Uh oh! Pregnancy and summer are thwarting my Good Blogging Practices! This post is in honor of both weeks 34 and 35 (and I'll actually be 36 tomorrow, gotta catch up!). The last 2 weeks have been a crazy blur of house projects and family time (with some downright exhaustion to keep things fun). Speaking of family, mine is pretty baller and that is essentially today's topic [smooth transition, Shannon, nice job].
I'm very cognizant of the fact that I have had a great pregnancy. I've been happy and healthy, and while I give a lot of credit for that to myself (for not indulging in only pasta and ice cream constantly) and sheer dumb luck, a BIG percent of the credit pie goes to the fact that I have an incredible support system!
As I near the end, I'm trying to steer away from using "easy" as a descriptive word for pregnancy (although I know I've used it before). Even for ladies like me who haven't had a terrible time and aren't battling extra difficulties like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, I think using that word almost negates the fact that being pregnant is really challenging, no matter what! Watching TV is easy. Having your body move/react/function TOTALLY DIFFERENT than you are used to (you thought you could get off the floor from a sitting position, ha!), and having to base every decision on What's Best for Developing Baby is not so much. I'm really not trying to complain I'm just pointing out why being surrounded by loving, respectful people is important in EVERY pregnancy!
My support system doesn't just include my biological family, I also consider my friends, my medical team, and even kind strangers all as people that have helped me feel happy, strong, and safe during the last 8 months. Here are the top 5 acts of support that I have been appreciating lately:
1. Being told, "It's OK to sit and rest." Maybe it should be obvious, but for me it is SO RELIEVING to get validation for how tired I am. This is particularly meaningful when it comes from my husband who works his ass off all day to come home and do baby-related house projects all evening. My "job" is taking care of my sister where I get to nap during the day. Previously my work life had a lot more activity and pressure, so to say I feel guilty for not being super productive is putting it mildly. And yet, I manage to feel exhausted Every. Single. Night. But instead of resenting my seemingly relentless laziness, my husband reassures me that it's OK to rest. My body is working hard. Truly.
2. Others following up on our unusual doctors appointments. By and large all of our appointments have gone smoothly, but it wasn't too long ago that our doctor was concerned about baby's growth. To go into detail, you get your bump measured at every appointment in the 3rd trimester and the measurement is supposed to correlate with how many weeks you are, ex. 34 cm = 34 weeks. At one appointment we measured 4 weeks behind, which could be nothing or could signal the baby isn't growing right/there isn't enough amniotic fluid/there is something wrong with the placenta. Our doc ordered an ultrasound to rule out anything serious. Everything came back great (baby is just hanging out low in my abdomen). Still, it was reassuring to receive a text from one of my mother-in-laws asking how everything went (mother-in-laws get a bad rap sometimes, but I have 2 and love them both dearly). Knowing that someone else is thinking about how you and your baby are doing after a medical "scare" is a really nice feeling.
3. Non-judgemental check-ins. This is related to #2, but a bit more generalized. My friend Randi and I text every day (#bestfriendsforever), and she often asks how I'm feeling and how baby is doing. That makes me happy in itself, but more importantly, she never judges the answer. If I say, "I didn't sleep well, I have heartburn, and I'm tired." She always offers kind advice or sympathy as warranted, even if her day was 100 times worse. I think this is really important. I've heard from other women on message boards that people ASK THEM how they are doing, they respond honestly, and then that person is condescending in their feedback,
Duh. There are some symptoms that we are all aware of that are caused by being pregnant. They still suck. If you didn't want hear the nitty gritty of pregnancy, ask a different question. This goes for any human talking to any other human about anything. Don't be a dick. If you ask someone how their day is going and they say it's terrible because they broke a nail just say "aww, that's too bad" even if you are inwardly rolling your eyes. Again, you asked the question, and that might have been a really expensive, once-a-year manicure!
4. Balancing between pregnant lady treatment and regular lady treatment. My family and friends have been excellent at this one. I love talking about my pregnancy and my baby and all the things I've prepared for and what I haven't, BUT I want to know I'm still valuable for conversation as my regular ol' self too! I really appreciate the moments where my Pending Mom status is sidelined and I get to chat and joke about topics totally unrelated. How is this particularly "supportive?" It helps me keep my identity, and stops me from spiraling into the very real hole that is pregnancy depression. I have other things to occupy my brain space and keep me sane. That being said, don't not ask about baby stuff, especially if you're genuinely curious because really, I do love gushing about it.
BTdubs, this goes for activities too. While I need to rest often, I'm no delicate flower and love it when I get a chance to stretch my muscles - literally. Srsly, I can carry stuff. I take a lot of pride in the fact that Troy and I single handedly (quadruple handedly? We each have two...) cleared out and reorganized the entire garage (let me assure you, it was a mega task). He treated me like a normal person that knew my own limits. Not only was I proud of my accomplishment at the end, but it also kept me feeling healthy and strong while I am otherwise not exercising.
Does this seem contrary to #1? That's why balance is a key word here. There is a time and place to push yourself and a time and place for rest. I'm grateful to the folks who know that I need both!
5. Having a great doctor and hospital. I know that my doctor is my advocate whether I'm worried about something small and silly or on bigger decisions like pain medication versus no pain medication during birth. He gives me all of the information I need to make decisions and stands by them. He does all of this with the charisma of Jeff Goldblum and the silliness of Mr. Bean. Thanks to his kindness and easy going manner I have no fears regarding my medical team when it's go time.
I feel like this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how the many caring people in my life have helped me this year, but this post is getting long and it's late in the day. I have to wrap it up! I am a lucky girl, indeed, to have such great people in my life.
Stranger, what people in your life have given you the warm fuzzies lately?