5 Biggest Pregnancy Milestones

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Even though I’m not pregnant, I still have a lot of passion for pregnancy and childbirth. Someday maybe I’ll take a leap of faith and become a childbirth educator, but for now I’ll stick with sharing my knowledge and passion with all of you!

Bringing a new life into the world is a big change, no matter if it’s your first or your fifth! Every baby changes you in ways you didn’t expect. It can be completely terrifying, but there are also a lot of fun things to look forward to! Here are what I consider to be the 5 biggest pregnancy milestones. (Note: In case this isn’t obvious, this is 100 percent my opinion only! Other people may consider different things their 5 biggest pregnancy milestones). 5 Biggest Pregnancy Milestones

Finding out you are pregnant

This is a moment of such anticipation and nerves as you wait for the test to show either positive or negative. And then the test is positive. You may be excited, you may be scared, you may be all of the above, but in that moment, your life is different. That sounds really cliché but it’s true. You’re suddenly aware of a new life growing inside you. If you’re anything like me, your mind starts racing with a million questions about who this little person might be. It’s a big deal and it comes with a mix of emotions, all of which are normal. It’s okay if not every emotion from the instant you find out is a positive one.

Hearing the heartbeat for the first time

In the first trimester, there can be a lot of anxiety about miscarriage, especially if you’ve ever had one before. That makes hearing the heartbeat for the first time all that more special, as once you’ve heard a good heartbeat, your risk of miscarriage drops. Not to mention, it’s an extremely special moment to realize, “Hey! That’s my baby!”

Feeling your baby move

As you get close to the time when you’re able to feel your baby move there’s a lot of questions. Is that my baby? Is it gas? Am I just imagining things? But when you feel the baby move for the first time that you’re sure of it, it’s a moment like “Woah, that’s my baby.” It’s a bit weird, but it won’t be long before they’re strong enough that their kicks sometimes even hurt and you can see your belly moving from the outside. Now that is a really weird experience, but fun at the same time. By the way, don’t be worried if you don’t feel them consistently in the beginning – they’re still small with a lot of room to move around. But towards the end, if you have a significant change in fetal movement, please contact your care provider for guidance.

Anatomy scan

While you may or may not have an early ultrasound, the large majority of women have an ultrasound around 20-ish weeks, also known as the anatomy scan. This is probably my favorite part of the whole pregnancy because it’s so much fun to see your little one up there on the screen. This is also the time that most people who want to find out if they are having a boy or girl are able to do so. This is also the time when you found out if everything is progressing well and there are no issues with baby or placenta. Hopefully there aren’t, but if there are, this gives you time to prepare and plan with your care provider.

Birth!

Babies enter the world every day in a million different ways. No two birth stories are alike! No matter how your baby arrives, birth changes you. And seeing and holding your baby for the first time? There’s absolutely nothing like it. It’s time to buckle up and enjoy the ride because this is it – your baby is here! And they’ll keep on changing your life for the rest of their lives.

Which one of these pregnancy milestones do you look forward to the most? What are some other pregnancy milestones that you celebrate? 

This post is linked to Busy Monday, Manic Mondays, and Monday Madness

10 Finds for Saturday – 9/29/12

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All right, it’s that time again – a round up of ten things that I think you should read (or look at or watch)!

Ten Things: A Roundup Worth Reading

1. I Have a Disease: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Face Blindness

2. Hermione Granger Vs. Bella Swan (infographic)

3. Bookshelf (xkcd comic)

4. Free Language Arts & Literature Curriculum

5. Small Cities in the U.S. Paying Off Student Loan Debt for Residents

6. Old Wives Vs. Science (in pregnancy)

7. Baby Brain Map (Interactive)

8. Ten Objections to Christianity and How to Respond

9. Awesome Books to Replace Your Favorite Cancelled TV Shows

10. Insufficient Funds: A Story of Canada (video)

Enjoy!

My Feelings on Pregnancy

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I’m writing this today because I need to be honest, with myself and with other people. I am going to warn you up front that I am going to be honest and candid and if you know me in real life and don’t want to read it, click away. Go read something else for today. But if you want to know what I was thinking and feeling, then read this, because I feel like this is something not many people talk about, but it’s not always an uncommon experience. Because there are expectations that certain people in certain situations should act a certain way.

