At some point in your life you've probably been reminded to "enjoy the journey." That's sage advice for most of life's adventures, but it's particularly true for the 40 miraculous weeks you'll spend with your baby growing inside you.
Of course, your rosy glow of pregnancy sometimes can be clouded by less pleasant side effects that come with the turf — everything from finding that your butt and hips having melded into one to the need for buying antacids in bulk. But why bemoan a few inconveniences when your body has just become a miracle of nature? It's much more rewarding to focus on the positive. "I know this is going to be my last child, so I'm savoring every aspect of my pregnancy," says Janet Crawford, R.N., a Lamaze-certified childbirth instructor in Boulder, Colo. "Knowing it's the last time my body will go through this has heightened my appreciation."
So enjoy this time while it lasts. To help you do so, we've compiled a list of 27 great things about being pregnant.
You're guaranteed to stop traffic whenever you cross the street.
People look at your stomach and can't help smiling, as if the mere thought of your being pregnant has actually made their day a little bit brighter.
Loading up your plate. "Women can eat more during pregnancy because they're eating for two," says Mona M. Shangold, M.D., director of the Center for Women's Health and Sports Gynecology in Philadelphia. "The exact number of calories will depend on how active you are and what your metabolic rate is.
Indulging in your cravings. "It's important for pregnant women to listen to what their bodies want," says Susan Kundrat, M.S., R.D., a sports and wellness nutritionist and owner of Nutrition on the Move in Champaign, Ill. "A woman may be craving a food that is high in a nutrient she really needs."
You can – no, you must! – take naps. Lots of them.
Getting to name another human being.
Watching your husband turn into a father when he kisses your belly good night, reads to the baby in utero, or stays up until 3:00 a.m. putting the crib together – just in case the baby decides to come eight weeks early.
Pregnancy sex: For once in your life, you're neither worried about getting pregnant nor trying to get pregnant. You can have sex just for the pure fun of it.
Those wild, intense, amazing pregnancy dreams in which every remote person from your past makes some sort of appearance. None of these dreams can even begin to be analyzed or understood.
The amazing anticipation. It's like all your previous birthdays and holidays rolled into one.
Imagining the possibilities.
More personal space! And you have no qualms about claiming it.
You eat healthier, drink more water, and carefully read ingredient labels. "Pregnancy is a good opportunity for a woman to develop a sound nutrition plan and healthy habits for the rest of her life," Kundrat says.
In the middle of a boring meeting at work or a meaningless argument, you feel your baby squirming inside you and the sensation takes you away. It's your own secret communication.
Getting to hear the swish swish swish of your baby's heartbeat on the Doppler.
Playing "Guess the part sticking out," usually at bedtime, when your baby starts moving furniture around or whatever it is he does in there.
The extra attention you get from everyone – your husband gives you more foot rubs, and your friends call to check in more often. Neighbors offer to help; coworkers volunteer to get lunch for you; little presents (a bottle of water, an afternoon snack) mysteriously show up on your desk.
The pregnancy beauty package: thick, silky hair; long, strong nails; beautiful skin; big boobs.
Not worrying about how your clothes fit. This may be the only time in your life when you're supposed to expand like a balloon. But don't use that as an excuse to inflate beyond reason: A steady, gradual and not too extreme weight gain is advised during pregnancy.
Getting to skip to the front of the line in public restrooms.
Shopping for a person you haven't met yet: tiny clothes, all-new furniture, and adorable room decorations.
Dreaming about the first time someone calls you "Mommy" and the first time you hear someone call your husband "Daddy."
Baby showers! They remind you how special your friends and family think you are.
A continuous sense of accomplishment. You can answer "What did you do today?" with cool things like "I made ears" or simply "I'm making a person. What did you do?"
Spending immeasurable amounts of time trying to remember all those nursery rhymes, children's songs, and lullabies.
Using “pregnancy brain” as an excuse. Forgot where you parked? That's OK — you're pregnant. Need to walk slowly? That's OK — you're pregnant. Just want to sit and daydream? Of course you do — you're pregnant. Behavior that raises eyebrows in "real life" seems universally excused for now.
Knowing that all the bad stuff – the heartburn, swollen ankles, backaches, and the rest – doesn't last forever. And that in the end, it's all worth it.