7 Things I’ve Learned From Being Pregnant 7 Times
As I sit at my office (very uncomfortably, mind you, because I am approximately 120 months pregnant at the moment), it's hard to believe that I have been pregnant for a total of 7 times now.
Two of those pregnancies were lost in the first trimester, and I am now looking at bringing my 5th child into the world, which–yes–is as strange to me as it probably sounds to you. I mean, who do I think I am? Jim Gaffigan? But regardless, here I am, and with almost 7 pregnancies completed behind me, I can't help but reflect back on the lessons that being pregnant so many times have taught me.
#1: It never really gets easier
Maybe you're one of those pregnant people that sail through and feel great and have that glowy, dewy skin that, quite frankly, seems like something out a dream and, if so, good for you. I'm happy for you, truly. But if you're not the glowy, feel-awesome pregnancy type, I'll just say that I 100% feel your pain and unfortunately, I also have to say that despite my best intentions, pregnancy never has gotten easier for me.
I mean, sure, I start out each pregnancy with the best of intentions–I vow to exercise and “keep in shape” (whatever the heck that means); I vow I won't eat 5 pieces of pizza or binge on ice cream late at night. I promise not to be cranky to my husband and stay active and not let my brain turn to mush. And each time, friends, pregnancy has thrown me for a loop. You might think that by the 7th pregnancy, I would have figured out how to tame the pregnancy beast, but the truth is, I haven't. Pregnancy does what it wants and for some women, it's hard and miserable and there's nothing we can really do to stop it.
#2: It can truly be a terrifying time
The one thing that I have come to terms with over my 7 pregnancies is the fact that there are no guarantees with pregnancy. And unfortunately, that can really, really mess with your mind. After two losses myself, and being exposed to the heart-wrenching stories of so many mothers who have lost so much, it can be an incredible challenge to face pregnancy. While some may feel joy, others may feel downright terror–and you know what? Both emotions are 100% OK and normal. There's no “right” way to be pregnant.
#3. The first trimester is like nothing you will ever experience
I've had “meh” first trimesters that didn't really phase me, and I've had first trimesters from hell, and let me just tell you: if you're experiencing the first trimester from hell, you're not imagining things–it really is that hard. If you feel like you've been hit by a truck, like your brain has melted away, like you will never be able to move your head without feeling nauseous, let me say your feelings are all valid, but I promise, it will get better.
#4 Survival mode = the only mode
I like to think of myself as one of those people who aren't affected by pregnancy. In my head, I will soar along like the moms I see on Instagram, continuing to run my household and plan fun activities and cook meals and host dinner parties. But in reality, I become somewhat useless. And I used to beat myself up about it, but now? I embrace survival mode for what it truly is: temporary and necessary. So repeat that after me, ladies!
#5 Pregnancy friends are the BEST
Seriously. I don't care how old or young they are, how many pregnancies they have had, or how different their pregnancies are from yours. When you have friends who are going through pregnancy with you and totally understand your need to research pregnancy pillows, your cravings for a taco, and your exhaustion that runs bone-deep, well, it's a priceless gift to get you through.
#6 Every pregnancy is totally different
I mean, really. Not one of my pregnancies has been the same, other than the pretty consistent fact that I get huge. But I tell you this only to assure you that, when planning future pregnancies or children, if you had a miserable experience last time, it may be totally different this time. You just truly never know what pregnancy will be like, even if you've been through it before.
#7 Sometimes, it's about getting through in a way that makes sense for YOU
This is perhaps the most important lesson that I have learned, and I fully admit that it has taken me 7 pregnancies and 11 years to fully embrace it. This time around, I am making no excuses, no apologies, and having no guilt about doing what I need to do to get through this pregnancy. The fact that any woman goes through pregnancy and brings a baby (or more!) into this world is a freaking amazing feat and if you need to take an extra nap, skip that family dinner, let your kids watch some TV during the day, or even put pizza on the credit card, then you need to do it. Even if you have a lot of kids, pregnancy and the newborn stage is so very temporary and it's important to realize that sometimes, you have to do what you gotta do to get through. Because you're doing so much already, mama, and you really do deserve a break.
What lessons has pregnancy taught you so far?