With all the stress of the holidays, I figured we could all use a little laugh. So here’s how an average day for me goes, as told through amusing GIFs.
*First off, sorry for the delay in posts. Between the baby shower and “fun” times of the third trimester, it’s been a little difficult to get around to doing everything that needs to be done. Anyways, thanks for your patience and here’s something to brighten up your Monday!
As the Holiday season gets into full swing and I enter the homestretch of the third trimester, my anxieties are at an all time high. If you’re like me, you don’t ever want to disappoint the people in your life. But sometimes that seems nearly impossible to avoid with the items on your To-Do-List snowballing out of control. So trying to keep up with everyone and everything that deserves your attention can be tricky to say the least.
Sure it’s difficult to live a guilt-free life – despite the lies Dove Chocolate keeps feeding me – but here are some things that I’ve been able to come to terms with on my pregnancy journey.
1. Being a Bad Friend
With everything on your plate, sometimes it’s hard to make not just time, but meaningful time, for all the important people in your life. You can feel especially guilty if those people have always been able to make time for you. I’ve really beaten myself up in the past for all the times I’ve had to say “no” to invites or visits from friends. I even got nervous that people would start to think my reasons for not going were bogus. “Oh right, you’re ‘sick’ I’m sure.” But when you live with an invisible illness, the people in your life will have to understand that you may not always “look sick” or even “act sick.” Especially now that you’re pregnant, it’s not just your health that you have to think about, you have to think about how things will effect your baby. Sure, if I wasn’t pregnant and was having a flare-up, I might push myself and go out with friends and just pay for it (physically) later. But now that I’ve got a little life completely dependent on me and my actions, I think twice about everything I agree to do.
What it boils down to is this: the people who truly know and care about you will understand that pregnancy and chronic illnesses will sometimes limit what you are able to do. The people who don’t get it or try to make you feel like you’re being a “bad friend” by putting your and your baby’s health first, are people that clearly do not deserve your time in the first place.
2. Being a Bad Partner
Whether you have a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife, it takes work to keep a relationship balanced and healthy. Ignore the people that have a picture-perfect relationship. They’re either lying or (gasp!) actually happy. Either way, it’s not worth worrying about, because the Lord knows your energy is already on a limited supply as it is! One of the few people you’re going to actually want to spend your energy on is your partner. Not only are they there for you through all your health issues, but they are by your side as you both embark on this crazy journey of parenthood. Sometimes, though, I can get all insecure in my head telling myself that my husband is going to get so fed up with me and my issues, that he’ll just be like, “Deuces!!!”
Thankfully my partner not only puts up with the tribulations of this pregnancy, but he also reassures me when I get all insecure. Hopefully you have someone in your life that can be of some support to you while you are going through this high-risk pregnancy. And remember, support doesn’t just have to come from a husband or partner, it can be your best friend or mom or sister. So whoever you have in your life that is there to hold you up when you think you just can’t stand anymore, show your appreciation as often as you can but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always have the energy to do as much as you want to do. (Sorry for the run-on sentence haha)
3. Being a Bad Mom
Once, a customer asked me how I felt about the fact that I’m about to become a mom. I said that it was a combination of excitement and nervousness. When she patted me on the arm, I thought she was about to say something like, “Oh don’t be nervous,” or that “It’s perfectly natural to feel that way,” or something like that. But what did she say instead? “You know, good moms never have doubts. So you might want to rethink things, honey.” And her equally sensitive friend added, “You’ve made your bed, now you’ve got to lie in it!”
So after I picked up my jaw off the floor, I had a minor panic attack. Was this lady right? Does being nervous mean that you lack the necessary confidence to be a good mother? After talking to my mom friends, I found that it’s actually just the opposite! I’ve chosen to change my definitions. It’s not “second-guessing” it’s “double-checking.” Me being nervous just shows that I care so much about doing things right. And a wise friend once said, “A good mom is simply someone who cares.” Your age, socioeconomic status, orientation, etc., does not have any bearing on whether or not you are going to be a good mom or not. Your dedication to giving your child the best life possible is what matters. So I may not be rich or the picture of perfect health, but I’m not going to let my personal hangups distract me from focusing on my little one.
4. Being a Bad YOU
Last but certainly not least, this is something that effects so many women. Even in my first trimester, I already felt like my body wasn’t my own. You know what else does that to you? Health conditions. So I was already familiar with feeling like I have no control over my body. Hip dislocations, inflammation, hair loss, memory loss, and knowing that your own immune system is actively attacking you is not exactly super awesome. The minute another human being was added to the equation, the lack of ownership over my body seemed to grow exponentially. Also can we acknowledge that a baby moving in your stomach is kind of creepy sometimes?
Besides the physical aspect of your pregnancy, there’s a very real emotional side. People have this insatiable need to put labels on each other. Granted, some could argue that labels make things easier to understand. But for many, confining a person to a box restricts their identity. Needing to define someone as “black” or “gay” or “Muslim” can even carry negative connotations with it. While a gay man is certainly not ashamed of his orientation, he probably doesn’t appreciate being known by some solely as “the gay one” in his social circle. Similarly, I am not ashamed to add “mother” to my repertoire, yet I don’t want to be limited by this new chapter. When I’ve shared this opinion, some people have implied that I should feel guilty if I’m not making motherhood and my baby the center of my world. But I would feel guilty if I raised my son thinking that a woman can only be a mother.
