I've discovered something that is totally ubiquitous yet completely foreign to me. Pretty much every mother on the planet has gone through this, yet I know next to nothing about it. I'm speaking of pregnancy.
I am currently beginning my tenth week of growing an embryo, and the whole process is still very abstract to me. This was a planned event, though my husband and I were taken a little off guard by the speed of conception. We had spent the last thirteen years making sure that conception never occurred, so it was very strange to reverse our mindsets and actually start trying to make the sperm and egg meet. I just assumed that it would take a long time for me to get pregnant after being on birth control pills for over a decade. I guess a woman never knows whether her ovaries are working right until she actually gets pregnant. For some reason I thought I'd be one of those women with weak ovaries. Obviously I was wrong.
I have spent zero time around pregnant women, so I'll be learning as I go for the next seven months. Of my close girlfriends, none of them have started a family, and the news of my pregnancy actually makes most of them a bit uncomfortable. They're not sure how to deal with me, and I'm not sure how to deal with my new pregnant self or them. I guess we'll be figuring that out as we go. I've never really had a particular affinity towards womanly things, and I have more male friends than female. I previously had little need for womanly advice or company--I didn't feel I shared much in common with other females--but now things have changed. Since I have few friends to discuss my pregnancy with, I've been drawn more to my mom, my mother-in-law, and random women I overhear discussing baby stuff at the grocery store. I've never felt the need for "girl time," but lately I've been craving more matronly company. I want more women in my life that can talk about pregnancy and help me wrap my brain around what's happening to me.
So far, the first two months of my pregnancy have gone quite smoothly. I assumed all pregnant women suffered from nausea during the first trimester, so my total lack of morning sickness and nausea worried me. Was mine a weak pregnancy because I wasn't getting sick? Was the embryo not implanted correctly? The internet is an amazing source of information about pregnancy, but it can get me into trouble at the same time. When I searched for information regarding a lack of nausea among pregnant women, I found some sources saying that a quarter of pregnant women never experience nausea and that I should count myself lucky. Another site said that a lack of morning sickness is very rare and can mean a higher risk of miscarriage. The internet is a double edged sword. For every pregnancy question I research, I can find sites supporting opposite opinions on the matter. As it turns out, my mom never was sick with my brother and me. So I guess I'm just one of those lucky women.
The most difficult part of my pregnancy so far, besides giving up coffee, has been the realization that I am not in control of my body any more. I've always been an active and healthy individual with a healthy body type, but I'm already beginning to grow out of my jeans. I know I should be mostly concerned with the health of the baby growing inside me, but it's hard to accept the fact that I can no longer control what my body will look like. I basically use to "eat to survive." I didn't get that excited about food; I ate what was good for me and didn't care too much about flavor. I definitely had my weaknesses for ice cream, but overall I maintained a very bland but healthy diet. Since being pregnant, I've been experiencing hunger pains like I've never felt before. They occur every couple hours, and I'm now craving completely different types of foods. I've gone from a vegetarian to a meat-eater (I had forgotten how delicious a hamburger can taste!) and from a sporadic eater to someone who needs to eat every three hours. Women aren't supposed to gain much weight during their first trimester, but my waistline is already growing. Is it selfish and vain to worry about weight gain during pregnancy? I've seen plenty of women who've given birth and gotten back into shape in no time, but what if it's a struggle for me? Is my self image tied that much to my physical appearance? I guess I should appreciate these early months regardless of any slight weight gain because it's only the beginning. My body is being hijacked by another being, and my belly is only going to get bigger from here on out. In five months I may be wishing to return to these early months of pregnancy when I could still fit into most of my normal clothes.
For now, I take my prenatal vitamins on a daily basis, eat about five meals a day, and feel my pants get a little tighter each morning. I know there's no such thing as maternity waders, so thankfully I have a pair with ample room to grow into.