Stage 1. (Part A) Pregnancy
(part B & Birth coming soon)
As it bears repeating let me say again, each stage is challenging and yet has so many joyful attributes.
Waiting for the birth of your little one is the most wonderful stage. You are filled with so much anticipation.
If this was not a planned pregnancy, and you have not begun to feel so yet, you will start to get excitement soon. Even with unplanned pregnancies, the thought of birth and all that will entail will start to fill your every fiber with joy and anticipation albeit some fear as well.
Feeling the baby kick is a wonder as you are now realizing there really is life inside your womb. You start to dream. You dream of all the possibilities in your baby’s life. Your baby’s first steps, first tooth, the first time they say “Mommy” or “Daddy”. You imagine their first day of school, their prom, and although they are not even born yet you start thinking about their wedding.
You begin to love that little person inside of you like nothing you have loved before. You are in awe of how, even though the internal kicks already cause you some discomfort, your thoughts are about their comfort and joy. You suddenly realize you are thinking more about this unborn child than yourself. Even before birth, you are understanding what parenting is about. You are sacrificing your body, your life to help this little one be born as perfect as possible. You are anticipating about what it will be like when you can hold your newly born child in your arms.
That’s the joyful part, however, there is also a challenging aspect. This can be the worst stage because pregnancy is so loooooong and you must, in fact, go through the pain of labour and birth before the baby actually gets here. In addition, you have so many choices to make! Should you choose natural childbirth and a midwife or an Ob/Gyn at a hospital? Should you breastfeed or bottle-feed?
What colour to paint the baby’s room? Who should the godparents be, or should you have godparents at all? You must name the baby and it can’t be just any name. You want it to be unique and special, but not to weird that others make fun of them. Along with these and other daydreams also come concerns. At what age will I let her start dating, what will I do if he doesn’t listen to me, what do I do when she throws a temper tantrum, what school will my child attend?
Most people love the pregnancy stage. Everyone is so happy for the expectant mom and dad. They feel great, they have so many hopes and dreams. I, however, was someone who just did not like being pregnant.
Pregnancy really is a great event and everything that comes afterward is worth the challenges, but I struggled with this stage the most because I didn’t like what the pregnancy did to my body.
I was one of the lucky ones as I had great pregnancies, and I never got sick. With the except for the time I had the flu, which obviously had nothing to do with the pregnancy. I can’t even complain about the times I felt nauseous because it really wasn’t often. And yet I was miserable. I hated being pregnant. The only part I found to be wonderful was the movement of the new life inside of me.
I did, however, have the excitement I was talking about regarding parenting this child. I have said many times, I would have gone through the birthing 10 times over, rather than the pregnancy.
There is so much that happens to us hormonally, mentally and physically. Some of it you will love, but a lot of it you will find extremely tasking and difficult. But of course, none of this is the unborn child’s fault. We can’t ever blame anything in our pregnancy on the child, as the child did not ask for this. Be careful of how you relaying your pregnancy stories in front of your children, as it could become a stigma for this child for the rest of their lives.
I remember growing up and hearing my mother say that she didn’t have a problem losing weight until after the third pregnancy. Well, I was her third pregnancy, and I grew up feeling guilty that my mother had a hard time losing weight. I encourage you to be careful with thinking and saying things in front of your children that could be taken as blaming them for something. Children are very impressionable, especially at an early age, and saying something of this nature could cause them to carry unnecessary guilt.
In some form or another, you are making the choice to have this baby. Still, one question remains, why must we go through all of this? Why couldn’t God just let us pop this little one out with no issues, nausea, swollen feet, big bellies, lack of sleep and pain? Have you ever noticed that for all the best things in life, work is required? So is true with this. You will love and appreciate this child and all they will become because of all you have to go through to bring this baby into this world. Additionally, by all the things you will go through while raising this child.
Not to scare you, but to prepare you: Your body will make you sick, you will get big and bloated, and you will be sore. This is just the beginning of what life has in store for you as the mom of this beautiful child you have the privilege to carry. I say that sincerely, although I didn’t like the pregnancy stage. Even if you are the type of person that loves pregnancy, there is still suffering and pain. And this is just the beginning of what is to come. You will find that it is all worth it, and the sacrifice is there to make the challenges worthwhile.
Even though I didn’t enjoy the pregnancies, I was so excited about being a mom and raising children, and I loved knowing I was growing my child inside of me. I did secretly wish I could have given the stretch marks and all the other odds and ends to someone else, perhaps my husband?