At the end of the day, I can only be me. And the only people that can make me feel guilty are the people I let make me feel that way. So I choose to spend my time letting the loving and supportive people in my life know how much I value and care for them. I truly feel that is the best any person can do in this life. Be genuine, be objective, be kind. If my child learns only those things, then there’s really nothing for me to feel guilty about then, is there?
This is going to be a fun one! Not only are we going to discuss the lies you’re told about being pregnant, but also about the lies dealing with illness. Even before I was pregnant, there were all these misconceptions out there about how a “sickie” is supposed to feel and act and live. Now that I’m with child, it seems like I’m fighting two different yet equally prejudicial battles. So here are some things I’ve been told that have turned out to be completely false.
5. You Can (and should) Have it All
Now I’m just as much a feminist as the next gal. I even hyphenated my last name when I got married! If that’s not proof, then I don’t know what is 😉 But seriously, there’s this unreal standard that women are held to in society. You’re told you should be able to juggle your personal and professional life – all while staying in perfect shape, of course!
There is absolutely no shame in picking your own path, even if you feel like you’re admitting defeat. The moment I realized it was okay for me to take time off work to focus on the health of me and my baby, I felt amazingly relieved. Don’t fall prey to the lie that you are supposed to be some kind of “Wonder Woman.” You’re growing a human inside of you! How much more Wondrous can you get?
4. It’s Just in Your Head
Pre-pregnancy, when I was searching desperately for a diagnosis, I was told by many doctors and specialists that the joint pain, fatigue, and subsequent anxiety was all in my head. I had never felt more confused, full of self-doubt, and even angry than when I started to let those doctors get to me.
Thank God (after quite a few years) I found a doctor that listened to and believed me and was able to give me my diagnosis. Then, as a high-risk pregnant woman, I’ve also been judged by non-high-risk women telling me that I was just exaggerating my symptoms. The insulting part was when they would tell me their “real symptoms” as if a) mine weren’t real and b) that their symptoms were worse than mine. Honey, I would take your puffy ankles over my hip dislocation any day! So just tune out the negative people in your life and don’t back down with your health professionals if/when they don’t take you seriously.
3. It’s All About the Birth
This was a new one for me. Out of all the weird comments I was expecting to get, this was kind of a curveball. While it’s true that “It’ll all be worth it in the end,” some people take it to the nth degree. Some people made it sound as if the entire process of pregnancy is only about the end result. So anytime I would be talking about a speedbump we had encountered in the pregnancy, the validity of my concern was immediately thrown out the window, because I should just “focus on the main event.”
But the entire nine months are important in their own right. For instance, my husband and I have never felt closer than through these months of pregnancy. I’ve gained a new perspective on motherhood from many late-night phone calls and talks with my mother and mother-in-law. I’ve made deeper layers of friendship with the women in my life that are moms or moms-to-be. I’ve even formed bonds with people on internet support groups where we can all rally around each other and our shared health issues. There are so many wonderful experiences I’ve gained through this pregnancy, that I would hate to think what would have happened if I only let myself focus on the end result of birth. Live in the now and appreciate the process, warts and all!
2. Just Push Through It
Whether you are pregnant, have a chronic illness, or a combination of the two, you have had days where the word “pain” is an understatement. For the average person, pain is your body’s way of saying something is wrong, but often we are told that as high-risk pregnant women, the pain is just something we will need to learn to live with. While there are some things that I’ve gotten used to with my Lupus or EDS, I know from experience that not all pain is the same. Listen to your body.
There is also this misconception that asking for help = weakness. Admitting that your body can no longer do the things it used to isn’t being weak, it’s being honest! To “push through it” and “suck it up” is not only delusional, but potentially harmful to both you and your baby. So, no, don’t stress out over every little twinge of pain, but also don’t ignore the signals your body sends you.
1. You’ll Get That “Pregnancy Glow”
Maybe this one is just me, but one of the things I always heard about was how women will get this “glow” during pregnancy. I imagined that when my pregnancy was in full swing, I’d have this cute little bump, radiant skin, and fabulous hair. Well with a little help from MasterCuts, my hair is pretty fabulous, but besides that I don’t feel like I’m glow-y.
And I’ve realized that’s okay. At this point, I’m actually just stoked that my baby is staying healthy and is growing how he’s supposed to be. Us high-risk ladies find happiness in the little things “normal” moms-to-be take for granted. While some of my pregnant friends were talking about how their skin cleared up and their hair and nails seemed stronger than ever, I was over here being like “Hey I had a brief moment where my joints didn’t feel like they were on fire! It’s gonna be a good day!” It’s also good to remember that most celebs (and even some of our friends) just happen to have the extra time, money, and stylists to make it possible to look like an actual human in the morning. For me, not so much.
So in the end, no two pregnancies are exactly alike and we shouldn’t expect ours to hold up to the magical standards portrayed in movies and on magazine covers. Your pregnancy is your pregnancy. What is normal for you won’t necessarily be normal for everyone else. This is basically how life goes, by the way. The quicker we can acknowledge and accept that we make our own definition of what’s beautiful, the better. Now I love the bags under my eyes, sallow skin, and swollen joints. You know why? Because it means the little life inside of me is still alive and kicking and my body is so busy keeping him healthy, it doesn’t have time to worry about looking “fresh.” Flip the script and embrace it!