Most of the time in pregnancy you feel great - if you feel well of course, otherwise you feel crap. People will tell you how amazing you look, get excited as your bump grows more and more and your partner will rub your growing tum affectionately and tell you how they love your new pregnant figure. As well as having a new bundle of joy to look forward to, the pregnant part is great as it is the only time in life you will ever happily watch your tummy grow, your underwear get smaller and the number on the scales get higher without having a convulsion.
That being said, sometimes when you are on your own and have time to think about all the things going on in your body and coming up in the very near future it can suddenly seem like those lovely words from your friends and family don't sound so comforting anymore. You feel as though you're 'bulging' not 'blooming' and most of all you are starting to feel very frumpy and uncomfortable! These pangs don't hit all of the time but they do hit you at some point. For the first time ever in my life I have appreciated my non pregnant body in all it's glory while looking through photos taken as recently as this summer. I don't care about the wobbly bits or any cellulite that I always worried about - look at how slim I was! I never looked at photos of myself in that way before, I always looked for the things a could criticise first before appreciating any part that may look 'OK'.
Now I look like humpty dumpty and I really miss my waist, I was actually a nice shape before. I also miss being able to lean forward when sitting down without a tummy being in the way, being able to do things without getting severely out of breath, I miss not aching, I miss a good nights sleep (quite aware it'll probably be a while til I see those again!) and I miss wearing heels for long periods of time without my feet turning into balloons.
I am obviously aware that I won't be pregnant forever and the sensible part of my brain tells me I need to hush because I am yet to get bigger before I get smaller again but when you are having problems getting to sleep or are waking up in the night having become uncomfortable and can't get back off again (this will happen to you if it isn't happening already) You have time to think about things more in depth and suddenly, in the dark and quiet of night a lot of things seem much scarier:
How will I know what to do with my baby?
How will I know what they're crying for?
How will I cope on much less sleep?
Will I be a good enough Mum?
Will my relationship with my husband change?
Will we find enough time for 'US'?
What will my body look like after I have given birth?
Will I get back to my pre baby weight?
Will my husband still find me attractive?
Will people judge my parenting?
What if my tummy looks awful?
What if my baby is always ill?
What is giving birth like?
All of these thoughts - some selfish, some not, some trivial, some not - and lots more, will run through your head and fill you with abject horror.
I have started reading advice books now because I didn't want to start too early for fear of either reading far too many and getting myself into a tizz due to information overload or reading them so early that I would forget it all by the time baby arrives. I asked my friend Michelle who is parent to a one year old girl how many books she read and whether they were all worth reading and she advised on just one to read and told me that reading endless books did her absolutely no favours because they are all written about perfect children and normal scenarios. Michelle has a daughter who has suffered colic and acid reflux and isn't the greatest of sleepers for various reasons and the books don't prepare you for that. If anything they made Michelle feel miserable because her baby wasn't the same as these ones she was reading about. She was exhausted and struggling and these books did nothing to guide her. The truth is, no baby is the same just as no two parents are the same, no pregnancies are the same and no births are the same. So you have to go with what is right for you and what is right for your health, wellbeing , body and of course your baby whether they are still in your tummy or here in the big wide world. Being a parent is the biggest job you will ever take on so it is normal and right that you will feel overwhelmed by it all. Pregnancy too is quite life changing and it can be quite scary the rate at which your body changes, add to that hormones and no wonder we get ourselves worked up sometimes!
The best thing to do is talk to your partner about your worries especially those that affect you both whether it is the birth or the whole 'being a parent' thing. Also talk to friends and family who have had children so they can tell you how they felt while pregnant and what hopes and fears they had to make you feel a bit more normal. All women go through the same things even if they aren't the exact same scenarios that we worry about.
And nothing makes you feel better than a good discussion with your feet up, over a good cuppa.