How Did I Get Here?

I cannot believe we are in the third trimester. This year has been a total whirlwind. There has been zero crafting, little baking, minimal biking, and many of the other things I normally strive to do. This year has been just straight up pregnancy. How did we get here?

 

First Trimester:

Having few friends who are parents I did not understand what the first trimester would be like. Disclaimer: it’s different for everyone. For me, it was exhausting. I got on the couch as soon as I got home from work. Staying upright during dinner was asking a lot. I got put to bed almost as soon as I stopped eating, which was never at the end of the meal. Eating a full plate of food was out of the question.

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I don’t know this baby but we are kindred spirits.

Luckily though, I didn’t have morning sickness. Queasiness, yes. Overwhelming nausea or vomiting, no. To those who have to deal with this, I bow down to you.

What I’ve learned:

  • Sleep, sleep, sleep. Don’t fight it. Just embrace it. This trimester drags on but the others do not.
  • Carry food everywhere. Do not leave the room without a snack in hand. Keep a snack next to the bed for when you wake up.
  • People don’t know what they’re talking about. Everyone starting telling me all sort of bullshit about exercise and whatnot but if your pregnancy is straightforward (high risk people, do not listen to me) you are fine. Your baby is the size of a grape. You can still pretty much do what all your activities. No freaking out necessary.

Learning I was pregnant also gave me an incredible amount of empathy. In addition to being exciting, it has also been scary and overwhelming. To every woman doing this alone, I wish I could offer you my support. To every teenager facing this, I wish I could talk you through this. To everyone who doesn’t speak the language where they are, trying to navigate medical care, I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. Once I get on the other side of my own pregnancy I want to find an organization that to work with to offer support for women making reproductive decisions- whichever route they choose.

Second Trimester:

It was around 15 weeks that I started feeling fairly normal. Someone falsely advertised to me that I would feel like superwoman but I really just felt normal. Not exhausted, not queasy- just regular. The baby started kicking during this time which has been really weird and incredible. This is my favorite part of being pregnant, although I don’t think I’m going to miss watching my stomach move back and forth.

What I’ve learned:

  • The Internet is awesome. There aren’t nearly as many pregnancy or mom blogs that strike me as “real” where women talk about their concerns about parenthood but there are some and it is a huge relief. Between Twitter, Instagram and blogs I have felt much less alone when I don’t feel like a glowy, Stepford wife (which is not a thing that has ever happened to me). Start here-
  • I should have started looking for daycare the moment we peed on a stick. We are now on 3 waitlists, only one of which we have a reasonable chance of getting into around the time I go back to work. Yay.
  • Picking out childbirth classes or a pediatrician should also not be delayed. We have gotten the last available spot for a December baby at the pediatrician of our choice and barely got into childbirth classes. We arranged these somewhere around 27 weeks. Apparently we’re slackers.
  • What I am still learning is that my emotions are overwhelming and that is totally okay. At times I felt incredible fear, confusion and despair at being pregnant. That doesn’t make me a bad person. This is scary. This is overwhelming. Life is changing and chances are I will never regret that but doesn’t mean I can’t look at the parts of life that stay behind with mixed emotions.

Third Trimester:

Oh, my. How did I get to third trimester so quickly? How do I get all the millions of things I think I should do done in the next 11 weeks?

I’m hoping to learn to ease up but… no guarantees.

Don’t Follow Someone Else’s Path

Toastmasters allows me to get a little glimpse into the lives of my fellow club members. Sometimes it is a superficial glance, which tells me they’re private and don’t desire to open themselves up in work conference rooms among their peers (legit). Sometimes though I get to know them a little better. I hear about how their child has changed their perspective or how their curiosity drives them. Today an intern spoke and I found myself taking notes- thinking this is how I should be living.

We live in a world surrounded by advice on how to better oneself. Articles on empowerment flood my Facebook feed. I see numerous inspiration quotes every time I open Instagram. My coworkers hang signs on their cubicle walls reminding them be thankful or be strong. But this intern shared advice from her grandmother who learned her guidance the old-fashioned way, by living it.

Don’t follow anyone else’s path… unless you’re lost in the woods and you’re alone and you see a path. Then you should take it.

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There’s some simple, country advice if I’ve ever heard it. And it couldn’t be farther from my reality.  I’m not a trailblazer. Every leap I’ve ever taken I’ve checked to make sure someone else has tried it first. I want to see you safely jump into the water before I peek over the edge.

  • Study Abroad- friend loved the city, went for it
  • Backpacking in Australia- went through a program that a friend recommended, even though a program is wildly unnecessary
  • Moved to Austin- moved on recommendation only
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My biggest example of risky behavior: sky diving. 

But of course it always comes back to writing. I look to my friends and their experiences as a safety net. If they can do it, I can do it. I can follow their path. I’ll do what they do.

This isn’t how it works. If I am to find my own voice and my own success I cannot remain stationary at the starting point, watching and waiting as others clear the brush and debris, stepping out only when the path is paved. The path for me will be paved at parts, rocky and uphill at times but I will always be the only one who can get me there. If I try to follow someone else’s path, I won’t end up where I’m supposed to be.

This week was one of those moments when you hear something you’ve heard a thousand times before but for the first time I felt like I was listening.

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