Pregnancy is EXHAUSTING!

Pregnancy = fatigue

Exhaustion is an understatement during pregnancy.

Pregnancy = fatigue

As mom’s we understand that every pregnancy is different. The one thing that never changes is how exhausting it is to create life. Your body goes through so many changes over the course of 9 months and it feels like we never really get a break.

Don’t get me wrong, I love every one of my kids and I’d go through it all again in a heartbeat.  But the extent of the exhaustion is something they really don’t warn you about.

1st Trimester of Pregnancy –

Congratulations! You just found out you’re pregnant and can’t wait to start feeling all the little flutters and kicks and experience everything that motherhood brings. But around week 5-6… BAM! You’re flat on your tail and can’t stay awake to save your life!

Oh and there’s also this terrifying thing that happens. We have all been told that bleeding during pregnancy is generally a bad sign. Around this same time that your energy is being completely drained from your body, you will probably have some light spotting.

GREAT! Blood when you’re not expecting or prepared for anything of this nature for the next 9 months. Here’s the good news. As scary as this is, it is completely NORMAL. Yes! Promise. Having spotting around 5-7 weeks is generally because the placenta is implanting itself to your uterine wall. This is a good thing. We want that to happen. We just don’t want to have the panic of thinking there is a possibility of a miscarriage or anything else going wrong.

I’m on my 4th pregnancy and I went through this scare EVERY SINGLE TIME! I know what it was. I knew why I was bleeding. BUT it’s still terrifying to see and not have a guarantee that implantation is the cause of the bleed.

During your first trimester all you’re going to want to do is sleep. And if you’re like me, you will take advantage of every quiet moment.  (And even some not so quiet moments) Sometimes you just fall asleep in the middle of doing something.

Your baby is going though more changes now then it will for the rest of it’s existence. This requires a lot of energy usage in order to build the cells and organs and everything it takes to properly develop. And since the baby doesn’t have it’s own energy source yet, it is going to take it all from you. You are it’s only source of energy until birth. So take care of yourself and allow yourself to rest. It’s good for both of you.


In addition to wanting to sleep every second of the day, you may also be experiencing some nausea.

Some pregnancies are better, some worse when it comes to nausea. I was not able to eat anything but mashed potatoes for the entire first trimester! I tried to eat other things… but it didn’t stay down. (Yay! Cause I have the energy to vomit. I’m going to pass out now.)

Even the smell of cooking food would cause severe nausea and occasional vomiting. So, not only was I being drained dry of every bit of energy I naturally had, but I couldn’t manage to replace it with the necessary fuel. (Food)

This utter exhaustion does pass and eventually you do get your energy back a little bit. But not until your second trimester.

2nd Trimester of Pregnancy-

This is the most comfortable portion of your entire pregnancy. Your little baby is getting comfortable and is now well established in your womb. Everything is all set up and hopefully you are able to eat and sleep a little more like you used to.

You’ll still feel tired, but not as bad as before. After all, you’re still building a tiny human inside your body. That requires a lot of energy. Even though it’s not a conscious exertion, there is still plenty of effort being put into growing this baby.

The growth rate of baby is not as rapid during the second trimester and quite possibly why you aren’t as completely zonked all the time anymore.

We do have a new set of symptoms to introduce though. Such as, round ligament pain. UGH!

This is a side effect of your uterus growing and adjusting for baby. According to Americanpregnancy.org , “The round ligament supports the uterus and stretches during pregnancy.  It connects the front portion of the uterus to the groin. These ligaments contract and relax like muscles, but much more slowly.”

Putting it bluntly…THEY SUCK! It’s tight, very painful and makes normal functions quite difficult.

This is also the time where all the good things start to happen though.

During your second trimester you’ll feel more regular kicks and movements of the baby. You won’t have to use the bathroom quite as much (for now), and you might even be having some fun food cravings.

Hooray for the second trimester! The redeemer of pregnancy struggles.

3rd Trimester of Pregnancy

Welcome  back to exhaustion and nausea. At least in my case. With all 4 pregnancies my nausea and exhaustion returns around the middle of the 3rd trimester. But how it comes is different than in the 1st trimester.

