There’s so much more than 10 things, but a woman’s gotta start somewhere.
1 I Am Not Infertile: I’ve had this reoccurring thought/fear I’m infertile and would deserve it because deep down I’m not a good person. I don’t precisely know its origin, but it’s work in progress. I was always undecided about having children, mostly on the “no thank you” side, so it made “sense” if I wanted one, I wouldn’t be allowed because other people were more sure. 6 months into pregnancy before the baby was moving all the time, I was still partly convinced I wasn’t pregnant. Just a sliver of me still feels undeserving, thus something will go wrong, but it’s hard to separate this thought from some typical general anxiety about pregnancy. New mantra: I am deserving of creation.
2 I Can Have A “Good” Pregnancy: I can’t tell you who I know that’s had a “good” pregnancy, meaning free of health complications or fear thereof. I thought I was surely doomed to something going wrong, but first trimester nausea, occasional vomiting, and wacky appetite and my current occasional nightly hip pain and peeing around the clock is nothing bad. I read about the possibilities of what to watch out for, but I rarely carry around the fear of the wrongs. I can’t say I had some fancy preggers glow, but I’m THANKFUL I don’t have to worry about one of the 100s of things others sadly have to go through. With that does come some guilt. I feel I can’t talk about my pregnancy being a good one without maybe hurting someone’s feelings, someone with a more negative experience. I wish I heard more success stories than negative ones in the beginning, which I feel is helpful whether your pregnancy is or isn’t riddled with a complication.
3 Baby Registries Are A Thing: My biggest shame on this list is not knowing this is such a huge thing! I wasn’t going to make a public one, but after repeated encouragement, I did. I was surprised certain people contributed because you start to expect who’ll do what and nobody did anything I expected. Utterly baffling and heart warming. I also learned people just want to get what they think is a good idea instead of what you need, but that’s mostly baby shower related. Opening up all my Amazon boxes was my baby shower and I loved it.
4 I Can Keep It Simple: In Jamaica, I didn’t see anyone with strollers, baby carriers, and breast pumps. Cribs were rare and babies mostly wore cloth diapers. I was aiming for a similar experience, but see #3. I didn’t want to indulge in the consumerism of pregnancy and babies because minimalism is one of my core values, so doing a registry was difficult. Ultimately if people wanted to buy me stuff, it was better to let it be though I resisted quite a bit. I’m looking forward to experiencing how some of these things make the experience easier, but I look forward even more to giving it away to those who need it, though these modern cloth diapers are the cutest.
5 I Can Be Vegan & Pregnant: If you thought doing veganism to yourself is bad, it’s worse for pregnant people. People’s uneducated obsession over protein is ridiculous. They won’t go look up what protein is, maybe it seems too complex to understand so they get generic and refer to what doctors and society says. I wish people cared more about experiencing a balanced diet for themselves than about what vegans are doing.
6 Cravings & Weight Gain Don’t Have To Change (Much): I expected to crave super weird things like pickles with peanut butter and even pica, or to send my partner on random night runs for food and to gain all the weight along with it, but that’s not how things have to go! As a vegan, I craved meat a handful of times, but I did a post on that already you can read here. Honestly, that was my weirdest craving! I had desires, but once I tried it, once was enough. I didn’t eat a bunch of ice cream, sweets, chips, soda, etc. and I found it extremely uncomfortable to overeat, especially in the final trimester. Maybe it helped I wasn’t a junk food eater before? Maybe it’s why I didn’t gain a lot of body weight, mostly baby got it. It’s taboo to say “I don’t want to get fat while pregnant”. I thought I’d have to restrict myself to avoid it, but nopes. I ate as usual and more if I needed to. To think I cried real life tears about wanting fries twice in a week in the first trimester. It was nothing!
7 Pregnancy Doesn’t Always Mean Being Emotional: There’s an idea pregnant people are super emotional. In the beginning, my body was doing stuff I had no control over including rearranging my hormones, so of course I was more emotional! After my 12th week, things went almost back to normal. If anything, I learned it’s okay to express my feelings more because I want my child to freely express them-self – I had to practice. I’m more willing to cry and be vulnerable rather than hide my feelings, which I feel isn’t heavily related to the assumption of pregnancy = emotional.
8 My Body Is Powerful: I can’t say I knew my body that well before pregnancy, but I was on the journey to knowing more by eating more whole foods, meditating, and exercising. I learned SO much about my body and the process of creation. Ever heard of the upper part of the uterus called the fundus? I read only two pregnancy books and I believe you only need the one: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Having a child is one of the most natural things the body can do and it knows how to handle it for almost all cases of pregnancy.
9 Prenatal Care Can Be Wonderful: Doctors learned about childbirth from midwives. Doctors are far more regulated, thus more rigid in their prenatal advice whereas midwives are vastly more open to giving moms a complete experience. All my appointments have been at least 1.5 hours long once per month and for the final weeks, I’ll see her every week for just as long. We discuss my fears, many random questions about the things I read online, diet and exercise, alternatives to modern medicine and practices (ie, we used a fetal doppler rather than ultrasound), and the entirety of the process in general. I didn’t have to use Google as my backup doc. I could always text or call her and most importantly she gave me the answers to both sides of everything. I never imagined my prenatal care could be so intimate, powerful, and most importantly, it’s how I want it.
0 Comparison & Judgement Sucks: It’s hard not to compare pregnancies and judge what other parents have done or are doing. We all want the ideal experience, but it can still create separation to side eye other people’s decisions. I’m absolutely not perfect at comparing. There’s a lot parents do I do not want to touch. I don’t always know how not to judge, but I actively work on remembering it’s none of my business and to desire the best for people regardless. I didn’t make their children. The same way I wish people would get out of my business is how they feel, too.
Read the next ten here!