Ask a million women about their pregnancy and you’ll get a million different answers… because no two are alike.
As I’m approaching the end of my first pregnancy (just under 39 weeks), I’ve been thinking back to the very beginning, when I took (multiple) pregnancy tests at 3 ½ weeks. I can’t believe that was nearly 8 months ago! I basically don’t remember what it feels like to NOT be pregnant at this point, but I certainly know a few things now that I wish people had warned me about before all this began.
So mamas, I’m doing you the service of telling you five things I wish I had known before I was pregnant:
1. Mum anxiety is real
As soon as that plastic pee stick gives you those 2 lines, however faint they are, you’re a mum, and the mum anxiety is REAL.
Suddenly you have a due date and a timeline for when this little person-to-be is earthside, and it somehow feels waaaay too far away but also way too soon all at once.
All of a sudden you are responsible for another human life, and that can be stressful – especially in the first trimester when that little life seems so fragile.
Pregnancy loss occurs in approximately 25% of pregnancies, a statistic I was not aware of before becoming pregnant but one that I became very aware of during those early weeks.
If you’re like me, you’ll obsess over every single tiny movement or feeling in your body for the next eight months. What was that fluttering in my stomach? What was that weird cramp? Is that normal? Why are my boobs so sore? Wait, why aren’t my boobs sore anymore?
Better check Google!
But the information on the interwebs is overwhelming and no matter how much research you do, you will second guess everythingyou read or are told.
Friends and family members will give you all sorts of conflicting advice but really, at the end of the day, you just need to figure out what is going to work best for YOU and your family.
Try to focus on what is within your control, which is simply taking care of yourself at this point.
2. Your pregnancy is unique, like a snowflake
I have had hardly any morning sickness during my pregnancy. My sister, on the other hand, was on medication to help her manage terrible morning sickness and vomiting.
I’ve also had minimal swelling up to this point but I have friends who puffed up like marshmallows halfway through their pregnancy and didn’t deflate until weeks after their baby arrived.
My belly got quite big very early, whereas some women are quite small until much further along.
The point is, everyone is different and will be affected by pregnancy differently. The one thing we have in common is that EVERY woman feels self-conscious about it and just wants to know that what they’re feeling is “normal”.
Try not to compare your pregnancy to other women’s pregnancies, and just trust that your body is doing exactly what it needs to in order to grow you a healthy baby.
3. It’s not all earth mumma vibes, glowing skin and people giving you their seat on the train
I mean, my skin has actually been pretty glowy, and there was one time a woman let me go before her in the bathroom line. But for the most part, pregnancy is not that glamorous… and it can actually be super gross.
Think constipation, epic bloating, swelling, constant cramps, and needing to pee every bloody 30 minutes.
This will be your life for the next 8 months. Settle in, mama!
4. You’ll take care of your baby by taking care of yourself
You can have all the best intentions to exercise 5x per week and eat like a #healthqueen but the reality of morning sickness, extreme fatigue, and cravings in the first trimester may derail those plans quite quickly.
Before becoming pregnant, overcoming cravings seemed like a simple matter of willpower. But let me tell you, pregnancy cravings are NEXT LEVEL.
They are NOT like regular non-pregnant cravings where you might casually think “oh I’d really like ice cream tonight”.
No… When you’re pregnant it’s like LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE IS EDIBLE EXCEPT ICE CREAM RIGHT NOW.
Fortunately, I was able to keep exercising the whole way through my pregnancy but there were definitely many days where my body was simply not having it.
Sometimes it can take a while to wrap your head around the idea of slowing down. Just remember your body is actually using a lot of its resources to create this little human being inside you, and that can be quite depleting.
Do the best you can to exercise and eat well when you can, but also make sure you prioritise sleep and rest when your body needs it. And don’t feel guilty if what your body needs on some days is just four pieces of extra crunchy peanut butter toast, a croissant, and a schnitty with hot chips!
5. Your relationship with your body will change
There will be many days of pregnancy where you feel far from being superwoman, but there will also be days where you remember that YOU ARE MAKING AN ENTIRE HUMAN BEING FROM SCRATCH, and honestly you’re not even really thinking about it or trying that hard.
It is an incredible gift that we women have, to be able to create and grow life in our bodies, and yes, you could say that this is what we have been biologically engineered to do, but it’s still freaking magic.
You may have thought your body was awesome before but WOW are you proud now.
As much as pregnancy can suck big, bloated, constipated balls, it’s also an incredibly special time for you to build a unique bond with your little love before they enter the world and you have to share them with everyone else, so try and keep this in perspective on the particularly rough days.
Those days may be long, but I promise the weeks go fast and you’ll be reminiscing about those little kicks before you know it.
Share this article with a soon to be mama who needs to read this!