I’m currently surrounded by what feels like a baby boom among my friends! There are many little ones on the way. It is a very exciting time for them and everyone has questions of how mom feels and if she can feel the baby move.
You can read and ask friends all you want about pregnancy when it is your first time, especially. You will be lucky to have some friends be brutally honest with you and others think you should find out on your own. Lucky for you, I am as honest as they come when it comes to things like this. I do not like to sugar coat things and can offend some at times, but you get what you see. Moreover, I had so many questions along the way during my pregnancy and went among my friends to answer some of the odd ones.
I kept a running list, of what I remembered to note, during my pregnancy to share and now seems like a good time to do so. Honestly, if you are offended or grossed out easily, tap out now. I am not trying to rub anyone wrong here but sometimes people like the sparkle and shine of an experience rather than honesty.
I do not intend to scare anyone away from pregnancy by any means with this post, but I believe the realities of it are something to know. I was fortunate to have a very healthy pregnancy and while it was a long labor and delivery, it was as good as it could have gone to bring our little man into this world. I believe being prepared is better than avoiding reality.
My list is a bit different than what your typical things to know about pregnancy from the medical books are. Mine are more along the lines of my real life experience and my way of how I viewed it. So please take with a grain of salt if your experience was different too. Us moms are all different walks of life with our lifestyles and body types so I realize a lot of this may or may not happen to others.
You experience both good days and bad days.
There were days I felt like my baby bump was adorable and the best thing in the world. I could wear what I wanted and rock the bump with the “glow” everyone says you have. Then there were the days I felt like a whale that had beached itself for days in the hot sun and nothing I put on was remotely flattering. It comes with the territory of being pregnant. Your body is working to grow a human and it’s adapting along with hormones going up. Soak in the moments of the comfortable maternity clothing with the elastic waistbands even more on the bad days. This is normal.
Buying new bras and maternity bras, i.e. Grandma bras suck ass. No offense.
I almost had a breakdown in the dressing room when my boobs began to grow and I had to shop for new maternity bras and nursing bras. My husband was in another section of the store, thankfully, or he would have witnessed this ridiculous moment I spent in Kohl’s trying on numerous “Grandma bras.” Can someone please step up and help the prego market out?! We are on this worldly movement of feeling good in your own skin. Well, how about you make a bra that can keep these giant kahunas up and not sagging along with our ego while we have to wear these and remain uncomfortable for another 20+ weeks. Let me add too, the boob size does not dwindle back to “normal” after you are done breastfeeding. Stock up on the bra you like in the larger size. I am still rocking these babies and I am waiting for them, impatiently, to make their move back down!
Panty liners every day. No Joke.
So yes, you are growing a little human and your body is working to protect them and make all kinds of fluids for them to live in inside your body. Among that, the discharge is an ever-steady flow. Do yourself a favor and do not take this lightly. Buy yourself the largest pack of daily panty liners now. It keeps you comfortable daily and not wondering if your water broke. I told my good friend this and she came back to me a few months later laughing saying, “you weren’t kidding!” It is a topic they touch on in the books and various apps but they do not really let you know just how bad it is.
Farts are death. (If you do not fart around your other half, I apologize if I’m offending you.)
Laugh all you want. You will not be laughing when you let one out and see the cat fall over. I am not sure of the rhyme or reason on this one, but it is a very fair warning to you and those around you.
Contradition: They want you to workout but you should not be on your feet much.
I love working out. Yes, I have struggled to find that balance again now that my son is here, but even before him I tried hard to remain active and workout while pregnant. It was tough though. You are carrying around weight where you have never been challenged with balancing before. Any jumping or fast movements make you feel awkward. Then if you are like me, your body swells to all hell and are suggested to not be on your feet for long along with the back pain that ensued. It was a hard juggling act. I worked to do hip stretches daily to keep some movement in my days. I do believe that helped my recovery after delivery.
Bad days from out in left field (nowhere). Hormones suck. You just cry. You think about all the things. Good, bad, scary… just cry. Ugly cry. Your dog comforts you. Your husband does whatever he can but you need to cry. It is scary and you are human.
Hormones are crazy AF while you are pregnant.It blew me away how the bad days swooped in and the tears rolled. My husband just LOVED these days, not. I recall one night having him come into our bedroom when I went in bed before him and I was sobbing. He quickly asked what was wrong. I was crying because we had not told my parents we were expecting yet and I could not go snow skiing in Vail with them that year. Laugh it up. That was a mild day compared to others, but the mood swings come out of nowhere and it is all right, you are okay and you are as normal as the rest of the other expecting moms!
My back. Nothing helped me much.
Back to your body learning how to handle the extra weight you add to the front side. My back has always had a love-hate relationship with me, mostly hating me. I had remained active doing stretches as often as I could and even bought the pregnancy bellyband to help. That did work for a few weeks though I felt awkward wearing it under my clothes at work. When the pain got too bad, my friend who was pregnant before I was, let me borrow their STEM unit. This bad boy was a lifesaver! Certainly, ask your doctor about using one but it was what allowed me relief when I needed it most.
