Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Ways Pregnancy is Like Having a Child

Now that I have a child, I'm starting to really realize that pregnancy prepares you for parenthood in weird little ways.  In some cases it prepares you for the early days, and in others it prepares you more for toddlerhood and the preschool era.  Nevertheless, I don't think I realized the first time around how similar pregnancy and parenthood can be.
  • Sleep deprivation - Obviously sleep deprivation is worse with a newborn or sick or teething child than at any other time, but even pregnancy makes sleep a valuable commodity.  I wake up at least a couple times each night, usually at least once to pee and another time due to some odd dream.  It always takes me a bit to get comfortable again.  No matter how early I go to bed (let's not get crazy--I do have things to do in the evening, so 10:30 is about as good as it gets), I still wake up tired.  I know it will only get worse from here, though.  On a related note, early nights are a side effect of both situations, as well.  You don't get out much at night with a baby, and I'm too tired to be that adventurous while pregnant.  My body lets me know pretty emphatically when I have stayed up too late.
  • Picky eaters - Kids are infamous picky eaters, but right now I'd add that label to myself.  It's probably a little less now than it was about a month ago, but I still have moments where nothing sounds good and my ability to eat is sketchy.  It is very hard to pick out a dinner option when everything sounds gross.  And when I do eat, I'm either instantly full or realize too late that I ate too much.  It makes eating in general a tough proposition.  I just don't know what food is going to work and what isn't.
  • Snacking - On the other side of the coin, early on I literally had to eat every couple hours or I'd be crazy nauseous.  It didn't have to be much, but I needed something in my stomach or I was absolutely miserable.  After a while even eating didn't help the nausea, but if I didn't eat I'd get crazy hunger pangs on top of it, so that was pretty miserable, too.  It's just like having kids--I have to have snacks available at all times.
  • Thinking about what we're eating - When you have a baby who's starting to eat solids, you're extra conscious about what you're feeding them.  You only want to give them the best, purest food.  You keep sugar and processed crap to a minimum, and pay extra attention to allergens that might trigger a reaction.  During pregnancy, there's always that whole "eating for two" thing, which is a fallacy.  There are times when I take some extra liberties--knowing this is the one time that I can probably deal with a few extra calories without gaining a ton of weight--but I still think a little more about what I'm putting into my body.  I'm trying to eat fruits, vegetables, and things without artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup.  I don't always succeed, but at least I'm thinking about it.  I also think twice about nuts, since there are mixed study results out there about whether eating nuts while pregnant impacts a baby's chance to have an allergy.  I also just read that a mother's high fat diet during pregnancy can lead to increased risk for things like breast cancer for not just her daughter, but for the next generation as well.  Scary.
  • Carrying around a little extra weight - Parenthood usually brings with it some extra weight, be it from pregnancy itself, or having less time to eat right or work off what's there.  Pregnancy changes the body regardless of weight, too.  I may have weighed less than I did in years, since before I got pregnant (nursing aside--the weight loss there was crazy), but my stomach never did look quite like it did prior to Jacob.  Add in the fact that once you have a kid you spend half your time carrying (or dragging) a small child, not to mention all of their gear, and life is a weighed down world once you have a kid.  Pregnancy just adds to the fun, since these first few months just feel like I've put on an extra ten pounds (even though I haven' clothes just fit that way), and as it goes on I'll just start feeling like a whale.  The moment you realize you can no longer stand up from sitting on the floor in one try or easily flip over in bed is quite a bummer.  Trying to squeeze through tight spaces (like between two cars' side mirrors) and realizing you can't also stinks.  That happens, too, when you're carrying a live baby and their stuff, so it's all just preparation for the months to come.
  • Life revolving around a bathroom - Any potty training parent knows the exact location of all bathrooms nearby.  And so do all pregnant women.  I'm already visiting the bathroom at work an average of four times per day.  I absolutely have to go before I leave work, or I'm sprinting into the house after daycare pickup because I have to go so bad.  Heck, I still do that even when I do go at work.  Jacob's pretty well potty trained (daytime at least...night might kill me if it lasts much longer), but I'm still pretty in tune with bathroom locations anyway, which works out well for both of us these days.  But when we have to find them, it has to happen fast
  • Getting beaten up - Not gonna lie, when Jacob gets ticked, it's not uncommon for that kid to try hitting or kicking.  It's unfortunate and it's something we're working on, but suffice it to say that I've taken some shots here and there.  I've taken my fair share of unintentional shots, too.  I am pretty sure my crooked septum is the result of a couple head shifts from Jacob.  And don't even ask Craig about what Jacob's done to him far too many times!  Hopefully soon, however, I'll be getting some internal kicks instead.  Those, of course, I look forward to.  I know it's not always pleasant, but I long for good, consistent movement in there because it's a reminder that the baby's there and it's confirmation that he or she is doing well. 
  • Frequent doctor visits - In the middle of winter I feel like I'm at the doctor's office all the time with Jacob.  He's usually got something worth getting checked every month or two, and if you add in specialist appointments, it's even worse.  Of course now I'm going to the doctor once a month, plus there's always the random ultrasound appointment, bloodwork, etc.  And once this baby is born, we'll start up the frequent visits to the pediatrician as well, followed by the same frequent sick visits that we've done with Jacob.  Oh, the joy of two kids in a school setting who share germs with each other, too.
  • Worrying about every little thing - When you're pregnant, every little oddity that happens with your body makes you wonder what's going on.  You worry about everything.  It's the same thing with kids.  Every little thing that happens with them can be cause for concern, leading to random calls to the doctor and sleepless nights all around.  You never stop worrying once you get pregnant, apparently.  It just goes on and on as long as you and your children walk the earth. 
There are probably so many more that I'm not even thinking about right now.  But there's no doubt--pregnancy is all about preparing you for parenthood, and I didn't realize just how much until I did both at the same time.

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