Pregnancy. There is nothing quite like it, is there? Just as in the case of newborn sleep deprivation, you can't quite fathom how it will be until it actually happens to you. Prior to pregnancy, I knew nothing about pregnancy. I had no idea when you normally find out the baby's sex, nor did I truly understand the elation that comes when you start feeling those baby kicks.
When I found out I was going to have a baby, I started reading up on what exactly was going to happen to me, both physically and emotionally. But I don't think you can truly be prepared for it until you experience it. Some things I understood in advance, but others, well, there were plenty of weird pregnancy symptoms that threw me for a loop.
1) Pregnancy brain I used to wonder when I'd hear women talk about their "pregnancy brain." Was it really a result of a growing baby or were they just an idiot? I have to say, it's a good excuse when you do something dumb. But then I left my car keys in my car and forgot about them, calling my clinic to cancel my appointment in tears because I thought they were in my husband's car instead and thought I was trapped at home. And then I went to fill up my gas tank and parked my car on the wrong side of the gas tank. Twice. There was also the time I was calling a friend and as it was ringing, I panicked, because I forgot her name and didn't think to look at my cell phone screen. Yes, pregnancy brain. It's a real thing.
2) Sweating. All of the time. I am so thankful I am not spending my last trimester in the heat of summer. But the end of the first trimester up until about 32 weeks, I sweated. I wore tank tops and shorts most of my pregnancy, even when others would be in long sleeves. I distinctly remember getting my hair done in a salon for a wedding and truly thinking I was going to pass out from heat stroke under the plastic cape. I kept apologizing to the stylist as she had to sweep up bits of hair from my profusely sweating neck.
Thinking about a salad would make me sick, but I could crave a frozen pizza no problem.
3) Extra hair growth
Oddly, I found I shave my legs far less often in pregnancy than I did prior. Probably because all the hair growth happens on my belly and chin. My growing abdomen started proudly showing off its blond, downy fur early in the first trimester. (Thanks a lot, estrogen.) I started sprouting some impressive chin hairs that would make a witch jealous. True, pregnancy hormones also made my hair (the ones on my head) grow spectacularly, so it wasn't all alarming.
4) Wanting to vomit and eat everything in my fridge all at the same time Prior to pregnancy, when I would get nauseated, the thought of food would make me want to hurl. But in my first trimester, I could dry heave over the sink and then want a bowl of watermelon and Chick-Fil-A chicken strips, like, yesterday. Thinking about a salad would make me sick, but I could crave a frozen pizza no problem. Pregnancy is weird.
5) Clumsiness This is one of my favorite unexpected symptoms. I may be teaching my growing fetus all sorts of juicy swear words as I go to retrieve my keys for the fourth time from the floor, but it still fascinates me. My body is loosening the joints in my hips and pelvis in preparation for birth, but it also loosens all the joints in my body, including those in my hands. For the longest time, I couldn't understand why anything that came in contact with my hands automatically flew back out and onto the floor. When I finally read about this quirky symptom, I was relieved I wasn't going crazy. "Oh I'm not clumsy," I'd explain to my husband as he picked up the cans of soup I knocked onto the grocery store floor, "I'm just pregnant."