5 Things to Know When You Get Pregnant

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It seems like there are roughly 8 billion versions of the article “What No One Tells You About Being Pregnant.” And, as in all areas of my life, the last thing I want to do is be cliche.

Which is why I resisted writing this article for so long.

But the fact is, there were several times throughout my pregnancy that I learned a little life pregnancy lesson that I thought to myself, “I should write that down to share with the masses because PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW and I have truly never read it anywhere.”

So that’s what this post is about. I can’t guarantee no one has ever told you these things, just that I hadn’t already read it in one of those 8 billion other articles.

Here we go.

#1 Buy a Tide Pen
Pregnancy comes with a whole host of new things, not the least of which is a new, at times giant belly stuck on your front. If you’ve never had a belly like this before, it takes a bit of getting used to. Especially during mealtime.

While having a new perch for bowls of ice cream or cereal is helpful, your new little shelf is also a breeding ground for spills and spots while you eat. Thus this tip.

A Tide Pen will undoubtedly be useful post-baby (kids are messy, yo), but I highly recommend investing in one to carry around while the little tot is still in vitro. Because you WILL try to wear a white dress one day and eat tacos at the same time, and you WILL walk away from lunch with a zillion little red splatters on your belly. Just embrace it.

#2 Let Love In
When you get pregnant, it will seem like suddenly everyone wants to help you with everything. Seriously — everything from loading something mildly heavy into your trunk to reaching for something on the top shelf will be off-limits according to someone.

My advice? Let them help.

At first, it may seem silly or even irksome, especially if you’ve spent most of your life priding yourself on your self-reliance. But, you know what? Pregnancy is going to tire you out sometimes, whether it’s emotionally or physically or both. Remember that you are still a super tough boss lady who is growing a baby — you just don’t need to carry all your groceries yourself to prove that anymore.

And, perhaps even more important, remember that when people offer to help, it is like they are giving you a gift. When you shut them down or refuse to let them help, you are essentially throwing their gift back in their face. (They won’t appreciate that this is some kind of independent stance on your part — because they just want to help.) So let ’em. When you’re passing out at 8:30 p.m. from exhaustion near the end of your first and third trimesters, you’ll be glad you did.

#3 At Some Point You WILL Say, “I am going to be pregnant forever.”

In my case, it was a text to my friend Darla that said, “I have been pregnant forever. I will always be pregnant. Pregnant is me.”

Clearly, I was near the end of the 40 weeks. But the fact as, it might happen early in your pregnancy and it might happen later, but at some point, you will be tired of nurturing a tiny life in your belly and be READY for the next stage of things. Because having to hold your breath to put on shoes is just not anyone’s idea of a good time.

Do not beat yourself up over this. This doesn’t mean you are going to be a terrible mom. It doesn’t even mean you are bad at being pregnant or that pregnancy is particularly awful. It just means that pregnancy last a long time. And if you’re a super type-A freak who tracks her cycles with the precision of a German general (assuming he has a German-made watch…I guess?), you might find out you’re pregnant right at the beginning and have what feels like the longest pregnancy ever.

You will get through it. If it makes you feel better, some species of shark carry their babies for 42 months. And there’s apparently a thing called the alpine salamander that can go 48 months. Forty. Eight. So…let’s all just take a moment of silence for those little guys, okay?

#4 Lower Your Expectations

I really and truly loved being pregnant about 90 percent of the time. But here’s the thing: Even though I was always vaguely optimistic that I would enjoy being pregnant, I went in with pretty low expectations.

I expected to be sick as a dog for at least three months (if not more…I have a sister-in-law who threw up every single day for two of her pregnancies)(RESPECT). I expected to not be able to exercise or even move like a normal person within a couple of months. I expected to get HUGELY pregnant because, who knows? I expected to freak out over said weight gain. And I expected that I would hate being pregnant over the summer.

None of those things actually happened. Except the summer thing. August? I hate your guts.

So many people build up the idea of having the perfect pregnancy in their heads, whether because they’re possibly a little delusional or just because they think it’s what they’re supposed to feel. You might not always feel moony toward that little wiggleworm in your belly. You might even HATE (gasp!) being pregnant at some points.

None of that matters. A lot of people feel that way. You are not a bad person for feeling that way, and it’s so not worth beating yourself up over.

Which is why I recommend embracing those worries or negative expectations. Because then, you know what? When you don’t throw up every single day, you will feel awesome. You will tell yourself you’re crushing this whole pregnancy thing every time you keep your lunch down. And if you do actually experience one of your fears? Well, you knew it was coming, remember? So no freak-out necessary.

#5 Do a Lot of Research…and Then Only Keep What You Like

Remember those 8 billion articles of things to know about being pregnant? You can drive yourself crazy with those. (And hopefully I’m not contributing to the crazy right now.)

My strategy when I got knocked up was to spend the first few months in information-gathering mode. I read everything. I even read things that I decided fairly early on I didn’t agree with. I read every crazy post on a handful of online forums. (You guys…if you ever want to fall down a rabbit hole of bonkers, get thee to an online pregnancy forum.) I listened to advice from everyone, whether they be trusted confidante or random stranger.

And do you know why? Because listening to everyone is the fastest way to realize that no one has every little thing all figured out. You realize that, no matter what you do, someone out there will think you are spot on and someone else will think you are borderline abusive. You realize that there is no pleasing everyone. And suddenly you stop caring about pleasing everyone. The only person who you really worry about making happy? The one you’re growing in your uterus.

If this is your first time going through this, you probably don’t really know what you even want in the beginning. I never would have guessed that I’d be in my last couple of weeks with a midwife planning to forgo an epidural. So you never know what will end up being the right choice for you. Plus, the more you know, the less scary the whole process starts to become. Yes, I’m a bit nervous about pain during labor, but all my research has also affirmed for me that this is one of the most natural things my body can do, and that’s a really empowering thing to believe.

So there you have it. I’ve been working on this post for the last couple of months, but I feel like I better get to publishing since I (hopefully) won’t be pregnant much longer. And if you read this and thought, “pshhhh what do you know, lady?”, I encourage that too. Don’t let anyone’s advice or tips or whatever overwhelm you. Just be the best pregnant lady you know how to be, ya know?

Momma readers, what did I miss? What’s the one thing you never read in a book or blog post that you wish you had?

{photo by Figment Art & Photo Co.)

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2 thoughts on “5 Things to Know When You Get Pregnant

  1. I’d say you pretty well nailed it, to be honest … I didn’t do any of those, but ya know … it’s always good to know 🙂 Congrats on the bundle of joy and hopefully we’ll see photos when time comes!!

  2. So true. And let me tell you that there are other things no one tells you once you have a newborn!! I was a little shocked that none of my sisters-in-law let me in on these things… I ended up jotting them down one day while the little one was nursing. The top of my list was: breastfeeding is a beast. Seriously, not to scare you, but it doesn’t come as naturally as you’d think. It’s awful and painful until you and baby get the hang of it (took about 3 weeks for me) and until your milk supply is stable. I used to cringe every time my baby rooted looking for food. I just didn’t want to nurse him and I felt sooo guilty about thinking that – don’t worry, I did feed him. I just dreaded it, especially because he took FOREVER to nurse: every 2 hours he wanted to eat, and he ate for about an hour. Sheesh. Second on my list was the difficult transition to being stuck on the couch nursing. Going from walking around and getting stuff done, to stuck in one place sitting still to nurse was tough for me. I don’t sit still well. BUT DON”T LET ME SCARE YOU – You’ll do great!! And everyone survives the initial breastfeeding learning curve. You’re going to love holding her in your arms. Can’t wait to see pictures.

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