All the baby’s organs are in place and practicing what they’ll be doing outside of the womb. They need lots of practice while in there because there’s no going back.  (Oops, not so good at this breathing thing yet. Let me go back in and practice some more till I’m ready to try again. -Baby)  But now all they have left to do is practice living and getting fatter.

Your baby will gain most of it’s weight during the last trimester which means you have to feed it well. How do you do this? You eat! And eat! And eat!

But for the sake of yourself and the baby, try to eat the good stuff. Fruits and veggies, lean protein, and lots of water. While you are eating for 2, that does not mean you should eat 2 full meals. You’re eating for 1 full size human (you), and one tiny size developing human (baby). Baby doesn’t need a full steak dinner!

Here’s the thing though. Baby is taking up space in your belly so the amount of food you can consume at one time is less than usual. AND if you don’t consume enough calories for both of you….baby is going to take their share first!

(See, we start giving up everything for our children before they’re even born. )

This is a contributing factor to the fatigue we feel during this trimester. You can only eat so much at a time and if you don’t eat enough, baby gets their portion first and leaves you with whatever fuel is left. This is another reason to eat the right things.

There is also the fact that you are carrying around a lot more weight than your body is used to. Even if you have been overweight, this isn’t the same. You grew a 6-8lb human in your body in 9 months and have had to carry it around 24/7 . That is not an easy feat. And it’s not evenly distributed throughout your body. It’s ALL in your belly!

But it’s not just baby in there. You’re carrying baby, placenta and all that water. The average weight gain during pregnancy will vary depending on your body but generally ranges from 20-40 EXTRA POUNDS you are carrying with you all the time.

Ask your husband to carry a 30 lb sack of flour on the front of his body for 24 hours without putting it down at all. Not fun. Very tiring. But this is part of what we do.

Then there is always the actual sleep factor.  I don’t know about the rest of you mommy’s out there, but I can’t get comfortable at all at night. Nothing I do matters. Lay on my left, restless legs. Lay on my right, groin pain. Try putting a pillow between my knees, no relief. Sleep on my back…yeah right. Baby crushes your organs and spine.

And it’s not easy to move to any different positions anyway. It takes many small movements in order to go from my left side to my right. So once you’re there you hope you can make it work so you don’t have to go through that adjustment again.

And let’s not forget that with baby taking up all that space in your belly, your bladder is smaller and can’t hold out as long. So you end up waking in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. More interruptions to your already inconsistent uncomfortable sleep.

Relief will come!

Once you have the baby everything changes. You’ll still be tired but it’s because your baby needs you. Diaper changes and feedings every 2 hours. Breastfeeding is exhausting and very uncomfortable in the beginning but so rewarding.

And just keep in mind that you will now be able to nap when your baby naps. Which is a lot in the beginning. Even a 20 min power nap will help.

All the pain and discomfort, exhaustion and nausea is worth it. But don’t ever let anyone tell you that pregnancy is easy. The easiest of pregnancies is still exhausting. And worth every second. 🙂

What was your pregnancy like? Did you experience anything like me? Are you pregnant now and I just freaked you out with my horror? Share your thoughts and your prego story in the comments. I’d love to hear how everyone else managed their pregnancies.

 

(*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a percentage of the purchase price.*)

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Learning how to love.

Learning how to Love and be Loved by another.

Learning how to love

Everyone loves the feeling of falling in love. It’s an undeniable feeling that even the most cold hearted people yearn for. That rush. The breath-taking feeling that only that special someone can give you. Ask yourself this. Can you tell the difference between “Lust” and “Love”? How do you know? Is it obvious? If so, why is it that so many people say their first “I love you” after having been physically intimate for the first time? Even if you are lucky enough to find “True Love” are you prepared for the work that it will take to maintain that love and relationship?

There are so many things that go into finding love and knowing how to love someone in return. And learning these skills takes time. Teaching them takes patience and understanding. But when you are a parent who doesn’t want to see your kids go through all the pain and struggle that comes with romantic relationships, you have to teach them how to love and be loved.

