I’ve previously written about my journey to becoming a mother in Family Planning for the #SportsBiz Woman and A Very Special Post, so many of you know that it’s been a long and tough journey for me and my family.
At this point, however, I’m happy to say that my husband and I are expecting our first-born son, due February 2019. After a lot of pain and loss, we are happy and looking forward to this new chapter in our lives.
I thought that once we knew we were going to be parents, things would be a *tad* bit easier for me, at least physically. Mentally and emotionally, I can’t say that I’ve truly processed the fact that there’s a baby in my belly and that we’re going to be parents, but that’s a topic for another day. Today, I’d like to discuss actually BEING pregnant, and having to balance that along with a crazy #SportsBiz schedule, nosy coworkers, and life itself.
What you share is up to you. This is a big one. Once we made our “announcement,” I quickly realized how many people thought that my business was automatically their business. I immediately got peppered with questions about whether or not we would find out the gender, if we had any names earmarked, if I was going to breastfeed (I swear someone asked this; how rude), whether or not we’d be doing daycare, etc. It was insane. People I’d barely spoken to and therefore knew little about our experiences were all of the sudden very curious to know my stance on gender reveals. Stay in your lane, people! But seriously, as someone who has gotten these questions, I know it’s awkward and uncomfortable, especially if you don’t intend on sharing all the details. When it comes to pregnancy, even in the early stages of morning sickness, share only what you feel comfortable with. You don’t owe anyone anything.
Go easy on yourself. In addition to feeling sick most of the time, pregnancy has left me absolutely exhausted. I’ve also gained weight and I don’t feel real great about how I look most of the time, but I know these things are temporary! I may not feel like myself or even feel my best, but it’s important to remember that my body is going through a lot. Even when I’m asleep, my body is growing a human! That’s crazy, y’all! Because I’ve been so sick and tired, I’ve really slacked at hitting the gym and leading the healthy lifestyle that I’d hoped to have during pregnancy. Despite all this, I’ve learned a lot about my body and myself through this process; I know that if I’m tired, I need to rest. I know that if I have a headache, I need to drink more water and eat a small meal. Taking care of myself and my future son has to be a priority, even when there is work to be done!
Take things at your own pace. From the moment we entered the second trimester and our pregnancy became public knowledge, I got questions regarding my maternity leave and how our office was going to handle my absence. I honestly felt a lot of pressure to make a quick decision about how long I was going to take off, until one day I realized that I needed to just pause and take a breath. This is my third pregnancy, but the first to reach that “safety” mark of the second trimester, and I hadn’t really been able to process the pregnancy as a reality until that point. How could I make a major decision on maternity leave when I’d basically just accepted that I was (probably) going to have a baby? I decided to give myself -- and my husband -- time to think about it before deciding. The more we talked about it, the easier it became to really outline a plan and figure things out.
Make the hard decisions. I kid you not, there was a moment this volleyball season where our team almost missed a connecting flight. The entire team was running through the airport to get to the next gate… except me. (Note: I speed-walked, but refused to run.) At six months pregnant and carrying my too-full laptop bag, I decided that I wasn’t going to overexert myself for a plane. Of course, I *hoped* that a member of our staff would let the gate agent know my situation (they did), but at the end of the day I knew that if I missed the plane, I missed the plane. I already wasn’t feeling well, and sprinting a half mile through the airport wasn’t worth making me feel worse. Thankfully the plane didn’t leave without me, because I would have been miserable waiting in an airport all night, but this is definitely one of those moments when I had to make a tough decision. I didn’t want my coaches to be angry that I wasn’t hurrying when everyone else was literally running, but I didn’t want to hurt myself or my baby either.
Take care of your mental health. I know I’ve gone on about my physical health and feeling sick (sorry about that, but also not sorry because pregnancy is no walk in the park, okay?), but I also realized at one point that my mental health was in jeopardy. I’ve been through a fair amount over the last year and a half with three pregnancies and two losses, so trying not to fear for the worst with this pregnancy has been really difficult. I’m sure you’ve heard of postpartum anxiety and depression, but did you know that prenatal anxiety and depression exist as well? I didn’t, but when I voiced my concerns and frustrations to my O.B., she was able to refer me to a social worker on site to discuss my fears. The social worker provided me with some coping mechanisms to work through the awful “what-if” scenarios in my head, and I know I’ve felt better because of it.
Enjoy it. At 30 weeks pregnant I know my life is about to change drastically, which is honestly becoming more and more scary as time passes. However, I also know that time as a married couple without children is quickly coming to an end, so my husband and I have tried our best to enjoy the little moments of every day. Sorry to get cheesy, but sleeping in on Sundays with no events means more to me than ever before, because it means an extra hour of snuggling with my husband and our animals. The same goes for date nights and even time to myself; I know those moments will be few and far between come February, so they mean a heck of a lot to me in the here and now.
Pregnancy is supposed to be beautiful and wonderful, but sometimes it’s not. Balancing this job along with a body that is always tired and achy has been difficult, even when I know there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I know a few women who have also been pregnant while their job was in its busy time of the year, and while we agree it isn’t always the most fun, it’s definitely doable!