Life since the two stripes on the ‘First Response‘ stick appeared and I discovered a baby was growing inside of me has been real. And by real I mean like nothing I’ve ever imagined. From learning a whole new lingo ‘I have placenta what now?’, to watching and feeling my body stretch in ways I would otherwise deem impossible, the learning curve has been severe, confusing and awe inspiring all at once. To think someone could ever properly explain it to you would be an unrealistic wish, which, I have a funny feeling, lends itself to some of the appeal.
Babies are made daily, brought to life by the minute and I now trust in the fact that it’s an experience you can never fully prepare yourself for and when it comes you have to learn to roll with the punches. But with all that being said, there are a few details (probably more like hundreds based on everyone’s individual experiences) that somehow get dropped from the conversation completely when you talk to friends & family or watch movies & television -which I would have loved a little warning about before I embarked on this journey. Not to say it would have stopped me, but if everyone knew, let’s say that your nipples can get horrendously large and dark to enable the baby to differentiate its food source with its developing eyes, I would probably think that’s some information worth sharing? Or that you don’t instantly transform from a lady with a flat taught tummy to one with a beautiful round mound of baby loveliness. Nope, most people’s bodies prepare with a nice thick layer of what appears to be fat creating more of a Buddah belly than one that looks like much of anything else… I mean my friends have no problem telling me the most minute minutia about their lives, some down low on the real deal about pregnancy would have been cool don’t cha think?
Well I do, so that’s why I’ve teamed up with some of my friends who’ve had babies or are currently in the baby making process to share what has/had blown their prenatal minds during the almost 10 months (that’s right people, 9 may be the magic number for Hollywood, but 10 is the real deal).
Max from max-logic
When you first find out you’re pregnant, you can’t wait to start showing. You’re growing life inside you and you want to flaunt it for the world to see. The toned abs you worked so hard to achieve are now an affront to your budding motherhood. You push your stomach out as far as it will go, trying to imagine what your bump will look like when it finally comes in. But for months, all you get is a little thickening around your waist that makes you look like you’ve eaten a few too many Cinnabons. Meanwhile, all around you are hugely pregnant women (because the minute you find out you’re pregnant, the world becomes filled with pregnant women) with great swollen bellies that no one could ever confuse with a food baby.
Then finally, finally you pop. You have a bona fide, no bones about it, honest to God belly. You haven’t buttoned your jeans in months and your toes are becoming a distant memory. You should be exultant – you finally have the baby bump of your dreams! But then you look around you and all you see are women with shirts tucked into their pants, abs so tight you can bounce a quarter off it, and you long for the days when you too had the kind of lines in your stomach that proudly proclaimed “I can hold plank for two minutes!”.
Basically, from the minute you find out you’re pregnant until you get back into pre-baby shape, you envy the bellies around you and bemoan the state of your own.
You Get Sick of Yourself
Getting pregnant is the hands down the most exciting thing that can happen to a person. And those first few magical weeks after finding out are like a wonderland of discovery. What’s happening to you, what’s happening to your baby, what you have to look forward to – it’s all-consuming. So much so that by the time you make your big “I’m having a baby!” announcement, being pregnant is kinda old news. For you that is.
Unfortunately, it’s big news for everyone around you and now all anyone wants to talk about is your pregnancy. How big your belly is getting, what fruit your unborn child currently resembles, what gender you’re hoping for, what names you’re considering. You used to be an interesting, self-actualized individual and now all you are is a giant incubator with no remarkable qualities other than the unformed life growing inside you. Yes pregnancy is exciting and you can’t wait to meet your bundle of joy, but for the sweet love of God you cannot talk about what foods you’re craving for one more minute! Can we just talk about the weather like normal Canadians do?
Natasha Geddes, The Coveterie
I can tell you that although everyone knows about the weight gain, nobody goes into detail and warns you about Shrek Feet. I mean, zero signs of bones in my feet, not hot. Also didn’t realize (nor was I told) that being a stomach sleeper means sleeping on you side, which means anytime after month 8 I would wake up with numb arms which resulted in sleeping sitting up for 2 months. I personally believe this is the Universe’s way of preparing us for the year of no-sleep…
And the endless carbo-loading; I was in no mood for veggies, ever. Perogies and Goldfish crackers, bring it on! Bagels, every, single, day.
