Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pregnancy Survival 101

Now that I'm officially two-thirds of the way through this natural circus they call pregnancy, I feel like I'm in a place where I can share how I survived the first 6 months. I will be the first to tell you that I have had a super easy pregnancy from day one (sorry I'm not actually sorry, but I feel terrible for my friends who have suffered through theirs). While part of that ease is natural, I also attribute it to a number of little tricks that I have practiced from the very beginning.

You know who is an expert on pregnancy? Apparently, everyone who has ever been pregnant. And a lot of people who haven't been. The minute you start telling people you're pregnant, advice starts coming in from every direction. It's kind of amazing. Everyone around you knows the way you should or should not be doing things, and they do not hesitate to share it with you. Here's a tip: be gracious and thankful (if you can), and then promptly do whatever is best for you. Every person is different, and every pregnancy is different (I assume, since I've only done this once. Clearly.).

That said, here are my top tips for surviving the first two trimesters of pregnancy. I'll get back to you once I figure out how to survive the last one!

  1. Do the best you can. This is my top tip. It is easy to succumb to the pressures of the internet and the amazing pregnant people around you. Every where I turned, there were women describing the best way to eat, to exercise, to dress, to feel. Truthfully, a lot of that didn't work for me. In the first trimester, I was so exhausted that it was a true challenge to make it to dinner time each day. There were several times I didn't. You know what that meant? I was certainly not making it to the gym 5x a week. I was lucky if I was walking upstairs to bed instead of just staying on the couch where I fell asleep. You have to do what's best for you. If that means daily naps, do it. If it means eating only oatmeal because it's all you can stomach, do it. If it means exercising 5x a week, do it! Your best is good enough, especially in the beginning. 

  2. Get snacks. I can guarantee you that if you run into me on the street right now, I will have at least two different types of snacks to offer you from my purse - sometimes more! Snacks have saved me on many an occasion. In the first trimester, I only got nauseous a handful of times, but all of those times were when I hadn't eaten anything in long enough - I'd delayed lunch for a meeting, or I'd gone straight from work to the gym without anything to tide me over til dinner. Carrying some durable snacks (trail mix and granola bars, in my case) kept the nausea away and kept my blood sugar from plunging. I have also found that one of my crucial pregnancy "symptoms" is going from not-hungry-at-all to absolutely-starving in approximately 5 seconds. Snacks have prevented many a hanger-related meltdown.

  3. Hydrate. Water, water, water, So much water, you start to feel like you will float away. Hydration is important all the time, but especially crucial during pregnancy. Get yourself a water bottle you like, and do all but attach it to yourself. I carry my CamelBak bottle almost religiously - I am far more likely to drink my water if I have my water with me, and have a visual reminder that I need to be drinking it. Water is especially important if you are pregnant through the summer - when it's hot and miserably sticky outside, you have to make sure that you aren't getting dehydrated. The worst headaches that I had all summer were directly related to the days when I had fallen down on the job with my water intake. Don't let that be you!

  4. Don't compare to others. This is a super hard one, but super important, especially for me. Like I said before, every person is different, and every pregnancy is different. There is no "correct" pregnancy, I'm pretty sure. But with the amazing advancements of social media, you get access to everyone's everything, all the time, and it's easy to start comparing your pregnancy to someone else's. In fact, I found myself googling "17 week pregnancy bump" in order to see if my stomach was the "right" size. In retrospect, I cannot explain to you how wacky that is - there is NO right size or right pregnancy. You do you, boo. 

  5. Get comfortable. This means whatever you need it to mean. For me, it's meant comfy clothes and extra pillows in my bed at night. One of the best things I've done in the last six months was go to Old Navy and buy a cheap pair of pajama pants, two sizes too big. They are delightful to put on when I get home and can finally change out of my work clothes. Soft, loose, comfy - that is exactly what I am looking for as my body changes and I get more uncomfortable in my own skin. Anything that can help is worth the money, in my book! Along these same lines, I embraced maternity clothes at a pretty early stage - especially pants for work. Pants that don't fit right are horrible to spend the day in when you're not pregnant, and when you are, they are one million times worse. I have read several blog posts from women seemingly bragging about squeezing into their pre-pregnancy clothes well into their pregnancy. That sounds horrible to me. There is no prize for wearing regular clothes longer than other people. Trust me. Get the stretchy pants. You'll be happier.

  6. Document. I bought this journal from Amazon and have been using it to write down things I want to remember, and obviously I've been posting weekly "bump-date" blog posts. These haven't been the easiest things to keep up with (life gets in the way!), but I know I will appreciate having these memories years from now. There are all sorts of ways to document your pregnancy - find the one that works for you, and use it as well as you can.
Clearly, my best advice is to take everything here with a grain of salt... I'm not a pregnancy expert, remember? If you only remember one thing from this post, make it tip #1: do the best you can. You'll be fine. Enjoy baby-growing as much as you can... it's a weird, wild experience.


Erin LFF said...

I love this post- you have the perfect attitude about it all! :) I will remember this for the future :)

Kelly said...

YES. I agree with all these. Especially "do the best you can." That is basically my life motto.

The Lady Okie said...

Hydration was so key! Water alllll day long :)