Before I start writing this I would like to stress that I adore being a mother and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but there are a few things I would like to have known before I started out on this epic journey. These nuggets wouldn’t change my path but they may have helped to make the journey smoother.
I am going to break this down into three sections and into three separate posts – each topic is a monster and I want to do them justice!
Home truths I was never told before being pregnant…
- You may well turn into an envious monster.
- You will probably loose your normal mental faculties.
- Expect others to think you have turned into a lazy cow and let yourself go.
- Pregnancy isn’t what it looks like in the movies.
- You probably won’t sleep very well for about the next two years or so.
- Everyone will want to touch you and if you react badly to this you will be in the wrong.
- You will not feel ready for the baby.
Let me expand a little, when you decide to have a baby the first hurdle to overcome is the getting pregnant part. For many people it is simple and boom they are pregnant, for many others the road is much harder to travel and can include IVF and the roller coaster that entails. For us we were somewhere in the middle – it didn’t happen straight away and so then we were playing the waiting game. Every month counting the days – could it be this month? Excited in anticipation and gutted when no – just a little late this month. The problem with trying to get pregnant is that suddenly the world is filled with pregnant women everywhere you turn and obviously they do not know that each bump is a little heartbreaking and you cannot possibly let them know it either. But let me say one thing –
It is ok to feel jealous – it is perfectly natural and it does not mean that you are a mean person – deep down you are happy for them but really “How did she get pregnant? They have only been together for two minutes!”
Once you are pregnant
Such good news – now keep silent about it. This is tough, you want to tell everyone but know that you really should wait until after the scan just to be safe. This is a wise move because many pregnancies do end early and this is absolutely devastating but in the end how you deal with miscarriage is up to you, no one will have the right words but knowing you have people that care is probably a huge help.
So the first twelve weeks are ticking along – you feel like a wet kipper and you are putting on weight. You are probably not in an attractive way – just getting a little thicker round the middle – lovely.
This is not a beautiful period in your life – people around you may well think that you have let yourself go a bit since getting married – some may even suggest you might want to join a gym!
Plus I found that I needed to go to the loo a lot – how can a microscopic dot make you need to wee all the time? I was expecting this to happen later in pregnancy but right away?!
The scan date approaches and then you may have a wobble – and not just around your waist. I found I had doubts and became quite irrational about it –
What if they do the scan and nothing is there?
I knew perfectly well I was pregnant, I had done a test but what if? So I ended up nervous and only relaxed when I was actually able to see the picture on the screen with my own eyes. But then reality dawns on you
Oh my God we are having a baby – life will never be the same again!
For many from this point onwards pregnancy is straight forward, morning sickness passes, you can tell everyone your good news and you have maternity leave to look forward to. But for me pregnancy wasn’t exactly how the movies portray it – a perfect bump, a glowing lady and a smooth ride until the baby arrives.
In my case during both pregnancies I suffered from something called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction SPD. In a nutshell the ligaments around your pelvis soften, this happens to everyone in preparation for the birth but for some this happens much earlier in pregnancy and is extremely uncomfortable. I found that I was literally holding my bump up to support it. In some cases a support band is all that is required to help lift and support the bump. I had to wear a tubi-grip bandage which went from just under my boobs to underneath the bump – not attractive and not comfortable but it did help a little. I also had physiotherapy and acupuncture weekly which also aided my plight. With my second pregnancy I ended up on crutches – some poor ladies even end up in a wheel chair. Crutches whilst pregnant with a toddler in-tow is hard work, let me tell you.
And what you keep getting told whilst in this predicament is not to lift heavy objects – question, do toddlers count? Because I had to lift mine up and down all the time! SPD basically turns you from a normal person and ages you – it was extremely difficult to get around and I was in a great deal of pain in short
My pregnancies turned me into an old lady.
Having been pregnant and particularly since suffering with SPD I want to start a campaign, I whole heartedly believe that midwives should be able to issue temporary mum-to-be parking badges to the poor women waddling up and down the nation in the final few weeks of pregnancy – would it be that hard? It would make a big difference to the ladies in question.
Sleep – trying to sleep.
When you are pregnant and you are growing another life, sleep is hard to come by. You are at your most exhausted but getting comfortable and sleeping for any long stretch at night can become a distant memory. Turning over at night becomes a team effort as you wrestle with your enlarged mass, bedding, extra cushions positioned between your legs and wedges propping you up on either side. Whilst I am on the subject of team just let your partner know now that he simply cannot win. When I was pregnant I wanted my husband by my side but not touching me at all. He offered to sleep on the sofa to give me more space but that simply would not do, I wanted him there so instead he had to make his 6 foot 6 inch frame shrink and take up no more than a 6 inches of the bed.
I do not know when it became normal for people to touch pregnant women but they do – it’s a bit like being a fat Buddha everyone gives you a little rub for good luck. I found this happened an awful lot at work my tummy became public property and even the most unlikely people couldn’t help themselves. Maybe I’m a bit too British but I didn’t say,
“Get off my stomach how would you like it if I came up to your (perfect stranger) and gave you tummy a pat!”
Leave the pregnant lady in peace and give her stomach a wide berth (excuse the pun!)
Getting ready for B-day
You can attend many course – we did an NCT course and I would definitely recommend attending one to any first time parents for the information and for the friendships formed with other first time parents.
You can read baby books – I was unable to do this after I looked at the pictures and saw just how much the female form changes and the book was just a bit too scary for me after that!
You can ask for advice – and people will give it to you gladly and even when you haven’t asked for it as well.
But let me make one point clear – you will never be fully prepared and ready for having that baby and taking it home, you need to feel your way and the with the flow.