And I felt like the expectation on me was that I should have loved pregnancy. I should have been head over heels about being pregnant. This baby my husband and I wanted very much. This was not a surprise to us. I have always wanted to have children and I have always wanted to be a mom.

But here’s a secret. Here’s a confession, if you will.

I hated being pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love my son with everything I have to love him with. He is wonderful, I already know that, and every time I felt him kicking then or see him smile now, I feel so blessed to be his mother.

But that doesn’t change the fact that I hated being pregnant. At first I felt a lot of guilt about this. I wondered, how could I love my baby and hate being pregnant? Was that even possible? I felt like I somehow loved my baby less because I hated pregnancy (which I know isn’t true but it took a lot of time for me to convince myself that it wasn’t true). I felt selfish too, like I was making this all about me. And I felt ashamed, because I know there are a lot of people who struggle with infertility who would give anything – anything – to be able to be pregnant like I was. To have gotten pregnant so easily like I did. And I wish with all my heart that they could get pregnant, but it doesn’t make me like it anymore or change my feelings. Wishing they could and knowing how lucky I am doesn’t change my feelings.

And I felt, a lot, at first, that I didn’t even have the right to hate being pregnant. For the most part, my pregnancy  was easy. I never got really sick with morning sickness and both Dominic and I stayed healthy with no complications. Towards the end, however, I had a lot of back pain, somedays enough to make me feel completely useless (for example, I would try to do dishes and I only get maybe 5 dishes done before I had to stop because I was just in too much pain). And eventually I was in such pelvic pain that it was hard to walk and sometimes even to just shift the way I was sitting hurt. But even before all that, I really hated being pregnant.

And I know, I never expected pregnancy to be a walk in the park. I knew it was a serious responsibility and I knew there were a lot of side effects, but still, I expected that I would love it or at least like it. Not that I would hate it.

I hated it, for one, because pregnancy made me feel so out of control. I never expected to feel so out of control of all the changes that were happening in my body. I never expected to feel so out of control of my emotions. It’s frustrating to me to be able to get a full night’s sleep the night before and yet still fall asleep for 2 or 3 hours when I sat down in the afternoon. It’s frustrating to me to be in pain and to know that the only thing that is really going to relieve it is to give birth – I mean, I had ways to temporarily fix it, but no way to fix it for good. It made me feel really helpless.

Another reason I hated it is because I felt so emotionally unstable. I could cry at the drop of a hat (well, I didn’t drop any hats, but I bet if I did drop a hat it would have made me cry). I cried almost every single day for almost my whole pregnancy. And I didn’t want to be crying – I really didn’t – but I just couldn’t help it. Things I cried about included knocking over a full bowl of cereal so that it spilled all over the floor, accidentally dropping a plate in the sink where it broke, ruining dinner, taking my vitamins, getting a parking ticket. And that’s only like the tip of the iceberg. At one point, I had a complete breakdown in church where I just could not stop crying and I’m not even sure why I was crying anymore. It made me feel like a crazy person. And this was not just tearing up sometimes, this was full on crying. One day I could not stop crying for hours (3+) and I couldn’t go to class because I could just not stop crying. There were other times where I cried so hard that I could not breathe and would start hyperventilating and Nick had to work really hard with me to get me to calm down because like I said, I could not breathe.

A third reason that I hated it is because there were many of my friends and a little family, who I know were well meaning, and who I know were well intentioned, who acted like pregnancy was the only thing that was going on in my life. And I know they were excited for me and like I said, I know they meant well, but I was still a person besides from everything that was happening in my uterus. I still wanted to talk about all the things that I liked to talk about before. And not everything was somehow subtly connected to the baby, though sometimes I would ask questions on Facebook and people would jump to the conclusion that it had something to do with the baby when it didn’t. This just made it harder on me because there were days I just didn’t want to talk about being pregnant because of my feelings about pregnancy. There are days I just wanted to talk about, well the things I liked talking about before – what’s going on in the world, what good books I’ve read lately, things like that. Those things made me feel like I was still a person who had value outside of being pregnant. If somebody made me feel like my whole world revolved around being pregnant, then it was especially hard for me when I had those feelings. I felt pressure to appear like I loved it, even when I didn’t. Please don’t feel offended if I never said anything to you when I was pregnant. I was so ashamed for a long time about feeling this way that I didn’t really open up to many people.

