Oh the dreaded third trimester. According to most mommy forums, this is the point at which your relationship with your pregnancy leaves the honeymoon phase and enters the crazy, hormonal-bitch, “do I look fat in this” phase. It also seems to be the time when people start thinking you want to talk about evil things like water retention, sleeplessness, aches and pains and incontenence. But I’m asking you now to entertain the possibility that perhaps it’s not all horror stories and freak shows. Maybe, one day, when you find yourself in the throws of your last trimester, you will think back to this post and agree with me when I say, IT’S ACTUALLY NOT THAT FUCKING BAD.
For me, surviving weeks 29-41.5 (normally it ends at the 40-week mark, but my guy decided to hang out for an extra 10 days), came down to learning a few important new skills:
1. How to ask for help with anything that required bending down, lifting, or going up and down stairs. This included such mundane tasks as cleaning the bath tub, moving laundry about the house, emptying the dishwasher and taking out garbage… See where I’m going here? YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THE SHITTY STUFF ANYMORE! (As I’m writing this, I am actually selfishly missing this stage of my pregnancy. The first time I mopped the floors post-baby I remember thinking, “yep, the party is officially over”)
2. How to find acceptance for my new found diminished short term memory. Baby brain is not an urban pregnancy myth… But once I stopped beating myself up for doing really dumb stuff like leaving all the doors in the house unlocked when I left for work, it became quite manageable.
3. How to perfect the “in one ear, out the other” trick. People love giving pregnant women all kinds of crazy advice; by the time I got to the 3rd trimester, I was a pro at smiling and nodding.
Now let me tell you, if you “just die” over baby stuff, and you “can’t even” when you catch a glimpse of a newborn onesie, then you, my friend, are going to lose your shit when you discover all the shopping you get to do in these final months. Unfortunately for me, the baby stuff really doesn’t do it for me. I personally think it’s all ugly, clunky and it takes up too much damn room (in case you’re wondering, I did manage to pull together a small collection of chic, modern baby gear that suited my liking. It was hard. But I did it).
Also, if you love a good baby shower then OH MAN is this ever the trimester for you! I, of course, hate them, which is why a little thing called Murphy’s Law, caused me to wind up having a grand total of three of them. But looking back, they were all pretty great in their own way and the fact that people went out of their way for the sole purpose of showering me and my soon-to-be kiddo with love and gifts is actually quite humbling.
I guess I should probably mention here that the frequency of doctors visits seriously increases during this trimester and they get a bit more… How shall I say this… Up close and personal? But don’t let that scare you. When I was pregnant, I felt as though my body was no longer mine: I didn’t look like mine, it didn’t feel like mine, it didn’t function like mine, so as invasive as pregnancy (and labour & delivery) can be, it all felt more like an out of body experience than reality… Which, trust me, is a good thing.
The most brutal part about the last months of pregnancy for me had nothing to do with a lack of mobility (it was during the polar vortex; like I cared about being mobile), or ungodly weight gain (in the end I wound up with a total of just under 30lbs of extra goodness on me), or creepy food cravings (I swear women just use their pregnancies as an excuse to try really fucked up food combinations), but UGH – the anticipation of going into labour KILLED me. I remember talking to my boyfriend one night, and I gave the analogy that I felt like someone had told me that at some point in the next few weeks, I was going to be in a car accident, and that everything would be fine in the end, but I was going to get injured and it would hurt like hell and when it was all over, I’d come out of it as a different version of myself… Of course that was met with a blank stare and crickets creaking in the background (men physically lack the ability to wrap their heads around the concept of pregnancy, labour and delivery).
But that’s how I felt; which is why I chose to keep working up until 2 weeks before my due date, and once I went on maternity leave, I busied myself with decorating the nursery, and more importantly, the guest room (I wanted to make sure the room my mom was going to stay in for the first week post-baby was as inviting as possible, so that maybe she would like it so much that she’d stay forever and I wouldn’t ever have to be alone with the tiny little alien). I did everything I could to avoid sitting at home waiting to go into labour, which turned out to be the best thing for me because it kept me in tip-top shape and gave me the false sense of control that I find oh so comforting.
As my due date continued to draw nearer, a few things got me through the last haul: my weekly glass of red wine, my wonderfully politically incorrect friends, the little black dress I wore everyday and my red lipstick that served as a reminder that baby or not, I was still totally badass… Perhaps even more so than ever.