Listen, when you get pregnant, your body doesn’t even fully know what the heck is going on. So many things are shifting and changing to make space for that little human inside of you that you kind of lose track of the amount of weirdness unfolding from your body that is now a bit foreign to you and definitely being borrowed by a stranger for 9 months. I always joke about how odd it is that a human moving around inside us is normalized and we, like all the other pregnancy things, grow a little unfazed by it. But, y’all… there is a foreign body moving around in you and you can see it… that’s freaking weird.
Anyways, I went into pregnancy knowing a whole lot … of nothing. I had nothing but everything left to learn, and I have (to this day) held a baby maybe 2 or 3 times. They say it comes second nature when it’s your own, so I am really banking on mother nature for this one (and my momma!). Though I knew it’d be an odd 9 months or so until baby gets here, I didn’t realize just how much or what all would happen to me, my body, what I needed to do to prepare for baby, etc. Let’s just say there have been quite a few laughs, some gasps, and a whole lot of fun over the last almost 7 months between me and Paul. So, I am sharing with you what I didn’t know but now do in hopes of helping all you future moms-to-be when it comes to be your time!
- Your belly might not grow until month 6, but that doesn’t mean something is wrong with you.
I really started to get concerned that I didn’t have that big ole pregnant belly yet, but also certainly haven’t hated being on the smaller side throughout pregnancy up to this point. But, relatively speaking, I am big for my frame and my hips are certainly letting me know. Just remember: Every body is different, and yours will surely take to pregnancy completely different from your sister, best friend, mom, etc. To all the naysayers telling me “You’re too small for going on 30 weeks”… back off… just kidding. 😉 Well, sorta… Haha. I don’t like people commenting on my body when I am not pregnant, and -surprise- I don’t (nor do other pregnant ladies) like it while being pregnant. If your baby is healthy and growing at a perfect rate, then put on the blinders and put in the ear plugs and just keep doing your thing, momma! And, on the same token, your baby might not be growing quite like they’re supposed to, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. People commenting on your belly have no idea what your circumstances are, so just keep doing what you’re supposed to, keep seeing your doctor and doing what they say, and that baby will be perfect no matter what. You will get so much unsolicited advice from the second people know you’re pregnant, but just smile and say “thank you”, and toss out about 90% of what people tell you unless it’s someone you love and trust as a source for pregnancy information.
- Buy seamless panties!
I never thought about how my panties with a ribbing or elastic top would dig into my growing uterus, but one week it’s like my uterus just puffed out and my panties were so uncomfortable and left almost a bottleneck-like line on my puffy lower abdomen area. It didn’t hurt necessarily, but I am sure it couldn’t be good, so I went and purchased a ton of seamless undies from Aerie, and it has made all the difference for comfort.
- Stores DO NOT CARRY maternity clothes (OR THEIR OWN MATERNITY LINES)
Oh how I wish I had researched and known this before being in dire need of jeans because my regular ones all of a sudden didn’t fit over night (yes, you can literally fit in something one day and not the next). Y’all, the most tears I have shed in pregnancy have legit been because every store I went into said “Oh we stopped carrying our maternity line in store” or, the few places that did, “we don’t carry that size in store”. For real you guys. Every. Single. Store. I almost had a preggo meltdown in Gap at the lady who told me “We don’t carry maternity anymore in store” but my mom led me out before I did… haha. I have a hard time finding jeans in general, because I am 5’1, and a size 0 while my actual hip width is a 00. It makes finding jeans near impossible, but I have found Madewell denim is THE BEST, and I freaking love their 9″ high rise. Those are around $130 and I am down to pay that for my everyday denim. (This is my go-to basic denim from there) They make me feel long and lean, and they’re great quality. But, listen, I am not spending $200 on maternity jeans at Pea in the Pod or Motherhood Maternity. That’s crap to take advantage of being a niche market- while knowing you are some of the only people who carry decent maternity clothes- and marking up jeans so much because you KNOW people have to buy them. *Hannah, step off the SOAP BOX* Phew, it’s been frustrating. But, I ordered three different pairs from online at three different prices points (I caved even though I despise buying jeans I have never tried on from online) and I will be sharing all about my favorites so that you do not have to endure the pain I went through in finding a good pair of maternity jeans.
- Your belly button will change
Apparently a lot of people know this… I, however, did not. The first morning I woke up to feel that my belly button was a whole lot more shallow than it was when I went to bed, I kind of flipped. Now, I can tell it’s getting close to popping out, and I just really don’t know how to handle that. Just being honest, lol.
- It’s okay if the first time you feel baby move is kind of scary
I had this expectation for when I first felt baby boy move to be completely over-joyed and a noteworthy moment. But, turns out, it freaked me out more than it excited me. I sat in shock, speechless, for at least 5 minutes and Paul didn’t know what to say. I guess when you feel baby first move, it makes the hypothetical idea of “a baby is inside of me” real. I felt the weight of the realness that I am pregnant hit me, and I felt scared and overwhelmed all at once. Does that make sense? I don’t know. Now, I can’t get enough of it! We sit and stare at him move around, and I feel so close to him because he moves when I say his name or place my hand on him.