Somedays I didn’t know if I could make it through the end. But I knew I would because I was committed to my son and I needed to make it through for him.

What I recognize now that I couldn’t recognize before is that I was probably suffering from prenatal depression (also known as perinatal depression). It’s kind of similar to postpartum depression, except that it happens when you’re pregnant as opposed to after you give birth. While I was pregnant, I had some good friends suggest this possibility and I kind of ignored it. It wasn’t that bad, I told myself. This is totally normal, I also told myself. But after giving birth, I can see through the fog I was in then and what I was experiencing was not normal. There were days when how I felt emotionally really effected my ability to function, in by that I mean I could hardly function at all. I wish I had gotten help while I was pregnant, but I was so afraid to talk about it. So please, if you think you are dealing with this, get help. E-mail me, if nothing else, because I will listen.

And I feel lucky because I have a husband who lovingly supported me through all those feelings, who was amazingly compassionate, who was amazingly loving, who was amazingly supportive. I could not have made it through this without the support of him and the support of the friends who I was able to confide in.

And despite all of the mixed feelings I have about posting this: the fear that people will judge me, the fear that people will criticize me or call me a bad mother, the fear that people won’t understand, I still feel the need to post this. One, to be able to be honest. And two, so that maybe if somebody else finds this post and they are going through the same thing I am going through, they won’t feel so alone and so isolated. They won’t feel like they are a bad mother like I did for so many weeks until I finally confided in somebody and they told me that it didn’t make me a bad mother at all. Especially after I confided this in some mommy friends of mine, women who I look up to, who I consider to be great mothers, who told me they also didn’t like being pregnant. And learning this from them didn’t make me think they were any less great mothers or make me think they loved their children any less. I was so thankful to hear I was not alone and this was some defect whereby all other mothers who were like me just loved being pregnant.

So there you have it – I have been open and honest with you about how I feel. I’m not going to turn off the comments, but please be nice if you are going to post a comment. It was really hard for me put this out there – I am still afraid even after writing all of this. I’ve already berated and beat myself up enough for this, I don’t need someone else doing it too.

And as an editor’s note, I wrote this while I was still pregnant so I have tried now to make all the tenses agree, but if I messed up, I’m sorry. I didn’t have the courage to post it then, but I do now. I almost didn’t post it, but I did for two reasons. One, because writing and posting this is part of my healing process. And two, because this isn’t being talked about very much and so I hope that I can help somebody else.

Melissa

Faking a Pregnancy

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So I don’t know if you heard about this Washington straight A Hispanic high school student (Gaby Rodriguez) faked a pregnancy for six and a half months as a senior project. Only one of her siblings, her principal, her boyfriend, and her mom knew.

There are obviously a lot of pros and cons to this. Pros, I think she is raising awareness about how people judge you as soon as you make a big mistake, especially such a public one like getting pregnant in high school. One of my good friends got pregnant in high school and it was very tough for her.

Some argue however, that teen pregnancy is glamorized by shows such as Teen Mom and the Secret Life of the American Teenager (Source). To which I say true. But, just because something is glamorized on tv doesn’t mean it is going to make it any easier to be one in real life. Because people have emotions and people are sinful. It’s as easy at that. I believe that she did face that kind of negative backlash because it is a tough situation. And for the most part, people still think it is a life ruiner.

Cons however would be that even though she raised awareness and heard some nasty things, she knew there was an end coming. She will get to experience graduation and prom as a normal teenager. When you get pregnant in high school, there is no easy way out. Not saying telling a whole school that you lied to them is easy, but I certainly think it’s easier than being pregnant for real.

So, whatever your thoughts on it (and she didn’t intend for it to be such a national news story either), I do think that it is raising awareness that despite it being popular and sort of trendy in media right now, in real life – it is still hard to be pregnant and in high school. And I think that, while I don’t think teens should be having sex, they shouldn’t be judged for making a mistake either. Everyone makes mistakes. We’re not supposed to hold them against people.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

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