I realize that my experience of one pregnancy does not make me an expert but I feel like I did a fair amount of reading and research beforehand and still had a few big surprises. At the very least, knowing some of this at the start would have made my life much better, much faster so I thought I'd share what I wish I had known a year ago today. I give you...
TEN THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I GOT PREGNANT
1. Give yourself a worrying deadline
So many people told me not to worry and not to google everything that can go wrong. Um, ok. I don't know about you but telling me not to worry only helps me imagine the worst possible scenario! Being a generally anxious person by nature, being older than the average mother, and having had a prior miscarriage all ramped up my stress level to 11. It took me nearly half the pregnancy to figure it out but the only thing that helped was making a deal with myself- a worrying deadline. I gave myself permission to freak out as much as I wanted until 20 weeks and then I promised myself I was going to let it go. Believe it or not, this worked like a charm for me and I had a blissful half pregnancy after that.
2. You just might feel great.
Having had lots of friends go before me, I just expected the physical experience of pregnancy to be extremely uncomfortable at best. Particularly as time went on, all mothers to be seem to be dying to get the baby out of them. Well let me tell you that it doesn't have to be that way! I felt great almost the entire time. Yes I got bigger and more tired but it wasn't anything I should have worried about before. Obviously I had no control over this and just got really lucky but I didn't even realize this was an option before I got pregnant.
3. Telling people is WEIRD
Before I got pregnant I never imagined I'd have any trouble shouting the news to everyone but once it was actually happening, telling others what was happening inside my body felt odd somehow. Especially to co-workers and people I didn't know that well. There just isn't a natural way to casually slip "I'M MAKING A HUMAN RIGHT NOW" into the conversation.
4. Be a Social Butterfly
Make lots of plans! If you are fortunate to not feel like hot garbage, I strongly encourage you to go out and socialize as much as possible. Aside from this being the last period of time where your time is your own, everyone who loves you is really dying to see you! I went to bars and restaurants, had people over and showed up on various doorsteps. I've never been so popular! This would also be a great time to take an extra vacation or two or three. (If you are worried about something happening to you in a foreign land see point #1). Get manicures, have long uninterrupted conversations with your girls. You get the picture.
5. Take the compliment
People will look at your ballooning belly, the bags under your eyes and your old lady shoes and tell you how amazing you look. They are lying! Who cares? This is a form of affection for pregnant ladies so soak it all up. Instead of telling them why they are wrong, say thank you and walk away with your head held high. (Same applies to taking a seat when offered. Do it!)
6. Avoid Maternity Clothes
There are some exceptions to this rule but generally maternity clothes are awful. Awfully made, in terrible fabrics and hideous styles. Try to avoid them for as long as possible by buying larger sizes and non maternity clothes made out of stretchy materials.
7. Finish up
Complete whatever little or big projects that might be less convenient to do once baby arrives. For me that was the nursery. Everyone told me not to rush and that she won't be using it right away anyway - WRONG! So glad I completed it then because there is no way I would have had the motivation to do it now.
8. It's okay NOT TO SLEEP
Everyone will tell you to "enjoy your sleep while you can" as if you can store up sleep in a jar to use later. Doesn't work that way. Like many preggos, I had insomnia which I thought was some kind of weird preparation for parenting sleep deprivation but trust me it is nothing like i.wish.a.truck.would.hit.me.so.i.could.finally.get.some.rest tiredness you will feel later on. So sit on the couch and indulge in some middle of the night trash TV without guilt.
9. Listen to the stories
The moment someone finds out you are a pregnant, about 50% of the population feel compelled to tell you all about THEIR pregnancy and labor. It can sometimes you will feel like you can't hear about one more episiotomy or contraction but I urge you to listen to everyone's story. I learned lots of important tidbits this way - you might be surprised what you take away from these chats. And guess what? There is a good chance you will be on the other side of the conversation soon because there is something satisfying about telling other people all about it. Don't ask - I can't explain why.
10. Not everything is MAGICAL
Don't feel guilty if you aren't seeing the miracle in every kick and ultrasound. Other pregnant women told me how they broke down with tears of joy on a regular basis, felt a strong bond at the moment of conception, couldn't wait to expericence the miracle of labor. I didn't feel that way AT ALL. Most of the sensations of pregnancy felt extremely surreal and the very thought of labor made me wish someone could hit me over the head with a ballpeen hammer so I could be unconscious throughout. I worried there was something wrong with me. Well there may be plenty wrong with me but not feeling that connection didn't have one ounce of impact once she was in my arms.
Ok so there you have it - my pregnancy tips in a nutshell. Any ring a bell or hit a nerve for you? Have any of your own to share?