I wish I would have known while pregnant...

First, CONGRATULATIONS, you’re going to be a mom! I am almost there, 3 weeks until my due date and I cannot wait for the arrival of our sweet baby girl.  The past 9 months, have been a journey.  I have learned a lot about my body, myself, my husband and my marriage.  When I embarked on this journey of creating life, I thought I was pretty prepared with my knowledge base, but there was so much that I would learn along the way.  

Exhaustion is normal!

My mindset pre-pregnancy was -  I was going to wear maxi dresses through my entire pregnancy and look amazing, I was going to exercise everyday, I was going to eat organic balanced meals and use only all-natural products.  I had googled how to be a “fit” mom and saw plenty of moms-to-be that did all of these, so of course I could too.  For the first couple of weeks (I found out very early that I was pregnant), I was the healthiest person I have ever been.  Then the exhaustion of growing a tiny human set in. One afternoon my husband found me asleep on top of a half-folded pile of laundry on the bench below our bed.  I had no idea how exhausting simply being pregnant could be.  I felt like I wasn’t doing anything more than normal, but I could barely make it through the day without a nap.  Apparently this is very normal and I had nothing to be ashamed about.  My body needed rest from the work of simply being pregnant and supporting my baby. 

If you don’t love your doctor don’t be afraid to switch! 

I loved my gynecologist before getting pregnant. The office was nice, clean and everyone was always friendly.  I just assumed that I should go to them for my pregnancy and would love them just as much. I left my first appointment feeling ill-informed and not very special.  I didn’t get to see a doctor at that appointment so all of my questions about what I could and couldn’t do were left to google.  We went in and had an ultrasound with the tech who was very impersonal, then I had bloodwork done, we met with a financial advisor and that was it. Thankfully, we moved shortly after getting pregnant and I did a lot of research in our new city to find a doctor that both my husband and I love.  We see her every appointment even if it’s just to talk.  The office staff and nursing staff have made us feel so welcome and special about our baby even though they see pregnant women everyday. I don’t know if I would have changed doctors if we didn’t move.  The point – if you don’t feel 100% happy and comfortable with your doctor or doctor’s office then switch.  It makes a huge difference!  

 ‘Morning sickness’ is a lie..it should be called ‘sickness most of the time’!

‘Morning sickness’ also made it difficult to be as active and healthy as I wanted to be during my pregnancy. As you will find out, morning sickness is a lie, it is not just in the morning.  I felt nauseous all day every day.  I also had the worst reflux.  My super healthy diet became carbs only, it’s all I could stomach.  I tried out the motion sickness bands, they were helpful but did not completely relieve my symptoms.  More on this below, thank you new doctor! 

 Pregnancy ‘glow’ = adult acne!

In addition to my nausea my pregnancy “glow” started.  My face, neck, chest and back all broke out with acne.  Needless to say, I was miserable.  At my first appointment with the new doctor, I told her about the nausea and acne.  She sympathized about my breakouts and said she had the same problem when pregnant. She told me acne products were fine and to use them.  She also gave me some options for over the counter medicine for my reflux and nausea.   I realized at this appointment that if I was going to make it through this pregnancy and enjoy it at all, then I would need some help.  My husband stopped at the store on our way home from the appointment and got me a good facewash and zantac and tums.  The change was amazing!  My face still hasn’t completely cleared up but having medicine to ease the reflux makes a world of difference.  I am in my 37th week of pregnancy and I still need it.  I can’t imagine having reflux and throwing up for 30 weeks. It wasn’t the completely natural pregnancy I was going for but it helped keep me happy and I was able to eat healthier. I found out that I needed to be flexible with my body and thankfully I found a doctor that helped me understand that its okay to have help.  

 Be flexible!

I started out my pregnancy journey with a very different idea of how it would go. I learned along the way that I needed to be flexible and talk to my doctor about options to help me survive.  I still have had a very healthy pregnancy, I eat healthy, I exercise, my check-ups have been almost perfect every time and I have gained the exact amount of weight recommended for my body.  But I am pregnant so my exercise of running 3 miles in the afternoon became walking around the neighborhood, my high-intensity 30 min workout became a 15 minute session with very light weights and a slower pace.  My bedtime became 9:00 and I don’t feel bad about taking a nap in the middle of the day.  I wish I had known early on that pregnancy takes a huge toll on your body and its necessary to remember that.  As for the “fit” moms online with six packs at 8 months pregnant, I am in awe! For me, I am not ashamed for napping, slowing down my workouts and using some products to help me get through. The books and the internet don’t tell you this, it took me almost half my pregnancy to realize it and I am so much happier with the realization.  

 It’s all worth it!

Even through the exhaustion, nausea and adult acne, this has been the most amazing time in my life.  I have learned so much about myself and my husband in the past 9 months that I hadn’t discovered in over 8 years together.  We have grown so close through the ups and downs of pregnancy and preparing for a new person in our life.  Every time I get to feel my baby girl kick, I am reminded of what an amazing miracle my body is performing and what joy it will bring to our family.

Good luck everyone! Can’t wait to meet my little girl at the end of the month!  

Written by Amanda Davidson, Clara’s Mom

Transitioning from a mom of one toddler to a mom of a toddler and a baby has been quite the challenge. The secret to surviving is achieving balance. My main concern when I had Kaleb was I didn’t want Braelyn to feel left out. She’s a daddy’s girl, but I didn’t want her feeling bad if I was busy with the baby. While I was pregnant I bought a couple children’s books that focused on becoming a big sister. When she came to visit me the first day in the hospital, my husband and I presented her with a big sister basket from the baby. It included her own baby with a bottle.  Since then she has quickly turned into my little mama. She helps when she can and she is very protective of her brother. I try to include her with as much as I can.

When it comes to how I achieve personal balance, that’s a bit more challenging. I am a natural nurturer.  I want to do for others and often that leaves me last. I had to start making “me time.” Some people think it’s impossible to achieve balance with two little ones, a husband and a full time job, but it can be done. I sacrifice a little extra sleep for my sanity. I go to the gym before my husband leaves for work. When that’s done, I feel like I’ve already had a productive day. Then nap time is golden.  I have managed to sync their nap schedules, which is major. During that time I can clean, prep for dinner, sleep, or binge watch my favorite shows. It’s truly the little things. When they wake up with smiling faces, I know it’s all worth it. It may be challenging, but the best things in life don’t come easy.

Written by Alisha Roper