In my experience, the third trimester of pregnancy can be awesome and miserable... simultaneously. One one hand, you're exhausted, uncomfortable, and impatient. On the other, you get to feel your baby dance inside you, you know your pregnancy is almost over, and people are usually more willing to help than usual. In fact, there are more than a few people who can make or break your third trimester, so who you surround yourself with during the last stretch of pregnancy can be really, really important.
For example, there's your partner, who might be the type of person to pick up the slack at home so you can put your feet up and relax. Then again, they might expect you to do everything you normally do, while also growing another human being inside your body. There’s your coworkers, who might spend time with you getting up to speed on your projects. Or they might resent you for having a baby and refuse to help with anything. There's your OB-GYN, who might put your mind at ease, or who might actually scare the you-know-what out of you. Then there's the labor and delivery nurse, who can be a source of endless support during the most challenging moments of childbirth, or a source of judgment and anxiety.
If you're pregnant, and have reached your seemingly endless third trimester, I hope you encounter the people who will make, and not break, your final moments. Unfortunately for pregnant people everywhere, you will probably run into a few of both during your third trimester, like the following:
In my experience, the way your boss handles your third trimester can vary widely, from trying to make you fit in six months of work into your last three months of pregnancy, to understanding that pregnant people deserve to not face discrimination at work for getting pregnant.
My boss told me I had to quit my job and re-apply after my son was born. It was so stressful. A supportive boss can make your third trimester so much easier, and a unsupportive boss can make it so much harder.
Your Child-Free BFF
Maintaining friendships as an adult is a lot of work. And when your BFF is at a different place in their life, your third trimester might mean that your relationship changes. I learned that your child-free friends can be your biggest cheerleaders during your third trimester — messaging you every single day to see if you're OK — or they might not get it at all and fade out of your life.
Is your partner the type of person who will give you foot rubs during pregnancy and run out to get whatever food you happen to be craving, no matter how gross it is? Or is your partner the type to complain that you aren't keeping the house clean or don't want to have sex when you are eight months pregnant? I have had both types of partners, and it goes without saying that how your person acts can make a huge difference.
The UPS Delivery Person
Getting packages when you are pregnant can be so fun. It can literally make your day to see the UPS delivery driver pull up in front of your house. However, when you are huge and exhausted, the last thing you want to or should have to do is carry packages because the delivery driver leaves them on your driveway. I learned the hard way that having a helpful UPS delivery driver is actually super important when you are pregnant.
The Stranger In The Grocery Store
It's unbelievably frustrating when people think they can talk to you just because you're pregnant in public. The last thing I wanted to hear during my third trimester was how huge I was or how likely I was to deliver my baby that very day, all based on the position or size of my belly. There are also the strangers who think they can touch your pregnant belly without permission. No.
I did appreciate when strangers told me how awesome I looked or asked me how I was feeling, though. It kind of made my day.
I had to go out on bed rest eight weeks early during my second pregnancy. Not only did my coworkers not complain, they basically helped me work from my couch via phone, email, and even coming to my house. They made it so much easier.
Your Mom Friends
Your mom friends can definitely help or hinder your enjoyment of the third trimester. On one hand, mom friends have have a tendency to share their childbirth horror stories and unsolicited parenting advice with unsuspecting moms-to-be. Nobody needs that in their pregnant life.
On the other hand, mom friends can tell you that you're capable and powerful, no matter how hard things get, and that the choices you make are yours and yours alone.
The Nurse At Labor & Delivery Triage
The first time I was pregnant I went to the hospital three times thinking I was in labor, only to discover that my contractions were not productive — meaning my cervix was not changing and I was not having my baby that day.
Luckily, the staff was really kind when they broke the news that I needed to turn around and go home, and that truly helped.
For me, visits with my OB-GYN were no big deal until my pregnancies ended with hypertension, preeclampsia, and a scheduled induction. So, yeah, a great OB-GYN made my experience much less scary and stressful, even when things didn't go according to plan.
The Barista At Starbucks
Baristas have reacted to me in one of two ways when I was in my third trimester. Either they would ask me if I wanted decaf, or make my latte without comment — mostly the former.
If you give me my coffee without a sarcastic comment about caffeine and pregnancy, I might just name my baby after you. If you question my ability to make choices about my body during pregnancy, you are going to get an earful.
Your Older Kids
I distinctly remember the day my toddler stopped asking to be picked up, and instead asked if she could sit beside my giant pregnant belly. As she felt my big belly, I felt all the feels.
Believe me when I say it can feel like you have a dual personality during the third trimester. One side of you is so ready for pregnancy to be over, but at the same time you are scared out of your mind. You can be your own best friend, or worst enemy, as you near the finish line. So remember: be kind to yourself, give yourself space to feel whatever you are feeling, and remind yourself that you're strong, powerful, and not alone.