Even though numerous moms from all over the internet have warned us that pregnancy isn’t a walk in the part, there is a part of us that still romanticizes it.
After all, girls and women all over the world do dream about having a baby of their own. They imagine carrying their baby lovingly in their womb, sometimes glossing all the stuff that veteran moms warn us about. And who can blame them? It’s part of human instinct to want to reproduce. In fact, our bodies conspire towards reproduction in ways that we do not even notice on a daily basis. Plus, it’s always a wonderful feeling to have a beautiful baby to share the wonders of the world with.
But while we do think that there’s a place in a world for the extraordinary optimism that is motherhood, we’re also realists. That is, we do believe that every woman has to know what she’s signing up for before signing into momhood. It’s a long, difficult journey through pregnancy, after all. And, as such, any woman in her right mind will want to prepare herself.
This, we think, isn’t sheer pessimism. Instead, it can give mom the right mindset to soften the blow of the things that come her way during pregnancy as well as prevent the whole ordeal from becoming a disappointment.
Therefore, we give you here fifteen harsh truths, straight from moms across the globe, about why pregnancy isn’t always sunshine and roses.
15 Not Always Happy
Try this out: go to your favorite image search engine and look up “pregnancy.” Chances are, there will be photograph after photograph of women of all shapes and sizes, all in various forms of happiness. Some will look overjoyed about their baby bump as they bask in a field of sunshine. Others will sit calmly with a contented expression on their face, looking as if they’ve found the much elusive inner peace.
But reality check: these are much curated photographs of pregnancy. If the mom-to-be expects to be super happy all the time, she’s in for a surprise. After all, a baby in the tummy doesn’t always equal happiness, in all its forms. And some of the reasons why this is so we’ll be covering in this very article. Our advice? Just take each day as it comes. Sometimes it will be good, sometimes it will be bad. And accepting that can help mom cope with the whole thing.
14 Where’s The Glow?
There is, in the mommy circle, the fabled pregnancy glow. This is the state in which the expecting mom, all of a sudden, has clear, flawless skin and thick, fabulous hair. Her smile will be entirely different, and her movements graceful. And while some moms do experience this almost mystical phenomenon, the sad fact is that not everyone does.
The pregnancy glow actually boils down to how the body reacts to hormones. In some women, hormones can suppress acne and make the skin more supple. They can also help hair grow faster and prevent it from falling out too much, hence the lovely locks. But every woman’s body reacts to hormones in different ways. Some women, in fact, may even have acne outbreaks during pregnancy, while others may not even notice a difference in their hair. So if the glow does come, appreciate the lucky stars that have helped make it possible. Otherwise, well, best just deal with it.
13 They Won’t Understand
To be fair, we put a lot of effort as a society to understand the struggles of pregnant women. Many of us do go out of our way to make sure that pregnant women are prioritized in lines, seated on the trolley, and are just generally comfortable. Some very gallant husbands also go out of their way to make sure that mom’s cravings are satisfied. And while all that may seem that pregnant times are lucky times, the truth of the matter is that sometimes they just won’t understand.
In fact, some of the demands on the average pregnant woman might seem borderline unreasonable, given all that she has to go through. Things like being expected to work and/or do chores even when she’s suffering massive morning sickness or during a bout of pregnancy exhaustion. Because the truth is that other people may try to put themselves in mom’s shoes, but they can’t really actually have those swollen feet!
12 Eating Is Complicated
Eating is a simple act that many of us take for granted. However, for the pregnant woman, it can be insanely difficult to manage. Early in the pregnancy, for instance, she might suffer from morning sickness which, despite the misleading name, can be experienced at any hour of the day. Often, it’s at most inconvenient times, too. Needless to say, mom will feel starved from not having anything in her tummy but, at the same time, insanely hungry.
And even when morning sickness subsides, later in the pregnancy the growing baby is quite literally going to crowd out mom’s internal organs. As such, not much will be able to fit into mom’s tummy. However, at the same time, she will still have a voracious appetite and, possibly, even pregnancy cravings. One solution to the problem? Eat five or so small meals a day instead of three big ones. This will, at least, help mom keep things down.
