Start with the most exciting and scary time in a person's life. Add a constantly changing body, nausea and pain and a heaping portion of extra hormones. Stir for nine months, maybe longer. That is a recipe for a major pregnancy freak-out.
Actually, it's a recipe for about 15 or 20 freak-outs over three-quarters of a year. There are so many opportunities for anxiety, mayhem and nightmares. They start from the moment that the pregnancy is discovered and continues on through the nasty and never-ending nausea of the first trimester. Through the second trimester testing and gender reveal, the freak-outs keep coming as the scale keeps rising and the clothes get snugger. Then the more a woman gets uncomfortable in the third trimester and the closer she gets to the dreaded birth and delivery, things can go off the rails.
The mood swings alone are enough to cause a catastrophe, and it only gets worse if an unthinking friend makes a comment that stings or the dad-to-be doesn't seem sympathetic enough. The to-list and nesting add even more stress to a woman on the verge, and pretty soon it'll be go time. Pregnancy is packed with the conditions and the opportunities for more than one moment where all hell breaks loose.
Here are 15 real freak-outs every mom-to-be has.
15 Pregnancy Test Freak Out
It starts from the moment a woman learns that she will become a mother — when the little pink line shows up on a pregnancy test. That moment can draw a shriek, a few tears, a throaty grunt or a shake of the head. Maybe it brings out a happy dance or a terrible ominous silence. Either way, the mom-to-be is in the midst of her first freak-out.
Some women can't wait to get pregnant and they have been planning and trying for months. For them, the proof positive of their pregnancy is a time where they can't contain their excitement or hold back their glee.
Others get knocked for a loop by the pregnancy test. They may not have planned or even wanted to have a baby at that point in their lives, and the confirmation could fill them with a sense of dread and bring to the surface the terror of the responsibility of parenthood. It may not be a lasting feeling. In fact, the initial reaction for anyone is probably a sense of both anticipation and fear. And that is the first freak-out for a mom-to-be.
14 Morning Sickness Mayhem
Pregnancy can get the worst of a woman, right from the very beginning. Even when she is still so excited she wants to bust, she may soon end up busting out all over the floor with morning sickness. Usually just a few days or weeks after the positive pregnancy test, she can feel queasy and the hormones rushing through her can make it hard to keep down her food.
The first time that she has to rush to the toilet or the trash can because of morning sickness may not bother a mom-to-be too much. But by the third or fourth time, she may start to freak out. While many women expect to be putting on the pounds, morning sickness can often make the scale go backwards, which can make a woman worry that her baby isn't getting the nutrients it needs at this critical stage in development. (Helpful hint: take prenatal vitamins to ensure that they will.) Moms-to-be with the worst cases — a situation called hyperemesis gravidurum that can send the woman to the hospital and lead to dehydration — may think they can't get through it. Morning sickness can definitely cause mayhem for a mom-to-be.
13 Symptom Sicko
It isn't just the morning sickness that gets to new moms; there are plenty of pregnancy pains and issues to bother them for the next nine months. And while they are googling and researching every new symptom, the internet will inevitably bless them with an answer that involves the possibility of cancer.
From the headaches and bleeding gums to the horrifying heartburn, sore breasts and swollen ankles, a woman's body can go totally crazy during pregnancy, and many of the symptoms are things that a young (or young-ish) and healthy woman has never had to deal with. It can be scary on its own, but with a baby on board whose life is so dependent on how the mom is doing, it can be downright terrifying.
Just about ever mom-to-be will end up freaking out over some symptom that rears its head long before she gets to that chapter in her baby book, and she will call the doctor in a panic.
12 Mood Swing Madness
The body changes that a woman goes through in pregnancy often can be overshadowed by the changes that go through her moods just about every moment of every day. Hormones can cause havoc and it can set off some crazy mood swings. Sometimes a mom-to-be is weepy, and then moments later she can become angry. Even moments of elation can turn on a dime, such as the incredible excitement of feeling a baby kick to the overwhelming panic that comes when those kicks make a parent-to-be realize the awesome responsibility she is about to have on her hands.
Sometimes a pregnant woman doesn't even realize the pendulum that her moods are on, but if she does, she can freak out about the hormones that are driving her out of her mind and making her friends and family fear the next swing.
It's a crazy up-and-down time in a woman's life, and there may not be in warning in between the madness.
11 Gender Reveal
We know that all parents can't wait to welcome a new baby no matter whether it is a boy or a girl, but that doesn't mean that they won't freak out a little when they find out the gender of the baby they are carrying. Whether they choose to find out at the ultrasound or they keep the surprise to be unveiled to everyone — including themselves — at a gender reveal surprise — or even at the baby's birth — moms and dads are full of anticipation until they find out.
