10 Things Pregnant Women Obsess About
Being pregnant can make some women develop a form of OCD that I didn't even realize existed until I became pregnant. We all know what OCD is, the disorder in which people perform rituals to eliminate, at least temporarily, the anxiety in their lives. People who suffer from OCD can also be known to obsess about certain things for a prolonged period of time. Now that I am nearing the home stretch in my first pregnancy, let me give those newly pregnant women some things to look forward to.
Pregnancy takes over your brain. I have noticed that I have thought things or worried over things that might otherwise have been something I would not have worried about.
1. Toilet Paper Ritual
This is a ritual that women do pretty early on when they find out they're pregnant. It stems from an innate fear of having a miscarriage. Whether you have lost a child before or not, this ritual is bound to play even the smallest factor into your pregnancy early on. It involves going to the restroom and every time you wipe, you check. You literally pull the toilet paper out in your hand and stare at it. Its almost as if you have become a scientist who is trying to determine the properties of your pee. You must analyze everything in there. In the first trimester and well into my second trimester I was doing this constantly. For fears of miscarriage are common nowadays and women are having more and more trouble getting pregnant, I see the rationale behind it. If there is any sign of blood or discharge that isn't usually there, you can catch it and call the doctor ASAP. However, I have also found that too much checking of the toilet paper just makes bathroom breaks more stressful.
2. Everyone is Staring At/Talking About Me (AKA: Paranoia)
When you become pregnant, especially after you announce you are expecting a little bundle of joy, suddenly you get this strange feel everyone is staring at you. It becomes more prevalent in the later months, after your belly has gotten much bigger and you can't hide it anymore. I know that I have begun to think that everyone simply talks to my stomach. They find it hard to look me in the eye, they are forever glancing at my belly. When I am wandering about around work, I also find myself wondering if this or that person is talking about me. Pregnant women encounter all sorts of unsolicited advice and if you don't heed whatever advice you have been given, suddenly it feels like everyone is watching and talking about everything you do.
3. Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat
Self esteem is hard to come by for any woman. When you are pregnant, this becomes more of an issue. Suddenly, your body has been taken over by a growing baby who just keeps stretching out your stomach and making you more and more round by the minute. This obsession will hit every pregnant woman at least once in their pregnancy. That first time you go to put on your favorite jeans and realize that you can't button them anymore. When you go to put on your shoes and your feet are too swollen to slip right in. When putting on shoes becomes an Olympic sport because you have to wrestle your feet up to the proper height to even put those shoes on. Some women gain more weight than others and like everything else with pregnancy, this obsession is different for every women experiencing it. Perhaps the comments of your 'filling out' might bring you to tears. The comments on how much you 'waddle' now might cause you to envision the commentator’s head on a platter. Whatever the worries you have about pregnancy weight and how it makes you look, try to remember that you are making a baby and its hard work. Stress less about the weight and more about the health of the baby. At least, it works for me.
4. I Am Going to Have to Go Naked
When your bump gets to be too big for your normal clothing and you can't button those jeans and you can't stretch that shirt anymore, you start think that nothing you ever wear will fit you again. Money is tight, at least for me, and maternity clothes are outrageously expensive. You would think, since I am carrying a child into this world and I have enough to deal with, people would just hand me clothes for pennies on the dollar and congratulate me for my blessing. No, instead, they take advantage of the fact that I have no other choices but to buy their overly priced, poorly made maternity clothes. Otherwise, I have to go around naked and who really wants to see the pregnant lady walking around town naked. Then, not only would I have nothing to wear, but I would be arrested. All in a glorious day of being pregnant. So, I will buy your maternity clothes, but I will first try to borrow from friends, bargain at garage sales and peruse the thrift store shops.
5. What Kind of Parent Will I Be? Or Am I Ready For This?
In the beginning of pregnancy, women may not really think about this fact, at least not right away. First time mommy-to-bes are more interested in the other aspects of being pregnant. Some are dealing with morning sickness and fretting over their growing waistline. This obsession hit me more recently, when I entered my third trimester. It suddenly became very real that I was going to be a mother and I was going to be in charge of the life of another human being. A very tiny, very vulnerable, very needy human being. I started to wonder if I had the patience for this. Where was the money going to come from? Was I really ready to take on this responsibility of another life for the next eighteen years of my own life? The thing I came to realize is that I planned for this child, I worked very hard to get the pieces of my life in order to have her. Now that she is almost here, of course, its scary and it might be a little overwhelming, but in the end, I will be the best mother I know how to be. She will be loved no matter what.
