When I was pregnant, people reminded me all the time how lucky I was to have a growing life inside me that would one day be an actual human being. This was merely a distraction technique so that I didn't focus so much on all of the things that had been taken away from me. When I was pregnant, so many privileges had been revoked, from what I could drink, to how I slept. There were a lot of things that were difficult to give up during pregnancy even though I knew that the prize at the end of it was one of the biggest there is in life.
Giving up good things is hard, especially when the reason to give them up seems almost hypothetical, like when you're in the early stages of pregnancy. You know you're not "supposed" to do this or that, but if you don't look pregnant, is it really bad? It is crap logic, to be sure, but the brain does crazy things when it wants an Italian sub sandwich so bad you have no idea how you're going to survive without one.
I knew plenty of women who didn't really care about giving up things they used to love and would occasionally pout about missing coffee and I'd be like, "That's all you miss?" Then I'd do a double take and say, "You gave up coffee? Are you insane?" (Giving up only coffee would have been the least of my problems.) Read on to see if any of these other items sound like something on your "hard to let go of" list.
Sleeping On My Stomach
My doctor told me I could sleep on my stomach until it was no longer comfortable. Since this was a directive based on perception, I decided to convince myself that perception was only a state of mind. When it was way past the point of comfortable, I powered through. That is how strong my love for sleeping on my stomach is, and how hard I fought for the ability to continue to do so.
Didn't expect to see that one there, huh? Before I had my first kid, I was completely obsessed with my pole dancing classes (for fitness, not for money, though no judgement either way). I loved how strong it made me feel, how sexy I looked in those six-inch heels, and the sense of camaraderie I felt being part of a community of athletes with my fellow pole enthusiasts. Pole dancing was my only form of fitness for a long time before I got pregnant, so I tried to cling to it for as long as possible during pregnancy. I avoided doing anything that could compromise the pregnancy, such as inversions (going upside down) or intense ab moves. But once I started to show, there was just something undeniably disconcerting about a pregnant belly slithering sexily around a pole, heels or no heels. Finally, I gave up the ghost and switched to prenatal yoga. But not happily.
You know what a lot of pregnant ladies love? Salty, briny things. You know what is just so unfair that you can't have when you're pregnant? I nice, icy, very well-shaken dirty martini with some blue cheese olives. I mean, c'mon. Why can't someone invent a non-alcoholic version?
I spent so many hours at various bars with my husband staring at all the mixers and garnishes dreaming up possible ways to approximate a virgin dirty martini. I was this close to just drinking some olive juice mixed with soda water out of a martini glass, but thought better of it because #pregnancyburps. Of all the things I wasn't allowed to ingest during my pregnancy, this one was the one I was the saddest about. Watching my husband enjoy a nice martini was enough to make me cry.
Sushi And Other Raw Fish
Sushi and oysters were some of those things that some people were on the fence about as to whether or not you truly had to give them, especially if they're purchased super fresh or from really high-end places. I was tempted to risk it a few times, but the crushing guilt I was sure I would feel after having eaten them (whether justified or not) wasn't worth it.
Still, I kept sushi around me by eating in this one little Japanese restaurant every week or so after one of my doctor's visits. I'd sit and order the all veggie rolls and would stare lovingly at the raw fish in front of me. I felt like at least being close to sushi was something better than nothing.
I enjoy being looked at admiringly by strangers. Is that weird? I mean, I draw the line at that horrible man by the R train exit near my home who was completely going to town on himself on every passenger as we exited the train. There's nothing nice about that. At all.
However, the occasional catcall does not bother me, and even an insincere "Hey, beautiful" from a stranger makes me blush. Well, most of that pretty much ceased once I started showing. Sure, people said things about my belly, like, "It's a girl!" or, "Any day now!" but none of that was about me or my general sexiness. Having my attractiveness (or at least how it was perceived or judged by others) on hiatus for nearly a year did not feel so great, and that was hard to let go of. Yes, I am vain.
I really lived in a deep stage of denial when it came to my pre-pregnancy clothes. I had read about these mystical, magical women who "basically lived in their regular pre-pregnancy clothes up until about nine months and then bought one or two maternity things and that was it."
I had hoped that I would be one of these women, but it was not in the cards for me. By the second month of pregnancy, I was kidding no one with my skinny jeans. I could barely get my jeans over my hips. Everything seemed to be expanding at a pace similar to that of something from from those alien horror movies where the scientist gazes at a life-form under a microscope and watches in terror as it multiplies in size and then reaches out to eat his face.
Not Being "The Pregnant Lady" In The Room
As I became more obviously pregnant, people stopped seeing me as a person capable of being anything other than "the pregnant one." Once my belly was pronounced, it was all anyone talked about with me, from strangers that I'd just met to lifelong friends and family members. I wanted to wave my hands in front of their faces and be like, "Hello! Remember me? The whole person attached to this belly? I still exist, you know." I would have liked to have held on to my personhood for a little longer, before my "bellyhood" took over.
Obsessive And Unhealthy Behaviors From My Past
This was the biggest hurdle of all. As a person who has struggled with an eating disorder (ED) in the past, carrying a lot of extra weight was a huge (no pun intended) challenge. I had been so used to doing regular, sometimes multi-daily "body checks" (i.e. examining a particular part of my body throughout the day to take note of any changes or weight gain from one hour to the next), that letting go of that ritual was like swimming upstream.
Imagine you're someone who enjoys seeing a flat stomach every time she lifts her shirt, and is dismayed whenever that stomach fluctuates towards the heavier side. Now, imagine every time she lifts her shirt in front of the mirror, she sees her stomach getting exponentially bigger and there is nothing she can do about it. In fact, hindering that growth would be tragic to her pregnancy. So yeah. It was hard, but I had to let that ritual of mine go.