To any woman currently in her third trimester of pregnancy, please accept the most sincere support I can offer as an internet stranger. Actually, to any woman in any trimester, I offer the same. Pregnancy is a wild time. I don’t mean wild like "college parties" or "Burning Man" wild, I mean wild in that pregnant women cope with a ton of physical and mental changes. It’s no wonder that various stages will have different effects. That said, there's a seemingly endless list of moments during the third trimester that make you feel like you're crazy (or, you know, at least well on your way to crazy town).
It makes sense, if you think about it. By the time the third trimester rolls around, you’ve been uncomfortable and (probably) sleep-deprived for an unforgiving number of months. You’ve endured the first and second trimesters, and are in what appears to be the final stretch. The end is in sight, yes, but it still requires a steep, steep climb. In fact, if we were to take it one step further and use a metaphor from one of my son’s books, I’d say the light is at the end of the tunnel, but there is still a giant-ass train (probably named Thomas, but whatever) barreling through the tunnel that you still have to handle. And that train, friends, is the third trimester.
So honestly, if you're nearing that beautiful due date but feeling like you're losing your mind as a result, please know that you're not alone. I can tell you that the third trimester made me feel like my time would've been better spent perusing straight jackets, instead of newborn pajamas.
When You’re Trying To Determine Whether Or Not You’re Having Contractions
As far as I know, I didn't have any Braxton Hicks contractions, so labor pains were an entirely new beast for me. However, that does not mean I didn’t pause and direct all my attention to the countless twitches, blips, and kicks coming from my mid-section in the third trimester.
When Even Maternity Clothes No Longer Fit
I had a hard time convincing myself that buying new maternity clothes was necessary, especially since I’d already acquired plenty of them. Seriously though, there was a point of no return when all I could do was put on a giant dress and hope for the best.
When Your Baby Has The Hiccups
At one time, earlier in my pregnancy, I found this amusing. However, by the third trimester, I was digging deep to keep calm and stay focused when they’d come at the most inopportune times (including but not limited to my own bedtime, meetings and work, and when The Bachelor aired).
When Your Baby Just Won’t Settle Down, For No Reason Whatsoever
I will say, however, that hiccups were usually preferred to whatever gymnastics my son was practicing in utero, since at least hiccups were predictable.
When You Can’t Sleep
I’m normally a pretty good sleeper, and by “good,” I mean I’m typically out within minutes of closing my eyes and I only stir if my house is on fire (sorry, husband). I don’t say this to brag, but to point out that by the time the third trimester hit and I was carrying a watermelon in my stomach as if I was Baby in Dirty Dancing, even I could hardly get comfortable. I knew it was dire, and I knew other moms were likely suffering, too.
When You Can’t Get Up
Not only was I unable to sleep, I was also unable and/or unwilling to leave the couch or the bed. I mean, not that spending an entire afternoon or even an entire day horizontally is the worst thing, but it wasn’t how I normally spent my days.
When People Attempt To Give Advice You Didn’t Ask For
I live in a pretty friendly area, so most of the time conversations made primarily of unsolicited advice were good-natured. However, every so often it got a little out of control (looking at you, elderly man who followed my partner and I around the produce section of the grocery store).
When People Attempt To Touch You
I was lucky, in a way, that the unsolicited belly-reach happened less frequently than I was warned. Still, it did actually happen. One time is one time too many, my friends, and no one should be touching you without your permission.
When You’re Always Hungry
I suppose I’ll take constant hunger over the rotating waves of nausea and starvation that plagued me in the first trimester, but still. That doesn’t mean it didn’t drive me crazy.
When You Doubt All Your Preparations
The nursery looked ready, the clothes were washed and folded, the diapers were acquired, and it was like Christmas eve but for three whole months. Then, of course, it occurred to me that we needed another pack of size newborn onesies, and more changing pads, and why am I not at all prepared? #PregnancyPanic
When You’re Always In Need Of A Bathroom
I know, I know. The list of jokes about pregnant women needing to pee is long and plentiful. However, that doesn’t make it any less infuriating when you’re up for the second time in a meeting, or the third time in one night, or the fifth time during the rose ceremony on The Bachelor.
When You Just Want To Feel Like Yourself Again
I remained optimistic throughout my pregnancy and thought, “Once I give birth,” I’d go back to feeling relatively normal. I was not taking into account the healing process my body would need, or breastfeeding, or the physical changes that stayed with me, or the adjustment that becoming a mom would take.
While eventually, yes, I did feel like me again, it wasn’t how or what I expected all those months ago. So I guess, in some ways, the craziness never ends, dear reader. Welcome to motherhood.