What Does Being Pregnant Feel Like?

What Does Being Pregnant Feel Like?

Being pregnant was honestly something I had a hard time envisioning. I’d always wanted to be a mother. I could envision myself walking my child to school in the mornings. Putting a cold cloth to his head when he was sick. Creative scavenger hunt birthday parties. But actually being pregnant? That was more of a challenge. Before becoming a women's health physical therapist, I'd been pretty removed from the pregnancy experience. Prior to my own pregnancy, I had very few friends or close family that had been pregnant. Natural dialogue and comprehension of the pregnancy experience were a bit foreign to me.

Part of me yearned to understand it before I got myself into it. So, I did what a lot of us do... I watched a show about it. The fictional show Call the Midwife was my first “real” introduction to an in-depth pregnancy and delivery experience. For much of my life, I’d wanted to avoid the narrative of pregnancy = pain and strife. So I avoided it altogether.

The show does dramatize the delivery experience. But it also does a great job of how it’s possible to have a supportive team. (Confession... when I was in labor with my son, I imagined one of the midwives from the show, Sister JulieAnne, was there with me. It was very comforting.)

I also listened to pregnancy podcasts. Here are my three favorite pregnancy podcasts:

They all have such great insight!

I also read Ina May Gaskin’s amazing book: Guide to Childbirth. I love her book because she shares positive anecdotes as well as gets into some of the science. 

Pregnancy Emotions

Everyone has their own experience with it.

Some women feel elated, confident, and beautiful. Others, just feel sick and awful. No matter how much they want to feel otherwise. There are waves of potential, denial, shock, acceptance, amazement, worry, and joy.

Each pregnancy experience is so vastly different. I hesitate to say anything definitive about it. But I think it’s important to share our experiences and normalize the range of what one can feel.

Initially, I felt hazy. It felt like I was wearing a beekeeper suit. Trying to connect to anything other than my inner world was like gazing through a thick screen.

As the pregnancy progressed, I felt my body become heavy and cumbersome. It felt so foreign, but also buzzy with excitement.

Pregnancy can feel like going headfirst down a water slide. You know that the awkward belly flop moments are a possibility. But also, once down the slide and in the water, you realize how life-amplifying and worth-it it is.

It felt like being in a concert with no place to sit. The music is a little too loud. Everything feels a little too close...yet...the music is perfect.

How Does Your Body Feel?

In my first trimester, I could nap anywhere, any time. So of course, my husband and I decided to take our first backpacking trip together. We went to Cumberland Island, a BEAUTIFUL non-developed old-growth forest campground. There are beaches and wild horses. I hiked 3 miles on a narrow, sandy narrow trail to our campsite. We were loaded down with provisions for 5 days. While 10 weeks pregnant... in May ….in the South...with a partner who had never camped before.

I don’t recommend this.

It was the most exhausting hike I’ve ever done. I remember getting to our campsite, finding the hammock, and sleeping instantly. My husband set up the tent and after waking up for 10 minutes for a granola bar dinner, I went straight back to bed. This was my routine the entire trip. Hammock sleep. Beach sleep. Tent sleep.

Part of me wonders if we have a hibernation gene that’s tapped into while pregnant.

Bears actually sleep through their entire pregnancy—and delivery!

There is a lot of information on the web about how you'll feel "yourself again" in your second trimester. I didn’t feel that way. This is when I began to show and started telling people I was pregnant. Physically, my napping-sprees somehow switched into pregnancy-induced insomnia.

My third trimester felt like running an 800-meter race. It’s a little bit of a sprint to the finish, but a little bit of endurance at the same time. This is where I really felt thankful for maternity pants.

Throughout my pregnancy, I experienced more food aversions than food cravings. (Anything citrus was a big no-thanks for me). I also had slight night time nausea more than morning sickness.

How Pregnancy Feels Socially

It was pretty fascinating to witness what kind of comments pregnancy inspires. I received more comments on how I looked than ever before. Most are meant in a supportive way. But still... it made me feel strangely noticed. I’ll never forget when I was 38 weeks pregnant, doing my Train4Birth routine at the gym and an elderly man came up to me and said, “Keep working, honey. You’ll get that extra midline tire off eventually.” I was too flabbergasted by his assumption to correct him.

To give him credit, he did come back about 30 minutes later and called himself out on his mistake. He apologized for not realizing I  was carrying a child.

I was honestly very apprehensive about doing any kind of networking for my business during this time. For some reason,  I was scared I wouldn’t be taken seriously because I was pregnant. But actually... going to a few social networking meetings while pregnant was a great experience. People had even more compassion. Their mindsets were wholly supportive.  It helped humanize me, outside of my professional realm. 

What About You?

What about you? What surprises did you have while pregnant? Are you considering trying to get pregnant soon? If you want to share your story or if you have any questions please email me. I can’t wait to hear from you.

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