The reality is that you should in awe with the beauty of it all and amazed at the miracle of what it means to grow a child. Yes, your hormones are going through quite a bit right now, so give yourself a break and just know you are not alone in anything you think or feel. Every mother has had those hating moments of pregnancy and other moments of the wonder of it all.
Cravings during pregnancy are interesting. I wanted French fries with my first pregnancy, salad with my second, nothing much of any one thing with my third, and I nitpicked at healthy nibble foods a lot with my fourth. And the funny thing is that my children love those foods I ate during their pregnancy. I am sure there is something to that, but I don’t know the science of it.
One thing I do want to point out to the men in our lives though is that cravings are part of being a woman, not necessarily just when we are pregnant. I believe that both men and women are given cravings due to a lack of something our body needs. We should take heed when we have a craving and decide if we are going to give our body what it needs. However, just because you might have the munchies for something salty doesn’t mean you should eat a bunch of salt and vinegar chips. You should find out what the nutrients you might need and figure out a way to replenish what is lacking so you do not crave this food. But the difference between men and women is that we need chocolate, or ice cream or whatever it is at the moment because we know that it will make the world a better place … and we need lots of it. This feeling is usually even more prevalent when you are pregnant. The issue is whether you should give in to that craving or not.
I usually chose to ignore those cravings and just eat something else that was better for me. To do this, I developed a sort of mental scale. I would indulge in something if I thought it was worth the calories. There are some, let’s just call them ‘snacks’, that I like much more and those are the only ones I would allow myself to indulge. Discernment, even in this time of fluctuating hormones when your body gets stretched, kicked, and beaten, still needs to be uppermost in your mind. The less weight you put on while pregnant, especially due to eating the wrong foods, the easier it will be to get back into those sexy jeans for your husband after the birth. Something worth thinking about! The average weight gain is between 25 to 35 lbs. Depending on what you were like before you were pregnant will be a big factor, so please follow your doctor’s advice on this.
Eating healthy is always important but especially if you are pregnant. There is wisdom in taking a prenatal multivitamin, so talk to your doctor. Everything you eat and do will affect you and the baby, and it is best to make wise decisions.
One more important thing to state about pregnancy is that if you were an active person before you got pregnant, do not change just because you become pregnant. If you bowled, gardened, or exercise, don’t stop. Unless your doctor says otherwise, you should be doing all the same things you did before you got pregnant until it is too uncomfortable to do so. Wisdom is very necessary here, but please do not become one of these women that now sit and do nothing because they are pregnant. Remember, women have been doing this for thousands of years and most would work in the farm or fields up until the day the baby was born and be back at work as soon as they were able. They didn’t take nine months to one year off because they simply couldn’t. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t, but it does prove that we are still able to do all the same things we did before pregnancy.
You do not want to pamper yourself at this stage for a couple of reasons. One: you will not have time to pamper yourself after the baby is born, so don’t get into the habit of it now. Two: You don’t need to worry overly about hurting the baby as they are very well protected. Keep active so that the pregnancy, birth, and carrying your child around after birth is easier. This will help keep you fit and healthy.
The same philosophy is true about foods. Some will disagree, but I feel if you eat green apples before you were pregnant, you should still eat them during pregnancy. You should also be able to eat them after birth and while you are nursing. The problem of dealing with discomfort within yourself or in your baby usually happens when you try something your body is not used.
The last thing to discuss in this stage is naming your child. There are a few examples of great historians who felt compelled to change people’s name from their birth name to one they felt was more suitable, by which we conclude, they felt the name of the person was extremely important.
- Gaius Thurinus name was changed to Augustus Caesar (63 BCE – 14 CE),
- Saul was changed to Paul (in biblical times).
Give careful thought and consideration to what you want to name your children, as choosing a great name is one way to show how much you cherish them.
When I was pregnant with my third child my husband and I were set on naming him after my dad. About two weeks before I gave birth to child number three, both my husband and I blurted out that we didn’t think Eric was the right name. Neither one of us could figure out why, as we both thought highly of my dad and really liked the name. Upon much thought, we decided to pick a different name and I think we made a wise decision. Trust your own instincts and go with what you feel is a good decision for you and what you think would suit your child. Also, keep in mind what people might shorten the name to and ensure you are ok with the nickname.
When our kids were old enough, we explained to our children how I had lost a baby between my second and third child. My youngest in her innocent sweetness jumped in and explained that maybe we were not supposed to use that name. That maybe that was the name God gave to the baby we had lost that. It was such a comforting thought that I have decided in my mind that the baby we lost must have been a boy and that I am going to see my son Eric in the afterlife.
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