At some point in your life you’ve probably been reminded to “enjoy the journey.” That’s sage advice for most of life’s adventures, but it’s particularly true for the 40 miraculous weeks you’ll spend with your baby growing inside you.
Of course, your rosy glow of pregnancy sometimes can be clouded by less pleasant side effects that come with the turf — everything from finding that your butt and hips having melded into one to the need for buying antacids in bulk. But why bemoan a few inconveniences when your body has just become a miracle of nature? It’s much more rewarding to focus on the positive. “I know this is going to be my last child, so I’m savoring every aspect of my pregnancy,” says Janet Crawford, R.N., a Lamaze-certified childbirth instructor in Boulder, Colo. “Knowing it’s the last time my body will go through this has heightened my appreciation.”
So enjoy this time while it lasts. To help you do so, we’ve compiled a list of 20 things you just might find yourself remembering wistfully once your baby is born.
1) Having a secret
Before anything shows on the outside, you know something’s happening on the inside. For the first few months you might look like your same old self, but you know something that no one else does. (Unless you choose to tell them, of course!)
2) Smiles from total strangers
Once you start showing, you might be surprised at what a friendly place the world has become. You’ve joined the sorority, sister, and your stunning silhouette brings smiles, questions and congratulations.
In our go-go-go world, there may not be another time in your life when you don’t have to feel guilty about sneaking in a 30-minute snooze after lunch. In fact, when you’re pregnant, naps are practically prescribed. So slumber away blissfully: Soon enough you’ll be sleeping on your baby’s schedule — in other words, naps may be the only sleep you’ll get.
4) That rosy glow
The pregnant woman’s glow might be more myth than reality, says Allan Lichtman, M.D., clinical professor in the obstetrics and gynecology department at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. “You do get some increased blood circulation, but it generally doesn’t show on the face,” Lichtman explains.
But just as we’re about to cross this off the list, Lichtman offers another explanation. “I do see wonderful smiles and happiness, and that emotion is translated onto the face.” Aha — an inner glow. Even better.
5) Calories, calories, calories
“Women can eat more during pregnancy because they’re eating for two,” says Mona M. Shangold, M.D., director of the Center for Women’s Health and Sports Gynecology in Philadelphia. “The exact number of calories will depend on how active you are and what your metabolic rate is.” If you play your cards right, you can potentially extend this benefit for another year or so by nursing your baby — you’ll need the extra calories to produce all that milk.