It may sound strange to say, but I am exactly the kind of expectant mother now that I would have hated when I was pregnant the first time. It’s funny to me how time can change your perspective. I distinctly remember getting so angry at another expectant mother who had written about how she had no sympathy for women who gain too much weight while pregnant, because it just wasn’t that hard to control it. While pregnant with my firstborn, I worked full-time in a field position, went to the gym five times a week, watched what I ate and was still exercising two days after my due date. I gained 65 lbs. I thought she was setting a terrible example for other women- setting the bar too high and making moms (like me) feel inadequate.
With my second child, I did not see the inside of a gym. Ever. I literally subsisted on Christmas cookies through the entire month of December and sat all day at a desk. I gained a total of 14 lbs.
Currently, I am 37 weeks pregnant with my third baby and have put on a total of 8 lbs. Things change.
My first pregnancy was completely uncomplicated by nothing more than normal symptoms. This current pregnancy has been strewn with issues from gestational diabetes to blood clots. When I look back on the attitude I had going into the birth of my first born, I wonder how I could have been so concerned with things that today, seem totally irrelevant. I was convinced with my first that I would not get an epidural; that I was tough, had a high pain tolerance and could push through (pun intended). When in the end, it turned out that getting the epidural ended a day long, exhausting battle in 45 minutes (which was a good thing)- I felt like a complete failure. I began my life as a mother already feeling beaten down and inadequate. When breast feeding didn’t go as I had hoped, the feelings of failure increased exponentially and I barely crept through the hardest months of my life.
I also remember telling someone that there was absolutely no good reason to “schedule an induction”. I knew that babies knew how long they needed to be in for and that it was selfish to do anything but let them come out in their own time. Today, I would totally disagree. I feel like there are lots of good reasons for someone to induce. With my last pregnancy, my daughter was an “unstable lie”, still turning full circles 2 days past my due date. She spent the majority of her time transverse- meaning she was in there sideways. Had my water broken early it would have led to an immediate c-section. I went in to Labor and Delivery on the doctor’s schedule where they turned her and induced me to try and catch her head down. It worked, and I delivered a beautiful, healthy baby.
If I could go back to that 25 year old first time mom with her high expectations- I would give her a hug and tell her to be kind to herself. I would ask her to accept that the best she can do is perfectly great and to realize that no matter how pregnancy and birth happens, to be proud of the blessing. Which is all that counts.
What expectations did you have while pregnant that changed with experience?