It's not "news" to say that pregnancy is a pretty amazing thing. However, for as full of wonder as the gestation period may be, it's also filled with some pretty gross, exhausting, and not-so-fantastic or magical moments, too. Thankfully, there are pregnancy moments that prove you're a badass mom which, in a way and despite the vomit, tears, and embarrassment that often comes along with them, makes the entire process more than worth it. (I mean, yes, you get a baby at the end of it, too. But still, personal validation is always nice.)
While pregnant people are literally growing tiny human beings inside their bodies, our collective culture tends to spend too much time criticizing a pregnant woman's body and scrutinizing a pregnant woman's behavior. So, it's pretty easy for pregnant women (hell, any woman) to spend their time feeling bad about themselves, their bodies, and freaking out about what they are feeling and experiencing when compared to a pre-packaged, unrealistic version of pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum life and motherhood in general.
I am currently pregnant for the third time. All of my pregnancies have been different – from my first, where I had light nausea and ran races into my second trimester to my last, suffering from severe morning sickness for six months and feeling as if I might die if I leave my couch in an attempt to parent four children. While pregnancy isn't always pleasant, these challenges and changes have taught me so much about myself and have assisted me in becoming the best, most badass mother I can be.
When You Vomit Ten Times In One Day And Still Manage To Stay Upright
For most pregnant people, nausea and vomiting become a part of their daily routine. Whether you have morning sickness, all-day sickness, or like me, have hyperemesis gravidarum (severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy), you are forced to learn to live with vomit.
With luck, you will discover what foods and drinks are “safe” for you (Coke, Sour Patch Kids, and onion soup are mine) and strategies for overcoming nausea (frequent meals, lots of meds, rest when I can get it, and IV fluids), despite having to work, chase kids around, and exist in an upright position.
Be sure to let your obstetrics provider know if you are not able to stop vomiting, feel dehydrated, or can’t function. For many, symptoms will subside by the second trimester. Either way, take solace in the fact that you're gaining some valuable #MomPractice when dealing with so much vomit.
When You Pee Yourself And Act Like Nothing Has Happened
No one told me I would end up peeing spontaneously while pregnant. No one. While vomiting, running, and pretty much any time I cough or sneeze, I was bound to let some pee out.
I wish I could tell you that daily kegels and pelvic floor exercises worked for me. However, this is one of those things that doesn't necessarily get better after delivery. Accepting embarrassment and bodily functions is key to becoming a mom. Here, have a yellow badge of badassery.
When You Fall Asleep At Work And Don't Get Caught
For me, the first trimester of my pregnancies was like a long, frequently interrupted nap. I couldn't help it. It was like tiny humans were growing inside of me, living off of my life force. Wait. That's exactly what pregnancy is. Growing humans is badass, but it's pretty damn exhausting.
I'm just going to close my eyes for a second, and dream about all of the sleep that I'll get once baby is here. Ha ha ha. Ha. Ugh.
When Dealing With Nosey People Who "Go Low," You "Go High"
From the moment you announce you're pregnant until basically the end of time, people will ask you personal questions and give you unsolicited advice about everything.
Will you breastfeed?
Was your pregnancy planned?
Did you use fertility treatments?
Do you plan to deliver vaginally?
Is there only one baby in there?
At first I felt embarrassed and/or defensive, but then I learned to feel empowered by my choice to respond with either a blank stare or sarcastic remark. "Do you hope for a boy or a girl?" A dinosaur, actually. We are hoping it's a dinosaur.
When You Set Boundaries And Refuse To Waver
When you start to actually show, get ready for unwanted touches. Sadly, those unwanted touched don't end once your baby arrives.
So, it should come as no surprise that I learned to be pretty damn great at setting boundaries. I really should make a shirt that says, "Please don't touch me without my permission." The ability to set boundaries as a pregnant woman, in my opinion, directly correlated to your ability to teach your kids about setting boundaries, consent, and that their body is theirs and theirs alone.
If you can teach your kid all of the above, you're clearly a badass and deserve all the praise.
When You Feel Your Baby Move And Realize That You're Doing Something Truly Incredible
I have no way to really describe the magical and sometimes super weird feeling of feeling your unborn baby move inside you. The first time I honestly cried (no hormone jokes, please).
After a while, I became obsessed with the ability to feel this human being grow and move inside of me. (At least when she wasn't kicking the heck out of my cervix because, you know, that was super weird). You. Can. Grow. Humans. In. Your. Body. You guys, if that's not the most badass thing ever, I literally don't know what is.
When You Learn To Love Your Changing Body
I have not always loved and accepted myself, especially when I wasn't a certain size or shape. As an eating disorder survivor, body changes in pregnancy are so hard and learning to accept my changing body and love what it can do has been amazing.
I know my body will never be the same, but I'm OK with that. Of course, it's also OK to feel sad or ambivalent about those changes, or to want to work your butt off to stay in shape while pregnant and when it's safe to start exercising again after child birth. Pregnancy has helped me love what my body can do, accept what it cannot, and occasionally dance naked in my living room. #Badass
When You Have Awesome Pregnancy Sex
Pregnancy sex can be so awesome. For me, it has been different each pregnancy. My first two pregnancies, I didn't want sex at all.
However, this third time around my pregnancy has made me feel like a sexually goddess. Of course, it helps to have a loving, creative partner and the above-mentioned body acceptance.
When You Work Out Like A Boss
As a fitness professional and long distance runner, exercise was a part of my daily routine prior to getting pregnant. While I am no longer running marathons, I am able to get to the gym a few times a week and it feels awesome. I have faced a few raised eyebrows but, for the most part, everyone is understanding and supportive.
My obstetrics provider is supportive, and I can still do better in HIIT class than some of the guys, which makes me smile so big.
When You Accept New Limits
Pregnancy changes everything, so you have to constantly make adjustments to the whatever your new version of "normal" inevitably ends up being. From morning sickness and fatigue, to a changing body literally weighing you down and creating a serious pain your ass, earning to accept changes, new limits, and the ebb and flow of gestation is a seriously badass parenting skill.
Before you know it, you'll be watching your little one grow and change and as soon as you get used to a new routine, they suddenly won't sleep anymore. Flexibility is key.
When You Realize You Are Growing A Freaking Human Being Inside Your Body
Growing a tiny human in your body is one of the most badass things imaginable. Parenting that tiny human will be one of the most magical, challenging, wonderful, gross, funny, frustrating, and rewarding things you'll ever do.
Take a minute to relax and reflect on how awesome you are, you badass soon-to-be mom, you. You deserve it. Just, you know, try not to fall asleep while you're reminiscing (or at least don't get caught).