So, quite a few of my friends have been asking me about my pregnancy experience and I realized emailing each and every one of them and going over the details of my pregnancy is starting to get rather cumbersome. So, I figured it’s just best I relay all that information, and more, on my blog. Of course, initially, I wasn’t going to write about it, but then I realized what a beautiful journey it was and how much I enjoyed being pregnant, so then I decided: ah, what the heck? I might as well go all out and describe everything I’d gone through these past several months. It would not only satisfy my friends’ interest in the pregnancy experience, but also those readers who are curious as well. (Of course, every woman’s experience is very different, so my readers need to be wary of that.)
When my husband and I first learned that we were expecting, a little over ten months ago, it was the most euphoric moment ever. I always wondered what it would be like being pregnant, having a child, being a mom – things that I’d always dreamed about. It’s amazing how fast these months flew by; it almost feels like a dream – a beautiful, surreal dream.
It’s strange how life works, eh? Before I got married – before I even met the love of my life – I could have never imagined the wonderful life I have right now. Back then, I didn’t even think I’d even have kids, much less be married. My focus was strictly on getting my Masters and then my PhD, and then travelling the world (both for leisure and for research purposes) and working as an academic. However, all those plans changed – only slightly – five years ago. And now, five years later, not only am I happily married (and have been for almost four years now) but I also have a gorgeous baby – a daughter – with whom I am absolutely head over heels in love. There are times when I would just stare at her perfect face and wonder whether she’s even real. Now I know what it’s like being a parent of a precious child – a child I carried inside of me for nine whole months! I loved her even before she was born! And that love increased a hundredfold as soon as she came into this world.
So, what was it like being pregnant?
To be honest, I loved every single second of it! Most importantly, a series of questions kept going through my mind as our child was growing inside my belly: What kind of a mom will I be? Will I be able to fulfill our child’s needs to ensure that she enjoys all of life’s greatest comforts? How will my relationship be with my child? The more I thought about these questions, the more excited I got. I also couldn’t help wondering about what she will look like; will she have my lips or my husband’s beautiful eyes? And will she have deep dimples, just like my husband and me? And just as soon as we learned that we were expecting a girl, that excitement increased a tenfold; not that I would have been any less excited had it been a boy as both are, and will be, equally dear to me. However, when I got my second ultrasound done at five months and the nurse told me that “it looks like a girl.” A feeling of great elation washed over me – a feeling that I still experience each time I look at my beautiful daughter. And it is a feeling that I will keep experiencing as I watch her grow into the strong, bold, beautiful, intelligent and extremely independent woman that she is meant to become.
Anyway, so, as I was saying earlier, I actually really enjoyed being preggers. Though, I must say the first three months were a tad difficult as I often felt very tired and exhausted. Luckily, I did not have any morning sickness. I mean, there were times when I’d get nauseous, mainly when I ate something a bit heavy (or too greasy/oily), or when the food didn’t agree with me, but for the most part, I was just fine. However, it was just the exhaustion part that was a bit bothersome, ‘cause there were times when I just wanted to sleep for days on end. Also my body often felt like I’d just run a huge marathon; I’d ache all over. Good thing I got pregnant around the time when I was taking a reading course and not teaching any classes, so I got to have my rest (and believe you me, there were times when I’d take several naps throughout the day, just like my Zohal right now; she literally sleeps 14-16 hours a day! But I’ll get into all of that in the latter series to this post).
So, while the first three months – or the first trimester, as they call it – were a little challenging, the second trimester (months four, five and six) were actually pretty damn amazing. Oh, but before I get into the details of what pregnancy feels like in the second trimester, I should let my reader know that once a pregnant woman hits the third month mark, she has to have an ultrasound done to ensure that the fetus is okay and growing well in the womb. And when I was getting my first ultrasound done, I was so excited I could barely contain myself – here I got the chance to see my baby, for the very first time, on the blurry black and white screen. I am sure every woman who has gone through this has realized how deeply emotional of an experience it is. When I saw first my child – saw her move her hand up and down, in rather slow motion – I felt tears of immense joy fill my eyes. It’s strange because while I knew I was pregnant, the realization didn’t hit me until I actually saw the fetus in the first ultrasound. I remember thinking to myself, at that very instant, Wow! This is REAL! SHE is real! This is actually happening! I am going to be a mother! Holy guacamole!!! And, you know what, dear reader? She was perfect, even back then. And for the next six months onwards, I anxiously waited till the day I’d finally hold her in my arms.
