We have a few pregnant women in our office. Corridor conversations once centred around office or weekend goss now revolve around the excitement and anxiety of waiting for baby to arrive. These mamas respond to “how are you?” with tales of exhaustion, short tempers and caffeine withdrawal. I smile and nod; I’m no stranger to pregnancy woes. And while there’s no doubt in my mind that I’d go through it all again for a sibling (or more!) for Ukulele Baby, there are definitely some things I wish I’d known before I’d gotten pregnant.
- Some women can make it through their entire pregnancy with barely any signs that they are with child; their skin becomes clearer, the little weight they put on is distributed in all the right places, and they don’t experience morning sickness. You are not one of those women. Your hair will fall out and you will waddle like a duck for 70% of your pregnancy. That’s perfectly normal.
- Morning sickness is a term coined by a person playing a horrible joke. Nausea doesn’t care what time of day it is and (because you’re such a lucky lady) it will hit you at full force at the most inconvenient of times, namely when you’re on public transport and just before you walk into an important meeting or deliver a talk.
- Your boobs will grow so big your adolescent self would be so proud. Ergo, underwired and push-up bras are an overrated waste of money.
- Don’t bother investing in really expensive shoes; your feet will expand during pregnancy because of water retention, and whether they shrink back to their original size is really just luck of the draw (in this instance you are not at all lucky, so you will end up needing to replace all your shoes).
- You will get stretch marks in places you didn’t know you could stretch.
- Savour every moment of peaceful, comfortable sleep you can get before conceiving, especially since you are a tummy sleeper. When you hit the 5 month mark, you’ll start tossing and turning because of the bowling ball that stands between you and the bed. And if not, you’ll be getting up every few hours to pee anyway (my theory is this is your body’s way of preparing for the many months of sleep deprivation you’ll experience after baby is born).
- People will have an opinion about everything to do with your body and unborn baby – from your belly size, his/her sex, whether you’ll want a natural birth or c-section, and which car seat you buy. You’ll be hormonal while they share these opinions with you so train yourself to be gracious, graceful and thick-skinned. Failing that, at least warn people that a bitch-slap isn’t out of the question.
- You don’t know exhaustion until you’ve carried a baby. You’ll get home from work and pass out (possibly in a state of undress, or with a half-eaten peanut butter sandwich in hand, in front of the telly) then wake up the next day wondering what happened. Apparently this is perfectly normal for some adults (i.e. pregnant ones) and doesn’t require you to still be a uni student or to have been out drinking.
- People will touch your tummy. Without asking. It’s weird.
- You will cry. A lot. About anything. That’s also kinda weird. It also mightn’t stop after pregnancy.
- Every single one of these things – and all the things you haven’t written in this list – are absolutely 100% worth it.
What are some of the things you’d wish you’d known before you got pregnant?