Like many women, my second pregnancy has been vastly different from my first. Yes there are more aches and pains, yes, my belly got bigger a lot sooner, and yes, I now have zero guilt about eating turkey sandwiches on the regular, but one of the biggest differences between my two pregnancies is that the holy grail of online pin boards did not exist the first time around.
It happens every year as the holidays approach: I sign into Pinterest and suddenly reach a whole new level of feeling completely inadequate as a human being. One that stems from the fact that I have never made a homemade Olaf Halloween costume, or whipped up paleo pumpkin pie in the crock pot, or painted pine cones white and dipped them in Epsom salt to mimic freshly fallen snow (okay, I half started that one). And don’t even get me started on the fact that I’ve never put the effort into decorating an ombré Christmas tree.
Well lucky for me the guilt doesn’t stop around the holidays this year, because this pregnancy has allowed me the privilege of experiencing that same feeling of inadequacy for 6 months and counting.
When I was expecting my first child, I was blissfully unaware of all the fabulous pregnant people that now litter the Internet. Sure there was the occasional adorable celebrity flaunting her perfect baby bump on the pages of Us Weekly, showing off her expertly decorated nursery, complete with a 10 foot stuffed giraffe and crystal chandelier, but I have a relatively easy time accepting that most celebrities can afford personal trainers, stylists, and designers—things that myself and the other average pregnant women I knew personally definitely did not have access to. Those days of peaceful ignorance are gone.
With my son, I was about 20lbs heavier than I am at the same point in this pregnancy and yet unlike now, I can’t remember ever feeling ‘gross’ or ‘fat’ when I looked in the mirror. I simply saw a happy, average pregnant woman, similar to the few pregnant women I actually knew in real life at the time. I wasn’t delusional—I knew I wasn’t super fit or toned or any of those buzzwords used to entice women these days, but I also knew that I was perfectly average, and I was perfectly okay with that. Fast forward to this pregnancy and every single time I sign in to Pinterest I’m bombarded with ‘suggested pins’ of impossibly thin pregnant women doing all of the exercises that I am also supposed to be doing if I want to ‘reduce thigh weight gain during pregnancy’ and ‘cut back fat while pregnant’ and ‘lose fat and gain muscle while expecting.’ Needless to say, when I look in the mirror today I don’t see an average pregnant woman, I see one who needs to lay off the cookies and hit the gym, like yesterday.
And the CLOTHES. My god, the clothes. Who are these pregnant women looking perfectly layered in their sequin tanks, ruffled cardis, knitted scarves, skinny belts, fur vests, and riding boots (don’t act like you haven’t pinned every single one of those). Back in my first time pregnancy days when you went shopping there was, on average, one outfit available at Motherhood Maternity or Target that was appropriate for your occasion. Sure the selection may have been dismal and left a bit to be desired, but I see now that it was also SIMPLE. After all, there’s no sense stressing over choices you don’t have. Now every time I leave the house in my yoga pants I get to curse myself for not having bought that perfect maxi dress and Aztec cardi that my maternity wardrobe so obviously needs, even if my bank account doesn’t.
But let’s move on to what we all know to be the most important aspect of baby-making: the nursery. Once again, back in my beginner mom days, decorating the nursery was a relatively simple process. It took me all of 3o seconds to settle on a shade of paint, my only requirement for the crib was that it be white, and my sister gifted me my nephew’s old changing table and glider. And you know what? I LOVED it. It became my favorite room in our home. And then Pinterest came along and showed me the error of my ways so that I could recognize how truly hideous it actually was. Now every nursery I come across rivals the pages of Pottery Barn. Only Pottery Barn isn’t even good enough. You have to have the right mix of Pottery Barn, antique marquis signs, reclaimed barn wood, heirloom pillows, hand-carved basinets, and exotic air plants in order to make the cut. Point taken, Pinterest.
Being pregnant is exhausting enough without an ever-evolving pin board of amateur models, designer homes, and fitness gurus to live up to. Sure there are times when I appreciate the inspiration, but more often than not it makes me nostalgic for those days when I could hit the store in gym shorts and one of my husband’s t-shirts, fatty frappuccino in hand while I search for ugly nursery curtains, without fear of judgment from those around me…or more importantly, myself.
And don’t even get me started on Instagram.