6. How Will The Baby Look, Act, Grow Up
Carrying a child for 40 weeks, a woman is bound to grow an attachment to that little wiggly baby in her belly. You start to wonder what the baby will look like, start making up scenarios in your head. You start to envision how the baby will act or grow once outside the womb. I know that I have pictured, in my own mind, how my little girl will look when I first see her. In fact, I have played out the scene of her birth over and over in my head and practiced how I will see my baby for the first time. I have played home videos of her first steps, her first day of school, her first lost tooth, all in my head before I go to sleep at night. I take comfort in the fact that I am not the only pregnant woman on the planet concerned about whether my baby will come out with a birth defect or if she will be the prettiest baby in the playgroup.
7. Counting the Kicks
This starts out as simply wanting to know when the baby's first flutters will start. Pregnant women will start trolling the forums and googling everything they can on when that first flutter is supposed to start. It doesn't matter if every baby is different for different women. It doesn't matter if each answer they get contradicts the next. Every little movement or twinge around the belly area suddenly becomes a movement the baby is making. When the baby is finally big enough for the woman to know for sure that the baby is moving, this obsession then moves to the next stage. Is the baby kicking enough? Is it ok if the baby is kicking on one side and not the other? What the heck is going on in there?! Once you hit the third trimester, your doctor may suggest that you start counting the kicks of the baby each morning and night. This becomes a ritual, you eat a little something, lie back and wait. If the baby doesn't start doing ninja karate moves within the first few minutes, you start to worry. If the baby does start kicking up a storm, you wonder if you have a champion boxer in there … or an octopus, because that baby kicks in the weirdest places all at the same time.
8. Was That A Contraction or Just Constipation?
The closer my due date gets, the closer I am to having this baby. Do I want to have the baby in the middle of the bathroom floor at work. Absolutely not. Do I want to have the baby in the backseat of my ridiculously beat up car? Again, that's a no. This is the one thing that I really can't control. I don't plan to be induced if I can help it, and that means that I have become really vigilant about the aches and pains and movements in the womb. I have no idea what a contraction is supposed to feel like. Of course, I have, like most pregnant women, googled the subject and inquired with my doctor, but in the end, I am still confused. Considering that there are REAL contractions and there these tricky things I was reading about Braxton Hick's contractions. How the hell are you supposed to know when to go to the hospital? Not to mention in the end, she's coming when she wants to come and I don't really have a say. Taking the control out of my hands, leaves me fretting. Soon, I may just go to sleep in my clothes, shoes on my feet and suitcase at the door.
9. I Have to Push This Baby Out of Where?!
This current obsession is one that I am dealing with right now. This obsession can lead to new obsessions that have a direct link to this one and the worries and stress can snowball into a chaotic mess if you let it. I didn't really think about the labor and delivery part of this pregnancy when we decided to have a baby. Now that she is almost here, its pretty obvious, she has to come out somehow. None of the options presented to me have been very enticing. I get to push her out of a hole the size of a pea or I can have someone cut me open. Personally, I like the idea where you lay back, and she just appears. Like in a stork's blankets or something, just appears on my front porch. However, that's not going to be the case. So, of course, now I have to wonder how this process will work. Will it be something I can handle? I am not really pain tolerant or .. well I don't tolerate pain at all. So, then I started researching all the options of pain medication and then I had to wonder if I was not woman enough to have a baby. There are plenty of women out there that don't have to use medication and they do just fine, maybe I will be bad at having a baby. Then I told myself to “SNAP OUT OF IT” women have babies in different ways every day and every one of them are heroes for giving birth in their own way.
10. I'm The Only One Who Knows What It Feels Like
When you are pregnant and worrying, stressing and obsessing about every little thing it can feel like you are the only one on the planet who has ever felt this way. When you are tired and cranky and everyone else is looking at you sideways like you are a time bomb ready to explode, it can feel like no one understands. We have to remember that we are not the only women in the world who are currently pregnant and certainly not the first to be pregnant. There are people out there that can help, people who can support you and ease your fears and obsessions when it comes to being pregnant. You are not alone and though it may come as a surprise, there are people feeling exactly like you are in this exact moment.