Monday, May 29, 2006

Ask a Pregnant Woman

Being pregnant is an interesting experience. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm enjoying it, although there are certainly some things that I do enjoy about it (e.g. getting to eat more). Half the human population will never get to experience this, and as for the other half, there are plenty of folks who have not yet been pregnant, and some who will never be pregnant. Because of the fact that this is a relatively rare experience, I thought I'd offer up some answers to some questions you may be having about what I'm going through.

1. What does it feel like?
You know the feeling you have after Thanksgiving when you've overeaten and your stomach is stretched out, and you have to unbutton your pants? Imagine feeling stretched out like that, except that you're always hungry. That's what it feels like to me.

2. What does it feel like when the baby moves?
So far, I am only at about 22 weeks, so he is pretty small and weighs less than a pound. But for now, anyhow, it feels kind of like when you get a muscle spasm, only it doesn't hurt, it just feels weird. But as he gets bigger, I'm sure I will start to feel more.

3. What do you like the most about being pregnant?
Without a doubt, the thing I like the most is getting to eat a lot more than I would normally eat, and not feeling guilty about it. It's nice to have a second helping of dinner, and to eat leftovers for lunch. Before, I just ate salad or something very low in calories for lunch. But now I can't do that. That is, I can't do that if I want to be able to think about anything but food all day!

4. What do you like the least about being pregnant?
I dislike the fact that I'm always so tired. It was a lot worse in the first trimester. Also, I got a body pillow and that has made a big difference because I'm able to sleep much better at night. My biggest sleep-related problem is that I am a stomach sleeper, or if I can't sleep on my stomach, then I sleep on my back. Both of these positions are also conducive to keeping my arms straight, which is important for the sake of my left elbow and wrist. But I can't sleep on my stomach at this time, and sleeping on your back is bad too because it cuts off the circulation of a very important artery that supplies the uterus. So I have to sleep on my side, which is uncomfortable and makes it impossible for me to keep my left arm straight. Because of this I'm going to need to go to the orthopedist soon, I'm afraid.

5. Have you had any food cravings?
Nothing like the legendary pickles and ice cream or anything like that. During the first trimester I was extremely crazy about string cheese, which is odd because I've never been fond of cheese. Also one night I woke up and had to eat some grapes so I went into the kitchen and shoveled grapes into my mouth by the handful.

6. Have you had any food aversions?
I used to think that Santa Fe Beans and Rice was one of the greatest foods ever. So I made my own, and I seemed to have overdosed on them, because I can't hardly put a bean in my mouth anymore.

7. Have you had to change any of your habits or adjust your lifestyle?
Mostly I have eliminated artificial sweeteners from my diet. I used to drink quite a bit of diet drinks (diet root beer, diet orange soda, diet Kool-Aid, etc.) so I just drink water or milk instead. I read that the artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium is actually hazardous to your developing fetus, so I had to quit one of my favorite daily habits, chewing sugarless gum. Wintergreen is my favorite flavor. Unfortunately, even sugary gum usually has acesulfame potassium in it. The only brand of gum I found that did not have that sweetener in it was Double Bubble, and that gum is pretty much disgusting, so I have quit chewing gum altogether. I am looking forward to chewing gum again after he is born!

8. Any other comments?
To me, this experience has underscored how important it is for a woman to be pregnant only if she wants to be. If I didn't think that the outcome of this experience was going to be worth it, I would have a hard time giving over my body to this stranger for nine months. I'm glad that I'm in an emotional and financial state that is stable and that I will be able to support this new person in the manner that he deserves.

Questions for the pregnant woman? Feel free to post them in the comments.


rachel said...

Ah, pregnancy. It gets better, and worse. Better as in -- when your partner can feel the baby kick. That's pretty exciting.

Worse: the baby dances the fandango on your bladder.

Laura said...

I'm interested in the "giving your body over to a stranger" concept, because that's something I think lots of people who haven't experienced it can't really fathom.

I think that's one of the main arguments of pro-choice people, that you shouldn't have to be pregnant -- that is, give up your control over your own body -- unless you've actually chosen to do so.

[Of course, you could say the choice to have sex was the choice to (potentially) get your body taken over by a very cute parasite (to paraphrase House!), so even that argument isn't necessarily pro-choice...]

My question is, are people patting your belly yet, or are friends and family relating to you differently, and does THAT also feel like giving yourself over to someone else?