Hello, third trimester! I’ll go ahead and say that I’m not quite mentally prepared for you…you arrived far more quickly than I anticipated. Every day of this pregnancy- good or bad- has been an absolute miracle. That said, as a first-time preggo mama, the entire experience is simply bizarre. I go back to what I said three months ago: Throw out all expectations! I’ve been lucky so far, escaping the “mask of pregnancy”, linea negra, varicose veins, gestational diabetes, and stretch marks (knock on wood!). I even still have an “innie” belly button, though it’s starting to disappear. We’ve been giggling about being on “waddle watch” to see if my ever-growing body walks differently yet; unless I’m really tired or very full, I’ve still got a normal gait.
Despite my body’s changes, I feel great. In fact, most days, I feel like a tired version of my pre-pregnancy self and have a moment of disbelief when I feel my little rock star practicing David Lee Roth fan kicks or catch a glimpse of my giant belly in the mirror. I can’t believe the difference when I look at belly photos from the beginning compared to just a few weeks ago. It’s true that the second trimester feels like a honeymoon after the rough first months, and I adore this Buddha belly of mine. As time grows shorter before Baby Howe’s arrival (just 11 weeks left!), John and I both feel simultaneously anxious and unbelievably blessed. What a beautiful adventure. Here are some things this almost-Mama has learned about pregnancy during our second trimester!
If you worried about the pounds you weren’t gaining in the first trimester, fear not: they join the party in the second trimester and bring all of their friends (to the tune of 10 pounds in 6 weeks at one check-up!).
Don’t kill the messenger: It’s not the scale’s fault.
You can use your belly as a small snack table. Awesome!
Cravings that won’t quit: fresh pineapple, dill pickle chips, peanut butter on graham crackers. New craving that has me scratching my head: deli turkey and cheddar on white bread with mayo and Dijon. Gimme all of the Honeycrisp apples!
The desire to enjoy ALL OF THE FOOD again is awesome, but it’s countered by a smooshed stomach with less room in it! Every time I eat a normal-sized meal, it feels like I had three Thanksgiving dinners in a row.
Which reminds me: Tums are not a food group.
It’s not wise to keep a big bowl of Halloween candy within reach of a pregnant lady with a sweet tooth. “Fun size” does not mean you can eat 12 Snickers. Save some for the kiddies!
“Blame the baby” works for all sorts of situations. (Sorry, nugget!)
Hormones remain in charge. If you start crying for absolutely no reason, fear not: it’s normal.
Those upper torso curves you were excited about early on get trumped by one BIG curve at your waistline pretty quickly.
You no longer have to wonder if you just look like you have been eating too many burgers lately…people will KNOW you’re pregnant! The bump decided to show itself in a major way around 20 weeks and then took on a mind of its own. Somewhere around 25 weeks, the volume gets turned up to 11. That belly starts taking over in a major way, and kind of suddenly! Is it possible to grow out of maternity clothes? Stay tuned…
There’s no feeling in the world like your child disco-dancing inside of you. Then the dancing turns to karate chops, generally when you’re ready to go to sleep… but it’s worth staying awake another hour.
One day, you’ll feel little baby kicking and will look down and actually SEE the kicks make your belly move from the outside. You might have a moment of feeling like Sigourney Weaver in Alien. This is normal (and fascinating).
DO NOT catch a cold. You’ll be afraid to take any medication and the yucks last a lot longer. Your already depleted energy level will hit a new low. Sickness plus pregnancy don’t mix.
At some point, you finally surrender the 3-4 pillows you hoard nightly on your side of the bed and say YES to the crazy C-shaped Snoogle and form a love/hate relationship with it. You’ll go back to the pillows.
A good night’s sleep is a thing of the past, long before baby arrives. Between the pillow shuffle, back aches from sleeping on one side or another, crazy dreams, and multiple trips to the bathroom, a nap sounds pretty darn good around 4pm. Take one if you can!
DREAMS. Vivid, weird, detailed, and out of nowhere. Shake it off when you wake up!
When you have energy, DO STUFF. Hike, yoga, pilates, chores, whatever. When you don’t have energy, give yourself permission to put your feet up and rest. Every day gets tougher!
Huffing and puffing is normal, even if you’re just bringing in the groceries. Your baby has commandeered the majority of space and your lungs have very little room to do their job. Pause to catch your breath often or you’ll feel dizzy when you leave two 3 ½ minute voicemails to your BFF in Cali.
Do kind things for yourself and let others do them, too. Remind yourself that you’re doing something amazing and cut yourself a little slack!
Despite the fact that you have always had slender ankles, one day they might resemble pillows stuffed into your shoes. This is when your angelic husband’s unprompted offer for a foot rub makes you feel like you’ve won the lottery.
Speaking of shoes: Bending over to put them on will become a bit of a challenge around 23 weeks. It will only get harder.
Any pre-pregnancy clumsiness multiplies ten-fold!
Shaving anything below the waist will become something of an acrobatic Olympic sport, no matter how you contort your body. Add in the pregnancy clumsiness and the lesson becomes: Use a mirror or call the waxer!
Pregnancy brain continues! It’s best to just laugh or shake your head when you realize you put the can of Pam in the fridge or find your lost phone in your sock drawer or pour water on your cereal. (True stories.)
Find the humor in everything, because it’s there! Plus, baby likes when you laugh.
And my most difficult lesson of this trimester, especially with the holiday season upon us: It’s ok not to DO IT ALL. Despite feeling better than the first trimester, growing and carrying around a tiny human is seriously hard work. Say yes when someone offers help (or a neck massage) and say NO when adding something to your schedule feels like too much. Listen to your body…it knows what it’s doing.