Before I found out I was pregnant, I really had no idea what I was about to get myself into. I had no clue what to expect or what was going to happen to my body, but now after going through it for nine and a half months, these are the things I wish I knew when I was pregnant. I doubt it would have helped me in any significant way, but at least I would have known what to expect. If I’ve learned anything, it’s to expect the unexpected as pregnancy is one wild ride.
1. It’s Not Like How It Is In The Movies
After being pregnant, I officially hate every film that depicts pregnancy as this fun, glorious, lovely time in a woman’s life. When you’re about to be a first time mom, I think it’s best you’re told the truth from the get go. It shouldn’t be sugar-coated by films, your own mother, your friends, NOT ANYONE. Yes, pregnancy is amazing, but it’s damn hard and it’s certainly not pretty at the best of times. Every pregnant woman you see in films is literally glowing at week 6 and looks to be the happiest person to ever set foot on this planet. Want to know what I looked like at week 6? Death.. I looked like death because I was nauseous 24/7 and exhausted. Now, it did get better for me after the first trimester and it does for the majority of women, but there was times in the second and especially the third trimester when it was really rough for me with extreme heartburn and the fact that I could barely get out of the bed to go to the bathroom. Not once have I watched any actress on the big screen vomit from excess acid caused by indigestion, it’s usually the cute going shopping for baby clothes and excessive belly rubbing is all we see and that does not depict the real struggles of pregnancy in any shape or form. Some women put so much pressure on themselves to be perfect even when pregnant, you shouldn’t have to lie to yourself or anyone else if you feel like crap or if you’re honestly just having the worst day because your hormones are off the charts. It’s okay to be miserable and pregnant, as long as it’s not a consistent trend in your term. You don’t have to be happy all the time and it’s okay to say you’re not happy. The more honest you are with yourself during these times, the less guilty you’ll feel if you think you’re not living up to stupid media expectations of what a pregnant woman should feel and act like.
2. The Anxiety
As someone who suffers from anxiety, it never crossed my mind when I was trying to conceive that it would significantly get worse when I did get pregnant. The minute I tested positive, I was completely overjoyed but there was also this feeling of dread that instantly washed over me. I was now terrified that my unborn child wouldn’t make it to the magical week 12 period, where it’s deemed sociable acceptable to tell everyone your great news. Those first twelve weeks were tough, mentally and physically, but I made it to week 12 and boom everything was perfect when I went for my first scan. I thought it would stop there, but it didn’t. I was still highly anxious about the well-being of my baby. Every mother is going to be anxious, especially when it comes to her babies health, but my anxiety at times reached scary levels where it led to panic attacks. Now, this did not happen every week, it was a rare occasion, but when it did happen, it was downright scary and it petrified me. I think one or two of my experiences in The Maternity Hospital played a huge part in my anxiety. I was led to believe that there might have been something wrong with my baby and this finding was never explained to me at any of my appointments. I was basically left in the dark but thankfully my own doctor was amazing and put my mind at ease every time I spoke to her by telling me that everything was going to be fine and it was. I had a perfectly healthy little girl at the end of it all. If I could offer any advice to anyone who suffers from anxiety it would be to talk to someone about it. Whether that be your partner, someone in your family or even your doctor. Just talking about it can make the world of difference to your general well-being and mood. Remember, you’re not alone.
3. The Mood Swings
I was insane at the best of times and that’s nicely putting it. The first trimester was by far the worse. I think not being able to tell anyone I was pregnant because I wanted to wait until my 12 week scan was the main reason why. It was so hard trying to keep this big secret to myself and if I ever had an outburst, I couldn’t blame it on hormones or my sickness because nobody knew. I think it would have been a lot easier if everyone had known because then I wouldn’t have had to try conceal my mood swings or try cover up how crap I felt. My poor partner bared the blunt of my hormonal episodes because of that and I’m quite surprised he stayed with me through it all, (yes they were that bad. I once cried because he took a chip off my plate. If that isn’t insane, I don’t know what is.) I laugh now looking back on it. The things I used to cry or get angry over seem so ridiculous to me now that I’m no longer a bag of hormones. My partner and I actually reminisce regularly about all my crazy moments or it becomes a topic of conversation when with friends because some of stuff that happened was downright hilarious, not at the time to me of course, but now I literally laugh my ass off.
4. Body Changes
There’s nothing like trying to squeeze your 6 month pregnant body into a size 8 dress in your favourite clothing store’s changing room and wondering why you look completely different to how you used to look before pregnancy. I’ll never forget that day. It was that day that it really hit home for me that I was really starting to look pregnant. I remember going home and being in the worst mood ever. I cried my eyes out for two hours because I couldn’t get over how much my body had changed in that short space of time. Don’t get me wrong, I knew in my head that dress wasn’t going to look amazing on me because first of all, it was the wrong style of dress for a women with a bump, but I still put it on regardless thinking for some crazy reason that I still had a flat stomach. That was the only day that I really mourned my body before pregnancy because it did dawn on me later that night that I was carrying this little girl that was growing bigger and bigger every week so of course I was essentially going to get bigger also. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to look how you did before conceiving, I think every woman goes through a period where it’s hard to look in the mirror because your body looks completely different to how it used to look and it can be a difficult pill to swallow. You just need to remember the end goal of it all and that’s going to be a beautiful baby that’s going to be worth every pound gained and every stretch mark across your skin.
5. The Love That You Feel
I wanted to end this blog post on a positive note because even though pregnancy is probably the craziest, hardest thing I’ve ever experienced, it’s also one of the best things to ever happen to me. The joy you feel when you first find out you’re expecting, the first time you hear the heartbeat, when you find out the gender (if you choose to find out), the first kick, watching your baby move on the outside, it’s all truly beautiful and I’m so grateful beyond words that I was able to carry my daughter with little to no problems. You really do become a mother the minute you test positive on a pregnancy test. The love you feel from then and until the end is something I’ll never be able to put into words.