Pregnant: the fantasy and the reality

Before you were pregnant, did you have an idea of what it would be like? And once you were pregnant, was it actually like that? I’ve had years in which to fantasize about being pregnant: how it would feel, what I would do, what I would and wouldn’t eat… all kinds of things. But there’s now a certain difference between what I thought it would be like, and what it’s really like. Can you relate to that?

I’ve weighed the same for year. Around 60kgs. I’m quite strict with myself -if my weight goes over 61kgs I stop eating pastries, sweets and other treats until I see 60 on the scale again. Then I can enjoy cookies and candies again, until my weight goes up, and we start all over again. 🙂 This works for me. The scale is the motivation I need. I can’t diet, so I make sure I don’t have to.

On the day the embryo was returned to my uterus, I weighed less than 59kgs, which is quite a low weight for me. I had decided beforehand that my clothes would continue to fit until I was about 20 weeks pregnant. I was slim, fit and when I was studying midwifery I was taught that one slice of brown bread with cheese per day is enough extra calories for a pregnant woman. So when I was pregnant, I’d stick to that.

Don’t misunderstand me: gaining weight is part of being pregnant, and I have no problem with it. But my scale-as-motivation strategy would be useless to me now, and I didn’t want to gain loads of extra kilos I’d just have to lose again later. I wanted some other kind of motivation. I found a list on the internet showing that you don’t really gain any weight in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and then after that how much you gain in which phase of the pregnancy by a percentage. That’s what I was going to stick to.

Well, that’s what I thought…

During the first weeks with their extreme nausea, I ate anything I could eat. If I didn’t eat, I was even more nauseous. My stomach had to be constantly full, and unfortunately I had no desire to eat healthy food. So that ‘one slice of brown bread with cheese’ was replaced by 10(!) slices of white bread with cheese and jam. Within 8 weeks I’d gained 4kgs… Maybe things will even out somewhere, but look like “my plan” has failed. (I think this is very funny. We’ll see where we end up… 😉 )

When you’re pregnant you get bigger boobs. Ok. But THIS big?! Now, I never had very small boobs, but what happened to them in the first weeks was NOT NORMAL! When I wanted to roll over at night I woke up from the pain, and had to first place my boobs, and then my body. Really. No jokes.

Nobody every told me about that! Bitches! The boobs I mean… (ok, and maybe the women who never told me too 😉 )

I also suspect that they -the boobs- were largely responsible for those 4 kilos I gained so quickly. To test my theory I stood on the scale (now, don’t laugh at me, even though it is hilarious), and asked Denny to lift my boobs, so that I could see the difference in weight.

It may have looked very weird, but do you know how much of a difference there was (even taking into account that you couldn’t weigh it all accurately like this)? 3Kg!! 3 KILOGRAMS!!

Who would have thought?

I clearly remember attending a lecture by a gynaecologist who said, “You can eat everything during pregnancy, ad long as you’re sure it’s fresh. Of course, never tell your clients that, but I’m saying it now.” At that point I thought: if I’m ever pregnant I won’t be picky. I can have sushi, or red meat, or filet americain (paste of raw beef and mayonnaise).

Yeah right hahaha! Now there’s no way I’m taking the chance! When we were in Lapland I had the opportunity to eat reindeer meat, and of course that’s practically inedible if it’s cooked all the way through, so I ate mine like everyone else around me, medium (with an unimpressed Denny next to me). It was delicious, but I can’t really say I enjoyed it. When I got sick the next day (with what turned out to be flu), I was so worried that it was because of the undercooked meat.

So, just like everyone else, I am a pregnant lady who sticks to the rules: no sushi, no undercooked meat…

Life stays the same and I will do the same things
Pregnant or not, life goes on as usual, right? In third world countries they have to keep working, right? They’re in the fields doing their thing, so when I’m pregnant I’ll also just keep doing what I’ve always done.

I wish…

I’ve always said I’d still go backpacking while pregnant. Nicaragua was planned for February. In Nicaragua there are also pregnant women, and babies are born there every day, so why worry?

Until it became more real… First 15 weeks of intense nausea, then a bout of heavy flu in Lapland, and suddenly I thought: what if something does happen there? What if I get sick there? Is it worth it? Me and my big mouth… 3 weeks backpacking in Nicaragua became 4 days in Lanzarote. Almost the same, right? 😉

By the way, some things really are the same, like yoga. And there I still do headstands without worrying. 🙂

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Being pregnant is incredibly amazing
I know there are women who don’t like pregnancy, and women who are sick for the full 9 months, but I have to admit: I do find pregnancy to be incredibly amazing. It was incredibly awful the first few months, but now it’s wonderful. The movements in my belly are more special than I could have imagined. There is a little person growing inside me, and that’s even more precious than I knew (in spite of a sore pelvis, heartburn and lack of sleep). I have heard women say that they really dislike the whole experience of having a mini-human inside them, but as far as I’m concerned, this can last forever! In contrast to the many women who can’t wait to meet their baby, I feel like time should just stand still right now. This is more special than I thought it would be. 1000 times more special. Hopefully it’ll be ages before July rolls around!

Worried, or not?
I don’t worry about things easily, and because I know a lot about pregnancy, I thought I’d recognise everything, and have nothing to worry about. Haha – not! Learning about being pregnant in theory, and actually being pregnant are two very different things! I’m still not very easily worried, and I can usually explain every little ache in one way or another, but truly understanding what I’m feeling? No. Every time I’m at the midwife I have new questions, to which I theoretically know the answer, but now that I’m pregnant i want to hear it from the professional. How do I know what ligament pain feels like? How can I tell form the kicks whether baby’s head is down or up? It feels like she turns every which way! Major itchiness from week 15 to week 20 – is that normal? Broken nights started 2 days before we got a positive pregnancy test – does everyone experience that?

I’m not worried, but I question a lot more than I ever would have expected beforehand. 🙂

How about you? Did you have ideas beforehand which turned out to be completely different in reality? I’m curious!