The Third Trimester – Pregnancy Update

33 weeks prenatal pilates session

The third trimester – my 34 week pregnancy update.

Its been a long while since I did a pregnancy update – mainly because life has been insanely busy but also because while I am grateful for a healthy pregnancy, I have found this process incredibly difficult.

I am now 34 weeks pregnant & staring down the end of my pregnancy journey. It has gone by both fast & slow at the same time. It feels like I have been pregnant forever but the weeks roll by so quickly. In theory, I have been pregnant really since February as I was pregnant for a short time prior to this current pregnancy.

I am still experiencing nausea pretty much everytime I eat – some days are worse than others but overall there is an overarching sensation of feeling sick & getting a terrible taste in my mouth everytime I eat or drink something. Some days, even water makes me ill. As someone who thrived on salads, clean foods & a ton of water and health drinks, this has been such a challenge. Food aversions started right at the 6 week mark & haven’t really left although some of my aversions have softened. I have managed to eat 2 (yes 2!) salads in the past week that did not make me overly ill but I am still not inclined to eat them.

Bread, butter & cheese have been my mainstay foods throughout this pregnancy paired with full fat yogurt, eggs & baked goods. Its been such a process to accept that this is what it is for me & I can hope that my desire to eat healthy will return once I pop out this little boy.

My self esteem & confidence have taken a huge beating throughout this pregnancy – I have honestly never felt so disconnected & unattractive in my life! Skin tags, dark moles, a huge influx of cellulite & weight gain have made me feel pretty gross. My self esteem has been really at an all-time low despite constant reassurance from my amazing & hugely supportive husband. Googling “self esteem during pregnancy” has brought me to many blogs written by women who share the same worries, laments, feelings & thoughts & I have found this hugely helpful. There is a real stigma about having anything but positive feelings & thoughts around being pregnant and I have been glad to find some reassurance that what I am feeling is normal.

I have taken a large step away from being on social media in the past few weeks as I found that now that Covid life is returning to normal, I am getting more triggered seeing people get super fit, traveling, taking dance classes & generally celebrating life. Removing this social media trigger has put a few things in perspective for me & has also made me realize that I was spending A TON of time & energy on it trying to gain approval, likes & follows. Real life is happening in front of me but yet I was living for the virtual validation of the things I was doing & portraying. While I make an effort to be authentic, you cannot help but curate your feed with the more postive and inspiring parts of your life, which was in some cases a tiny detail or inclusion. Finding balance is tricky, especially as I am someone who is all-or-nothing. So this gentle removal of sharing myself & my life has been necessary but yet still a bit hard.

My anxiety has reared its ugly head several time thorughout this journey, with the worst of it being a few weeks ago. Third trimester insomnia coupled with the stress of having a lot on my plate meant that I was waking up at 3am unable to go back to bed. And so I would lay there drowning in my fear about the big transition I have chosen to undertake & how it will affect the life I have currently. I have been in touch with a reproductive psychiatrist who recommended CBT as an immediate therapy & I will be speaking with a counsellor this week as well. I have a lot of fear about the postpartum fourth trimester & so want to get prepared & equipped as much as possible prior to that journey.

What I am grateful for is that overall I have been able to maintain as much as my “normal” life as possible (well up until recently). I still aim to workout 3-5 times a week with resistance- based exercises, pilates & teaching my dance classes. Its only been the last few weeks that I have backed off a bit as I have been too fatigued to either wake up & go or just go in general. I am still able to walk somewhat comfortably ( just put me in proximity of a loo though!) and I haven’t really experienced too much back or hip pain. I am getting leg cramps at night & do sleep with a pregnancy pillow now (THE BEST!) but overall my health has been pretty good. My initial goal was to only gain 25 pounds for whole pregnancy but I am at that now with still 7 weeks-ish to go. I was pretty disappointed in myself but since I am living off baked goods & butter I guess this isn’t too bad overall! As I continue to progress into these final weeks, I am aiming to still get in as many steps as I can at least & to try my best to hit the gym. While I am not hitting any PBs, at least doing something physical helps me feel connected to my old self. I wish I was one of those pregnancy influencer types that only gains weight in their belly but I am just not that person!

My abs have separated to accommodate this growing boy but I am not sure at this time to what degree. I am hopeful that between my pilates awareness & hopeful strong core prior to pregnancy that I will be able to heal this easily & smoothly but I guess time will tell. I am still taking time to connect with my core thorughout the day & am working with a pelvic floor physio to help me both prepare for labour but to also prepare me for the postpartum journey. I have been able to connect with amazing resources along this journey & thankful that I have benefits that will definitely come in handy!

Every day that passes I am both more anxious about the transition to motherhood & relieved that I will soon be finished with this pregnancy journey. It has been a very reflective, intense, humbling, uncomfortable, amazing & sad process that has given me greater understand of the sacrifices mothers make in order to bring a child into this world. It forces you to become selfless where you were selfish before & take everything into consideration. Suddenly your life is no longer your own, even in these in utero days & this conciousness is the beginnng of the transition to the greater good. I have more compassion for women who pivot into this motherhood role & place their own needs second. I have compassion for fathers who stand by feeling & looking helpless despite their best efforts because they are on the outside of this new world.

I am grateful for the partner I have chosen to do this with & even more grateful that we will just do this once.

What was your pregnancy journey like? How did it affect the way you felt about yourself? Did you love the process or did you find it difficult?