(Original Image Source: Huffington Post)
Spoiler Alert: This post is going to be full of things that could be categorized as TMI. If you’re squeamish about bodily functions, or just don’t care about anything related to pregnancy, feel free to skip this one.
I’ll be the first to admit that I went into this whole pregnancy thing with a very basic knowledge of what happens to the body.
Some of it I learned in the brief period I was pregnant last year, the rest vicariously through other’s pregnancies. And while I felt like I knew what was coming, the reality is most people don’t share the full picture.
I mean, who really wants to spend precious girl-bonding time talking about embarrassing bodily functions?!
And while this list is based on my current experiences and an easy pregnancy to date (i.e.—no morning sickness, minimal indigestion, limited discomfort), there are a few things that I’d wish I’d known. I’ve also had the opportunity to talk candidly with other women (including a childbirth educator) who have filled in some gaps.
Oh, and one more note: every pregnancy is different. So if you aren’t experiencing any of these things, that’s okay. Trust your body and your doctor.
The Underbelly of Pregnancy: 10 Things No One Will Tell You, But Should.
1. Pregnancy nose and nose bleeds.
I’m not sure when they first started for me, but I’d be hard pressed to remember a time when I didn’t wake up congested or see blood in the tissue after blowing my nose. Most of the time the blood has been dried, but there have been a few times where it’s been a full-on nosebleed that’s hard to stop.
Maybe it’s because everything gets dried out, or that the body is running on overdrive for the baby. Either way, it’s a simple fact of pregnancy life. Better invest in good quality tissues (you know, the super soft kind with lotion), or you are going to have a red, raw nose for 30+ weeks.
2. Constipation like WHOA.
I have never in my life been more constipated than during pregnancy. And we’re not talking any regular old constipation. We’re talking the haven’t-pooped-for-days-and-when-you-finally-go-you-want-to-die variety of constipation. There have been times when I’ve actually been afraid that I’m going to hurt the baby (or push her out) because the bowels are so difficult to pass.
The bigger you get, the more painful and uncomfortable it gets.
3. Speaking of poop…
One of the mantras on repeat during our first Confident Birthing Class is poop means progress. And we’re not talking about pooping during pregnancy like we were when talking about constipation. We’re talking pooping when you give birth. It’s normal, natural, and a good sign that things are progressing.
Your body, after all, has to make room for the baby to go down the birth canal. Just know that it can happen as early as a few days prior to going into labor all the way through giving birth.
4. Your body image will be tested.
As someone with a healthy view of her body, I have been rattled by how pregnancy has made me feel about my body from time to time. On a general whole, I have been loving watching my body change and my belly grow with each passing week. But there are definitely days where I feel massive, ugly, and just plain uncomfortable in my own skin.
It has also been hard to watch the scale go up 20-30lbs, even though I know rationally that it’s necessary and good. The Hubster has been great about showering me with love and complements about how amazing I look, but it doesn’t always matter.
Just know that even when you’re happy and confident and in love with what’s happening to your body, it’s possible (and normal even) to have a bad day or three.
5. The ravenous hunger.
There comes a point during pregnancy where your body just tells you to eat. Even after you’ve just finished two helpings of dinner and had a slice of pie.
It hit for me around 26 weeks and hasn’t really let up since. I’ve tried to keep it healthy by having lots of fruit and other “good” snacks around like hummus and veggies. I also try to add in more water, since I’m always thirsty. But, sometimes a girl just want a brownie. And cake. And…pretty much everything on Pinterest.
6. Oh, the invasive questions and sharing of opinions.
I am always a bit shocked at the kind of things people will ask a pregnant woman. And I’m not talking about conversations with friends, I’m talking conversations with people in the grocery store while waiting to check out.
You know, the people who ask you if you plan on breast-feeding your baby, because it’s __________ (the best thing ever, the only appropriate way to feed a baby, completely disgusting…). Also, everyone feels the need to load you down with advice about what (or what not) to do as a parent.
I mostly just smile and nod, and then walk away knowing that we are going to do what’s right for us.
7. Sneezing feels like an attack on your life.
Every few weeks or so, my ribs feel like they are about to pop open. Add sneezing into the mix, and holy WOW does that hurt. I swear the last time I sneezed, I thought I cracked 3 ribs.
Even when your ribs aren’t feeling stretched to capacity, sneezing requires bracing yourself and pains shooting through your body. And there’s nothing you can do about it.
8. Fear of the unknown.
The emotional side of pregnancy has probably been more difficult for me than the physical stuff.
And I’m not talking about mood swings or meltdowns (though, those do happen). I’m talking about the fear of the unknown. This has shown up mostly for me around things like “how on earth will I keep this baby alive?!” and “how can I plan for anything when I don’t know what life is going to be like after April?!”.
Everyone says you just figure it out. Which I’m sure is true. But how?!
9. When the baby moves, it hurts.
The first time I felt the baby moving, it was magical. The fluttering, the knowing she was in there, the constant awareness that she was there…all fabulous. As she got bigger, her “kicks” got stronger. And there have been times when it’s been extremely painful and near impossible to sleep.
Also, not all kicks are felt in the “belly”. I feel a lot of kicks “down there”, which is a very polite way of saying she’s kicking my ass and my girly bits.
I’m not going to lie, the first time it happened I was terrified something was wrong.
So, I Googled it.
Don’t do that.
10. The guilt.
Maybe it’s part of my training for becoming a Jewish mother, or maybe it’s the nature of pregnancy, but guilt has been an ever present emotion over the course of this pregnancy.
Guilt for saying anything other than how wonderful pregnancy is, considering how long it took us to get here. Guilt for not being able to focus more on my business. Guilt for not having it more “together” or being able to set goals for 2014. Guilt for having an easy pregnancy while so many others suffer. Guilt for eating out too much. Guilt for not being able to cook more or help around the house. Guilt for needing a break…You name it, I’ve felt guilt as a result of it.
I do my best to stay present, but some days are still more successful than others.
Is there anything I missed?
What did you learn the hard way about pregnancy, or wish your girlfriends had let you in on prior to getting pregnant?