Let’s start with the basics.

Falling in love.

For most of us, myself included, our first love was found at a relatively young age. Mine was in the 8th grade. (Maybe a little younger than most) I fell in love with a boy named Daniel. I thought he was the most handsome, funny, caring, guy I would ever meet. And up to that point, he probably was. When I fell for him,  I fell hard. But isn’t that the way it always goes? It’s not too often that people have a soft fall when it comes to love.

 

But the question remains, how do you know when it’s love or when it’s something else?

The way I see it there are 3 options.  LUST, LONELINESS and TRUE LOVE.

You would think that they would be easy to identify the difference, but when you are in the middle of it and feeling it, it can be very difficult. Let me share my opinion on the difference.

Lust stems from something physical. May it be physical attraction or physical connection. (Should be obvious, I know.) But we don’t always realize that’s what it is. Lust is far too often mistaken for love. In this generation physicality is expected early in a relationship. In older generations it was completely taboo to kiss on the first date. Now a days it’s a regular thing for people to sleep together and share that extreme intimacy with someone on the first date.

But lust is far from love. With lust, a relationship can’t stand without the physical aspect. Remove any and all sexual connection and physical attraction and you are left with little to nothing.

Here are s couple questions to ask yourself when deciphering love vs lust.

  1. Is there any depth to this relationship beyond the physical? (For example, can you carry on deep or personal conversations? Something that goes beyond finding out each other’s favorite color, food, place to vacation etc.)
  2. Do I have enough common interests to be able to justify a relationship without the need for a physical/sexual connection?
  3. If this person’s body/face drastically changed, would I still be attracted to them and want to spend all of my time with them?
  4. If I could no longer have a physical/sexual relationship with this person, would we still be able to carry on a relationship. Would I still be able to spend all my time with them and feel the same way for them as I do when we are physical?

If you answered yes to any of these than you may have found love.

If you answered no, then lust is all you have.

The last question is often a very difficult one to answer. Especially if you have already crossed the physical barrier. It’s easy to say that you can live without it if you had to. But you don’t have to, so why should you? Right? Well, you should go without.

Being a woman of God, I understand and believe that sex was created with a purpose and a very good one. And it goes beyond the biological purpose of reproduction. (Although that’s a good reason too.) There is an exchange of energy that occurs when you become physical with someone. That energy lingers long after the intimate moment passes.

Do you ever wonder why so many people say “I love you” for the first time after being intimate? This is why. This energy. If you can refrain from becoming physically intimate with a person and still feel that deep connection, you have found love rather than lust.


Lesson in loneliness

Loneliness is a little more difficult. I have found myself in this position more times than I’d like to admit. Once you have been in a relationship that had any deep meaning to you, it is common to feel lonely after a while. You’ve had a sample of what a good relationship can feel like and now you want that feeling back.

In my youth I was known to be a bit of a relationship hopper. I was never single for very long. For whatever reason I have always craved the attention of the opposite gender. Having a boyfriend was the easiest way to combat my loneliness and gain the attention I craved. My biggest problem was that I was not very picky. If you liked me, I found a reason to like you back. Once we found a common interest and a reason, we would start dating.

THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO FIND LOVE!!!

Far too often we let our loneliness lead our hearts. People who become lonely (and in some cases desperate) will often reach out for someone familiar and cling on. We desire to be desired. We crave companionship. And when you get an opportunity to be with someone who doesn’t raise any major red flags, we  will assume that it must be love. However, as I have recently learned, a lack of a bad sign in itself is not the same as the presence of a good sign.

Questions to ask yourself when deciphering love vs loneliness.

  1. What does this person have that no one else has which makes them worthy of your love and devotion?
  2. Would you be happy with that same trait(s) in another person?

(If your answer to #2 is yes, then I’m sorry, you may simply be lonely, not in love)

In that those times of loneliness are the best times to find yourself. We have all heard the old adage, “If you can’t love yourself, who can you love?”. This is so very true and being in a state of loneliness is the best time for you to figure out how to love yourself.