- You might not have crazy preggo cravings
I know, the expectation is to crave pickles and ice cream… or sardines and hot fudge, or something ridiculous like that. But, I didn’t have any of those. People ask me all the time “What’s your oddest craving been?” and I am like… ummm Toaster Strudels? LOL. I have just “craved”, if you will, foods I already love but they just sound significantly better in pregnancy. I guess the funniest thing I have gone through is craving foods from my childhood. I have dreamed of Toaster Strudel Scramblers that I grew up eating, Hot Pockets, chicken nuggets with mac and cheese and ketchup mixed in.. like, these are the weirdest things I suppose, but it’s nothing gross. We just have joked that having a kid has taken my own taste buds back to my childhood. The worst part is that I am allergic to all of my favorite childhood foods- I was diagnosed at 20 years old- so I couldn’t satisfy any of my childhood cravings. I suppose… maybe that worked out in my waist line’s favor, though.
- Nothing is quite as “life altering” as you think they’ll be
I just really thought that when I got pregnant my whole life would immediately change. But truth is, life kept going exactly as it did before without much change at all for weeks after finding out. It’s almost eerie how you know something that nobody else does (except your chosen few you shared with), and that life just rolls on. The nausea, if you have it, is definitely the first bit of life change, but even still, life goes on. You find a new normal, a miserable one, but normal none the less. You don’t instantly have this life changing sense of motherhood or fatherhood either. In fact, I couldn’t say I loved this little boy inside of me until recently as my connection with him and his growing physical presence in my life has become more evident. For you men, it might not become truly real to you until that baby is in your arms, and that is NORMAL. You aren’t feeling the baby kick all day and getting a feel for his personality like mom is, so you probably love the idea of them once they’re here… but how can you REALLY love something you haven’t been able to truly or fully experience yet? Don’t be discouraged by that if that’s what you feel!
- I was pleasantly surprised by people ASKING to touch my belly!
Everyone warned me “Oh, just be ready for strangers to swarm you and touch your belly”, but I haven’t had this experience at all! I feel like everyone has been so respectful and asked, even my closest friends and community, before touching my growing belly. Some of them I even laugh at and am like DUHHH you can touch my stomach! I haven’t shown until so late in the game, so I do think I have had this in my favor in regards to random people coming up and petting me… but still, I am definitely pregnant now and I haven’t had one single person just come up and touch me. I did totally pray for that, so God definitely heard me. I don’t like a lot of attention or making a big commotion, and I definitely am choosy about who touches and hugs on me … so I have been so thankful for how respectful people have been and it’s made me LOVE when people ask to touch my tummy!
- Budget for babymoon- it’s not just a fad.
Listen to me loud and clear- you will want a babymoon. Budget for one, do whatever you need to in order to make certain you can get away with your husband before baby comes. We really thought this was just a fad, something people made up in order to have an “Instagrammable Moment” or for the luxurious who can afford a nice vacation… but y’all… it’s real. We really regret that we didn’t plan for one, and now that we are right around 70 days out with packed schedules from now until December, it’s probably not feasible. Mind you, buying our first house was our “babymoon” I suppose… ha. We put a lot of money toward that, obviously, but regardless, I so wish we had taken it seriously early on.
- We didn’t know we would be grieving the closing of a chapter.
With the babymoon thing, part of why it’s so important is because though you’re so beyond excited about what’s to come… it’s still the end of a chapter. Though adding baby is going to make you more full and happier than you probably could have ever imagined (or so we hear 😉 ) you’re still saying goodbye to life as it was and that calls for some grieving. No matter how sweet the coming season on the horizon, the start of a new chapter is the close of another. I cannot wait to meet this little boy that is inside of me. I can’t wait to hug and kiss his cheeks over and over, and it’s hard for me to imagine just how much it is humanly possible to love something you created and brought into this world. But, I have also found myself so incredibly sad, selfish for every minute I can get with Paul, and trying to soak in every second of alone time with him before it’s gone forever. Our normal today will never be our normal again once we have children. I experience just about every emotion possible every day from fear, to excitement, to overwhelming sadness, to urgency to get stuff done, to feeling inadequate. I have wept, like ugly cried to Paul, because I don’t want to lose a moment of life as we know it while we still have it. This is a special season, that time of just you and your husband, and it has been a fun 3 and a half years. Take advantage of absolutely every second, be selfish for time with one another as your due date gets closer, and now- more than ever- be okay with saying “no” to things if it means being with one another. We had no idea that most couples do actually go through mourning the loss of life as it was before baby arrives. I wish we had spoken with people about this beforehand, rather than feeling guilty once we felt these emotions to later find out from friends it’s totally and completely normal. And, not only is it normal, but allow it and welcome it. It’s healthy to grieve loss.
I hope this helps you current moms-to-be feel more normal, you’re not alone! Or, maybe you future moms-to-be reading this note these things and keep it in your back pocket for when this time comes for you. You are so loved, and I am so thankful for you.
THIS DRESS. It’s my favorite preggo go-to dress, and you will absolutely see a lot of it in the next two and a half months. Sorry, but I am so not sorry. Just call me Lizzie McGuire, the outfit repeater. 😉 They JUST restocked this olive color again and I made sure to share it on my Instagram when I saw… but it is unfortunately sold out again already. So hopefully if you really wanted it in olive, you jumped on it when you got the chance earlier this week! But there are so many colors and patterns available, so don’t miss your chance. Head here to grab the most wonderful dress you will ever own. It is designed with pregnant and breastfeeding ladies in mind, but is great for any girl looking for a comfy dress.
All photos by Cottonwood Road Photography for The Cake by Hannah