Why We Decided For Baby's Gender To Be A Surprise... and Other Surprises
Before I got pregnant I thought I had a loose idea of what pregnancy would be like for me, decisions I'd make, expectations I'd have, how I'd take to it and get through the 40(ish) weeks. But I have to say, there's been several moments, feelings and parts of the process that have surprised me and have prepared me to let go of any future expectations and just go with the flow.
Firstly, I thought that the minute the stick developed positive I would want to shout it out from the rooftops and call everyone, but no, I felt very private about keeping the news to ourselves and even though I knew how excited my friends and family would be for us, we held it in right up until 12 - 14 weeks when we finally felt ready to share. Still I was not shouting from the rooftops, I was hesitant, nervous and mostly preferred my husband be the one to tell people. Why? I think my protective instincts kicked in and I just felt like I wanted to contain the energy of me and baby to a very precious place, and just do my best to make sure everything was okay before everyone getting excited for us. It also really strengthened the bond between my husband and I, going through the first 12 weeks just the two of us and having a secret and sacred life that we were already both so in love with.
Next, I thought FOR SURE as soon as we get the chance to find out gender I would be so eager to know so that I could start planning nursery color scheme, names, buying suitable clothing, planning the future Little Miss or Little Mr and throwing an epic gender reveal party... but, when the chromosome blood test results came back and our OB asked if we wanted to know the babies' gender there was something inside me that held back and I realized I actually felt very content with waiting to meet our baby to find out. Again at the anatomy scan the ultra-sound tech asked if we would want to know but it just didn't feel right. It felt like I'd be opening all my Christmas presents before Dec 25th and knowing what all my gifts were already. Something about the suspense and uncertainty is so rare in today's instant world that makes it really exciting to wait for the surprise on the day, and not having any pre-conceived notion of what our little life looks like or what gender it will be, until we get to meet our little creation and it can be the first to tell us! Plus, the thought of my husband greeting the baby fresh out the womb and telling me what we've made together as he passes bubs up to me for a cuds would be soooooooo worth the wait!!
The third thing, during the first trimester, I thought I would eat as healthy as I usually do, keep to my good ole health habits and breeze through with no fatigue or morning sickness. But nope, my usual green juice in the morning nearly made me vom by week 5 and I have definitely not been able to stomach it in the following weeks. My kale salads and avocado toasts were soon replaced by hearty sausages, bacon, beans and toast (a good ole British fry-up) and my cravings for endless potatoes meant I was binging them mashed, roasted or french fried; mainly the latter. The first trimester was all about survival through the sickness phases and giving my stomach whatever wouldn't make it churn; if it was gluten, so be it, sugar, give me more, and if fruit/vegetables had to take a back seat, then crack out the tortilla chips.
I guess I also surprised myself with my own strength already, I am usually a bit of a wimp when it comes to feeling unwell or uncomfortable. However, even though some days have been worse than others, I've got through them with a positive mindset and tried to find the comfort in the discomfort and realize I'm much stronger than I think. And I have definitely been appreciating the good days, especially the miracle happening inside me. I'm toughening up cuz I'm pretty sure I'm going to need all this newfound strength when baby is ready to be birthed!
I guess expectations have to disappear during pregnancy as we tune into our bodies and do whatever feels right in the moment. Sometimes that means we surprise ourselves with our choices, or sometimes means we have to lower our standards and accept what is. I know that during this second trimester I am trying to make the most of the days where I have lots of energy, but not every day is like that, so I'm open and flexible to go with the flow and change plans if necessary or sit out when I need to. The most important thing is listening to your instincts because mother nature sure knows best!