second is not best: on why i love my third trimester most of all

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Being eight months pregnant is the best thing ever. My first trimester was pretty exciting. I resigned from teaching, secured a new job, disposed of most of my earthly possessions, and said goodbye to my wonderful life of the past three years. I went to Colombia on an amazing missions trip, drove over 5200 miles on a road trip from Florida to Colorado via Massachusetts, and played with my sister in Greece and Turkey. I declared: "No morning sickness in Jesus' name!" and it worked. I was exhausted, but besides some constipation and sensitivity to cold, I felt great.

My second trimester was difficult and filled with a lot of emotions. I returned to America and to everyday life. I started my new job, settled into a new church, and publicly announced my pregnancy. Growing a baby felt more real: I bought maternity clothes, read pregnancy books, chose a midwife, settled on a baby name, and got my first and only ultrasound. But I felt lonely in many ways, frustrated and stressed from work, and overall sad about this season.

I ended up quitting my job and it was one of the best decisions I could have made. I am healthier, happier, and loving these last two months before baby comes. I resumed my yoga practice and feel refreshed and rested. I see my husband more often because I am not working late nights, weekends, or out of town for days at a time. I feel like I am finally experiencing the famous second semester joys, e.g. renewed energy and great sex. But even though the second trimester is popular for being the pregnant woman's favorite, I am convinced that the third trimester is even better. Here's why:

  • I AM OBVIOUSLY PREGNANT.

It was noticeable to me at 10 weeks when I couldn't fit into any of my pants, but now the world has no doubt that my 30 lb weight gain is not solely the result of burgers and beer. I would rather have an extra cookie than the chair someone offers me, and now sometimes I can get both; but neither would have been an option during my first or second trimesters when people had no idea or were too polite to assume I was pregnant. In general, there is just more grace for me when it comes to snacking. I can show up to a potluck with a piece already cut from the cake I made, and although no one believes me when I say I genuinely was checking to make sure it was okay, they are understanding.

  • MY SELF-ESTEEM IS SOARING.

I am a hot mess going grocery shopping with my dirty hair in a bun and my belly busting out of one of those free T-shirts no one wants unless it is free, and I am stopped and told how cute I look. I go hiking with friends from out of town, and while they are struggling with the high altitude, I am beating them to the top of a small mountain. I post Instagrams where I am JUST STANDING THERE and get lots of likes and comments of how stunning it is that I am just standing there. And on days when I am kind of lazy, I remind myself that I clipped my toenails and it was really hard and I also am growing a human, and I feel much more productive.

  • GIFTS ARE MY LOVE LANGUAGE. LOTS OF GIFTS = LOTS OF LOVE.

My birthday was sad this year (I planned a party and cancelled it after I realized no one would come because I did not have any friends), so baby showers are a magical redo birthday. I never had a bridal or engagement shower or bachelorette party, so celebrating my baby's soon arrival is extra special in light of milestone festivities I missed. I freak out over every Amazon prime box that is left at my door and it's Christmas all over again. I spent a lot of time and research on our registry, so Noah does not have the same emotional attachment and excitement for our gifts, though I don't blame him for not getting pumped up about nipple cream like I do. And I've decided that these weeks of nesting and preparing for birth day are way better than my birthday anyway.

I CAN'T WAIT. Except I can. Because I LOVE my third trimester.

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Photo credit: http://reagandeninephotography.com