A throwback from the depths of pregnancy…Spoiler Alert: There is no glow.
I Was Promised A Glow
According to Hollywood and People Magazine, pregnancy was going to give me a glow. An inner light would shine through me filled with love and happiness as I grow this perfect tiny human being inside me. My friends didn’t help: They are all gorgeous and made pregnancy look like a dream, looking as beautiful at four months as at nine months. I remember seeing my model friend, seven months pregnant at my wedding, thinking ‘Wow. She is stunning. Radiant!’ They definitely glowed. I assumed my pregnancy would also be glow inducing. I Was Promised A Glow
Not so much.
The nausea came in like a wrecking ball. I was first hit on a beach in Belize where I was writing a story on paddling holidays. I turned to my companions and asked if late-on-set seasickness after kayaking and being on land for five hours was a thing. The former Marine of the group shook his head at me. He may have muttered something about ‘liberal hippy writers’ but I can’t be sure.
Once I learned I was pregnant and despite the wooziness in Belize, I still told myself, ‘It can’t be THAT bad.’ The next three months were spent lying on my cold yet forgiving bathroom floor, never daring to be far away from my porcelain saviour. My husband would spend some evenings sitting on the edge of the tub with a beer and rubbing my back as I moaned and tried to give him puke covered hugs. Even the dog put in his time, keeping me company on the tile by creating a matching fetal position to mine.
I felt bloated constantly and was pretty sure that my expanding waistline was purely gas at this point- (Now I know that it is a combination of both baby and gas). I bought Tums for the first time in my life and haven’t eaten anything with flavour for months. For anyone who knows my eating habits, this is a very big and very sad deal. I Was Promised A Glow
The nausea did subside after the first trimester only to be replaced with severe food aversions and a tad more gas. The rosy glow on my cheeks isn’t pregnancy- It is indigestion.
I think naps should be a legal requirement of a workday and sleep can heal all. That being said, the pure exhaustion of just existing while pregnant has blown my mind. The first trimester I was on the same sleep cycle as a newborn, rarely averaging more than a couple hours awake. Sleep would hang on my eyelids, drip from my muscles if I tried to remain productive beyond those allotted few hours. Between that and my nausea, I felt like the epitome of uselessness. Not to mention always having creases on my face and sleep in my eyes that proved, yes, I had just been asleep during that meeting.
Hair + Nails + Skin
I heard that during pregnancy my hair was going to grow long and strong, as would my nails. I would glisten with the moisture and suppleness of a woman blessed with child.
Lies. My hair does grow faster, yes. The hair on my chin, eyebrows, bikini line and stomach appear and reappear frequently. Regardless of my fastidious grooming habits, it is proving more difficult to keep up. I can hardly see my bikini line anymore and waxing while pregnant is more painful than usual (and normally involves a bottle of wine and a lot of self talk).
The hair on my head is dry and frizzy (more than normal) and falls out often enough that I’m thinking about collecting it all and creating another Natalie.
The theme throughout my new body seems to be ‘dry.’ Dry, brittle nails, dry hair and dry skin, all of which provide not a glow but more of a slightly flakey and always thirsty look.
Aches + Pains
My breasts look fantastic. I have gone up a cup size, possibly two, and I love it. I just wish my nipples would stop trying to compete on how fast THEY grow. I am proud of newly acquired chest but have discovered that these are for looking and definitely not touching. Sorry husband. They haven’t been this sore since puberty or this uncomfortable since they got sunburned on a beach in Thailand a decade ago.
This is nothing compared to the hip and back pain. A hormone called Relaxin is pushing my hips apart to make room for baby and you guessed it, this is anything but relaxing. (Yes- I made that joke). The baby is growing and pushing my bones, tissue and organs out of the way. I can feel every move.
I’ve started working/writing standing up so I can keep my hips moving and every so often, I fold over in a forward bend to relax my back and my neck. It makes sense for my ever-changing body but looks very odd at Starbucks. I Was Promised A Glow
My conclusion thus far? It was all a big fat lie.
There is no glow, there is no radiance, there is no overarching pregnancy aura that surrounds women for nine (long) and glorious months. Everyone has a totally different experience with pregnancy and copes accordingly. That’s the long and short of it.
Either way, a wonderful baby is coming into the world made of love, beauty and magic….and poop. Lots and lots of poop.
I Was Promised A Glow