"Pregnancy can make women feel very low, especially the first time round", my adored yoga teacher whispered at me in her soft considerate American voice (has anyone else noticed how Americans have the nicest, most friendly voices in the world? Especially if they teach yoga/talk to babies/ask if there's anything they can help you with?).
Then a light bulb came on over my head.
I remember how I felt my body had been kidnapped by an alien when E. was growing inside me. Not least because from 20 weeks onwards I could actually see my belly move, which is a really freaky sight that S. even the second time round has not quite gotten used to. Picture me, leisurely reading a newspaper in a room with all windows shut. The paper rustles. I keep still. The paper rustles again. I move the paper and look at my protruding belly, where said paper had been resting. A little submarine is making the rounds, trying to find a place to poke its periscope up to the surface. Scary.
But it wasn't just the fact that I was sharing my body with another human being - a human being I had no control over. (I still don't, but it's much easier to accept now that she is physically separate from me as well as mentally.)
It was also that my OWN body seemed to prefer the new baby.
I used to do a fair bit of sports. Now, there is no reason why pregnant women cannot enjoy sports as much as they like - the key is to listen to your body. But my body told me around 16 weeks in that it did NOT enjoy sports. And it did that by making me feel like I needed to pee ALL THE TIME. At first I thought it was a bladder infection, but a trip to the doctor ruled that out. As it turns out, this was my first conscious encounter with the muscle group known euphemistically as "pelvic floor" and not, more truthfully, as "providers of pee-related problems".
Also, I started eating foods that I didn't necessarily like so much, in fact, had for health and skinniness reasons basically banned from my diet: Fries. Crisps. Pizza. You know, fatty, salty stuff. Unfortunately, I also still really enjoyed the sugar- and carb based food groups. And my body was happily providing me with stomach space to spare.
Then there was the sleeping. I've always been a good sleeper - but that wasn't to last. Not only did my back once again started aching, but somehow I slept very lightly during the night, only falling into deep, restful sleep around 6 am. Thankfully I was self employed, so I moved my schedule and started work at 10 am instead of 8 am, thereby ensuring some more lovely sleep. But still. I thought the whole sleep deprived thing would start after birth (it did get a lot worse, mind).
But it wasn't until the yoga teacher mentioned it, that I realised that this time round, I feel a lot less invaded by a body snatcher.
As soon as I got pregnant, I stopped running (the last time I ran, I could already feel the pelvic ones getting good and ready for some serious peeing issues) and took up cycling instead. Then I got too tired for the cycling, but kept on walking. Then my back started hurting, so I went to prenatal yoga (which works a treat, contrary to my earlier comments!) I'm eating crisps by the boat load, but have cut cookies and cake out of the diet. I've even started napping as sleeping beyond 6.30 am is so luxurious and rare with a toddler alarm clock we prefer to be awake to enjoy it.
Basically, this time round I'm going with the flow, instead of trying to preserve some semblance of myself.
And it makes life much easier and more enjoyable. (Comparatively lighter on the scales as well.)
ps. First time round I didn't mind the heat thing at all - for months on end I finally got to experience what life is like with warm hands! - but apparently in Singapore there's a whole aircon-based subculture for third trimester carriers. Will know more in a few weeks time.