It’s been interesting for me to note the changes in my body, and my mood as I progress through this pregnancy. I am now in the third trimester, and at 29 weeks have only 25% of the pregnancy left (give or take of course).
Every trimester and up to a point, every week is slightly different, but for me (as for many women who struggled with infertility before getting pregnant), the most important milestones and indicators of whether this pregnancy is going well or not have been tied to how well the baby seems to be doing. Reassuring ultrasounds, encouraging test results, and reaching that magic viability date of 24 weeks have all meant a lot more than how I may be feeling on a given day.
While it’s somethng I’ve noticed since we first started telling people about the pregnancy, it seems like in the last week I can’t escape the message that pregnancy is some horrible ordeal that must be endured and suffered through, rather than a miracle to be cherished and appreciated.
On Sunday, I started a new pre natal yoga class. The class is an hour and half long, but the first half hour or so is devoted to a talk on a pregnancy related topic such as preparing for labour, or proper nutrition while pregnant. However, this Sunday the instructor told us she was getting over a cold and since her voice was in rough shape, she’d turn the floor over to us for a discussion.
The chosen topic of discussion? Pregnancy complaints. So, for the next half hour, I got to listen to the other women discussing their aches and pains and all of the ways that their bodies have suffered over the course of their pregnancies.
Then, two days later, as I approached 29 weeks, I went online to read about what’s happening with me and baby at this particular point in time. Since I don’t think I could do justice to what I read by simply describing it, below is a direct quote from the first website I went to describing what being 29 weeks pregnant is like:
“Let’s get right to the point: You’re a bloated, water-retaining mess. Chances are good you can’t get your sneakers on or your wedding ring off, so get comfy in your slippers. Your pants don’t fit. Your shirts don’t fit. And now, thanks to the swelling in your feet, your shoes don’t fit. You can thank a wonderful thing called edema for that. Go edema!”
Seriously?? I was shocked to read about what a horrible state I was in. I really didn’t think things were so bad. I felt my feet, and my shoes seemed to fit fine. I checked to see if my fingers were swollen, and was easily able to slide my rings off. And as to clothes fitting? Like the vast majority of women, by the third trimester I’d been wearing nothing but maternity clothes for several months. So while I did feel like I’d gotten a lot bigger over the last few weeks, my clothes were made to accomodate that, and felt as comfortable as always.
I realize that pregnancy results in a lot of changes to a woman’s body, not all of which are pleasant. And I realize that for some women, these changes and side effects are more severe and can be extremely uncomfortable, and even prevent them from functioning normally on a day to day basis. I am by no means trying to minimize the very real physical symptoms that prevent many women from enjoying their pregnancies.
My issue is that lately it seems that everywhere I turn, everything I read and hear seems to be telling me I should be miserable, when in fact I’ve probably never been happier. Yes, I’ve been lucky that the pregnancy symptoms I’ve had have been mild in comparison to what some people go through, but I know I’m not the only woman out there to have a positive pregnancy experience. And yet, the focus everywhere sems to be on the negative.
I even see this in my day to day interactions. People are constantly asking me how I’m feeling, and even before I answer, sympathizing that I must be feeling so uncomfortable due to [fill in the blanks with the malady du jour]. After a while, I felt like I was letting people down if I didn’t have some unpleasant story to share, so it got to the point where I was actually relieved to be able to share that in the last few weeks my back and hips have been feeling really sore.This seemed to satisfy them more than my earlier answer that everything was great.
Crazy, yes? But par for the course apparently.