Even though I’m 31, I don’t have many close friends who have kids, and those who do mostly had kids before I met them. Our daughter will be the first grandchild on both sides of the family, and I’m the first of my cousins to have kids. I’ve never been to a baby shower (not complaining). In the past few days I’ve been reading a lot of internet garbage about pregnancy and childbirth. Everything from healthy living mommy blogs with gratuitous photos of bellies to message boards to WebMD. Part of this might be because we go back to school next week and I’m procrastinating syllabus writing and unit planning, but I think part of it is because it’s hard to feel like I have a real-life community of nervous/excited/confused/bloated women to talk to.
I’m not a big group-joiner, so I don’t see myself making buddies at prenatal yoga or through our childbirth class, but all this internet mindlessness did get me thinking about what it is that’s surprised me about being pregnant.
1. I sort of imagined I wouldn’t look pregnant for a few weeks, and then BAM would look 7 months pregnant. I still feel like I appear to be ambiguously full/overweight.
2. Had I realized that strangers might stare at me (when running, when trying to discern if I am in fact full or pregnant), I would have realized I’d hate this, but since I didn’t realize how many people openly stare at pregnant women (or probably anyone who stands out for any reason), I’ve been surprised to feel extremely self conscious almost anytime I go out in public. I don’t even like seeing people I know and love that I haven’t seen in awhile because I get nervous they’re going to want to look at (or worse–TOUCH) my belly.
3. I kept waiting to get really hungry, and I’m kind of sad that that’s never happened. I also haven’t had any weird cravings. Or, at least not what I’d call cravings. I decided maybe I’m just really bad at self-denial all the time, and so eating a bowl of ice cream after dinner or some chocolate in the middle of the day is nothing remarkable. I’m running about 20 fewer miles a week than I used to, which I guess is enough to make up for pregnancy ravenousness. Which is too bad, because one of my favorite things about running a lot is getting really excited about dinner (or dessert). I was hoping for some 3pm “MUST HAVE A MILKSHAKE RIGHT NOW” episodes.
I’ve been really lucky (it seems it really is just a matter of luck) to be able to continue running and feeling pretty good. I’ve been running between 20-30 miles a week this trimester, usually 6 days/week with mostly 3-5 mile runs. I’m not sure how much longer this will be possible, but I’d love to be able to run with some of the new girls when cross country starts in the fall.
A lot of the things I’m not supposed to or can’t do haven’t seemed appealing. While there was a time in my (grad school) life when I’d have an afternoon snack of a latte and a chocolate covered espresso beans, I’m okay with my one cup of coffee in the morning. I’ve probably had about 10 turkey sandwiches in my life. I’m a little squeamish about raw fish anyway, so I’m happy to have an excuse to get my avocado rolls without eliciting eye rolls from sushi-loving companions. And, since all cheese made (and most sold) in the U.S. is pasteurized anyway, I’ve not minded reading the label before continuing on wholeheartedly with my goat and brie cheese loving ways. But the things I do miss…
1. a good, hard, exhausting, crash-the-rest-of-the-day long run or race (followed by calf-slicing pain when trying to walk downstairs in the morning)
2. wine (especially sipping a glass of wine while I cook dinner and catch up with Nick about our days)
3. disregard for sleep (I used to be an “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” person, particularly fond of pre-dawn solitary writing or running time)
Luckily, I have a feeling that the first time I try to run after the little scone arrives, it will probably be hard, exhausting and, even if I can’t crash for the rest of the day, will probably result in pain walking down the stairs in the morning. I’ve also heard that I’ll have no problem finding a way to be sleep-deprived.