Pregnancy was hands-down the coolest thing I've ever done. There is no way to put into words what it's like to sit back and watch your body create a baby. It is incredible and I will always be grateful for the experience, because I recognize how lucky and blessed I am.
Before I got pregnant, I never thought much about the actual pregnancy. I thought about the cost of a baby, what she/he would look like, the actual delivery (yowza), how many kids we wanted etc., but never much more than, "hey, it'll be cool to feel my baby kick".
Once I found out I was pregnant, it all hit me and I realized I had no idea what I should/shouldn't do, how to have an active pregnancy (while keeping my baby safe), how I should eat...yada yada. IT WAS OVERWHELMING AF!
I poured over baby websites, books, and "healthy pregnancy" blogs. I got certified in pre and postnatal fitness and asked my OBGYN a million and one questions. I did the very best I could during pregnancy to take care of myself and my baby. Now that it is all said and done, here are some things *I* wish I knew before getting pregnant:
#1 AB SEPARATION
I've talked about this a lot on this blog because it's something most women don't know! I had never heard about it until I was around 24 weeks pregnant and started noticing a little gap between my abs. I started reading about this and learned about diastasis recti. I then got certified in pre and postnatal fitness because I didn't want anymore surprises! Luckily, I didn't develop diastasis recti, but SO many women do, and then they have that "pooch" after pregnancy! I wrote a whole post about diastasis recti here, and some exercises to help restore abs here.
#2 FEELING UNEASY ABOUT PHYSICAL CHANGES IS NORMAL
Of course gaining weight and having your body suddenly change is hard! You've never shared your body with someone else before. You're used to how your body looks and then BAM, a little baby joins the party and takes over everything! Having a hard time with the changes is NORMAL. It doesn't make you a bad mother. It doesn't mean you're not grateful to be pregnant. It doesn't mean you're "obsessed" with body image. It's just a sudden change, and that's always a little hard. I did a post about dealing with pregnancy weight gain here.
#3 DON'T STRESS ABOUT THE WEIGHT GAIN
I never used to weigh myself at all, but then I got pregnant and had to weigh myself allllll the time, and it STRESSED me out. Was I gaining too much? Was I not gaining enough? Will this weight come off? Stressful, right? I eventually came to realize that my body will gain what it needs to, and that's that. There's no use is stressing about it. I saw every pound as important for Piper's development. I did all I could to eat healthy and exercise throughout pregnancy, and the rest took care of itself.
#4 WHAT WORKS FOR ONE WOMEN, MIGHT NOT WORK FOR YOU
I saw workouts other pregnant women would post that just weren't possible for me (box jumps, burpees etc. started making me super light-headed around 20ish weeks). I was able to run throughout my entire pregnancy, but only for a minute at a time, otherwise my belly would hurt. Some women were fine running miles and miles. My body knows what's best for my body. I ate what I could keep down, while doing the best I could to get in nutrient dense foods. At first I compared my pregnancy to others (because I didn't know what was normal and what wasn't), but I realized that everyone is different and there is no such thing as normal during pregnancy. Everyone's experience is entirely different, and that's okay! Listen to your body and honour what your body needs.
#5 DON'T STRESS ABOUT BODY NEVER BEING THE SAME
Obviously, I'd never been pregnant before, so I had no clue how my body would respond. I didn't know if I'd get stretch marks or not, how much weight I would gain, how I would carry the weight I did gain, etc. I just had no idea and I hate not knowing things ! Surprises are my least favourite thing in the world, and pregnancy is basically one big surprise. I LOVED being pregnant and I want to do maaaaany more times, but I had no idea how it was going to go down. Just like with the weight gain, I stopped worrying about it when I accepted that I'd gain what I needed to gain, and my body would adjust the way it needed to. For sure my body has changed since having a baby, but it's SO much better because of it! I love my body 10000x more than I ever did. I respect it so much more, so I want to give it the very best. Although every pregnancy is different, it IS possible to lose the baby weight and get back to working out the way you used to. It might not happen immediately, but it IS possible!