GaGA! Growing and Getting Awesome… the Official Loving the Pregnant You Blog

It doesn’t have to go the way you’re assuming – and dreading – it’ll go

pregnant_morning_sicknessIt’s well-known that there are physical ailments that are considered “common” during pregnancy. Morning sickness, fatigue, swollen ankles, back pain, and shortness of breath, to name a few. While many pregnant women experience these, I want to share the idea that you don’t have to get these ailments. You don’t need to expect to experience them. It’s not a “given,” even if a condition is hereditary. It may be a well-known fact that women in your family retain water and swell during pregnancy. You may have been told for years that you can look forward to this phenomenon. You might be the exception.

Also, it doesn’t have to go exactly the way it did in your last pregnancy. Certainly, if you experienced back pain in your first pregnancy, it might mean that it’s more likely to occur again in your second. Yet, I’d encourage you to question the idea that it has to happen again. Sure, you may have received what seems like irrefutable medical information, yet there are also new remedies, approaches, and ideas conceived every day. Also, you will have different experiences in each pregnancy. Many mothers of two or more can attest to this. Instead of defaulting to “I’ll have to endure that again” or “I’ll be really tired throughout my first trimester because that’s what happened before” or “I’m not looking forward to retaining water,” the belief we can hold on to is actually that no two pregnancies are alike.

Heidi, for example, had four different pregnancies and they had been just that… different. With her first child, she felt nauseous a good deal of the time. She had swelling and low energy levels, feeling tired throughout the pregnancy. In her second pregnancy, she felt sick again and experienced spotting, cramping, swollen legs and arms, and pre-term labor. After those experiences, you might think that she was resigned to life being pretty miserable as a pregnant person.

Yet, this wasn’t the case for Heidi. She attributed her physical struggles to the fear and anxiety she felt during her first two pregnancies. This was empowering to Heidi. She didn’t have a physical condition that was unalterable or insurmountable. Instead, she believed that if she could find the means to reduce the stress and anxiety that she felt, then she could experience something different physically. This allowed Heidi to embark on her next pregnancy with a much different approach.

With her third pregnancy, Heidi was “ready” in all senses of the word. She knew she could create a different journey, and she did. She did everything her midwife told her to do. She exercised, took calcium, vitamin B, prenatal vitamins, and ate really well.

She believed that she’d find remedies that would work for her even though she hadn’t in the past. When she started feeling nauseous, she ordered a tummy-soothing product online, and she felt better immediately. She also found relief from smelling peppermint oil. Her approach and attitude were lighter – more playful and exploratory – and her pregnancy was much more enjoyable.

A couple things are important about Heidi’s story. One, she had vastly different experiences during her pregnancies. And mentally, she did not get locked into thinking that her pregnancy was going to feel a certain way. She didn’t get stuck believing that she was destined to feel bad in all her pregnancies. At the same time, she didn’t feel like she did it “wrong” in her first two pregnancies. Instead, she accepted that her experiences might vary.

What negative assumptions are you making?

What negative assumptions have you had in the past that proved to not be true?

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