I spent my entire second trimester trying to get in the groove of pregnancy, an experience I hadn't planned on having anytime soon. As my belly grew, I felt fairly normal; clothes stopped fitting, and occasionally I had an old school female "fat" day, but I didn't mind my changing appearance and the higher number on the scale. Emotionally, I embarked on a roller coaster; as we shared the news of our baby, most people responded with questions or comments directed at me specifically. It felt overwhelming some days to receive that much attention, and it took me a while to make peace with having such a private journey play out somewhat publicly.
My goals were simple through the middle part of pregnancy: to stay active, rest, nourish myself, and chill out.
My old version of "active" meant lots of hot yoga, daily runs or walks, plenty of go-go-go... and of course, that had to change to some degree. To be honest, I wanted to stay as active as possible to maintain strength, endurance, and flexibility for a successful labor and delivery -- not to try to manage weight or look good. Plus, being active always makes me happy and helps me level out any residing anxiety, moodiness or stress, so daily movement or activity remained a huge priority for me in terms of emotional and psychological well-being.
I did talk to my doctor and midwives about practicing yoga, and they basically said as long as I stayed mindful, careful and hydrated, there was no problem for me to continue with modifications. If I had experienced more of a high-risk pregnancy in any way, my choices would have likely been different. But yoga and walking intermixed with a little strength work here and there worked well for me.
I used to sleep maybe 6 hours a night and then thrive on coffee during the day, but while pregnancy, I relished getting 8-10 hours a night and taking daily naps. I figured, this is like the only time in my whole life where I am encouraged to sleep AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. And you know what? Taking it slower reminded me that the world didn't... actually stop turning because I chose to watch television on a Tuesday night on the couch. People with children are a damn broken record about how when you have the actual kiddos, you never sleep, so I enjoyed sleeping in and going to bed early. Even though my energy levels went wayyy up during the second trimester, I relaxed whenever I felt like it. It was nice to shift from having a million weeknight obligations to simply going home after work and doing nothing.
I've always loved food and eating, but like many women, I spent the majority of my college and young adult years fixated on weighing a certain amount and looking a particular way. Such obsessions reared their ugly heads at various points, and I've not really written about them publicly, but suffice it to say that I dealt with disordered eating off and on for a long time. When I got pregnant, I was at a peaceful juncture with my body, so I felt relatively curious about how I would feel about gaining weight and being encouraged to eat a lot, often, for the next nine months.
Surprisingly, I had no issues about food or weight during pregnancy. I didn't feel the need to "eat for two," but I ate what I wanted when I was hungry and I stopped when I was full. Nothing was off-limits. I tried to include healthy items when possible, took my prenatal vitamins, and attempted to be thoughtful about protein and iron and basic nutrients for growing a baby. But on the days that consisted of toast with butter for breakfast, plain noodles with Parmesan cheese for lunch, and eggs for dinner with a dessert of Swedish Fish? I didn't stress over it and trusted my taste buds would balance out over time. I figured my body was doing what it needed to do, and I was simply along for the ride.
As I mentioned, I struggled more with the emotions of pregnancy versus anything physical. Reading books or articles about childbirth, browsing registry lists, watching videos about sleep training, people asking about breastfeeding and epidurals and a million other things: it all stressed me out. I had to constantly remind myself to hit the pause button and not overthink things, and I had to develop strategies to deal with well-meaning friends and acquaintances who wanted to talk to me about our baby-to-be.
It helped quite a bit to journal and write about these difficult emotions, as well as share them with my close family and friends. My husband was particularly thoughtful in all sorts of little and big ways: picking me up breakfast in the morning, rubbing my shoulders, being a good listener, cleaning and cooking more frequently, giving my stomach kisses goodnight and talking to the baby, reassuring my wild fears, supporting my lack of interest in being social. Every time I felt down, he lit me back up and helped me locate a new place of comfort and calm. He also reminded me to chill the fuck out about what we couldn't control -- which is always an important thing to keep in the back of one's mind!
Before I knew it, we hit 28 weeks and all of a sudden, only a few months remained until we would meet our tiny babe.
Mantra of the second trimester: OMG this baby is really coming.