Ask any mother what pregnancy is like and you will hear a myriad of responses. Most of them fall into the two general categories of "wonderful" and "terrible." The opinions tend to be pretty black or white. Some women feel the opposite of what they normally feel without a baby in the womb, and for some women the whole experience is quite a blur. I am thankful to look back on three very similar pregnancies because my memory is pretty lousy, and I might not remember what happened when if they were much different because of the short time between them. I laugh thinking about the things no one told me, so I have come up with a list of those five main things.
Everyone is nicer to pregnant women.
I'm sure there must be exceptions to this, but generally I am amazed at how true this is. You start showing your growing baby belly, and people smile, they open doors, and you are treated with such courtesy in public. I know one mom who says she wants to be pregnant again so she can feel like a celebrity. It's really funny. Of course at some point I feel so huge that I get tired of the "big-eyed" stares. I asked my husband last time during the last trimester if I could just start picking my nose when people did that to see what they would do! I can't remember if he laughed.
An expecting mother has a right to educate herself and decide.
Some women think that they have no choice when it comes to what kind of health care to seek, whether or not to have sonograms, what vitamins to take, what kind of exercise to do, what kind of tests, labor and delivery plan to have, and the list goes for miles. I think the danger is that some women find that they are pregnant, and they shift into "emotion" mode and neglect "intellect" mode. The decision to let someone else do all of the thinking and talking eliminates true education, diaologue, and leaves questions unanswered. We won't have any questions if we don't do some research. I wish that I could say I did this, but it wasn't until my third pregnancy that I got in the game educationally speaking. It's important to do some reading and praying about what happens when our baby or babies are inside of us!
"Morning-Sickness" is not a mind game!
Some people think pregnant women make this up in their minds. I don't recall ever doing this, but if I ever meet someone who does this, I will gladly tell them they are wrong. The women, like me, who get truly sick during pregnancy cannot in any way "shake it." It is overwhelmingly unbearable, and it leaves you unable to eat, sleep, or function for however long it lasts. I am so thankful to have a husband who believes me when this happens, and he even holds back my hair and goes through the storm with me! God has His divine reasons for this kind of trial. I have yet to figure them out, but the good thing is the trial ends after a period of time. I'm always closer to Jesus afterwards, so that is always a good thing!
Nesting is oh, so real.
At some point most pregnant women have the uncontrollable urge to pluck their eyebrows, color-arrange all of the kitchen sticky notepads, build a new closet storage system in the guest bedroom, change the curtains and rods after removing all of the blinds, breaking some and ordering replacements, and force their spouses to carry boxes of old garage sale items up stairs or to the garage and vacuum and organize every compartment in the car - twice. This is all in the name of making way for baby to arrive. Of course a Christian who relies on the power of Jesus can be slave to no urge, but the fact is it is a very real urge. I am organized normally, but I become a nesting queen during pregnancy. I have a friend who is on her fourth pregnancy and fifth move in five years. I am sure she can attest and say she is extremely grateful for those nesting instincts!
What and when to eat becomes a nagging daily battle.
I live in the land of plenty. I wonder how different this would be if I did not. I struggle for at least one-third of the entire pregnancy with not having any motivation to eat and looking at food and not wanting to touch it. Smells and fatigue seem to play a huge factor in this. I am not very educated about this strangeness, so to me it remains a mystery. I have always been a "three meals a day," non-snacker. I'm too busy and forgetful to snack, and this constant desire to eat but indecisiveness about what to eat really irritates me. Can I say that again? It really irritates me. I don't want to slow down and eat when I just ate something thirty minutes ago, but I must because this is more about the baby than me. I think my husband and I argue more about this than anything else during pregnancy!
I probably could continue, but those are the main things I can say surprise me about pregnancy that I know now. To be sure there are lovely and wonderful things about being pregnant such as the "radiant, glowing feeling" that comes over you as those hormones get hard to work. There is a sweet intimacy between a Christian mother and her Savior and a new awareness and empathy with the mother of our Lord that most of us suddenly feel with pregnancy. That part of the gospel becomes more alive to mothers, and it brings us much joy. There is the fun of wearing weird, cool clothes, talking "pregnancy shop" with other moms, but the best thing of all is the fruit of the womb, that sweet bundle that God grows within our bodies. No matter what happens after conception we know that God has planned this blessing inside to bring Him glory, and for us to have a part in that is a miraculous, beautiful thing!
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