Chances are if you’re a first time mama to be like me then you’ll also be blissfully unaware of what happens throughout that precious forty week period. Yes, we’ve all heard about morning sickness, tiredness and swollen ankles and we’ve definitely all looked out hopefully for the pregnancy glow but what about the things they don’t tell you? Here are 10 things I wish I’d known before embarking on the ‘journey of life (giving)’.
ps. Had a baby before? Guarantee you’ll have blocked these from your mind…
Morning sickness lied to you.
It can happen morning, noon and night and doesn’t necessarily mean you’re physically sick, trust me, nausea can be just as rough. It also doesn’t stick to just the first trimester, plenty of women suffer throughout their pregnancy and it often makes a comeback in the final few weeks. Feeling queasy? Cross your fingers and hope you’re one of the lucky ones who don’t suffer Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), an intense and debilitating level of morning sickness.
Sleep, precious sleep.
It’s a cruel twist of fate that in the months when you most need sleep to, you know, grow life, you’ll struggle the most. You’ll spend the days propping your eyelids open, drop off mid-sentence in the early evening and then spend the night counting the minutes between toilet breaks/positioning pillows to find a comfy spot/googling pregnancy symptoms/wanting to murder your husband for sleeping like a baby next to you. I mean really, how dare he.
No-one tells you that the worry of being a parent starts from the minute you pee on that stick. You will worry about every twinge, cramp and ache going. You’ll spend every other moment frantically googling XX symptom at XX weeks to if it’s normal. You’ll worry your baby is kicking too much, too little, too.. how the hell does a foot get there?! Also, you’ll develop a wonderful habit of inspecting your underwear every time you go to the toilet. Which leads me nicely on to…
Changes down under.
Whatever you call your lady garden and all the wonders it beholds, things are about to get.. messy. First up, discharge. You will start peering at your underwear in the manner of a tea-leaf reader and then compare it to websites. Your internet history will resemble some odd form of porno search as you find yourself pondering over whether or not your discharge counts as ‘egg-white’ or ‘cottage cheese’ like. Nearer the end you’ll start looking out for your mucus plug, something that looks as vile as it sounds. Worst still, you’ll find yourself calling in your other half to help inspect. Yum.
Wet, wet, wet.
It’s not just discharge that’s about to happen. Your normally strong, bank vault-esque bladder is about to become your worst enemy. You’ll sit down only to find you desperately, right this second, oh my god I’m not going to make it, need to wee, struggle to the toilet only to squeeze out a dribble. If that. Repeat this atleast 10 times an hour before sneezing or coughing and finding out that oh, your bladder WAS full this time and it now… isn’t. Form an orderly queue behind the blue rinse brigade, you’re about to get intimately acquainted with the incontinence pads. For added fun and games, wait until the end of the third trimester and add in the ‘was that my waters’ guessing game. Sniffing your underwear has never been so acceptable.
A bump on your nose? Pregnancy symptom.
Thought you knew your pregnancy symptom from your normal day to day gripe? Nuhuh… EVERYTHING is a symptom. Got a cold? It’s probably pregnancy congestion. Achey leg? It could be sciatica, pelvic girdle pain or the baby on a nerve. Itch? Oh it’s probably cholestatis. Headache? Sore throat? Insomnia? Tiredness? Dry eyes? Achey vagina? Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep and yep. Any illness you can think of can almost always be passed off by your medical team as a ‘normal’ pregnancy symptom…. you’re not dying, apparently. Leading nicely on to…
People will try and be nice. They will. And they will say things that they think are nice and helpful and practical and calming. And possibly they are. You, however, will be a screaming tornado of hormones and emotions and will read way too much into everything resulting in you routinely declaring your hatred for them. Let me tell you some of the best..
- “It’s not an illness”/”You’re not dying” – well, no, I KNOW that but right now I feel completely like death and I know it’s going to continue for another 7/8/9 months so honestly, death feels like a nice option right about now.
- “Gosh, you look REALLY pregnant today” – why? Because I look fat? Are you saying I look fat? Oh god I’ve ballooned *reaches for comforting biscuit*
- “Wow, your bump is tiny” – what?! Firstly, I’m humongous. Secondly, does that mean my baby isn’t growing fast enough? Is something wrong? Something’s wrong isn’t it?! *reaches for comforting biscuit*
- “In MY day…” – No-one wants to hear this. Things are different, trends change, research develops. Yes you may have raised 5 children without killing them, No, that doesn’t mean I’m about to ignore developments in medical science and raise my child à la 80’s.
- “I know someone who…” – Again, no good story starts like this. They will have had the worst labour ever, the fastest labour ever, the worst symptom, the best symptom. Put your head down, sing to yourself and plough on… you don’t have time for everyone else’s pregnancy horrors.
Your body?! Think again.
Your body is about to become public property. People you know, people you don’t, hell, even randoms in the street will attempt to touch your bump. The chances are they’ll apologise whilst doing it but they’ll still reach out. Which I’m sure is nice… but seriously, when is that okay when you’re not pregnant!? Those who don’t will probably express an unhealthy interest in your bodily function. For the first time ever you’ll find yourself discussing your breasts with your co-workers/doctors/dad. You’ll have people asking about your birth plan and openly chat about it over dinner whilst trying to ignore the fact that you’re talking about a human coming out of your va-jay-jay. Oh, and you’ll probably have to learn to say the word vagina out loud. Because the doctor doesn’t understand re-enactments over the phone.
No bump, no bump, no bump… GIANT BUMP
When you first get pregnant you will fantasize about the cute bump you’ll get and how you’ll dress it. Be warned. Cute bumps are rare. I spent weeks patiently waiting to ‘show’ before spending months in the ‘is that pie or a baby?’ phase before BAM giant bump. There was no cuteness. My clothes went from being baggy across the stomach to being stretched painfully tightly in the space of two weeks. Let me give you some advice, do not look up #stylethebump on instagram. And if you’re lucky enough to be one of those mama’s to be that look awesome… please can you send some of your sparkle my way?!
You’ll count down the seconds until it’s over but you’ll want it to never end.
The biggest lie you hear about pregnancy is that it’s 9 months. Whatev. It’s 40 weeks which is TECHNICALLY closer to 10 months if you’re being picky which, when you’re carrying another human 24/7 is completely justifiable. Every app you have on your phone will count down with weeks to go, people will constantly ask how much time you’ve got left and there’ll be countless nights where you repeat the mantra ’46 days to go, 46 days to go, 46 days…’ like it’s the only thing keeping you sane. And then, you won’t want it to end. Because even though you need to pee every 2 seconds, walking is like sticking pins directly into your pelvis and you can’t breathe from heartburn after eating food 6 hours ago… pregnancy is pretty freakin’ amazeballs. You have made life. From sperm. And fair enough it might be beating you up from the inside out but that feeling?? Totally worth it..