Carrying a life is a beautiful experience. When you really sit down and think about it, women are the creators of this world. Without us, life couldn’t continue; humanity would become extinct. If you have children, you know exactly what I mean. If you don’t have children, you’ll know exactly what I mean by the time you have your first ultrasound. While there isn’t much to see, there’s a whole human in there; someone who will come into this world with endless possibilities ahead of them. Even though pregnancy is a beautiful experience, there are things that women don’t talk about. Why? Well, my assumption is that it’s hard to talk about pregnancy. Every woman’s experience is different. I experienced things that my mother didn’t; therefore, she wasn’t able to walk me through my entire pregnancy; she wasn’t able to tell me exactly what to expect. She could only tell me what she had been through and that alone was beneficial enough.
Now that I’ve experienced my first pregnancy, I want to share my journey through it with you all. Again, every woman’s experience is different. I can only share with you what I’ve been through, but hopefully I can spread some knowledge that you hadn’t had before. Whether you’re planning your next pregnancy, your first pregnancy, or you spontaneously ended up pregnant like me, here’s some things that you may can expect:
1. Nausea with no vomiting – Thank God I didn’t have to go through the vomiting phase. The worst part of my pregnancy for me was feeling nauseous 24/7. From the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep, I felt sick. The only thing that ever helped was eating and by eating, I mean physically chewing; because as soon as I stopped chewing, the wave of nausea returned. Some women’s nausea lasts for the first trimester and may even go into the second, but for me, it lasted my whole pregnancy. Eventually I just got used to it to the point where sometimes I didn’t even notice it.
2. Extreme fatigue – My first trimester was the most tiring of the three. It seemed like no matter how much sleep I got, it was never enough. My body was physically drained every day, all day. I ended up having to quit my job at Amazon and dropping out of my Master’s program until the next semester, when my fatigue went away and I could somewhat manage my nausea. With this, you have to decide what is best for you and baby. Sometimes, what’s best, is realizing that you need rest and you can’t do the amount of work that you used to. That’s okay, it’ll pass.
3. Physical insecurities – Although my child’s father and I aren’t together, I thank God that he was with me throughout my entire pregnancy. The first time I noticed the physical changes, I was about 5 months. Even though I knew I was pregnant, it didn’t feel real until I started feeling the little flutters of movement and noticed my stomach getting bigger. It can make you feel insecure when you realize that your clothes don’t fit anymore and that you’ve put on a little extra weight. Everyday my child’s father reminded me how beautiful I was and that I was carrying a child; a gift and that the physical changes were a part of this beautiful journey.
4. Improved skin – The one thing I was grateful for was the fact that my skin was clearing up. With my hormones changing and having to take prenatal vitamins, I noticed my acne and dark spots starting to disappear without a skin care routine involved. It was the glow that everyone referred to and I was finally seeing it for myself around 6 months.
5. Hair growth – Just like with my skin improving, my hair was growing faster than what I could keep up with. For me, this meant a lot because when I moved to Georgia back in 2018, I did the big chop and I was patiently waiting for my hair to grow back. Once again, thank God for the hormonal changes and prenatal vitamins.
6. Hip pain – What I experienced as I started to get bigger was a lot of hip pain. Any long amount of time spent standing in one spot or laying down on one side caused me a great deal of pain. I found it easier to keep walking whenever I was out and about and sleeping on my back, but at an angle so it wasn’t direct.
7. Change in taste – Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a sweet tooth. For some reason, being pregnant led to me being a salt fanatic instead. I always wanted something salty: chips, peanuts, burgers, fries, etc. Of course, hypertension and pre-eclampsia can be detrimental so even with the cravings, you have to have control and watch your intake. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself every now and again though.
8. Emotional changes – I’m usually a very strong person who keeps their emotions on the inside. Being pregnant changed that; blame it on the hormones again. I found myself being sensitive yet irritated at just about any and every thing. There were times where I wanted to cry for absolutely no reason and times where I wanted to curse everyone out for no reason. The best thing to do is to get to know the new, temporary you. Know when you are about to have a break down and learn to take space. Sometimes I laid in my room all day, I went out shopping or I treated myself to a pampering day: mani/pedi and eyebrow threading. At times, pregnancy can be more about supporting yourself rather than looking to others to support you.
9. Worries – For the first time in my life, I became a worrier; someone who’s constantly worried about something. My something was my ability to be a good parent. I stayed up late at night sometimes, just thinking about the type of parent I wanted to be; the type of relationship I wanted my son and I to have. Would he like me? Would he find me annoying? Am I going to be able to provide for him in the way that I want to? Will he find it easy to talk to me about anything when he gets older? I thought about things that were decades from then. Once I got back into my Master’s program, one of my peers told me, “If you’re already thinking about that, that just means you’re going to be a great mother.” I took that and ran with it.
10. Anxiety – This I experienced as I got closer to the end. Pregnancy is the easy part compared to labor and delivery; that’s where it gets scary, especially if you’re a first time mom like me. Even though my doctor walked me through everything at my appointments, I couldn’t help, but think, “What if something goes wrong?” “What if he doesn’t come out healthy?” “What if I can’t take him home?” As crazy as it sounds, this is all normal. The transition women make from not being a mother to being one comes with a lot of anxiety. We just want everything to be perfect and it’s okay to feel that way. Relax, focus on your breathing and manifest positivity throughout your pregnancy, labor and delivery.
As you go through this list, I hope that I’ve prepared you for what may come when it’s your time. This is not to scare you or to make you second guess building a family. This is to be realistic and to give you some tips on what may help control some of these experiences. Pregnancy isn’t easy and it takes a strong woman to go through 9 months of not having very much control over her own body. Someone else is occupying your space, getting their nutrients from you and depending on you to keep them healthy and safe as they prepare to make their entrance into this world. I wanted to give you the opportunity to gain knowledge about what you may be up against so you’re not taken by surprise. Just remember, it’s all worth it in the end.