11 Losing The Figure
Many moms accept that losing their figure somewhat is inevitable during the pregnancy. Often, however, they’re totally unprepared for what actually happens. This is less because they know their body is going to change and more that they’re completely taken aback at how fast the change is occurring. After all, watching yourself bloat up like a balloon in the span of a month can’t always be pleasant.
This weight is, partially water weight. The body retains more water in order to sustain the blood supply during pregnancy. But this also means that plenty of water will be getting stuck in some of the body’s interstitial spaces, which means that mom is going to look a bit larger than she really is. As well, pregnancy changes the distribution of fat across the body, another thing which may change mom’s appearance. That’s not even to mention the growing belly. This can all take mom aback and perhaps even keep her from seeing that she’s still as gorgeous as ever!
10 Lying Down Is Hard
Mom will need plenty of rest during pregnancy. It doesn’t help, however, that even lying down on her back is complicated as hell. For one thing, the belly that grows heavier and heavier can make it difficult for her to get up as usual. As well, in certain positions, the belly pushes back against blood vessels, which can impair blood supply and possibly make her feel very dizzy.
Fortunately, however, there are a few techniques to get around this. First of all, mom must learn not to just get up straight away. Instead, she might want to slowly roll over to the side of the bed, and then place her feet down while lifting her body up slowly sideways. Not only does this not compress her tummy, it’s also easier on her back. Also, when she lies on her side, it’s best to mostly do it on her left side, as this does not compress her blood supply as much.
9 Intimacy Is Difficult
Sex is fun. It feels great. It’s a wonderful way to bond with the partner. But it’s also quite complicated during pregnancy. For one thing, mom’s libido can change largely when she’s carrying a baby. Some moms get hornier, while others don’t want to have sex at all. Yet others swing between these two extremes like a pendulum. Others might not experience a change in sex drive at all.
But as the little one grows larger in her womb, sex will become difficult. And this can be tough if pregnancy has made mom as horny as a rabbit. The trick, however, is in the position. Some sex positions are more comfortable than others. As such, the couple will have to experiment as to what works for them. If they’d still like the more standard sex positions, however, it may be possible simply by putting pillows strategically to support mom’s back.
8 Lotsa Farts
One of the most unspoken challenges about pregnancy are the farts. And, boy, are there going to be a lot of them. See, when mom is expecting, her body releases a lot of the hormone relaxin, which prevents the smooth muscle lining of the uterus from contracting. Because, as we all know, uterine contractions can equal a miscarriage. However, relaxin isn’t just specific to the smooth muscle cells of the uterus. It also affects smooth muscles cells in other parts of the body. More specifically, it affects the intestinal muscles.
As such, digestion moves down far slower than it usually with. And this extra time gives intestinal bacteria plenty of time to feed and break down whatever’s left after digestion. We all know that among the by-products of bacterial metabolism is gas. Plenty of it. Because of that, mom might have to exit the room at frequent intervals during any given conversation. Or she can just blame it on the dog.
7 All The Pains
In the words of one of the moms whom we talked to earlier this morning: “I never imagined I could experience so much pain until I got pregnant.” And it’s not just that one part of the body is in severe pain either. It’s many parts of the body in pain, simultaneously. First, there are the feet, which may get all swollen and sore due to excess water and support all that extra weight. And then there’s the back, which also has to deal with the tummy weight, not to mention the change in the center of gravity. There’s pain from both heartburn and constipation, two different things that are caused by the same hormone that influences farts. And then mom might also experience frequent headaches.
All that can just be so frustrating to deal with. At times, it can even seem to mom that her own body is plotting against her. And so we suggest learning as many pain management techniques as possible to keep the pain at bay.
6 The Exhaustion Is Real
All those moms were not kidding when they said that pregnancy made them dead tired. Experts believe that this is because a good chunk of mom’s energy is going to making the baby. As such, any expecting mom is actually very hard at work even though she’s sitting still. Given that creating another human being is quite difficult, it’s pretty understandable why mom can be absolutely exhausted even after sitting down for hours.
