Pregnancy: Weeks 21-24
Oh the hormones!! It is hard to tell what is hormones and what is just stress from this life-changing event, but these weeks were full of so many highs and lows!
I have not and do not plan on sharing overall weight gain because I don’t want to be part of the comparison trap, but I want to share my emotional reaction to my weight gain.
Since the beginning of my pregnancy, I have already weighed more than I ever have, and was completely fine with this. I was gaining each week, but then that weight gain quadrupled one week. This was right after our Hawaiian babymoon (where I ate more bloating foods than I normally do) and a week of super hot weather in the Bay Area (107 without AC) so I knew I was retaining a lot of water and completely off my usual eating.
Nonetheless, this was the first time I had negative thoughts about my body during pregnancy. What if this continues? What if even with healthy eating, I gain more than is healthy? My body felt puffy and swollen and foreign. I still love being pregnant and am proud of my body for what it is doing, but that doesn’t mean I am free of negative thoughts. I struggled that week, but I stuck to my healthy diet (no restrictions in terms of calories, fat, protein or carbs…have to feed that baby!), and my body stopped retaining water and felt more “normal.” I knew all I could do was acknowledge I was feeling this way, ask for support from my husband, and trust in my body! I also probably should not have weighed myself that week knowing how I felt – but live and learn!
Physically, I definitely feel the pregnancy now. Gone are the days when I could easily forget for a couple hours. My muscles have been feeling the extra weight and I can also feel myself losing some muscle mass. I have heard this is normal, so I am just keeping up with my exercise routine (shared in the last update) and making sure to eat enough protein for support.
I have also switched to sitting on a yoga ball as my chair during the day and even in the evenings when we watch TV. My midwife suggested it as a way to encourage baby to be in the optimal position for birth. Sure, baby is still flipping around, but I am just working on making sure this is part of my routine.
Yep, I have started getting Braxton Hicks contractions! I have to say, I did not know they started so early, but my midwife says it is normal. They do not hurt and honestly, I don’t feel them unless my hands are on my belly.
If you haven’t already heard, everyone and their mamas will give you advice during pregnancy. I knew this and up until these weeks, I was handling the unsolicited advice like a champ. But that was because it was mostly coming from strangers who don’t know me, my lifestyle, or our choices for pregnancy and child-rearing.
However, these weeks friends and family started weighing in. From telling me what to listen to, to how many hours to work per day, to how much weight I should gain, to what I should eat, to how much I should spend on baby items, to whether I should care about organic products or not … it was rough.
My husband and I have certain wishes for raising our babies – such as choosing non-toxic items as much as possible – but we also have not raised children yet and value our friends’ and families’ experiences. We also value their feelings and want to make sure that if we are choosing a different path that we do not criticize their parenting choices, especially our own parents! These weeks, I got a crash course in walking the fine line between staying true to ourselves but also including our friends and family. I offended some people and felt offended, but I figure this is part of motherhood and I need to do what I feel is best!