There’s no time in life quite like it. The body undergoes incredible growth and amazing changes. Another life is being formed! It’s pregnancy, and some women dream of the day they’ll finally get to experience it.
Ah, feeling those first kicks… Heck, feeling every kick! It never ceased to give me an absolute thrill, during both of my two pregnancies so far. And how much fun to see your bump grow, grow, and grow some more – and take pictures to share with friends and family along the way! It’s quite amazing how large that abdomen can get, stretching out slowly with each passing week.
But, as with many things in life, some women find some of the realities of actually being pregnant somewhat hard to face, or at least find the transition from not being pregnant to then being with child for 9+ months pretty intense.
From how they dine to work woes, to how people treat them out and about in the world, everything can seem to be affected by this reproductive stage.
If you’ve never been pregnant before – or even if you have – enjoy the journey! And know that if you encounter some of these 15 social realities of being pregnant and they catch you off guard, at least you’re not alone.
15 Dry County
For some of us, the site, smell, and even idea of alcohol becomes so repulsive when we’re pregnant – especially early on in the game – that we can hardly understand how we ever even touched the stuff. We ask our partners to select less hoppy beers, or to give beer up entirely, because the smell of it on their breath hours later makes us, quite frankly, want to vomit.
Then there’s the other end of the spectrum. Some women find that the habit of consuming alcohol is a bit harder to give up than they would have originally thought. When everyone else at the event has a drink in hand, you might find yourself tempted to retreat to the sober comfort of your couch.
Alcohol, for better or worse, is sort of built in to many social aspects of adult life.
14 Working It
Whether it’s being passed up for a promotion, not invited to attend the big conference, or no longer being able to join the team for happy hour, you better believe pregnancy can (and most likely will, if you ask me) affect how your supervisor, coworkers, and even employees interact with you in the workplace.
Some women find that there seems to be an attitude, a sort of assumption, that they probably won’t even return once that parental leave is up. Others, still, assume their job is actually completely protected by government family leave policies only to find that their position has been eliminated as part of a “larger restructuring” when it’s time to return.
I’d love to tell you that being pregnant won’t affect your career, but I said good-bye to that notion a looooong time ago.
13 You Snooze, You Lose
Maybe you’re used to exercising at some point after work, cooking some dinner, enjoying a meal and some time with your loved ones, watching some TV or reading a good book, and getting some things prepared for the following day…
When the fatigue of pregnancy hits – as it quite often does (and hard) in the first and third trimesters – the routine might go more like this: go home, couch, put something in mouth, go to sleep.
Try not to be too hard on yourself if you’re too tired to keep up with your old routine. (But try to at least get some exercise, with your doctor’s approval, most days, too.) This, too, shall pass, and you’ll regain your energy at some point.
Until then, why not go ahead and turn in early? Your body needs energy for all the hard work it’s doing!
12 Urine For Quite A Ride
Oh, pregnant ladies, always running off to the bathroom. It’s one of those cute little facts everyone knows about pregnancy, right?
But it’s hard to understand just how much urinating can come to dominate your life until you’ve been through a pregnancy or two. From the very start, you’ll start needing to go more – sometimes a lot more. It may even be one of the first little clues that your family’s about to expand, and may tell you it’s time to go ahead and pee on a stick during one of those bathroom trips.
And it won’t just be in the daytime. Some women have a rougher time of it than they ever expected because along with the usual fatigue of pregnancy, they can never get a good block of sleep at night, either, because they’re always getting up to go.
It may make you miss parts of meetings, have to cut conversations short, and more.
11 Got Me Feelin’ Emotions
As you probably know firsthand or have witnessed, there’s a whole range of experiences when it comes to how women are affected by reproductive hormones. Some poor lasses have PMS and cramping. They may get headaches, feel stressed out, or like they kinda want to cry for no “good” reason. And others have very few symptoms at all of this sort.
Many women, though, report at least a handful of times feeling weepy, easily angry, or having mood swings with pretty intense fluctuations between feeling almost elated and then majorly bummed during pregnancy.
It can be awkward in social situations, even if it’s just you and your honey at home. It can be hard for someone who’s not going through all this to understand why the fact that the last brownie is gone is fodder for tears.
Hopefully some extra hugs and communication can help things to go more smoothly if it’s a bit rougher than you anticipated.
10 Bones To Jump
Sex is probably the main thing on your mind if you’re “trying,” but you may not have given much thought to how things will play out in the bedroom after the baby making.
And here’s a social reality common enough that it’s the stuff of sitcoms: Being pregnant (at some stages, for some women), can make a gal want to get down to business even more often. And some also report that said business heats up quite a bit – say about 1,000 degrees.
Hey, not being quite prepared for this reality doesn’t mean you can’t go ahead and enjoy it! I guess it’s just one of those perks of the job.
What a great time to be close and connected to your partner in all the various ways that couples can connect. What a glorious time to enjoy just being with each other and appreciating the beauty of your special bond.
9 Hot Topic
Most of us really appreciate when our friends, family, and loved ones ask us about what’s going on with us. It shows they care!
When we’re pregnant, though, there’s one really obvious thing going on – one that involves an amazing and eye-catching physical change and one helluva life-changing birthday at the end!
It can turn out the topic of conversation isn’t just sometimes about the fact that we’re pregnant. It’s not just often about it, even. It can seem to be ALWAYS, without fail, what everyone is talking about.
To be honest, this one never really bothered me. It felt like all I was ever thinking about, anyway! And my excitement was probably so obvious that others knew I’d be glad to discuss it.
But for some gals, they wonder when they’ll ever again see the day that their passions and hobbies, friends and relations, favorite foods, or even the weather will return to the convo.
8 Here Comes The Doctor
You knew that prenatal care was going to be a vital part of your healthy pregnancy. Maybe you even checked out about what your costs would be for that hospital stay at the end with your current health plan.
