Being pregnant is an amazing experience. Growing a perfect human being from conception to a fully fledged, perfectly formed little person can feel, undoubtedly, like a miracle. And yes, while this incredible transformation of your body takes place as you create life, you will feel an amazing range of emotions from exhilaration to fear at the prospect of bringing that little miracle home. The nine months of pregnancy can feel long and arduous but also disappear in the blink of an eye. It's only after the gruelling forty weeks that you realise how difficult, emotionally tiring and tedious, yet exciting, pregnancy actually is.
Many of us don't talk about the hardships of pregnancy, simply saying, pregnancy is hard. We all know it's hard but do we know why? What would you tell your pregnant self? There are so many things I would tell myself, even after my second pregnancy. It's amazing how much you forget and think nothing of it when you dive head first into your second pregnancy. Our brains seem to have an interesting ability to forget the hardships of pregnancy - it is most definitely evolutions way of making sure we keep procreating. But I have not forgotten. There are so many things I would love to tell you about pregnancy. Things you do and don't have to do. Things that no one really says out loud. Not the traditional, take your vitamins, the time goes so quick, enjoy the kicks. No. The things I'd like to tell my past pregnant self are, it's OK, you'll be fine, and Momma you are doing amazing!
15 It's OK If There's No Glow
How many times have friends and family told you rhat you were glowing while you felt absolutely horrendous? That sweet pregnancy glow abandoned me at about twelve weeks. My skin turnes spotty and my hair was lacklustre and limp. My back started aching which meant I was hobbling when I walked and with every step up the stairs, I was groaning. That glow so many women seem to have was not one of my pregnancy symptoms. Unless you call the faint shine from pregnancy sweat a glow. I don't think we can really, can we?
So, no, you don’t have to glow. You don’t have to walk around with a growing bump and a glowing complexion, a beaming smile, all happy and proud to be growing a human being. You don’t have to feel the weight of unbridled love and happiness with every new kick. You don’t have to look like you’re enjoying this experience. Pregnancy is hard and thy hardship, pain and pregnancy anxiety can show on your face easier than any hormonal glow.
14 It's OK To Not Be Happy Or Excited
There is a general misconception that when you become pregnant you should be happy, excited and exhilarated at the prospect of becoming a Mum. This isn’t always the case for many women, and hearing congratulations can be a hard word to bear. Pregnancy brings with it stress, uncertainty, fear, apprehension, confusion, and in some cases depression. For some women the thoughts of a baby is terrifying and they may find it quite difficult to come to terms with the fact that they are pregnant. Prenatal Depression is a very real condition but little is said about it. The more we share our experiences, the easier it will be for other women to speak out and talk about their anxieties and worries about becoming a Mum.
Please remember that you are not alone. Talk to your health provider if you’re feeling in any way upset, worried, or depressed during your pregnancy. You don’t have to be alone if you’re feeling monumental pressure or anxiety. The support is there, from your doctor, your midwives and your partner.
13 Put Momma First
It can seem almost impossible to put yourself first while pregnant if you have one or more kids. The hours in the day are not your own, as you run after your little ones and deal with all of their daily demands and routines. Being pregnant tends to come in second and Momma has no choice but to almost forget that she is pregnant. That's why, when you are pregnant on your first, at least, take the time to put yourself first. It will be the only chance that you have to sit back, relax and binge on Netflix. Come the second and subsequent pregnancies and things get a little harder and Mum gets pushed back on the list of priorities.
When you're pregnant you really need to take the time to put yourself first as much as possible. Rest when you need to, indulge in those cravings, and don't feel guilty about any of it. Pregnancy is hard and to help you and your unborn baby through it, you need to put Momma first.
12 It's OK To Be Scared
There are probably a million and one things going through your mind from the very moment you discover that you are pregnant. Those thoughts, fears and worries won't leave you until... well, until your child is heading off to Uni, perhaps not even then! Being pregnant, becoming a parent, is one of the most terrifying experiences with a huge mixture of emotion. One of the big ones is fear, but you know what, it's ok to be scared.