More and more parents are planning gender reveal parties nowadays, and many are having the doctor write a note that will be given to the baker or gift wrapper or trusted friend so that they can be just as surprised as their guests on that day. It's a cool trend.
Many moms and dads go in hoping for a boy or girl, whether they admit it or not, and sometimes the reality turns out to be different. That can cause it's own freak-out, and sometimes even gender disappointment. But the exasperation is usually short-lived and turns into excitement.
10 Kicking Craze
The first moment that a mom-to-be feels her baby quick, her heart will leap with joy. That is, if she has figured out that what she is feeling is a kick — sometimes, it's pretty hard to tell at the beginning. Pretty soon, she will begin to relish in every little movement, and she'll have a little mini freak out every time her little one reminds her of its presence.
She'll lay in bed and try to move her partner's hand over her baby bump so that he can join in on the excitement, and when it finally happens, the happy couple will squeal and have an amazing happy moment to share.
As the pregnancy goes forward, the excitement of the baby's kicks may morph into another kind of obsession. The mom-to-be may become a slave to the kick counts, and every time her little one slows down, she'll worry that something is wrong. Babies do sleep in the womb, but some don't get much rest if their mother has to give them a poke every once in a while to make them start kicking again. Let's hope that the kicking craze remains on the happy side and not the more neurotic one.
9 Fitting In Fiasco
Let's face it; no woman enjoys going up a size in anything. Even with a baby on board and every reason to believe that the expanding waist will slim down eventually, some women dread the morning when they can't button their pants. They go with a rubber band for as long as they can and borrow their husbands shirts. Eventually, though, they have to go shopping.
Most of the time, the first shopping trip is for a new bra — and that one might have to be repeated a few times during pregnancy. Maternity wear can be harder to find, but most of the time there are some cute finds and a woman may start to feel a little bit better with a well-dressed baby bump — until the day usually around the eighth month when even those clothes don't fit anymore.
One of the worst freak outs happens when the shoes don't fit anymore. If the baby is due in the summer, then a pair of flip flops are a pregnant woman's best friend. But having to go up a shoe size stinks. And sometimes there is no turning back.
8 Stranger Sensitivities
A pregnant woman knows that she can't hide. The big baby bump is like a huge target for stranger comments, and sometimes she doesn't mind, especially when someone comments on her glow. But then there are the insensitive people who have to say something that will set her off. They tell her she looks like she is about burst when her due date is still months away. They comment about her choice of shoe or the beverage she has in her hands. They offer unsolicited advice even when they have no idea what is going on or what is best for the family.
Every encounter is another moment for a mom-to-be to feel judged and quizzed. It obviously isn't any of their business, but they will ask if she plans to breastfeed or if twins run in her family or if she tried fertility drugs. They'll tell her just how much labor hurts, as if she needs another reason to stay up at night.
At some point, one unsuspecting stranger is going to get a big fat freak-out. The mom-to-be will break and tell him or exactly what she thinks of all of his advice and judgments. It won't be pretty. But who can blame her?
7 To-Do List Terror
Preparing for a baby can be very overwhelming. There are a lot of logistics to figure out, from the house to the car, the maternity leave, going back to work or daycare. There are things to research and people to consult and baby registries to complete. Parents have to buy things and plan financially and create a birth plan and, well, the list is endless.
A mom-to-be starts her to-do list the day that she finds out she's pregnant, and she adds to it for nine or so months. She can get lost in all the things that have to be planned and researched and purchased and at some point, that is sure to manifest itself in a major freak-out.
Sometimes, moms-to-be need to divide and conquer. They need to prioritize and strategize — and delegate. Sometimes the best way to get through the to-list is to divide it up. Only then can the terror end.
6 Scaling Up
Pregnant women expect the scale to go up throughout the nine months of pregnancy. Some, like Blac Chyna, see it as a goal to put on the baby weight, and they do all that they can to go way past the recommended 25 to 35 pound gain. Yet even those who swear they won't worry about the weight end up having a freak out at some point when they step on the scales.
It usually happens toward the end, when the weekly check-ups begin, and the numbers start rising by 5 or 10 pounds a week. That's when the end of the pregnancy begins to seem like a light at the end of the tunnel, and she realizes that the weight that she has gained will have to come off soon. If a woman has already passed her goal, she's likely to cringe every time the scale inches up even further.