Because of this, mom really has to pace herself during pregnancy. She might be used to just filling her to-do list to the brim every single day prior to her pregnancy. Now, however, she should consider agreeing to do less and, if necessary, get a lot of help. And while it may seem counterintuitive, exercise can also do wonders in helping mom regain her energy. Exercise improves circulation, which can boost her energy. So mom might as well carve out that extra time for a nice, morning walk.
5 Complications Are Possible
Complications aren’t just boogeyman stories to keep expecting moms away from smoking and alcohol and sugary foods during pregnancy. They’re real things that could actually happen to anyone. And while the aforementioned smoking, alcohol and sugary foods can increase mom’s risk of developing nasty pregnancy complications, there is still a small possibility that they will occur in moms with healthier habits. Yeah, life can be that unfair.
From preeclampsia to gestational diabetes to premature labor, complications truly are a bummer. But as with most medical conditions, it’s best to catch them early on. After all, early treatment and management of these complications can improve both mom and the baby’s health outcomes drastically. It’s therefore advisable for mom to diligently show up for all her prenatal checkups so that she can be adequately tested for any health conditions. If something is found, going through pregnancy-safe treatments may be her best shot at making sure that things don’t get any worse.
4 A Relationship-Breaker
Many moms often imagine that the pregnancy can bring her and her partner closer together. After all, aren’t children the glue that brings families together? Isn’t this shared experience something that will strengthen the bonds of their relationship? Perhaps this might be the case for some. But there are some disturbing statistics about how about two-thirds of relationships decline, especially after the birth of the first child.
This is because pregnancy, childbirth and raising a child are all very stressful things, for both mother and father. And while this, in itself, is expected and is not a problem, it can often put a strain on relationships, especially when there is a dearth of communication and understanding. Often this gap can go about unnoticed when the couple is simply on their own. With the added responsibility of the baby, however, it sticks out like a sore thumb. As such, it’s best to encourage healthy communication, even prior to the pregnancy.
3 Childbirth Is Terrifying
One of the things that will haunt mom throughout the pregnancy, but most especially during the last trimester, is just how terrifying childbirth is. This is particularly for first-time moms who have never imagined anything as large as a baby’s head going through their vagina. After all, if we’re going by first appearances, it looks almost impossible. It does not help, either that many moms describe childbirth as the most painful experience of their life.
But it isn’t just the pain that mom is afraid of. After all, with good pain management techniques which may or may not include an epidural, most of it can be averted or, at least, toned down. It’s also terrifying to actually have the baby. It’s arguably easier now, while the little one is feeding and breathing out of her placenta. It can be scary to imagine actually taking care of her when she comes out!
2 Roller Coaster Of Emotions
The emotional roller coaster is such a hallmark of pregnancy that many moms are often ashamed to admit they’re going through it. She shouldn’t be embarrassed of it, however. Anyone with all those hormones flooding the body might get mood swings as well. Mom might feel elated one moment, and then maybe inexplicably sad the next. Sometimes it’s just best to experience it, maybe even give the self some time out to calm down before making a rash decision in that emotional state.
It’s important to know, however, that if the emotions are so extreme that mom puts herself or the baby at risk, she will need to get professional help. Sometimes it just happens, even to people to whom we least expect it to. And we should all keep in mind that it’s just as important to address emotional and mental health issues during pregnancy just as with physical complications.
1 Baby Feelings
One thing that some moms experience, which may actually surprise her, is how she can feel indifferent, perhaps even resentful, towards the child in her womb. Women who have unwanted pregnancies are especially prone to this. However, even those who did actually want the baby may be shocked to find that they just can’t love the little one instantly.
But mom shouldn’t be too hard on herself. The bond between her and the baby, after all, is still a relationship. And because most relationships are built slowly from shared experiences, rather than happening instantly, the connection may not sink in deep early on. So if mom finds herself in this predicament, we suggest to just give it time. Be a responsible mom doing the best she can to keep herself and the baby nice and healthy. With time and patience, the responsible mom will often find that she’s a loving one as well!