The great part about pregnancy I didn’t expect was that my hair and nails grew fast and beautifully but at the price of hair growing faster EVERYWHERE. Now remember that after month 7, you cannot see yourself “down there” so forget the quick DIY trims and there’s nothing sexier than a baby beluga getting a Brazilian, right?
Emily Dyer, Advice From A Caterpillar
No one told me while I was pregnant that pregnancy brings up all unfinished things – any and every emotional shadow that you might not have wanted to confront in the past arises fresh and there is an opportunity for clearing the air. It is such a huge shift from child to parent and it is a wonderful transformation!
Maria Cristina Faccio, Ritual
I’m going to be really real and tell you straight up what no one told me, to the point, straight shot, no shooter. Gentlemen, avert your eyes.
No one tells you:
– you have to pee every five minutes round the clock
– that you may or may not get disgusting skin tags all over your body
– that peeing yourself when you sneeze, cough, laugh is something you just have to get used to
– that you stop having a good night sleep at 4 months onwards (preparation for what’s to come!)
– that your nipples get humungous! And quite dark. This apparently happens so the baby can find your nipple. Yes, your nipples are officially double as a bullseye!
Afiya Francisco, TheStyleHouse.ca
I was surprised in the third trimester to suddenly find myself getting up every morning at 3 am for about an hour or so. Totally awake. As in sending emails, cleaning, etc. After chatting with other moms it seems that most had similar experiences, the general belief being that it preps you for broken sleep once baby is born.
And back to me! I can be the first to attest that ALL of the above have happened to me, including a few more. For example, in the first trimester I was tired. And by tired I mean drop down, kicked in the face, don’t know what planet I’m living on, tired – with zero ability to nap, I might add. It killed me when I did my first ultrasound and the doctor showed me the size of the baby that was apparently sucking all of my energy. I actually verbally said, ‘There’s no way’. I had figured in my mind that the baby was already around two pounds not TWO INCHES!!! I was a zombie! And STARRRRRRVING!!!!
Also, everyone has an opinion. Yup, even your friends (and strangers) who not only don’t have kids, but are also never around them, allllllll know what’s best for you and do not have any qualms about sharing their opinion with you. Get ready for a lot of ‘Don’t listen to your Doctor’ comments, because everyone and their Mother somehow become experts in the field of babies as soon as you tell them your pregnant… Or as soon as they see your pregnant – yup, the unsolicited advice is the worst!
“You can drink wine!”
“DO NOT drink wine!”
“Get a Doula.”
“Have a water birth.”
“Do NOT have your baby at home.”
“Did you know you can get paralyzed from an epidural?”
“You’re having a girl, I can tell. Look at your face!”
“You’re having a boy, I can tell. Look at your face!”
Which brings us to another topic. People can be really nice to pregnant women. People can also be very mean to pregnant women -most likely without even knowing. For example, people have no problem telling you how good or bad you look for your stage of pregnancy; comparing you to their cousins, wives, sisters. They’ll ask you how much weight you’ve gained, tell you you’re huge, tell you you’re small- all which can do a number on your psyche. Is there something wrong with me? Or worse, Is there something wrong with my baby? And the weeks before you find out what you’re having (if you’re finding out that is) the most hilarious witchcraft is performed by unskilled practitioners to predict your baby’s sex. The theory basically goes, if you’re looking kinda ugly, fat, sallow; you’re having a girl. If you’re glowing, beautiful, thin, you’re having a boy. “A girl steals your looks” people will say with ease. That statement KILLED me. Not only because I’m having a girl, but because it seems to feed into women on women hatred from the womb!
But on a positive note, people can be incredibly kind. Willing you on when you feel like there’s no end in site, dropping you a line or quick text just to check if you’re o.k.. All in all, it’s a steep learning curve which I can only imagine gets steeper when the little munchkin actually pops out. I’m currently equal parts ecstatic and terrified.
Now that I’ve written this post, so many other things have popped up but this post is getting loooooong. Maybe we’ll have to do a part two.
Have any pregnancy stories you care to share? Leave a comment, we’re all different and we can all learn a thing or two.
Thank you to all of the lovely ladies who shared their stories. They surely helped me feel more human, less alien.