I went to the doctor yesterday after a week of unexplained dizziness. “Oh, are you pregnant?” asked everyone I mentioned it to — because that’s the go-to diagnosis for women of childbearing age who complain of anything from a hangnail to a headache. Just try telling someone you feel tired, hungry, or nauseous and see what they say. Personally, I was afraid I had a brain tumor. The doctor’s diagnosis? Dehydration and anemia.
I was surprised, but I shouldn’t be. I am a vegetarian, so the anemia — or low iron — makes sense. I think that’s why when I was pregnant I had crazy cravings for spinach dip. I do take a multivitamin, one of the kid’s Flintstones chewables, when I remember. Even the dehydration makes sense. I get through my days fueled on coffee until the kids go to bed, and then I have a glass of wine. Sound familiar?
All the talk about pregnancy got me thinking: I totally didn’t capitalize on my symptoms when I was expecting. There are a lot of perks to being pregnant, which I didn’t fully appreciate at the time. For instance:
Indulging your cravings. So spinach dip isn’t that decadent. And you don’t want to go hog wild with the doughnuts. But you’re eating for two and you should enjoy it. Go ahead and have that ice cream. (Calcium!) Pour yourself another bowl of cereal. (Cap’n Crunch is iron-fortified!) Order those deep-fried tater tots with a side of ranch dressing. (Umm… there’s lots of potassium in potatoes?)
Catching up on sleep. Growing another person takes LOTS of energy. Sleeping in and taking naps are practically medically sanctioned. With years of sleep deprivation looming, get all the rest you can while the baby’s still in there and can’t whine for a fourth bedtime story and a glass of water.
Buying new clothes. OK, this one has nothing to do with health, but when I was getting dressed for my doctor’s appointment, I realized the sorry state of my closet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to myself in Old Navy, “I don’t really NEED a cute sundress. And the kids really DO need new bathing suits…” But when you’re pregnant and expanding by the day? That, ladies, is a foolproof excuse for going shopping.
So, while it may be too late for me, please learn from my mistakes. If you’re expecting, take full advantage of the perks while you have the chance. And tell me how those tater tots taste.
Which pregnancy symptoms did you enjoy?