If you haven’t yet read the intro to this series, you should do so before reading on for some context.
Before continuing, I’d like to reemphasize that my pregnancy was particularly difficult. Every woman’s pregnancy is different; I am just sharing my personal experience. I thought I’d reiterate that point because my mom read my first two posts and is fearful that by my 10th post, all procreation will cease and the human race will die out 🙂 Moving along…
2. Appetite. Most people have heard the stereotype of pregnant women craving pickles in their ice cream. While it’s true some women crave strange combinations, my experience was a complete loss of appetite altogether during the first half of pregnancy – I actually lost weight during my first trimester. Even the smell of most foods/perfumes was enough to get me gagging. Poor Sean, the only food we ate for four months was muffins, pop ’ems, mac ‘n cheese, soup, and rice – a most random combination! I am seriously not exaggerating; we literally rotated between these five items and Sean couldn’t eat much else because I could not stand the smell. This one wasn’t as much a dignity crusher as just straight up frustrating and a little depressing :/
My appetite got better after the first four months (although I continued to experience severe nausea). At that point, I had an onset of very specific, intense cravings that required immediate satisfaction by sending Sean out on midnight runs to the grocery store (which was conveniently located across the street). On one such occasion, I became insatiably thirsty and craved milk. Sean knew the drill and fetched a gallon of milk – and I kid you not – I drank more than 3/4 of it in a matter of a few hours…it was truly remarkable. Other midnight runs included: hot cheetoes, cheese popcorn, funyuns, blueberry bagels/cream cheese, and cake batter ice cream. Obviously eating nutritious food was of top priority to me during my pregnancy. Oh and Sean very kindly gained some sympathy pounds for me…what a sacrificial husband 🙂 Which leads me right into the next subject…
3. Weight gain. Some of the worst (and most common) advice I received while pregnant was: “you should eat whatever you want, you deserve it!” Unfortunately, I took this advice to heart and at each meal/snacking session I emphatically thought to myself: “girl, you are awesome, you’ve earned this!” One particular night I felt especially fond of this deceitful slogan, and by the end of a two-hour TV show, I was appalled to realize I had just consumed an entire bag of funyuns, half a box of cheez-its, a pint of ice cream, three see’s candies, and a snickers. Even Takeru Kobayashi would have been impressed.
The lack of appetite during my first half of pregnancy had limited my weight gain, but let’s just say I more than made up for it during the second half. I had practically been starving the first half, so when I finally got my appetite back, my food intake rivaled that of Michael Phelps and his 12,000 calorie diet. I began eating in this manner partly because I had been deprived of most foods for four months, but also because my body was not responding well to being pregnant, and the reality of feeling like absolute crap 24-7 was leaving me depressed. So with habits like those mentioned in the previous paragraph, I averaged close to 10 lbs. per month (for a total of 45 lbs.)! When I went in for check-ups, my doctor didn’t seem concerned, so I continued to live it up.
What a mistake! News flash – you really don’t need that many extra calories for the baby while pregnant, and the extra weight doesn’t magically disappear once you give birth. You may think this is obvious (I should have too), but one of my less intelligent moments in life occurred six weeks after giving birth at my follow-up Dr.’s appointment. After facing the scale and feeling less than pleased with the result, I asked my doctor in all seriousness: “so, have I already lost all the pregnancy-specific weight I’m going to lose (extra fluids, blood volume, etc.)? like, is that really it??” She of course said yes, and I followed that up with my next brilliant question: “so you mean…I’m actually going to have to work to lose the rest of it???” She looked at me a little funny, again said yes, and I sat there frantically adding numbers in my head with the result leaving me slightly pale – haha! Luckily I’ve been able to lose all the weight (plus some due to nursing), but it took me four months of an agonizingly strict diet and exercise to accomplish. During my next pregnancy (Lord willing), I will most certainly eat very differently!
Even so, I promise you will never catch me in a two-piece bathing suit ever again. Bless his heart, my husband tries to convince me that the plethora of stretch marks I have acquired look like cool fire tattoos on my stomach, (legs, butt, name your body part), but no matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to adopt that perspective. The best I can do is consider them well-earned battle scars 🙂 For the record though, I definitely would have developed stretch marks whether I had gained 20 or 60 lbs…it’s just another fun/typical side effect of pregnancy!
Other unfortunate aspects of gaining so much weight during pregnancy included finding myself at Kohl’s twice a week searching for the next clothing size up – even the stretchy maternity clothes were no match for my impressive weight gain marathon. Additionally, each time I asked Sean to help me put on/tie my shoes or hand me my drink while immobilized on my corner of the couch (while ironically watching episodes of the Biggest Loser), my pride was squashed just a little…bit…more.
These two challenges were not of the same “dignity crushing” magnitude as most the others, but I thought I’d give you a break after the last post about constipation 😉
The other 9 ways pregnancy crushed my dignity:
Also, read about Caleb’s birth:
And here’s the adventures we had after Caleb’s birth:
Caleb’s Afterbirth – the Hospital (Part 1)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – the Neighbs (Part 2)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – Breastfeeding Blues (Part 3)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – Body Slammed (Part 4)
Caleb’s Afterbirth – Am I an Incompetent Parent (Part 5)