We've all been there. We've all felt the fear that comes with thinking about how the baby is, the worry is never ending. We all wonder how our baby's birth will pan out and this makes us scared because we just don't know what will happen, what the pain will be like and we worry that something might go wrong. And of course, we worry and fear over what parenting will be like, will we make good parents and how difficult will the newborn stage be. But you know what? Everything works out just fine and most of your fears will be unfounded. But hey, it's perfectly OK to be scared.
11 Everyone Has An Opinion
You will find that the world and it's mother will have an opinion about you and your baby as soon as you become pregnant. You will be told what you should and shouldn't do to keep you and your baby safe. The woman on the bus, the neighbour two blocks away, even Al who owns the local deli will have something to say to you. So, be prepared because it's impossible to stop people from imparting their unsolicited wisdom.
While they mean well, and think they are helping you by telling you this, that and the other, it can be overbearing, patronising and annoying to listen to worthless advice from strangers or aunts you rarely see. Unfortunately, you will probably have no choice but to nod and smile sweetly, thanking them for their advice. Rather than get angry or annoyed, simply let it all flow through one ear and out the other. Everyone will always have an opinion but you don't have to listen to it.
10 Momma Is Strong And Brave
Have I told you yet, how incredibly strong and brave you are? Every single pregnant woman needs to hear this on a daily basis. It's a well known fact, that being pregnant is one of the most dangerous positions a woman can be. Every pregnant woman is strong and brave. There were times on my first pregnancy when I felt like a number, just another woman who was pregnant. A million other woman had done the exact same thing before, and me being pregnant was nothing new or special. Far from it.
Creating life is a miracle, a blessing and an incredibly difficult feat. Being pregnant makes you so strong and brave, a superhero. And once the baby arrives, you keep that cape and become your child's superhero as you give them nourishment, love and a wonderful life.
9 It's OK To Not Want To Breastfeed
First of all, breastfeeding is an incredible way to feed your child and if breastfeeding works for you, then I absolutely admire you and wish I had been in the same position. However, breastfeeding did not work for me or my baby. With a bad latch, I'll admit I resorted to giving up on my breastfeeding journey a few weeks in. But I don't feel bad for changing the way I fed my baby and luckily I received great support from my husband and public health nurse for changing our method.
Sometimes, breastfeeding doesn't work, for a number of reasons - bad latch, low supply, pain, depression and many more. The important thing is that if you decide to not breastfeed, don't feel bad. Don't feel pressured into breastfeeding and do what is right for you and your baby.
8 That Relationship May Be In A Temporary State Of Flux
Naturally, things change when you bring a baby into the world and unfortunately one thing that tends to change or alter quite dramatically is your relationship. Often, this is one side effect of having a baby that many don't expect or prepare for. But it happens to the best of us, so remember that once your baby comes along, your partner is not your enemy. You will both be incredibly sleep deprived in a way that you didn't think possible and the time you originally had for each other will be cut dramatically as the baby takes over your life.
It's important to keep the lines of communication open with your other half as much as possible. Tell each other how you're feeling, and if you need help in any way from your partner. It's not always easy to put your relationship first but it's a good thing to remember that your baby is here because you and your partner love each other so very much and decided to start this journey together as a family.
7 Not Ready For Baby?
I did not have my head together but I made out that we did. We were stocked up on nappies, wipes and clothes. We had the baby’s room decorated and ready three months before she was due to arrive. I looked like I was ready but I wasn’t, not mentally. And that’s ok because it made adjusting to life with our daughter that little bit easier. I had very little expectation of what life would be like. I didn’t force myself to do things one way or another. We let her guide. She had her own succinct little timetable.
Babies have a way of telling you exactly what they need and all they want is for you to listen. You don’t have to pretend that you’re ready for all of this because, truth be told, you won’t ever really be ready. Going from one to none, or two to three, it’s always different.
6 It's OK To Hate Being Pregnant
If you’re like me, you hate it. I think its possible that there are women who revel in being pregnant and others who can’t wait for the nine months to be over. I’m definitely on the hating side of the gate. I find it uncomfortable, restricting, long and tedious. I suffer sickness, headaches, complications and pains. Yes, I know a million other women do too and fly through pregnancy with grace and dignity. Well, I don’t and I make no apologies for disliking pregnancy so much. I will tell anyone and everyone how difficult I find it.
