Everyone says that having a baby changes everything, and I believed it. I just didn’t realize how quickly things would change.
Over the past two years, I have made a lot of changes in my life from the way I eat and take care of my body to a focus on self-care and personal development. I am the healthiest I have ever been in my life – I exercise regularly, I take all the necessary supplements and eat a clean diet most of the time. All of it has been with the intention of getting my mind and body in the best place possible so that if we decided to have a baby one day, I’d be ready. Of course, no matter how much preparation you make, nothing can really prepare you for the changes of pregnancy.
These past six months have been a roller coaster of emotions and symptoms. I experienced terrible nausea and morning sickness that seemed to get worse each day until about 16 weeks. Despite knowing the likelihood of experiencing it, I didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was. Not only was I unable to eat the foods that normally made me feel healthy and strong, but I was stuck eating cereal and bagels for breakfast as they were the only things I could keep down. Coffee was out because I had read that caffeine can actually exacerbate morning sickness – even herbal teas were off limits unless I wanted it to come right back up. I was exhausted, I felt sick or “off” most of the time and just downright miserable.
This was supposed to be the happiest time of my life, right? So many women speak about how wonderful and amazing they felt being pregnant, but I just felt like I was doing everything wrong. I wasn’t eating as well as I wanted to, my energy levels had plummeted and I wasn’t working out as often as I hoped. I felt like I was failing. But the worst thing I felt was worry – a constant, nagging worry that followed me around all day long.
My mom used to tell me that it was a mother’s job to worry. For me, the worrying started from the very beginning – when we first started trying. Waiting to take the test, to see those two pink lines was torture. I’m hesitant to admit this because I know many people have had difficulty trying to conceive, but we were very fortunate to find out we were pregnant in our first month of trying. And while I am so incredibly thankful that it worked out well for us, I had managed to convince myself that we’d struggle. My mind automatically went to a negative place, focusing on all the possible things that could go wrong. Maybe it was because I have known so many people to struggle with trying to get pregnant. Maybe it was because my doctor went on and on about how long it could take and what my options were before I had even started trying. Whatever the reason was, the first month of my pregnancy (when I didn’t even know I was pregnant) was filled with emotional torture, stress and anxiety.
I thought that would go away once I found out I was pregnant, but it didn’t. Every cramp, or backache or strange sensation immediately sent my mind spinning to all the possible problems that could be happening. When we first saw our little baby on the ultrasound, heartbeat fluttering away, I waited for a wave of relief that never came. Surely, once I’m past the first trimester I’ll feel better, I thought, but even then, I still couldn’t shake this constant state of worry.
What is this feeling? I’ve felt worry in the past – worry about my job or family health issues – and, of course that was normal, but was this? In pregnancy, so much is new and unfamiliar, so it’s hard to know what is normal and what isn’t. I’m at the point now where I think it is safe to say that it’s perfectly normal to feel that nothing is “normal”. All I can do is remind myself to relax, practice self-care and have a little faith.
I’ll probably continue to worry for the rest of my pregnancy and even beyond once baby is here growing and changing day by day. Maybe my mom was right when she said it’s a mother’s job to worry. The only thing I know is that I refuse to let my worry to overshadow the immense amount of joy I feel when I feel baby moving inside of me, reacting to Mike’s touch or the sound of music playing.