Think about it. All you want is to be loved and cared for by someone, anyone. To not be alone. But what if the best companion you could ever have was staring back at you in the mirror?

Get to know the person in the mirror. What he/she likes and doesn’t like. What they can live with and when they can’t live without. Set goals. Discover your true passions.

Above all, learn to be COMPLETELY HONEST with yourself.

I had the biggest trouble with this part. Simply because I knew what I wanted my life to be. I knew what I wanted to be seen as. The perfect picture I had painted of myself in my head was not the person I was. So once I started being honest with myself about what I wanted and who I truly am, things started to become easier and life began to fall into place.

There are those of you who are in love with yourself and know who you are but still feel that loneliness. Listen to me when I say, that does not mean there is anything wrong with you!  The person who you are meant to be with just hasn’t figured it out yet. Or they aren’t there yet. They’re still finding themselves and just need you to be patient a little bit longer.

Your time for love will come but in the mean time, keep enjoying the company others (socially) learning to love yourself and living life.

 

Finally, finding true love. How do you know it really is love? And how do you hold on to it?

Finding love is definitely a delicate thing. And if you read everything up to this point then you know there are a few things to look out for when you think you’re in love.

But you’ve found someone. This person makes your heart sing. They make you feel like you could fly when you’re together. You ache for them when you are apart. You’ve already decided that it’s not just lust, and it’s not loneliness. But is this really love? Love is felt and seen differently for everyone. But when you know, you know. The real thing is generally undeniable.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you truly commit.

Get to know the person before you decide to date. Back in the day there was a process to a relationship that was referred to as “courting”.  Denise Ngo wrote a great article about modern date courtship.  Taking her suggestions into consideration you will not only have a better chance of finding love without wasting time but building a stronger relationship from the beginning as well. The better you get to know someone before you start dating, the higher success rate you have in any type of relationship.

During the dating process we all put our best foot forward. We want  our potential companion to see all of our best qualities and hope that they are impressed enough to commit to us. Understand that they other person is doing this as well. There will be quirks. There will be annoyances. Pay attention to everything because something you think is totally tolerable in small doses, might actually be an issue later.

On the contrary, you don’t want to be so picky and overly critical of everyone that you find someone worthy of committing to.

Know your needs and stick to them. We all have things that we need in a relationship. For some it might be as major as full disclosure of actions from the other person. For others, it could be simple things like eye contact and engagement in conversation. Our needs will differ but if it’s something that is truly important to you, don’t brush it aside just because the person has so many other “good qualities”.

This was part of my downfall in a past relationship. I thought everything was going to be fine because the man I was with had so many good things going for him. I didn’t see any red flags. But there ended up being 2 major issues that I overlooked in the beginning of our relationship that resulted in a terrible breakup after many years of issues.

Finally, trust your instincts. If there is something that just doesn’t feel right, even if it’s small, trust yourself. Your gut instincts rarely steer you wrong. When things start to go awry don’t be afraid to end the relationship or walk away from a potential relationship.  The one who will suffer most from committing to the wrong person, is YOU.

Your goal is love. Forever. Faithful commitment. Don’t lose sight of that for something that feels good in the moment.

 

When you find someone that you have deemed worthy of committing to, remember that falling is easy. Relationships are hard, and they take a lot of work from both people. Don’t expect it to be roses and rainbows everyday.

We all want to have our emotional and physical needs met. Keep in mind that your partner wants their needs met too. They are looking to you to meet those needs. Just as you should look to them to meet yours. One of my favorite books to help in this area is The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts. I have found that once you understand your love language and what needs you have in order to feel loved, you then know what to ask for from your partner.

I do suggest reading through this book with your partner. Or at least for you both to read it and share. It’s vital to not only understand what you need to feel loved, but what your partner needs. Once you’ve both figured out your needs and shared that with the other, expressing your needs become easier and more understandable. Not to mention, if your partner already knows your needs and you know theirs, if you simply take care of each other, you never have to ask, “What about me? What about my needs?” Take care of your partner and they’ll take care of you.

 

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