The good news is that most women are down 15 to 20 pounds within a week after birth, but if she gained 50, she still has a ways to go to get back to her pre-pregnancy weight.
5 Daddy Issues
Remember those hormones we mentioned earlier? They tend to rear their ugly heads at strange moments along the nine or so months of pregnancy. And those closest to the mom-to-be tend to be the biggest victims to the mood swings that accompany them. It can be hard to get through without feeling at least a little friction.
From the smell aversion that can turn against his cologne to the rage that builds if he doesn't get the baby furniture put together in her time frame, there is usually a moment — or many — when a mom-to-be freaks out about whether her partner will be a good dad. Even the kindest, most easy-going men can feel the wrath in between the foot massages and catering to her cravings. It isn't pretty, and most of the time there is no real truth to the concerns that seem to filter into her head.
Poor daddy-to-be can feel pretty unappreciated during pregnancy, even when he gives it his all, but hopefully the mood will swing back in his favor in the next moment.
4 Nesting Nightmares
In the last few months of pregnancy, every mom-to-be finds a point where she wakes up and realizes that she can't bring a baby home into her filthy house. It can start with the nursery, but when all the furniture is up, the walls are painted and the baby clothes and blankets have been washed, folded and put away, she will quickly turn to the rest of the house.
She won't just finish the dishes and dust the bookshelves. Nesting for some women can be a huge pregnancy freak out. It goes from rearranging the cabinets to scrubbing the floors and the baseboards to scouring the bathrooms and back again. The more the mom-to-be reads about what germs can do to her precious little cargo, the more manic she will get about sanitizing everything from the baby gear to the knick knacks.
While she's cleaning, she may start baby proofing, adding on special contraptions to keep the cabinet doors locked long before the baby could cross a room and get them. Pretty soon, nesting will be a mom-t0-be's favorite activity It will not only get her house in order but she hopes it may help kick-start the contractions.
3 Overdue And Overwrought
The last trimester of pregnancy is tough, and for many women, the due date is the light at the end of the tunnel that gets them through. After 40 weeks of torture, there will be a baby, right? The short answer is no. Only a handful of babies arrive on their due date. It's just an estimate meant to give a mom-to-be an idea of when it will be over, not an actual deadline.
Many babies — especially first babies — come well beyond the due date. So if a woman is counting down the days until she meets her new baby, she has no where to count after the calendar mark passes by. All the while, she's getting bigger and more uncomfortable. Moms-to-be who are overdue and overwrought have a minor freak out every time someone asks them when the baby is going to come. Even the most patient ones are likely to lose it every time someone makes a joke about eating spicy foods or trying a little bedroom action to get things started. Those last few weeks or days of pregnancy can be hard no matter the circumstances, but when you are overdue and overwrought, it can be miserable.
2 Go Time
This freak out isn't just for a mom-to-be. Sometimes go time is a major moment for dad-to-be to have his first major meltdown. Whether the water breaks in a big splash or the contractions ramp up for a couple of days, the moment that a mom-to-be leaves for the hospital or calls the midwife to head to her house is a moment of excitement and panic like no other. The end goal of baby's arrival is on everyone's mind — both in the I-can't-wait-to-meet-her and the how-will-I-be-able-to-keep-a-baby-alive kind of ways — while they are also contemplating the pain and problems that come with labor and delivery.
Even women who are walking laps while eating jalapenos to get things started will have to gulp at the sheer panic that takes hold the moment that they officially know it's go time. Grab the hospital bag, don't forget the cell phone charger and the camera, and mom- and dad-to-be are on their way. Today (or maybe tomorrow) is the day that their lives will change, and that is definitely worthy of freaking out about.
1 Delivery Scare
The baby is on the way, but there is still time for at least one more freak-out. A go-time freak-out is nothing compared to what a woman can unleash in the full throes of labor and delivery. As the contractions ramp up and the cervix dilates, the anticipation grows and so can the terror.
Active labor is hard, no doubt about it, but when a mom-to-be hits transition — the last couple of centimeters of dilation before she reaches 10 centimeters — everything can hit the fan. The pain is intense; the mom-to-be gets overheated and sweaty; she can barely keep breathing in pain; and pushing is right around the corner. That's when the freak-out begins and the nurse gets a tongue-lashing while the dad-to-be worries if she will break his hand for squeezing so hard.
Any other delivery scare — from the moment a woman is wheeled in to a planned or emergency C-section — can also bring about the very last freak-out of pregnancy. But in moments the baby will arrive. And the first freak-out of parenthood will happen any minute.