I have to be honest with you: I never thought I would become a mother. I mean, sure I always imagined it when I played house as a child, but as I grew older, the concept of caring for a mini human being seemed more and more like a never ending babysitting job without the stocked refrigerator. But alas, once marriage rolled around, the next step in life to was contemplating parenthood. After much planning and consideration during the first 2 1/2 years we were married…we ended up just winging it. Yup. And that is how I ended up pregnant!
|So little and blissfully unaware of what’s to come…
I have loved every second of motherhood, and now that I have gone through the experience of pregnancy and childbirth, there are a few things I wish I had known before I got pregnant. Here are ten of them:
1. Pregnancy can be really fun.
Despite the many complaints we all hear about pregnancy and the morning sickness that goes along with it, pregnancy can be pretty great. That moment you feel the first kick, having someone to talk to all the time (maybe I’m just weird), watching your belly grow (and not having to feel like a total fatty). Also, those doctor visits where you get to hear the heart beat and see your cute little jellybean squirming around! There is a lot of joy when it comes to pregnancy
2. You get really swollen.
Not everyone experiences the same symptoms during pregnancy, but one that I definitely experienced was swollen everything. My face, my arms, my legs, my belly too! (lol) My feet were so swollen that it actually hurt to walk, and putting my feet up didn’t really make a difference either. Also nothing fit because of the swelling.
3. There is no such thing as a normal pregnancy.
No matter how many times you study “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” (which you will, even if you say you won’t, you will), there are still so many things that can happen to you that are strange or that you can’t fix. For example, fiery heartburn doesn’t go away until you have the baby, no matter how many bottles of Tums you go through each week. Or when it feels like the fetus is vibrating, there’s no real explanation for it.
4. You can’t really plan anything.
When I went into labor, things seemed to be going extremely well and progressing quickly, I was feeling great and ready to push out a baby. But after a few hours of just lying in a bed and doctors checking my progression, it was suddenly announced that I need to have a C-Section. I never in a million years thought that would happen. My mother gave birth to four children naturally with no significant issues. My sister had two babies with ease. I figured childbirth would be a breeze (what?). But it turned out the baby’s head was trying so hard to enter this world that it caused my bladder and cervix to become swollen, which is not a good thing. The C-Section went great and everyone was healthy but it was not something I had expected. You have to simply be willing to go with the flow.
5. Baby Blues exist.
I knew that my hormones were on overload while I was pregnant, but little did I know what was going to occur when the baby left my body. I expected to be overjoyed and filled with motherly love, but was hit with sudden and excessive crying and sadness. I am not “just a sad person”! This was not “normal” for me. This is something that is common and is often ignored in the realm of motherhood. It is scary because you do not feel like the sadness will ever go away. But in most cases it does! However, if the sadness continues for more than two weeks, there were people at my hospital that were willing to call you and even do home visits if necessary in order to ensure that you are healthy and happy.
|Back when my bump was still cute and not a beach ball!
6. It changes you.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you have no idea, sweet, naive little child. I had the idea in my mind that nothing was going to change, but EVERYTHING did. And I don’t just mean that you will get less sleep or there will be an extra person in the house– your whole perspective changes. Your priorities are different. You don’t think of yourself first anymore. Your baby becomes your whole world.
7. Walking is awesome.
Seriously, kudos to those moms that keep up serious exercising while pregnant–I was a wimp about that! I was tired and was on my feet all day and just wanted to lay around. So I did. But walking was therapeutic and a great gentle exercise. Also, it gets labor going, for real! There are a lot of different methods that people talk about for inducing labor but walking is number one!
8. It’s okay to accept help.
Literally everyone wants to do everything for you. It’s nice at times but other times if you are like me you may be a very independent person or really dig privacy and alone time. So for me it was a little difficult, but the help that we received came in many different forms, and I do not know where we would be without those kind souls.
9. People are going to treat you differently.
It’s true. Some people will treat you like a baby. Others will finally start to treat you as an adult. Some friends will treat you like, well, not a friend. The truth is, you are moving into a different stage in your life and people just won’t see you as the same person, despite the fact that you still feel like the same Lost fangirl you were before you got pregnant.
10. You will never experience anything like it.
It really is a one of a kind experience that cannot fully be understood until you’ve gone through it. You are going to laugh, you’re going to cry, and you are going to wish things could just poof back to before this all happened sometimes. But most of all, you are finally going to understand what love means. You will never understand how you ever lived without this alien like creature. You will never, ever love anyone like you will love your child.
So there you have it. Ten things that I wish I had known before getting pregnant. Hopefully you will be able to gain some foresight and understand before or as you embark on this remarkable adventure.
Veteran moms, what are some things you wish you had known before having your first child?