Congratulations, you've just found out you're pregnant! Now, here is where everything you thought you know, flies right out the window, and your head begins to spin.
This is where you catch the infamous "glow". Friends and family will tell you that you look radiant and they could have never guessed you're experiencing morning sickness. You read about your hair, nails and skin getting stronger and longer. That there will soon be a new sense of power and strength instilled in you.
For some, this might be true, but for me it was most certainly not the case. My body image was worse than when I was 15, my libido was a raging roller coaster and my sexuality was a bit fuzzy.
Let's start with body image. I have always thought that there was nothing prettier or sexier than a nice big, round, pregnant belly. That is until it came to my own. Sadly enough, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't see my own as such a beautiful thing. I often wished that I could have seen myself from another persons eyes. To be able to take it all in, without being able to feel the weight and strain, the upset stomachs or unforgiving heartburn. You're essentially growing a child, and that child is making you grow too, at a very fast pace, I might add.
The first trip to the maternity store is exciting and joyful, but soon it gets old and you long for your own clothes with waistbands that aren't made of elastic and spandex. I often cursed at the term "morning sickness". This term is misleading, as it is not limited to any specific time, or place for that matter. I struggled with the ever so pleasant feeling of nausea often and, surprisingly, it came most often in the afternoon and evening hours. And oh the stretch marks!! These things tore my body image and self-confidence apart, bit by bit.
So, maybe I never caught the infamous glow, but who cares, I was carrying a baby. I was helping to create life; a life that shared the DNA of myself and the partner whom I loved. A life that I already loved and wanted to protect and watch grow. A life that meant so much more than how my pants fit or when my next pimple would arise. It was all about perspective and I had to constantly remind myself of that.
Now for the area that got us into this "situation" in the first place. Sex. Can I still even have sex? Will it hurt the baby? Will my partner feel any difference in me down there? Will I even want to have sex? Calm down and relax. The questions will come and go, just like your libido, and all you can do is take it one step at a time. I am a person with a very strong sexual appetite, so these things were all of importance to myself and my partner. Once I did some research and learned that most of my concerns were normal and that having sex was safe, my worries shifted to whether or not I would even want to have sex. Along the way, I had read about many women and their desires, or lack thereof, during their pregnancies and I started to worry what would happen if I wanted nothing to do with it anymore. I worried that if this were the case, then how would my partner feel and would it become an added source of stress for us.
I'm sad I wasted so much time worrying about it all, because, in the end, I think our sex life actually improved! Of course there were times that sex was the furthest thing from my mind, but when it was present it was all I could think about. I found myself craving it so badly at times that I'd leave work early to meet and satisfy my needs. I became an erotic literature junkie and even found myself watching more porn. It forced us to think outside of the box for new positions and places, and I suddenly became more open about my desires and shared more of my feelings. (Go ahead and blame it on those pesky hormones, but they finally did something right this time!)
So, like me, your body image might suffer a bit and your sexuality may need some readjusting, but remember you're going to be a mama! You are doing the most magnificent job there is, and you are lucky enough to experience it all, even while some may not be able to. You are strong and powerful, and you do glow and look radiant. You just have to let yourself believe it!