11 Nov My Top 5 Pregnancy Fears
While I was lucky to have made it through my first trimester virtually unscathed (a bad two weeks of dizziness and nausea, that’s it), pregnancy hasn’t been quite the earth-mother-goddess experience I would have hoped for. Rather than smile knowingly to myself when I look down at my expanding belly, I can’t help but stifle a smirk when people squeal their excitement to me – and most of these people are women who themselves have gone through the weird bodily changes that occur during pregnancy! While each day brings a new awareness to this ever-changing vessel I call my body, there are some things I’m having a harder time contending with than most. Here are my top 5 pregnancy fears:
- That I’m going to rip my abs apart
The scientific term – diastasis recti – just sounds terrible. But as I’ve learned, it’s not actually as terrible as it sounds. Rather than being a sudden splitting of the abdominal muscles, it’s something that happens so gradually that you’re bound not to feel it at all. Still, hoping to prevent this from happening, I asked my pelvic floor specialist if I should be doing any regular stretching, like yoga. Alas, according to her, there’s not much to be done about this. It either happens or it doesn’t.
Fear factor: 2/5
- That I’m going to rip my perineum
I didn’t even know this was a thing until relatively recently. In years past, doctors would perform an episiotomy to prevent tearing from happening; however, that sort of thinking is changing and now the literature I’ve read suggests it’s better to just let the skin tear. As horrible as that thought is, a friend, who is also an OBGYN, told me not to get hung up on this because it’s worse to be too conscious about it and then not push properly. Besides – as mothers have told me – there’s so much going on anyway, I won’t even notice that it’s happened.
Fear factor: 4/5
- That I’ll be forever adorned with tiger-stripe stretch marks
Stretch marks are not new for me. I’ve always had light coloured ones down the sides of my hips and butt for as long as I’ve been an adult. But pregnancy is different than gaining or shedding five pounds here or there. That’s why, on a friend’s recommendation, I’ve been slathering myself in coconut oil after showering until I shine like a rotisserie chicken. This, despite knowing that pregnancy stretch marks are mostly hereditary and again, there’s not much I can do about it. I find some comfort in knowing that pregnancy stretch marks are supposed to somewhat fade.
Fear factor: 1/5
- That the dynamic of my family is going to change
For five years, it’s just been me and my husband. In a few short months, we will be bringing a stranger into our home. Will we like him? Will he like us? Will we all find our collective groove? The obvious answer is yes but the realist in me knows there will be major adjustments that will have to be made, some that are bound to create conflict between me and my husband. Luckily for me, he is a great communicator and we have a strong partnership as a foundation so I am confident we’ll be able to get through all the adjustments together.
Fear factor 3/5
- That I won’t know what to do with my baby
I’ve already been told to calm down. That no one knows what to do with their baby initially. To get through this, I’m going to keep an open mind but also learn when to ignore people (as there are many opinions about what is best for baby), lean on my sister, ask questions of my friends and reach for that well-deserved glass of wine. I keep telling myself that if cavewomen had the instinct to take care of their babies, surely mine will kick in at some time too. Despite telling myself this, the fear factor rating is still 4/5.
Women who have gone through pregnancy may scoff at my list; after all, bringing a baby into the world is the biggest joy in life I’m told. I don’t doubt it but it still doesn’t completely erase the things I worry about from time to time as I continue on living my regular life for now. The best I can do is educate myself as completely as I can, have confidence that my body was made to do this and resort to coping mechanisms during the worst of times (I hear simply breathing deeply is good).
Not trying this mom thing at all – for me – gets a fear factor rating of 5/5.
Written by Karen Glanzberg, contributing basic baby co. blogger and first-time mama-to-be.