For most women, getting pregnant means not having a period for a number of months (for many women it's well over a year), but it also means that a long list of other hormonal changes will occur during pregnancy and many months after giving birth. As I contemplate if/when baby number two will become a reality, I am constantly thinking about the TRADE OFF.
A menstrual cycle results from hormonal changes between the ovaries and the brain’s pituitary gland. Women go through a lot physically, emotionally and mentally each month when we experience our menstrual cycle. Now what most men don't understand is that even after years and years of having a monthly cycle, we as women can't know exactly what to expect from month to month. There are so many factors that can affect when it happens and how we react in the days leading up to it and even after it has come and gone. Things that can affect a women's menstrual cycle include, but are not limited to:
Some time during PMS (premenstrual AND post menstrual syndrome) a change in hormones will occur and believe it or not, everything is not always in our control. Women are moody, hungry, nauseous, tired, crampy (yes, that's a word), restless, etc. We get hella cravings and we may snap at a stranger for no real reason at all. Sound familiar? Yep. Pregnancy.
In the same way that that a woman goes through monthly hormonal changes due to her menstrual cycle, she goes through various hormonal changes during pregnancy. But on a totally different level.
The "trade off" could look something like this:
- Nausea and bloating during a menstrual cycle vs. nausea and bloating for a few months (or the better part of a year for some)
- Night sweats a few nights a month vs. constant sweating during pregnancy
- Loss of energy for a few days each month vs. various energy levels throughout pregnancy
- A slight change in weight (water weight) during a menstrual cycle vs. steady weight gain and other body changes during pregnancy
- Unusual food cravings for a few days each month vs. unusual food cravings (and aversions) for the duration of pregnancy
- Mood changes for up to a week each during a menstrual cycle vs. various moods and emotional states during pregnancy
Other things to take into account are sex drive, clothing choices and overall willingness to be around other people.
Don't get me wrong, I am ready for another baby. I think. I'm pretty positive. However, I know that my body is different since I gave birth to my son six years ago. On one hand, I have given birth before so my body knows what to expect. On the other hand, it has been six years since I gave birth and I feel like I'm starting all over. Like my body may have somehow forgotten how to house a baby. I also don't know how my daily life will be the second time around with a six year old to care for.
It's said that going from one child to two is the most difficult I have to agree only because I have seen how the change affects many families up close. But when I think about being pregnant again and bringing another beautiful soul into this world, I get so happy. For a long time after my son was born, I could only see us as a family of three. But my heart and body are definitely open to the trade off now.
To the men reading this post, please remember these words whether or not your mate is pregnant. It may save you from some harsh words and possibly some hurt feelings in the future. Remember, we love you. We are only human