As I wind down the final moments of my pregnancy, I find myself reflecting a bit about the past nine months. What could have gone better? What would I want to keep in time for next time? (Of course, that’s assuming there IS a next time … Dan and I always talked about two or three children total, but after figuring out how challenging just the PREGNANCY can be, we’ve decided that these things are best taken one day at a time). Here’s a random assortment of points from my assessment.
1. My focus on health, fitness and eating well before I got pregnant was a major blessing. Of course there were times during workouts just prior to getting pregnant that I thought to myself, “What’s the point? These abs won’t last more than a month anyway!” In the end, however, I think it helped A LOT with getting pregnant quickly, without much of an issue. It’s also benefitted me in other ways, including increased stamina during stretches of fatigue and a stronger back to support all the extra weight. I can also see myself channeling the grit and determination from those tough workouts during the actual birthing process. Each series of contractions is a particularly challenging set of sprints I have to work through, pain be damned.
2. All the above being said … I wish I’d been more tenacious about fitness during my pregnancy. I see these shining examples of women I follow on Instagram and in the blogosphere who keep up routines all throughout pregnancy that I truly envy. For instance, check out the CrossFit goddess of Average2Athlete or marvel at the discipline of The Lean Green Bean (you’ll have to scroll back a bit in her archives; her beautiful baby was born a bit back). I also just recently discovered the fit journey to baby of Life at the Quarry and will dutifully follow the already athletically zealous pregnancy of Olives ‘N’ Wine. These ladies admirably kept or are keeping at the grind, while I feel a little bit like I cheated myself. Yes, I struggled with a tough bout of morning sickness and was dealing with a slightly stressful work transition. Then there’s the move to North Carolina and Dan’s job situation. But at this point, these excuses seem to have dropped some of their importance and I have regret pangs to replace them. Given how big I am at this point, I do my best to walk as much as possible (we got a treadmill!), do some light yoga/stretching and careful resistance training. If I go through this again, however, I’ll know how much easier it is to stay on the horse instead of having to pull myself back up after laying on the ground pouting for a while.
3. I would make more of an effort to eat better consistently and more frequently. This one I have to give myself a litttttle bit of a free pass on for the first trimester. I really tried to maintain the same eating habits (and Dan did his darndest to keep me there too), but once that nausea hit, it was all I could do to eat a peanut butter sandwich some days. BUT, as soon as the nausea ended, I strayed off the path a little more frequently than was really necessary. It’s so easy to get into the mentality of thinking it doesn’t matter. You’re obviously going to gain weight, no matter WHAT you eat (which is a good thing!). I’ve eaten things during my pregnancy that I wouldn’t have dreamed of touching before (mostly in the sugar category), and a bit more mindfulness would have been clutch. Even though I haven’t given birth yet, I’m already dreading the restraint I’m going to have to re-develop in post-pregnancy eating. I’ve done it before, and I know I’m up to the challenge, but wouldn’t it have been easier to just be more moderate all along? I know part of my overindulgence has to do with how strictly I limited myself before becoming pregnant, so moderation is the ultimate goal for me moving forward, pregnant or not.
4. I will definitely be doing more documenting and photographing the next time around. Again, circumstances were a bit unusual surrounding the early part of my pregnancy, but I really regret having this sort of … black hole from the first four or five months of this baby’s life. To be honest, I was just totally shellshocked and terrified for the first couple of months. Next time, I know I’ll be a bit more emotionally prepared and want to remember the whole experience and be able to re-live it. Most of the pictures I have of myself pregnant from this past year were taken on my phone for the purpose of keeping family and friends updated. I was extremely lucky, however, to have one of my best friends, the talented Cassandra Eldridge, take some beautiful photos as well.
5. I am unbelievably glad that I did all the research and reading throughout my pregnancy that I have done. I feel so involved in the process, well-informed and less afraid of what’s ahead than I predict I would be if I was in the dark. Thank you to anyone who gave me a great book recommendation along the way. These were my favorites:
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth
The Happiest Baby on the Block
The No-Cry Sleep Solution
The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child
6. I could never do this alone. It might be me actually incubating that little bundle of joy in my stomach, but I cannot even believe the number of people that supported me throughout this whole process and made it all bearable, enjoyable and memorable. In case I don’t tell you all enough (I hope you know who I mean), you are saviors and I could not have gotten through 2014 without you. From every time I cried over something ridiculous (like the fact that there were pecans on my brownie) to the joyous moments I needed to celebrate, I had the best of the best in my corner. THANK YOU.
There’s a lot more thoughts running through this noggin of mine, but I’ll save more for another day. If any of my pregnant or recently mommied friends out there want to share any of their reflections in this vein, I would be overjoyed to hear them.