Swollen feet and hands. Avoid salt but chips tasted so good (they always have for me).
I have been prone to swollen feet and hands when flying over the years but man, I did not expect the amount of swelling I had while pregnant. I swear I had 10 pounds of water weight on me, at least, by the time I delivered. As hard as it became to put them on, I wore compression socks daily to help. They did help a lot too! I did not eat a very high sodium diet either for those maybe thinking that. My only crutch to the salt life was chips and still is but those are rare and more of a treat.
Heartburn in 3rd trimester, woof. Buy milk, TUMs, and honey.
Buy the TUMs. Your organs are reorganized and shifted to make room for that baby and there is nowhere for the acids to go. Bring on the heartburn. Believe it or not, I never had heartburn a single day before I was pregnant. I had to ask my dad what it felt like to determine that is what it was. It is awful and not enjoyable. You can defeat it by loading up on TUMs.
Comments you receive at the end all suck and hurt your feelings. “Wow, you look so pregnant.”
I believe people all mean well when they attempt to comment on your appearance while pregnant. However, best rule of thumb is to not say anything. Be polite and give up your seat to a pregnant woman without anything else being said aloud. I had several coworkers attempt a comment and they came out all wrong and I tried so hard to brush it off but they weighed on me. The comments are not always the best, even with good intentions, and adding in your crazy hormones, it is a bad equation.
The most important tip of all.
Your mental health is JUST AS important as the baby’s health.
Taking care of yourself and making sure that your support system has an eye on you in those first few months is REALLY important. Not only the first few weeks, I mean MONTHS. You may not want to admit that something is wrong but having a confidant and someone knowing you to say you may need help is something everyone needs.
I struggled with postpartum anxiety and still do.
This is me putting myself out there because the only people I have truly talked to about this is my husband, mother, and doctor. It is not easy to admit since I never wanted to feel like I was “broken.”
So if you are being judgmental right now, step away from my blog and go elsewhere. I believe I have great a grasp on it now at almost 8 months of my son’s life. It is managed and being handled so well now that I do believe I am in control of myself again. It did not settle in or was realized until he was about 5 months old when I recognized it was more than I could handle alone and something was not right.
The stigma of mental health has really made headway over the past years and I believe we are heading in the right direction now. Our generation of moms is really working hard to speak more to one another and making it less of a socially awkward topic among everyone.
I had reached out to a few of my mama friends for tips they would share to other moms that no one told them. Here are some wonderful tips from them:
- “No one tells you really how little control you have over the entire process. You’re literally a vessel. You can eat all the veggies and drink all the water but at the end of the day, it’s all just nature taking its course. I like having control so this was hard for me. Also no one tells you that when it comes to the second pregnancy, you’ll forget how awful your symptoms were the first time around. I’m pretty certain I was this sick with my first, I just blocked it out.” – Bria C.
- “I’d say the biggest one is about the baby blues, PPD, and what exactly that looks like. I know pregnancy and postpartum is so unique to every woman and every woman has a different experience, but man was it tough. I really struggled with my hormones afterwards for a good 4-5 weeks and often times I questioned whether or not I had PPD. Looking back, I didn’t. But that was such a hard time and I felt so unprepared for dealing with that as a first time mom.” – Lindsay C.
- “Well, my experience was super different than most people but the two things would be to prepare for the unexpected and it’s never too early to have the nursery set up. And the second would be that your plans never go as expected. Sometimes not anywhere close to what you imagined having your first baby would be like. And that if it doesn’t go as planned, it is okay to feel like you were robbed of that experience. And that it might take some time to be ok with that. And I think the last thing that I just thought of too is that every experience is different and to try not to compare your experience to others.” – Stephanie D.
- “Postpartum ones: Colace, take it when you come home from the hospital 2-3 times a day. I waited too long to make it a routine on the first one. Another one I wish I knew is that going to the pediatrician for weight check every couple days is way more common than it feels when they keep asking you to come back.” – Katie H.
- “I didn’t know you could throw up that many times in an hour and still be alive. Even though that’s true maybe I should try to think of somthing a little more helpful…
It took me a while to get the morning snack thing down. I’d have a higher protein snack near my bed and a shot glass of OJ to help my blood sugar in the morning. I wouldn’t even open my eyes before reaching over to eat before I’d start to sit up.
I also wish I would have known that being pregnant would actually really empower me and the respect I had for my body. I was so afraid it would trigger body dysmorphic thoughts I struggled with my whole life but I really loved the physical changes and it healed the relationship with my body in a lot of ways.” – Kate M.
From the women’s statements above, you can see that just in those we are all SO very different. However, every person you meet has something to offer you with knowledge and experience. I hope mine and their statements can help even one mom with their journey through pregnancy and postpartum.
As I stated above, I really appreciate the way moms are now speaking about everything during and after pregnancy now among one another. If I did not have my mom, my mom friends, friends, and support from all who love me along this journey as a new mom, it would be MUCH different.
If you are a mom and need support or someone to talk to, please feel free to reach out to me. I do not know it all but I do have an ear to listen and just that can go a long way!