Like most new mothers, my pregnancy with my first child taught me a lot about what I want to do and mostly what I did not want to do with my following pregnancies.
As someone who has always been busy, a high-performer and sets high expectations, it was difficult for me to set realistic expectations for myself in my first pregnancy. I have never been through a pregnancy before so I didn’t understand how it may affect my day-to-day tasks. Even though I was feeling nauseous and extremely fatigued, I would still set huge goals for myself and would get so frustrated when I didn’t hit them.
I am writing this today in hopes I help one new mom take it a little easier on herself so she can enjoy her pregnancy as best she can.
I just wrapped up the first trimester of my second pregnancy and I must say, I am so proud of how I handled it. What are some things I did differently?
1. Ate what I could and didn’t beat myself up for it
I was used to eating mostly whole foods and drinking coffee everyday, however, in early pregnancy my tolerance for anything other than bread and cheese was pretty much zero. My beloved nectar from the gods, as I like to call it, AKA coffee tasted like mop water to me. Instead of getting nervous that I was going to hinder the babies growth or health because the only thing that would seem to ease my nausea and satisfy my hunger was a bagel, I reminded myself that this is just temporary. I took it day by day and kept my eyes on the second trimester where I knew I would probably be able to stomach meat and veggies again and of course my beloved coffee.
2. Prioritized activity, even when I didn’t feel like it
Something I learned in my first pregnancy was, even when I was feeling really crappy, if I worked out I would feel so much better and a lot of times my symptoms (headache and nausea) would disappear for a bit. Even though I learned this last pregnancy, I didn’t really push through the feelings of discomfort very often. With this pregnancy, every morning, I would get myself outside for a walk at least. If that’s all I felt I could do that day, it was better than nothing at least, and it did help me feel a little better.
3. Gave myself grace
Like I said earlier, if you are a high performer and a highly productive person, it can be very difficult to succumb to your pregnancy symptoms and just rest. It has been helpful to remind myself that these feelings are only temporary. These feelings of discomfort come from your body doing the most productive and incredible task known to all walks of life. It is difficult to not feel like yourself, but just keep in the back of your mind that this is only temporary and you will receive the greatest result in the world. <3
4. Avoid the comparison game
During my first pregnancy, I found myself comparing myself to a lot of women I follow on Instagram. The women in the fitness industry I admired in my early 20’s were now starting to grow their families and it seemed like they hadn’t missed a beat when it came to their fitness. This made me feel like sh*t and like there was something wrong with me, because I was definitely missing lots of beats. I haven’t felt able to perform the way I do when I am not with-child. I used to think there was something wrong with me or I was being lazy. Everyone’s bodies are different. All pregnancies are different. Also, people on Instagram usually don’t give you the full story of what is going on in their lives. They may be thriving in one area, but they could be lacking in another where you are thriving. This doesn’t mean I wish people to be miserable in some aspects of their lives to make myself feel better, not at all, but it’s just good to keep in mind you never see the whole picture and you are probably doing much better than you think.
5. Less obsessing over body changes
Going from the best shape of my life to growing a human was very challenging for me. Whenever I brought this up to someone they would usually say “but your body is giving you the greatest gift!” Yes, I understand that, but that doesn’t invalidate my feelings. It is difficult watching your body change. I have yet to meet a pregnant woman who hasn’t had similar feelings. On top of all the physical changes pregnancy brings, I feel very yucky and frumpy, to be honest. Now when I look back at pictures I think “aw, I looked so cute, I miss my baby bump!’ However, when I was actually living in that body I was super uncomfortable.
After Natalie was born, I was super dedicated to getting back in shape and feeling good. Not to feed the “bounce back” narrative, but I just deeply desired to feel confident and GOOD in my body again. By the time I got to around 9 months postpartum I remember feeling really good and confident in my skin again. Actually, I felt like I was truly in the best shape of my life, the scale wasn’t where it used to be but I felt like a B.A.B. When I first had Natalie I felt so discouraged that I was giving away all my clothes because I truly believed I would never fit in them again. Like I said before, give yourself grace. This is only temporary if you make it to be.
What have you learned in your previous pregnancies? I’d love to hear more in the comments!