Pregnancy can be tough — really tough. From morning sickness (aka all-day sickness, aka hell on Earth) to sleepless nights, with a generous dose of heartburn, bladder weakness and swollen ankles thrown in for good measure, it can definitely take its toll on your physical health. And then there’s the emotional side of things: Worrying about your baby’s movements, worrying about giving birth, worrying about the aftermath of giving birth, worrying that you’ll never sleep or have sex again.
But hey — all those things are normal, and apparently, they don’t stop us from having babies (and then sometimes more babies despite it all). Still, let’s take some time to look on the sunny side of pregnancy because lot of it is pretty damn awesome. Here are seven things that are actually nice — even fun — about being pregnant.
1. The kindness of strangers
Pregnant people (and later, babies) have been known to melt even the iciest of hearts — even in the human hellhole that is public transportation. Often, people are actually nicer to you when you’re pregnant, and they may even let you cut the line at the airport bathroom if you’re lucky. Perhaps people are in awe of how amazing you are to be growing an actual human inside your womb — or maybe they’re just worried that if they get on the wrong side of you, those pregnancy hormones they’ve heard so much about will make you punch them in the face. Who cares? Enjoy a few months of total strangers holding doors open for you, giving you the best parking spot, helping to carry heavy packages and smiling at you in the street. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even get a subway seat out of it. (Unless you commute on the A train in NYC, in which case everyone will still be mean and you’ll be doomed to stand for all 40 weeks.)
2. Stronger hair & nails
Pregnancy hormones are frustrating. On the one hand, they can wreak havoc on your skin and send your emotions on a roller coaster ride. On the other hand: hair and nails. Pregnancy hormones can make them look extra… extra. So if you notice your nails are growing faster and getting stronger — and your hair is getting thicker and oh so flipworthy — enjoy it. Paint your nails (and your toenails, while you can still reach them) and flip your hair to your heart’s content.
3. A reason to rest
Plenty of rest during pregnancy is essential, even if you’re the kind of person who races through life at breakneck speed ticking every last item off your to-do list before most of us have had breakfast. Now’s the time to listen to your body and never, ever feel guilty about resting more. Pregnancy is exhausting! When you’re pregnant, the amount of water in your body increases by 50 percent and your blood volume increases by 40 percent. That’s a lot of extra fluid to be carrying. There’s also the inevitable additional weight gain. Of course, if you’re the kind of person who feels no guilt about resting whatsoever, you’re probably already in your pajamas working your way through your Netflix watch list. Keep at it.
4. Better sex
OK, so you may not be feeling your best, and maybe you’d prefer a foot rub to foreplay, but it’s worth giving pregnancy sex a chance. Sex can be more relaxed during pregnancy because you aren’t worrying about avoiding — or trying for — pregnancy. Plus, lots of women have testosterone surges during the second trimester that boost libido and make them feel more desirable. (And if you’ve always wanted bigger boobs, they may well have delivered by now. A-cup darlings, this is your chance to see how the other half lives without going under the knife.) But more important, we’re reliably informed by La Leche League leader Leigh Anne O’Connor, board-certified lactation consultant, that pregnant women often report “better and more intense orgasms.” Sold.
5. Freedom around food
Pregnancy is not a good time to be obsessing over calories and worrying about your macros — actually, there’s never a good time for that. A healthy, balanced diet is important, of course, but you can also embrace a freedom around food that you may not have experienced since you were too young to make your own eating decisions. The American Pregnancy Association recommends that average-weight women gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy — which may sound like a lot or a little to you (depending on how much your mom, for example, gained). Just remember: The most important thing is the overall wellness of you and your baby. Also remember that maternity pants have expandable waistbands for a reason. Yes, you may eat an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s and be proud of your preggo self (just maybe don’t do it every day).
6. Amazing dreams
Science says pregnant women dream more vividly and remember their dreams more often than nonpregnant women. It’s because fetal movements and/or constantly having to pee causes you to wake frequently through the night, meaning you remember every dream and not just the last one before you wake up in the morning. Who’d have thought there would be an upside to those 2 a.m. bathroom trips? Oh, and don’t panic if you dream about giving birth to a litter of kittens or a cyborg or that your baby turns out to be a potted plant. This is actually a long-standing trend in pregnancy dreams dating back to 1899 when Sigmund Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams and described a woman who dreamed of giving birth to a seal.
7. You have the best secret
You know that feeling you get before the world knows you’re pregnant? The feeling that you’re walking around with the biggest, best secret in the world? You don’t look pregnant yet, but you know there’s a little mass of cells growing inside you that is going to be a whole person. It’s the kind of secret that can make you break into a grin in line at the drugstore or maybe even stop in the street and do a little happy jig. Hey, you’re allowed to look weird — you’re pregnant.