I’m Pregnant. Who AM I?

I’ve heard Motherhood described as a full-time job.  I’ve heard it described as a life-long calling.  It’s just that it seems to be soooo much more.  Motherhood is a re-working – a re-defining so thorough that it affects every part of your life, and every part of your you.  And not in a bad way; Motherhood’s not bad.  Well, I mean it’s never permanently bad.  And the up-swings and the payoffs put you in a place of such deep joy and satisfaction that you somehow don’t mind the show-downs and the even the near break-downs.

But, I have wondered – why the rollercoaster of emotions?  Before I was a mom I was so level-headed and non-emotional I actually frustrated my boyfriend and future fiancé and husband.  The world was so reasonable; so logical.  Everything could be handled fine with a bit of thought and decision-making.

Then I got pregnant.  Woooowww.  It was like those few days every month of my life when I told myself that everything seemed so dramatic because of extra busy hormones.  But, times 100.  I actually felt like I wasn’t me.  Thankfully my logical self was still there behind the scenes telling me to chill and that my body was doing exactly what it was supposed to be doing.  No good over-reacting about it.

So, what do our bodies do during pregnancy?  Here’s a bit of list.  First, our endocrine (hormone) system: Progesterone and estrogen go up and then up and then up some more.  It’s so that our menstrual cycle stops and we can pad the baby.  Our placenta produces extra estrogen because it helps the baby feel happy (fetal well-being).  We also have increased human chorionic gonadotropin …yah! … aka, (B-hCG).  This maintains progesterone production which relaxes smooth muscle, helping our bodies adjust to the change in our shape so that carrying a baby doesn’t break us.

And, our pituitary gland grows by 50%… and therefore our prolactin increases.  This helps in the changes of our mammary gland in preparation of breast feeding.  We also have a hormone that helps us absorb more calcium – the parathyroid hormone.   Then, of course our cortisol and aldosterone also increase.  Oh, and our human placental lactogen (hPL) changes us so that we conserve blood glucose for use by our growing fetus.

Ha!  After all that, who’s surprised when a pregnant woman feels like crying during a gladiator movie, or suddenly over-whelmed that her tiny baby will actually need her to – gulp! – teach him subtraction!

The best part of all this hormonal re-wiring and re-re-wiring is that when you want a handful of chocolate covered peanuts in one hand and a bowl of ice cream in the other, no one is going to tell you no!

But, seriously, your best defense in this fog of emotion that is pregnancy, is an understanding and supportive, well, support group.  Be sure you surround yourself with people who marvel at your goodness in taking on this role of roles.  That’s including your doctor and nurses.  Find yourself one like those found at Timpanogos Regional Hospital.  They care.  For you, and for your baby.  And, they understand about the challenges you are taking on.  With their comprehensive maternity service, they know how to guide you and comfort you.  And then you can focus on being the greatest mommy your baby will ever know.

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