle of hope, expectancy, disappointment, and depression seemed unbearable at times, but we stuck through it because we desperately wanted a baby, and because I have someone by my side that loves me very much and puts our happiness and my happiness above everything. I won some kind of relationship jackpot with Thomas, and it’s not taken for granted. Getting pregnant and staying pregnant was a miracle and while I’m well aware that stressing is bad for both me and the baby, my control-freaking self is at war with those raging pregnancy hormones.
1. TRIMESTER – HELLO HORMONES
From 4-12 weeks / 1-3 months
I spent the first three months on the verge of vomiting at every turn. Keeping the pregnancy a secret wasn’t exactly an easy task, but no one sniffed out my uncontrollable urges for salt and sweets in mass quantities. They just thought I really dug empty carbs in a major way. I mean, I do, but. It was overkill.
And then there was the fear. Sure, it’s only natural to worry a bit throughout the pregnancy – after all, this whole baby thing is nail-bitingly unpredictable, and you just want so badly for it to go perfectly. But the level of anxiety in a pregnant woman’s mind… oh man, it’s seriously messed up. And at this stage I’m not even talking about the fear of labor, fear of pain and fear of total destruction of my lady parts – although that did cross my mind.
My biggest worry was loosing our baby.
Here he is at 10 weeks. We still didn’t know the gender at this point ↓
I couldn’t google pregnancy without reading the bad news that awaited my unborn child and me. Words like “ectopic pregnancy”, “birth defects” and, of course, the most dreaded word of all “miscarriage” popped out at me from every pregnancy chat room. Not to mention the recklessness of drinking a cup of coffee, taking an aspirin or eating canned tuna. Lord have mercy on those who don’t abide and behave.
So, Google didn’t help. Big surprise. But after talking to doctors I learned that despite the possible perils of not eating right, not working out and the many, many other things that could go wrong, the odds were overwhelmingly in my favor. I discovered that once you see the fetal heartbeat at an early ultrasound around 7 weeks pregnant, your chances of miscarriage drop to just 2 percent. Those are good odds.
At our second ultrasound at week 10 when we saw a tiny, little human on the screen, that’s when it became real and I dared believing. I just knew this was it and that was our little baby.
2. TRIMESTER – FEELING FABULOUS
From 13-27 weeks / 4-6 months
Whereas the first trimester was a bit of a torment, I felt on top of my game in the second trimester. I spent the weekends in a cozy sweater and fluffy socks — along with zero shame for lounging about in a decade-old pair of sweatpants. I had never been bigger, but my pregnancy made me feel gorgeous and more feminine than ever. All the comments about why my belly wasn’t bigger or how much weight I had gained didn’t bother me. I honestly couldn’t care less what other people thought because I felt amazing and happier than ever before.
As a bonus, my appetite was back, and every meal I ate felt like a true indulgence—like a food hug, if there were such a thing. It was utterly glorious.
In my second trimester my belly began to show. I felt him kicking and we learned that we were having a little boy. Those baby kicks are the best feeling in the world and whenever I sang for him and then stopped, he would kick until I started singing again. I was so happy.
3. TRIMESTER – TIRED OF BEING TIRED (AND BIG)
From 28-40 weeks / 7-9 months
In my third trimester, the excitement of meeting our little man and the thought of giving birth coexisted in my mind. I wish I could say that I can handle whatever the childbirth experience dishes out, but in the spirit of honesty, it scares the ** out of me. I spent a good month stressing over how I could and would endure the pain, and the lack of control in this situation gave me serious anxiety about what I’m about to face.
Another thing about the third trimester is that your body begins to be overworked. You’re at your heaviest, the belly is huge and everyone likes to point it out. So far I’ve been lucky that my hands and feet haven’t been particularly swollen, which is otherwise fairly common. But now at week 40, I ache all over and my ankles have officially gone AWOL. I can’t put on my socks in the morning and when I move, I waddle like a penguin.
My best friend told me how people on the street smiled at her when she was pregnant. But people on the street don’t smile at me. They stare. Like I’m about to blow up any moment. And who knows, they might be right.
The third trimester is definitely a challenge, but I haven’t lost my sense of fabulousness (not on the inside anyway).
THE UPS AND DOWNS OF PREGNANCY
Being pregnant is an emotional roller coaster.
One minute I’m flying high and the next I’m weeping over a life insurance ad. Actual tears. The hormones that mess with my mood are really flooding my system.
For the most part, being pregnant has been the best experience in my life and I feel so blessed. In my 34 years on this earth I’ve never experienced anything more powerful and beautiful than this. Being pregnant and feeling this little life growing inside of me has been profoundly life-altering and beyond words.
I’ve written a letter to my unborn child, despite how goofy it sounds, and it actually felt nice. It made me think about all the fun times, the kisses and adventures we’ll be having together as a family, and now I REALLY can’t wait till he arrives.
A LETTER TO MY BABY BOY
You are my first child. My first son. My first everything, really. We’ve been sharing this body for quite some time, and we’ve already experienced so much together.
I’ve lived a long life before you, though. And I know that this amazing life also comes with struggles and pain that simply has to be endured. I won’t always have the answers, but I know that we will figure it out together.
When you try new things, I promise not to show you that I’m scared. Deep down I might be terrified of what might happen, but I won’t let my fears slow you down. I’ll tell you to take chances, to go for it, to trust yourself. I promise to trust you.
Oh, I promise you adventure, too. Plenty of them. Your dad will teach you how to do math, how to be just and fair and how to speak your mind (that’s kind of his thing) and I’ll show you how to forgive, how to conquer your fears and follow your heart. I will show you the world, both the beautiful and the sad because life isn’t perfect, but we still have so many things to be thankful for.
If you like kung fu like your dad, we’ll travel to China together so you can practice with real Shaolin monks and meet your own Mr. Miyagi. And if you ask me where the lions live, we’ll go to the savanna in Africa so you can see them in the wild where they belong.
Football, dance, martial arts – volcano boarding, too (when you’re old enough) – I promise to let you try whatever grabs you and to let you quit when you don’t love it anymore.
When you have a bad day, I will listen or give you room to breathe. And when you get upset or really, really mad at me, I promise that I’ll try to understand. I’ll be patient; I’ll try, anyway.
Mostly, little one, I promise to love you. I’ll say it and show it so you’ll always feel it. Loving you has been my favorite adventure so far and it’s the strongest feeling I’ve ever felt.
I can’t wait to meet you.