So, no, you don’t have to love being pregnant. You will enjoy the scans, seeing your baby do somersaults on the screen, hearing the heartbeat and feeling those kicks. You will love the fact that you are creating a tiny human being and count down to the days you get to hold that little baby. But if you don’t enjoy the pains, the tiredness, the awkwardness, the tightness in your chest and every other pregnancy complaint you can think of then that’s perfectly ok. And it’s perfectly ok to say it out loud also!
5 Momma Does Not Have To Be Alone
You may be the one suffering all of the symptoms, making friends with the toilet for the millionth time, and feeling every tiny hiccup and somersault but you’re not alone. Your partner, your mother, your sister, the midwives are all there to help you along. Nine months normally feels like a short time but when you’re pregnant the days and nights drag on as your ligaments stretch and your baby happily cosies up inside you. If you need help, ask for it. Whether it’s a cup of tea, a foot rest or help with running a bath, remember you’re not alone.
I find pregnancy so hard. I’m not sure I could manage without the help of my family and friends. My sister is my go to when I’m struggling or worrying. With four kids she’s been there and done that so any tiny niggle I’m not sure about I give her a call. Find that person you know you can rely on and call on them when you need them. you really don't have to be alone in this journey.
4 That Body Will Never Be The Same
Nine whole months has gone by. Your body has changed oh so very, very dramatically. You have to be prepared for that pre-pregnancy body to be lost forever. But hey, thats not a bad thing. Remember that every scar, stitch, stretch mark and bit of flabby belly, is a badge of honour, a rite of passage. Stand tall and proud to bear the marks of your childbearing years. You are so incredible to have created a human being, to have brought new life to our world.
Some of those marks will fade, your pregnant belly will shrink back but there will always be some sort of sign that your body went through an incredible transformation. No your body will more than likely never be the same, but either will you. You are now a mother and that changes who you are, inside and out, for the better.
3 Giving Birth Is A Rollercoaster
Whether your waters break and you rush to hospital, or you're scheduled for a Cesarean Section, childbirth is always dramatic. Giving birth is a veritable rollercoaster of events and emotions. It's almost impossible to plan for it because anything can happen and chances are there will always be surprises. The best you can do, is practice your breathing, your meditation and be prepared for any eventuality.
You will be scared, excited, nervous and exhilarated all at the same time. You will put all of your trust in those around you to deliver your beautiful baby safely. And the moment that baby takes its first breath, you will feel relieved, satisfied, happy and anxious all at once. From that moment, you are their mother and they will depend on you for absolutely everything. The rollercoaster doesn't end once your baby is born. The rollercoaster has only begun.
2 Having A Newborn Is Overwhelming
Bringing baby home is a wonderful time but it's filled with a mixture of emotions. If you had your baby in the hospital, you will more than likely be anxious to get home, back to your own bed and your own surroundings. Once you get home, you realise just how overwhelming bringing baby home actually is. Not only will you be potentially hit with the baby blues - generally speaking, the baby blues, low mood resulting in tears, will hit you about three to five days postpartum - you will realise just how difficult having a newborn is.
The constant demanding nature of a newborn means you are left with very little time for yourself, you are more than likely exhausted beyond belief with night feeds, and it can be extra difficult if you are dealing with post birth pain. It is an overwhelming time but you can minimise any anxiety these early stages bring by being prepared, expecting and accepting that those first few weeks will be difficult and knowing that it will pass, and things will eventually settle down.
1 But It's All Worth It
But it's all worth it. When you're in the throes of the newborn stage, with difficulties sleeping, constant feeding and not understanding your newborn just yet, the exhaustion can take over and you can begin to resent the daily grind. But remember, this stage does not last forever. Your baby will learn to sleep through the night, you will learn all of your baby's cues and it will get easier. More importantly, you will learn about your baby, their little personality will start to shine through and with every stage comes new and interesting things. Every milestone will make you proud as your little one learns to babble and talk, as they learn to crawl and walk.
Everything you will have been through, from pregnancy to delivery, the newborn stage to toddlerhood, the sleepless nights, the temper tantrums, it's all worth it. Being a parent will change you, for the better, and it's all worth it.