The third trimester of pregnancy doesn’t get much attention. By the time you get there, people figure you should be used to being pregnant, and the only thing left to tell you is that it will soon be over.
But there is a lot to be learned in the last stages of pregnancy. In fact, you may learn some of the most amazing lessons at this during those last three months – like the fact that your body really CAN stretch a lot bigger. You also learn that you are probably going to survive, although it hasn’t felt that way.
The finish line may be in sight, but you still have miles to grow. Along the way, you will learn:
1. Your Baby Owns Your Body
You think you are nurturing a living being in your body. Actually, your baby is using you like a robotic suit. He or she is in complete control of what you eat, when you sleep, and whether or not you will burst into tears after watching a laundry soap commercial with an adorable dog.
2. People Won’t Sympathize With How Miserable You Are
You will feel as though the whole world should be able to look at you and know that you are toting eleven tons of bricks that keep digging into your ribs.
They should know that your feet hurt, and you can’t breathe, and the only stuff you want to eat is the stuff that you can’t have.
But no. People look at you and comment on how much you glow, and can’t understand why you don’t want to walk more than three feet without sitting down to gasp for air. So don’t bother complaining. They won’t believe you, because you look cute and pregnant.
3. Houses Aren’t Made For Pregnant Bellies
When your bump is cute and small, you think how easy it is to do all your normal tasks. Pregnancy is a breeze! Then your belly gets huge and you can’t reach anything.
So you end up standing sideways to wash dishes, leaving clothes in the bottom of the washing machine (now thought of as the dead zone, ) and floundering in the bathtub until someone comes to rescue you.
4. Your Doctor Hates You
Maybe not. But it feels that way, when you waddle into the office, and they actually expect you to beach yourself on a table the size of an emery board.
After you’ve sat up there for hours, freezing and starving, a doctor comes in, chuckles over your weight gain and asks if you’ve noticed that your feet are swollen.
Like you’ve really been able to see your feet in weeks.
5. Pregnancy Books Lie
They promised you in the beginning that it would get BETTER. All that icky first trimester stuff would vanish, and you would be bouncing around doing pregnancy yoga and wallpapering nurseries right up until you are six hours into labor.
Truth: a lot of times, all that early pregnancy misery sticks around. And you keep accumulating new symptoms.
They say you may feel “tired”, and you might be “uncomfortable” in the third trimester. What they mean is, you will be exhausted from weeks of no sleep from being a little “uncomfortable”, and all you really want in the world is for the baby to come out. Or to at least stop punching your bladder for ten minutes.
6. Nothing Is Ever Clean Enough
If you get the nesting bug, you may wake up one day and see your home through dirt colored glasses. Was it this gross yesterday?
Baby might not walk for a year, but you will obsess over whether or not the back of the refrigerator is sanitized well enough, or wake up at 3 am with a desperate need to steam all the upholstery.
People warn you that you might get the urge to clean. What they don’t mention is that it all has to be tidy too. You can get annoyed by the dishtowels not being folded evenly, or the new baby bottles not being perfectly lined up and waiting in the cabinet. So, you do it over, and over and over.
7. The Most Important Lesson: Never Ask Another Woman About…
Her birth story.
If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to never ask to hear a birth story while you are in the third trimester. (Everyone always tells their birth story like it is the plotline to a horror movie.) Hear all that stuff early on when your own labor is far in the future. Or wait until after you’ve delivered, then share experiences.
But you will ask. Because you are human. You are curious. You want to know what to expect. Then you will sit up late at night wishing that was a lesson you had never had the chance to learn!