I had my second ultrasound done at five months; here I had the opportunity to find out the gender of my child. Abaseen and I couldn’t wait to find out whether we were having a beautiful baby girl or boy, and then when the nurse (who was doing my ultrasound) finally told us that we were expecting a girl; it was just pure euphoria from then onwards. My pregnancy, at that point, had also gotten better. I wasn’t feeling tired or exhausted anymore and I suddenly started to see some amazing changes in my skin and hair; my skin, normally clear, was absolutely flawless by then – as a matter of fact, it was glowing! (I guess it’s true when they say that pregnancy brings about a natural glow, indeed it does.) And my hair, oh my gosh, it felt like silk! And normally I’d shed from time to time, but not during pregnancy. Oh, no, not at all. It was like my hair had totally gone through a major transformation, almost like the hair you get when you go to the hairdresser; all silky, smooth and lustrously shiny! Heck, I didn’t even have to bother straightening it anymore, ‘cause for some reason my hair had gotten straighter so I never had to do much with it. I’d seriously get preggers again just to get that flawless skin and beautiful, lustrous hair again (not that my hair has changed much postpartum, but the texture is not the same anymore; it was much softer and silkier a few months ago).
This was also around the time when my baby bump started to become more obvious. I didn’t show at all in my first trimester, but once I hit the sixth and seventh month mark, I started to show and honestly, seeing your body change, right before your eyes, is the most incredible sight ever. It’s truly amazing what we, women, go through; how our bodies change so drastically to accommodate another human being; and how we go through so much trouble and pain once it’s time to give birth. And now that I’ve experienced pregnancy and birthing, it has made me truly realize how brilliant the female species is; men should seriously worship the ground we walk on! Heck, a man will never — not in a billion in one years — ever truly understand what a woman goes through while pregnant. Very luckily, I am married to a man who has always truly appreciated and respected women, but not every man is like my husband. Not even close. Sigh.
As for food cravings – well, those who are close to me already know what a huge foodie I am – so, during pregnancy it really made no difference when I started to crave certain foods; heck, I’d crave the same foods even before I was pregnant! So, whenever my close friends asked me whether I got cravings or whether I ate all the time, I just told them, “Was there ever a time when I didn’t eat?” Haha! However, the biggest drawback was that I wasn’t allowed to eat sushi as the raw fish could have posed potential dangers to the fetus. And to think I am such a sushi addict! That’s like telling a heavy smoker to stop smoking for nine months! It was tough, man! Very tough. But I managed to pull through. Good thing I was still allowed to eat other forms of delectable seafood (cooked) dishes; else it would’ve been a killer. Also, I must say that my taste buds changed quite a bit too; foods that I enjoyed a lot before didn’t taste the same anymore. It’s kind of hard to explain. I mean, it didn’t taste gross or anything; it would just taste a tad different. Also, another thing I noticed was my sudden preference for sweet foods over salty; as a matter of fact, and especially during my second trimester, I’d suddenly crave gulab jamuns like crazy! Normally I prefer salty foods over sweet, but gulab jamuns had all of a sudden become my new food love. Oh, and it still is, though. Yum!
The third trimester was a breeze; it went by so quickly that I barely even had enough time to enjoy my bump. As I said earlier, I didn’t start to show until I hit the sixth month mark and it was just surreal and an incredibly beautiful experience. I even felt the baby move several times throughout the day, and especially at night – this was the time when the baby got extremely active; I actually had trouble sleeping at night. It makes perfect sense ‘cause when Zohal was born, the first couple of weeks, she’d get very active at night, and now that she’s about a month old, she’s gradually starting to sleep longer periods during the night (about 3-4 hour stretches as compared to 1-2 hours, before each feeding and diaper change). This was also around the time when I started to suffer from really bad heartburn. I’ve never suffered from heartburn before, considering how much I eat. But, in my third trimester, every single thing I ate resulted in horrible heartburn; mainly when I had greasy/oily stuff. It was torture, ‘cause I love parathas and I almost had to give that up in the last three months of my pregnancy as it would end up making me suffer later. Also, my mother-in-law told me that the reason I was suffering from such terrible heartburn was because my baby had a crown full of hair. Now, I’ve never heard of this before, but apparently it’s an old wives’ tale that when a woman suffers from bad heartburn during her pregnancy, it means that the baby has a lot of hair on his/her head. And, very surprisingly enough, for me that old wives’ tale was true ‘cause Zohal was born with a head full of thick, uber silky and shiny black hair! She truly has the prettiest hair I’ve ever seen on a baby. No lie. 🙂
Anyway, so that’s pretty much a quick overview of my first, and definitely not last, pregnancy experience. Of course, every woman’s experience is very different, so it wouldn’t make sense to compare. Not everyone goes through the same changes I went through, especially physical and perhaps even mental. Also, I realized that I left out quite a bit of other important detail, for instance, getting blood tests and fetus screening tests to ensure the baby is healthy and doesn’t have any disabilities. And, those of my readers who already have kids know what a tedious process that is; the tests are never-ending! I can now safely say that I am not even the least bit afraid of needles, or the sight of blood, or any other sort of pain associated with it. I also realize this post ended up being much longer than I’d anticipated, so now that I’ve explained my long but short pregnancy journey — a very memorable one at that — in the next post I’ll briefly go over the birthing experience (saving ya’ll the nitty gritty details, of course) and what’s it like being a first time mommy so far. I actually can’t wait to write about this — the being-a-first time-mommy part — So, stay tuned, dear readers! 🙂