At this stage, my 3rd trimester of pregnancy is starting to feel like a distant memory, but I’ve written about the things that surprised me during my first and second trimesters, so it seems only right to complete the set, so to speak.
For me, the 3rd trimester was mostly surprising for the things that DIDN’T happen than the things that did. I’m talking about things like…
I didn’t wet myself
Starting off as classy as ever here, obviously, but, from the way I’d heard people talking about the 3rd trimester, I’d basically expected to be waddling around, wetting myself every few steps. Well, I DID waddle towards the end, sure, but I’m pleased to report that I had no need of the incontinence pants: I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, obviously, because I know it does – and quite often, too, by the sounds of things – but I AM saying it’s not necessarily a given: so, if you’re currently pregnant, and as freaked out as I was at the thought of basically being incontinent for weeks, take heart: it might not happen!
Or get stretch marks
Continuing with the “over-sharing” theme, I spent my entire pregnancy waiting to develop stretch marks, but, much to my surprise, I didn’t get a single one. I’ve no idea why I got lucky with this: I did use lotion on my bump pretty religiously from around the start of the 2nd trimester (I tried various different brands, but Bio Oil was probably my favourite / the one I used most – I’ll never be able to smell that stuff again without being instantly transported back to the 3rd trimester!), but I’ve read that stretch marks are more a matter of luck/genetics than anything else, so I’ve no way of knowing whether the lotions did the trick, or if I just got very, very lucky. Speaking of luck…
My feet didn’t change size
This will probably come as a disappointment to all of the people who were positively gleeful at the thought of me having to get rid of my entire shoe collection, but nope – my feet are the same size they’ve always been, thankfully. I continued to wear the same shoes I’d always worn – yes, including high heels* – throughout the pregnancy, because I didn’t really see any reason not to: they all still fit me, and while I did move much more slowly towards the end, walking didn’t ever get to feel dangerous to me, so I just kept wearing the shoes I’d normally have worn with each outfit. I’m not sure if that helped my feet stay the same (I remember reading something early on about how, if you continue wearing your regular footwear as normal, it’ll help stop the feet “spreading” but I’m not sure whether that’s true or not…), or whether I just got lucky, but I’m relieved not to have to throw out my shoes, anyway!
(*I didn’t wear heels quite as often in the 3rd trimester, mostly because it was autumn/winter by then, and I’ve normally switched to boots by that point anyway. I did wear them occasionally, though, and, as I said, walking in them didn’t feel any different than it normally does – in fact, I felt like I walked more normally in heels or boots than I did in flats, which always make me feel a bit like I’m waddling in them, anyway!)
Just in case you’re thinking I had a totally charmed 3rd trimester, though, worry not, because it was around about this time that…
I got pregnant in my face
IN MY FACE, PEOPLE. SERIOUSLY.
Yup, just in case I wasn’t feeling self-conscious enough already, it was around about the start of the third trimester that I started noticing that my face looked… different. Bigger. Like, a LOT bigger. I didn’t have any swelling in my hands or feet – which I WAS actually expecting – so it looks like lucky ol’ me got it all in my face, instead: GAH. I was very much NOT amused by this, and hit the contour palette pretty hard during this time – which wasn’t good either, to be honest, because I am seriously bad at contouring: in fact, I remember one day we got into the car to drive somewhere, and Terry had to reach over and rub some makeup off my cheeks, or I’d have walked around all day looking like I just had a really dirty face.
I’m REALLY hoping this was just a temporary side-effect of pregnancy, and that my face will return to normal at some point after the birth, but I’m writing this post in advance, so the jury’s still out. Pray for me, people…
My hair did get thicker, though
I’d waited for this to happen for my entire pregnancy, and had pretty much given up on it, but in the 3rd trimester I finally – FINALLY – got that thick, pregnancy hair I’d heard so much about: yay!
Even my maternity clothes stopped fitting properly
When I started buying maternity clothes, I expected to be wearing them for the duration of the pregnancy – which was good, because, by the start of the 3rd trimester, I was so aware that the end was nigh, that I really hated the thought of spending any more money on clothes I (probably) wouldn’t wear for more than a few weeks. As it turned out, though, by the time I got to around week 32, I felt like NOTHING was comfortable any more – not even the maternity stuff. I still didn’t want to buy many more maternity clothes, but I did have to add a couple more pairs of leggings, plus some oversized sweaters to my collection, just to be comfortable: I deliberately bought things that would also work post-partum, so I didn’t feel too bad about it, but still – who wants to be spending money on maternity leggings when the pregnancy is almost over?
Because of this, I spent most of the 3rd trimester feeling … well, kind of hideous, really. I know you’re not supposed to admit to that, and are supposed to just be in awe of what your body is doing instead, but while, sure, yeah, I’m absolutely AMAZED by the fact that my body managed to pull this off (Cliche, I know, but it really does feel like a complete miracle to me…), I’m used to being able to rely on a great outfit to give myself a confidence boost, and having to slope around in leggings all the time really didn’t do it for me. Like, AT ALL.
I became even more anti-social that I was already
And, I mean, I’m ALREADY pretty anti-social, but by the start of my 3rd trimester, I was basically ready to just retire from society altogether – and I think society would’ve thanked me for it, because I was just so grumpy and irritable all the time that I really pity the poor souls who had to deal with me: sorry, everyone!
Part of this was down to point 2, above: as I said, I was dealing with some pretty low self-confidence by that stage, and I found it quite embarrassing having to socialise with people when I was squeezed into clothes that didn’t fit me properly, and made me feel really self-conscious (The constant comments about how I was “bigger and bigger every day!” didn’t help much either, it has to be said…), but to be honest, by that stage I was so uncomfortable and tired all the time that I really wasn’t much company either – er, even less so than usual, I mean.
They started at around week 28, and totally freaked me out at first, even although I’d been pre-warned about them. Once my lovely midwife had reassured me that yes, they really were absolutely normal, though, I relaxed a little, although it was still so odd to feel the baby hiccuping in my belly! (And even more so now that he’s here, and I see him hiccuping from time to time!)
I didn’t get much sleep
As soon as you announce a pregnancy, everyone starts telling you to sleep while you can, because you sure won’t be getting much sleep once the baby arrives. What they DON’T tell you, however, is that, by the third trimester, you’re probably not going to be getting much in the way of sleep anyway – or, at least, I didn’t. I’d taken all of the advice about pregnancy pillows, and cushions between the knees and whatnot, but I just found it impossible to get comfortable: I had restless legs for the duration of my pregnancy, and that was probably the biggest issue in terms of comfort, but I also found my hips and back would get really painful from having to lie on my side all the time. I’ve never been a back sleeper, but, by the end of the pregnancy, all I could think about was how much I wanted to lie on my back – total bliss! With that said, though…
It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be
As negative as this list probably sounds, I’m going to end on a positive note, by saying that, while it was uncomfortable at best, and pretty anxiety-inducing at worst, the 3rd trimester actually wasn’t quite as bad as I was expecting it to be. No, really, it wasn’t: from what I’d read, I was anticipating a kind of living hell, basically, but I was fortunate enough to stay healthy throughout my pregnancy, and not have any complications, so I’m really grateful for that: yes, it was tough at times, but it was definitely survivable – and, it has to be said, very, very worth it!