Did you know you could breastfeed a toy poodle? Neither did I. Until I had my first very vivid pregnancy dream where I so lovingly breastfed my dog. This was a recurring dream (nightmare?) that followed me throughout my entire pregnancy. If only the strange pregnancy symptoms stopped at breastfeeding your pets. Let's talk about food. I have never experienced hunger like I did when I was pregnant. (Not until I was pumping, anyway.) Although I didn't have too many crazy cravings, there were definitely days when I knew exactly what I wanted and I needed it "now." Everything I ate was "literally the best thing I've ever had." It was a struggle to stay away from deli meat with my constant cravings for club sandwiches, but my tastebuds found other things to satisfy them. The foods I craved the most were salmon, beans, burritos, chicken salad pita sandwiches, and Pinkberry. I even started to like celery. I used to hate celery. You're supposed to drink a lot of water when you're pregnant, which usually isn't a problem for me. Working in fitness, I always have a portable water bottle handy and refill it throughout the day. During pregnancy, however, the taste of plain water actually made me gag, so I had to start flavoring it with those little drops, or drink it with a lot of ice.
In the skin department, for the most part, I was glowing. I'd never received so many compliments from strangers in my life -- in fact, I got hit on a lot. The silky locks, plump breasts, and supple skin and lips are truly missed nowadays. On the flip side, that little skin tag on my lower right butt cheek still hasn't gone away, but, at least I have a bellybutton again (yeah, my belly stretched out so much I lost any semblance of having a belly button. Like, not an innie, and not an outie, just a flat spot where my bellybutton used to be. So weird.) Luckily, I didn't get any stretch marks from my pregnancy. Neither did my mother, actually. I did, however, get a long, dark line down my belly called the Linea Negra. A year later, and I can still see a little bit of a faded line. My stomach also got strangely hairy -- embarrassing, but true. Speaking of hair, I am the type of gal who loves to get a scalp massage or head scratch whenever I can, but the first time my husband ever so sweetly started to scratch my head when I was pregnant, I had to make him stop. My scalp got so sensitive. So long to the days of enjoying the washing and blow drying on salon day. Luckily, once the baby was born, my scalp returned to its normal, head scratch, hair washing, and blow dry loving self.
Mom brain is a real thing. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to leave the house without my car keys, or walked into a room and couldn’t remember why. Once, I left my entire wallet at home and proceeded to go out to lunch. I had already eaten my entire meal, and ordered takeout for my coworkers, when I realized I didn't have any method of payment. The manager was not very nice to me, and I wanted to break down in tears screaming, "I'm sorry, I'm pregnant and I keep forgetting everything!" Luckily, my coworkers came to save the day before I busted out into full on pregnancy sobs. I cried all. The. Time. And peed on myself a lot, but I’m pretty sure everyone does that when they’re pregnant. Right?
Everyone experiences pregnancy differently, even a woman who has multiple children probably had different prenatal experiences with each child. There is no way of knowing exactly what may happen to your mind or your body, and the unknowns really are the scariest part. The best advice I can give is to either find or maintain your sense of humor about yourself, completely surrender control, and focus on loving your amazing body and your baby-to-be. All of the concerns you have at this point will quickly be replaced with the new concerns of raising a newborn.