Sh*t Happens.

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Wow, things can really change in a week! Not long after I posted about becoming a sudden domestic goddess in the making, my nesting habits got a bit interrupted…

Sometimes there are things in life that you just can’t control. Things that you are Awesomely Unprepared for, despite your best intentions.

I am learning that I may be a little bit more of a control freak than I really like to admit. Me? A control freak? You must be talking about someone else

I hold myself to high standards, even though I know I shouldn’t. I compare myself to others, even though I know I shouldn’t. I blame myself for things that aren’t my fault when I know I shouldn’t. I expect that everything I do will turn out how I’ve predicted when really nothing ever goes perfectly to plan. It’s so much fun such a drag.

I guess I’m just human.

Now if there’s anything in life you can’t control, it’s pregnancy. Symptoms keep popping up and they have very little to do with you. Sure, you can stop doing hard drugs or chugging alcohol. You can try to stay fit and healthy and adjust your nutritional intake so it benefits the baby the best. But you aren’t going to be perfect at it (well I hope you stop taking hard drugs and drinking whiskey at the very least) and there are so many other things going on in your body that you really have no say in/control over! There’s something strangely liberating and exciting about that, but it can also be a little unsettling for a control freak.

We can’t stop stretch marks if we’re destined to have them. We can’t help if some pregnancy related medical condition pops up out of nowhere and needs dealing with. We can’t control the way our bump sits or how big it will get. We can’t help it if our skin doesn’t look like it’s glowing (even if everyone else’s seems to be) or if morning sickness decides to strike. We can only do the best we can to minimise any risks and leave the rest up to nature.

This “Aha” moment (thanks, Oprah – miss you already) came to me when I started breaking out in rashes all over my body lately. Itchy, unsightly and unbearably uncomfortable. I have never had a history of allergies, eczema or any other skin condition in my life. I have been using very natural (and pregnancy safe) products on my skin (and around the house) since I got pregnant and I have not changed my diet (other than a few stray cupcakes finding their way into my stomach – hey how did they get in there??) or anything else about my lifestyle. Yet, here I’ve been with these damn rashes and sleepless, itchy nights. At times I’ve felt like a leper. I keep hearing about/noticing how my pregnant friends (past and present) had/have perfect skin and look so great. I keep seeing those paparazzi pics of damn celebrities with their damn yoga mats looking radiant while up the duff. In my weak moments (aplenty) I’ve felt like a spotty, unattractive failure (even though my amazing husband – who values his life – keeps reminding me that he still finds me so beautiful).

I didn’t want to tell anyone about what I was feeling so I hid it inside for a little while. When people asked how I was feeling, I would say, “Oh awesome – so great – no sickness – tons of energy”. Sure, that answer was kind of true, but on the inside I’ve feeling down about my skin and worried about it. Stupid but true story.

It got to a point where it got too intense. I was sobbing in a cold shower (despite it being the coldest winter ever) in the middle of the night and scratching when I knew I shouldn’t. I told my family and I made the first doctor’s appointment of many. Finally, my discomfort overruled my shame/embarrassment.

I’ve got the ball rolling on some attempts at controlling my skin problems and while I haven’t got a solution (or even a way to keep things manageable) yet, I should have done this ages ago. I also realise I am not afraid to speak up about it anymore. So what if I have this ugly rash? I have a healthy baby boy inside me and everyone is different. It’s not my fault. I can’t control everything. It’s not even contagious. Therefore there is nothing I could have done differently other than not get pregnant (which I wouldn’t trade for the world). I AM NOT TO BLAME. I AM NOT A BAD PREGNANT PERSON. OK, so I won’t be having any glamour belly shots for the family album. I probably will cover up reaaallly well if I give AquaBump Aerobics a try (so as not to scare anyone). I will probably take a while to get rid of the marks the itching has given me. So what? I have other things to be grateful for (family, friends and the most supportive husband). And on a shallow note, I have a glowing complexion (my face has thankfully been spared) and I haven’t sprouted 15 chins yet. From the outside I look perfectly pregnant – which is kind of why I wanted to speak up in this blog post (and be all vulnerable and sh*t). I want other people out there to realise we never know what’s going on under the surface. Things aren’t always what they seem. Don’t beat yourself up or feel inferior over a mere perception of other people’s supposed perfection (that kind of rhymes – I should write lyrics for Panic! At The Disco or something).

I’ve got to step up and become less about my insecurities (and worrying about the things I can’t control) and more about the safety and happiness of my baby. I’ve got to get mentally strong even though this skin condition (whatever the hell it is) has a way of making me into the craziest lady. And I mean CRAYYY-ZEEEEE.

When’s the last time you had to be mentally strong? How did you find a way to cope? Seriously, I’m going to be taking notes…

Edited Update: I have been diagnosed with PUPPP or Polymorphic Eruption of Pregnancy (feel free to google it). I am now using an ointment which seems to give some relief, although it won’t actually cure it. Thanks for your comments and support x

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  • Great post! It’s so true that people don’t know what’s lurking beneath the surface of others. I had a short bout of exzema around the end of my second trimester/beginning of my third. Unfortunately it was on my face and ONLY my face. On the bright side, I was able to treat it with some over the counter medication. But I sympathize because just for those few weeks that I had it, I was really self-conscious and felt down about the way I looked and wondered, where the heck is that gorgeous glow I’m supposed to have?!

    Mental strength is definitely something I’ve had to work on throughout this pregnancy. I haven’t wanted to admit that it’s okay to slow down and do less. I have refused to call out sick to work even when I was feeling crappy because I didn’t want people to perceive me as THAT pregnant lady who everyone should feel sorry for. Now, with a sudden bout of carpel tunnel (induced because of pregnancy) I have to admit that I can’t do it all. That i need to take breaks. That my pace needs to be more moderate. And that I need to ask hubs for help because he can’t read my mind. It’s often easier said than done to ask for help but I think we owe it to ourselves to do it!

  • Even though I’m not pregnant, my skin sucks on a regular basis, so I can relate to how you’re feeling. I am SO sensitive, so I break out or get allergic rashes to any new foods, products, supplements, etc. I have times when I feel like an ogre because of it, and then other times when I’m just like, “Whatever. I just have to deal with it. It could be WORSE.” And the truth is, it could be. I’m glad to see you’re looking at the positive and focusing on all the things that are going RIGHT 😀 The health of your baby is most important, and you have a lot to be thankful for! Your skin issues should clear up after pregnancy, so no need comparing yourself to others – just enjoy this time in your life! Weee!

  • J

    Leaving my “control freak” at the door when it comes to life has been one of my biggest lessons. I would like to control every little thing, down to people’s tone.

    But alas, all I can control is my mind (and even that likes to flip the eff out every once in a while…)

    You are a wonderful pregnant person. If you care and love that baby in your stomach, that means you’re wonderful. 🙂

  • Well… I’ve never been pregnant and hopefully never will be, considering I’m a man, but thanks for the insight! I’m sure this will help me down the road when my future wife is going through the same thing. Also, your “hard drugs and alcohol” comments made made me laugh out loud in my cubicle!

  • We all hide things … it takes strength to admit we’re not the perfect person we try to be. I certainly struggle with these kinds of things, I think everybody does. We’re mentally strong when we start to TRULY believe that we’re still perfect, even as control freaks with skin rashes 🙂 It’s difficult, but we’ll get there.

    Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy!

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