But did you understand that you’d be at that doctor’s office so many times that it’d start to feel like your home away from home? Some women are caught by surprise.
From monthly appointments to every two weeks as the pregnancy progresses to being seen every week toward the end, pregnancy involves a lot of (important) checkups with the ole OB.
Whether it’s needing to miss more work to attend these appointments than you anticipated or just being a bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume (or a little over having to go in so often and have your weight, blood pressure, and more checked and scrutinized), you’re certainly not alone if you find yourself surprisingly overwhelmed.
7 Not-So-Fine Dining
Before you become pregnant, you may want to go out to a favorite restaurant with your love. Order your favorite dishes or try some new and exciting specials. Linger over dessert.
This sounds like the common advice pregnant women get – to go out with just their husband before the baby comes. But some find, to their surprise, that they can’t really enjoy eating out like they used to before they were pregnant. That enjoying-dining-out ship may have already sailed.
What was once a favorite type of social outing may seem not even really worth it.
Nausea or aversions can really put a damper on things, as can needing to be so careful to avoid certain fish, sauces, or meats that might contain dangerous chemicals or pathogens.
On top of this, it’s hard to enjoy a leisurely meal when your instincts are telling you to get something in your stomach, go brush your teeth, and head to bed.
Needing to pass on certain dishes served by your friends and family can cause awkwardness, as well, as the non-preg set can tend to not quite understand the need to use serious precaution when it comes to eating for two.
6 Getting Handsy
It’s hard to understand just how surprising this one can be until you’ve actually gone through it. Everyone from acquaintances to coworkers to strangers on the street may suddenly feel that it’s a perfectly normal thing to do to reach out and touch you – on that gloriously growing belly.
To me, this was a bit odd, sure, but nothing like when complete strangers would come up and go for the grab of my newborn baby’s face. Yikes!
Anyway, some of us don’t mind it too much, and then some of us think it’s straight-up weird. But many of us are certainly not quite prepared for the (many) hands that will reach out and touch us before we even have a chance to process what is happening, much less try to craft a civilized response as to why we’d like, very much so, to please maintain some distance.
5 New Look
Our physical selves are of course very much a big part of how we present ourselves and interact socially in this world. And some women aren’t quite prepared for just how much that physical self will change.
It can affect their confidence, their comfort level with doing certain activities they used to enjoy, and more.
With images of celebrities seeming to look exactly the same as their pre-pregnancy selves save for a growing bump, it can be easy for women to assume or to wish that the rest of their bodies will remain exactly the same as they were pre-child-onboard.
And even those who are realistic about body changes, embrace it all for the glorious process it is, or don’t even look all that different after all can be quite shocked by the readiness of others to COMMENT on how their weight and shape has or has not changed.
4 Hot In Her’
There’s one huge factor that can really affect your comfort level, especially in social situations. It’s your temperature!
Being too hot can make you irritable, uncomfortable, and (perhaps most importantly) needing to get out of said too-hot situation, and fast. It’s not safe for pregnant women to overheat!
Preg gals often run warmer than they did before they were with child, and this is likely not something they ever even considered when they were thinking about what it would all be like.
More blood circulating, a bigger body, new demands being made on different muscles, more body fat, and hormones galore can make for some pretty hot stuff.
And women can be surprised, too, that it’s not as simple as slipping on a favorite tank or sundress – because even if it fits or they have one in a maternity size, they may not be comfortable wearing it or feel it’s appropriate for certain social situations.
3 Sudden Spotlight
Whether you tend to like to observe from a safe distance or love to be the center of attention, you may be quite surprised by how much and how often people want to talk to you when you’re pregnant.
I think the main deal is that it’s such a great conversation starter. (And get used to it, because the baby that’s to come will surely call even more attention to you during your daily life and outings than that doosey of a bump!)
Whether you delight at the fact that everyone suddenly wants to engage you in conversation, are amused by the sudden urge everyone in the checkout line has to learn about your health and well-being, or are kinda annoyed that no one will leave you alone all of the sudden, it can be hard to prepare for this unique time in which the spotlight is suddenly always on you.
2 Watched Pot
This can be particularly tough for women who go past their due dates. With second and subsequent pregnancies, I’ve noticed some gals will even decline to make public their exact due date.
Part of this reason is surely that they know it’s just an estimation and that it’s rare for babies to be born exactly at this time. But part of it is that they remember the first time around being so over people constantly pestering them about whether or not the baby had been born yet.
Yep, toward the end, as that due date comes (and sometimes goes) and there’s still no new baby in sight, even if women understand their friends and family are just excited for them, it can be frustrating to feel like the pressure’s on for things to get going – as if the mom-to-be herself isn’t already anxious enough about when and how labor will begin.
1 Not Onboard With Baby Onboard
I don’t think women are ever quite prepared for the news of their pregnancy to be greeted with anything but happiness and excitement. But let me tell ya, it is not always happiness and excitement that you will get.
Sometimes it’s just that it can be easy to forget that it’s not in everyone’s nature to jump up and down, squeal, cry happy tears, or exclaim with excitement (even if they are feeling excited inside).
But it can really be shocking, too, when friends and family just aren’t as stoked as you’d expect. Whether they’re not as surprised as you’d hoped, don’t seem genuinely happy about the news, or even greet your announcement with rude remarks or hostility, it can be tough, to be sure.
It can take you from feeling happier than you’ve ever felt in your life to a super-bummer of a low.
Whether your presumed supporters turn out not to approve for some reason, aren’t confident in your ability to make it all work, or have larger issues going on (trouble conceiving themselves, for example), we feel ya if you say you were more than a little surprised about their not-so-zealous reactions.
Sources: BabyCenter.com, FitPregnancy.com