“Pregnancy is not an excuse”
There are two ways to interpret the above statement. The typical way you hear that statement is when people are referring to the fact that a woman shouldn’t use pregnancy as a reason for why she can or can’t do something or how she behaves. It typically comes from slightly ignorant and extremely insensitive people.
The other way to interpret the statement is that pregnancy is not an excuse, but a reason…for a lot of things. What’s the difference you ask? Well, according to the dictionary an excuse is something (such as a condition or set of conditions) that explains improper behavior and makes it acceptable. A reason is a statement or fact that explains why something is the way it is, why someone does, thinks, or says something, or why someone behaves a certain way.
See the difference?
I’m in that camp of women that tries to believe that despite pregnancy I can do everything I did before and be completely normal. And with each and every pregnancy I come to realize that it’s pretty close to impossible to live like you did in pre-pregnancy when you’re growing a baby 24/7.
Yes, women have been having babies since the very beginning. No, we should not just lay around from the time we get that big fat positive until our delivery date. However, we need to recognize that we don’t have to try and be superwoman during pregnancy — the fact that you’ve got a baby growing inside of you is super.
During pregnancy several things happen physically and emotionally that are beyond the woman’s control:
- Estrogen and progesterone increase which causes nausea, vomiting, cravings and aversions, and uncontrollable mood swings.
- The body starts loosening up and growing which leads to growing pains, clumsiness, and a general discomfort inside your own skin as the pregnancy progresses.
- Breathing gets harder because the baby pushes everything around and you’re out of breath because of an increased heart rate, which can also cause blood pressure issues and dizziness or fainting.
- Early pregnancy means several weeks of uncontrolled exhaustion because of all the new changes in your body. Late pregnancy means another wave of exhaustion because your body is strained with carrying around all of that extra weight and stress.
- Body changes can cause a wide range of emotions from feeling like you’re not in control of your body (and emotions), feeling like you’re not doing enough or keeping up with your pre-pregnancy life, feeling frustrated because you’re body doesn’t look the same or feel the same and wondering what life is going to be like once the baby gets here.
Anyone who thinks that whole list of things going on at one time in one body doesn’t affect how a person lives from day to day is crazy. How can a woman not be different?
With Josiah I worked 20 hours a week and went to school 15 hours a week and made an effort to keep up with all of my other adult duties. However, in the midst of all of this I slept more, I cleaned less, cooked less, and spent a lot more time fighting off my emotions.
With Samuel I worked about 45-50 hours a week and tried to keep up with church and cleaning and taking care of Josiah. Aside from that, I didn’t get much of anything accomplished. I was so exhausted by the end of the day that I bought take out for dinner and spent several nights a week napping the evening away while Josiah watched TV and then going to bed by 8:30 every night. Closer to the halfway mark and towards the end of my pregnancy I got my energy back and was able to get more done regarding getting ready for Samuel, but preparing for baby took the place of some of my other duties.
This time around I definitely slept a lot in early pregnancy and I’m just now getting to the point where I don’t feel like sleeping all the time. I try my best to keep up with Josiah’s schoolwork, housework and everything else. However, I definitely notice a difference in my performance and how I feel.
It’s not intentional and trust me I’d rather feel “normal,” but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. I know the majority of pregnant women out there feel the same way.
If you’re the glowing, exhausted mom-to-be, don’t be so hard on yourself for your new shortcomings. If you’re the one helping pick up the slack for that mom-to-be, be understanding and realize that she’s not purposely trying to seem more crazy or less productive than usual.
Just remember, mom-to-be may not be keeping up with the laundry like she used to, but she’s spending her time protecting a precious baby while he or she grows and gets ready to make an entrance into the world.