From nausea to high emotions, Black celebrity moms confirm 8 things to expect when pregnant
From HBO’s “And Just Like That” to Ciara Wilson, there are a lot of Black expectant and new mothers. And with them, quite a few pregnancy experiences have been shared.
Earlier this week, Wilson, who announced this week she is pregnant with her fourth child, revealed that while filming the video for “How We Roll,” her dynamic and dance-fueled duet with Chris Brown, she was “nauseous like a B!!” While morning sickness is known as a common symptom of early pregnancy, Wilson’s reveal brings awareness to the fact that pregnancy can present differently from person to person. Some pregnant folks may get sick in the early days; others may be nauseous throughout. Many others experience exhaustion or brain fog. Then, there’s the camp that starts “nesting,” which is when you feel biologically compelled to clean and organize your living space in preparation for new life to enter your home.
What other symptoms and behaviors can accompany pregnancy? Below, we have rounded up eight of the top things to expect when expecting, as confirmed by Black celebrity moms.
One of the first things many pregnant people learn is that “morning sickness” isn’t exclusive to morning time. Nausea is, unfortunately, a common symptom of pregnancy to be expected. For many, the uncomfortable phase occurs during the first three to four months of pregnancy. However, others inexplicably experience severe morning sickness, known as “hyperemesis gravidarum,” and/or nausea throughout their pregnancies. The exact cause of morning sickness and nausea during pregnancy is unknown but widely experienced.
Swelling of the ankles and feet
Da Brat, who at 49 just gave birth for the first time, said her experience was mostly great despite some minor swelling in her ankles and feet. She was “prepared” to experience those symptoms, as those who are pregnant should be. According to the National Health Service based in the United Kingdom, “most” pregnant people will experience some swelling in the lower legs, ankles, or feet, and it’s often nothing to worry about. There are also many people whose feet grow a size or two during pregnancy and never return to their original size.
However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, severe swelling could be an “urgent warning sign” of a pregnancy-related complication such as blood clots or preeclampsia and should be closely monitored.
Try as you might to avoid them, stretch marks are a part of life. While not specific to pregnant people, the marks often form during pregnancy as the skin stretches at a higher rate of speed than typical weight gain. Some can avoid their lasting impact through vigorous application of cocoa butter, shea butter, and body creams specially geared towards preventing them, like the oil in The Everyday Kit for postpartum people by Black wellness brand Ebi. However, embracing them may be the best solution, as moms like Kelly Rowland, who has proudly shown hers off, has learned.
When a person is pregnant, there are a lot of hormones in flux, and hormones can impact how we feel. A pregnant person may be prone to crying more than usual (for both good and bad reasons); they could be agitated more easily or even euphoric at times. Welcoming a little one into the world is an equally exciting and nerve-wracking time, so mood swings are normal and to be expected. Da Brat said while pregnant with son True Legend, she was constantly crying and has been continuing to do so with joy every day since he was born.
It takes a lot of work to grow a baby! A pregnant person’s body is going through a lot. Just ask the writing team of HBO’s “And Just Like That,” where this week (spoiler alert), fictional character Lisa Todd Wexley (portrayed by Nicole Ari Parker), just couldn’t seem to stay awake, much to the consternation of her husband. That is, until she reveals the reason: She’s pregnant.
Rest is to the body what pressing the “off” button is to the cellphone: It’s necessary from time to time to get all systems running smoothly. When growing a baby, rest is especially necessary, and if you refuse to do so, the body has a way of forcing rest through exhaustion and tiredness. While Lisa Todd Wexley is fictional, real-life model Chanel Iman, who is currently expecting her third child, told People magazine she was excited to meet her newest daughter but is already “drained.”
“I think this baby’s going to be a big baby because she is taking a lot of energy out of me,” Chanel said.
Get that sleep before your schedule is permanently thrown off of whack as many parents will tell you, sleeping well never really returns after you have children, even after they’re adults.
It can be fun to hear the sorts of strange things pregnant people crave to eat. Many can’t keep a jar of pickles in their fridge to save their lives. Others who may have preferred well-done meat suddenly find themselves ordering their steaks medium-rare.
When Rihanna was pregnant with baby RZA, she told Vogue she was craving anything sweet. Now pregnant with her second child with partner A$AP Rocky, Riri has been frequenting the L.A.-based Italian restaurant, Giorgio Baldi. And when Serena Williams, currently also expecting her second child, was pregnant with firstborn daughter Olympia, her husband amused followers when he revealed he was sent to the store to satisfy her cravings for asparagus.
Change in weight
It’s true that some pregnant people experience minimal weight gain and drop whatever they put on relatively fast post-birth. But according to the Mayo Clinic, most pregnant people gain at least 20 to 40 pounds during pregnancy. Everyone from Beyoncé to Keke Palmer has experienced weight change while pregnant. Palmer, who gave birth for the first time in February, has been vocal about pregnancy’s impact on her body.
“Anytime you see a celebrity doing a snap back or whatever like that, it’s part of the damn gig,” she said. “A part of our jobs is to look good and to look the part. So don’t think it’s this thing where it’s like, ‘We doing it because we got it like that.’ No, the job is on the line.”
Of all things to prepare for and look forward to, an enormous sense of joy should be high on the list. Many famous Black moms have expressed that amidst everything else going on during their pregnancy journey, there were moments of total bliss. Uzo Aduba, who announced she was pregnant with her first child in June, hasn’t shared much beyond that she and her husband are “over the moon.” But Halle Berry, who has birthed two children, has raved about being pregnant.
“I loved being pregnant,” she said. “Had I started earlier, I probably would have had five children. Or if I hadn’t been busy trying to make movies, I would have been the perfect surrogate. All the hormones made me feel amazing. I was so alive with my purpose and my femininity. It felt like my body was doing what it was built to do.”
As previously stated, it’s an exciting time. Giving birth is a miracle of the human body. Taking the time to process that can spark a lot of joy. There will be plenty to stress over — but there’s even more to look forward to.
Kay Wicker is a lifestyle writer for theGrio covering health, wellness, travel, beauty, fashion, and the myriad ways Black people live and enjoy their lives. She has previously created content for magazines, newspapers, and digital brands.
ThePowerBloc is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. ThePowerBloc’s Black Podcast Network is free too. Download theGrio mobile apps today! Listen to ‘Writing Black’ with Maiysha Kai.