There is nothing more glorious for many women than knowing we helped to create, shelter and deliver another human being. It is scary as anything at times, emotionally touching at others, and well, just plain weird the rest of the time. A woman’s body goes through so much physically, mentally and spiritually during pregnancy. And even though we all know women have been doing this for centuries (and probably even before that), and that we all resulted from being birthed through women, still when it is happening to an individual woman it feels, well, amazing, beautiful, and terrifying all in one big swoop. It is intimidating to say the least, and most of us want to run for the hills even if it’s only at some points as we think, “Is this really what I signed up for?”
Pregnancy and bringing life into the world is not something to be undertaken lightly. It is a journey of the mind, body, and soul. It is also incredible, life-altering, and there are moments when as a Mom, we realize we are not in control. Baby is. And maybe something bigger than baby or us if we believe in that. There are things we wish other women had told us prior to becoming pregnant. We end up thinking, this is just crazy! What are some of those things which could have made a difference in us handling pregnancy with more ease? Here are 15 things women wish they knew before pregnancy:
Before baby comes along there is so much couples take for granted, like sleeping in, staying out late, and yes, ALONE couple time. We take this for granted because there seems to be so much of it with no limits, and as they say people don’t appreciate what they have until it's gone. Once baby comes along, however, all of this changes. Babies need twenty-hour a day care due to every need that has to be met for feeding, putting to bed, washing and changing. Adult-only trips are a dream of the past, and even things like a solo conversation with one’s partner are hard to arrange.
This is due to either sleep deprivation or the hectic schedule of caring for a newborn. That is why going on a trip with one’s partner is something that needs to be done prior to baby’s arrival, even if mom-to-be is already pregnant. The couple will not get the chance again until baby is older, and even then, it is never quite the same due to worries about baby.
Most women already have their full-time paying job when they become pregnant. After that, they add on their pregnancy, which is a full-time job in and of itself - with the doctor’s appointments, the aches and pains, the food cravings, the hormones and everything else that comes up. It’s enough to make a woman feel tired by 9am each day! The thing is, she needs to pace herself and make sure she is eating well, sleeping enough, and resting when she has to. If she is doing these things, pregnancy will definitely go a lot smoother, and she will feel and look better. She will also be able to cope better with stress and other responsibilities in her life.
Also, if she looks at pregnancy like a job, she will treat it the same way. She will take breaks when she needs to. She will ask for help when she has to, and she will remember that her responsibility in doing this well, that is pregnancy, means taking care of her health. She is creating another human being which is the most important job ever. She needs to be able to surrender and go easier on herself.
How many couples conceive instantly when trying for a baby? It is very few women and men that have such success. Sometimes it takes a while for various reasons, and then it happens like magic. Still, regardless of the time frame, women don’t need to hear comments about why it hasn’t happened yet, or what they should do to conceive quicker or why it hasn’t happened. There are definitively some mean spirited people out there, but most mean well.
They just don’t always know when to stay quiet and mind their own business. These comments are greatly hurtful to women who may not know why they and their partners are having difficulty conceiving or may know, and wish to keep that information private. It is, after all, no one’s business but theirs, and people need to let couples announce themselves when they have news they want to share.
Oh hormones. Every pregnant woman can relate to those two words. A woman laughs, cries, yells, and feels dizzy sometimes uncontrollably. This is due to the hormonal effects happening in her body making her handle things in a different way. The scary thing is that stuff she took for granted before; how she handled stress, how she slept, what caused her discomfort or made her laugh and cry, how she held in her pee with ease - now these are the total opposite. This is not because of anything bad, but due to hormones that change around her body chemistry during these months.
She may think or say things she would have never dared before. Her mind is different and her body is processing things differently. It’s not every day that she is building another human being. As long as she is patient with herself and her body, things will go well, or at least she will know to expect the unexpected for the next nine months. Others in her inner circle will soon learn to accept this, too.
It’s hard sometimes how a woman goes from an individual with a job, various interests and friendships, a partner and family, to someone who pretty much is consumed with talking about baby twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Especially if this is her first baby, the urge to talk “baby talk” all the time is overpowering. It also happens to some extent if it is her second, third or more baby, but to a lesser extent. Obviously, her time and resources are spread a little more thinking about the other children and caring for them as well as surviving. All of this is perfectly natural and all women will go through it. Those around her need to be patient, and after baby is born she will be a little sheepish most likely and laughing about her experience.
And then there is ALL the baby cargo or equipment one needs to have said baby. This is something all women know in theory, but in practice it is hard to fully realize until she is the one going to choose things on the baby registry with her significant other. Yes, there are baby clothes, diapers, a crib and stroller, etc. but it is all the other little extras that will surprise her as she is filling out her registry and answering people’s questions on what baby needs. Then there is when baby comes into the world and she realizes even more things that need to be bought and organized.
As the saying goes, for a little person, they sure need A LOT of stuff. And by the way, that just keeps increasing. Most women wish they had been told in advance how many things to prepare to buy for baby in those first few years and much stuff baby would actually need.
Though women say they will not get upset with baby weight gain, most do become a little sensitive when they have difficulty getting into sizes that used to be a breeze and have to wear maternity clothing earlier than expected. It’s perfectly understandable and not a vanity thing. It's just a matter of adjusting to a new body and state of mind where things are a little bit out of one’s control. This is challenging for any women and sometimes at the beginning of a pregnancy it can be a little bit overwhelming.
Different women will react in different ways, but most women admit that they wish someone had told them in advance what they could expect for themselves when pregnant and how their body would have reacted. One can never fully prepare until one experiences something, but at least they would have had a little heads up at this point.
All women know about pregnancy nausea and food cravings. Still, most of us do not know HOW nauseous or hungry we will actually feel. No one tells a woman that some days a glass of water will make her want to hurl, and other days after eating a full three course meal, she will still see people walking by and think they are chicken legs moving in front of her.
Pregnancy food cravings and aversions are finicky, and it’s hard to tell which one will hit a woman. If she is told about this at the beginning, it would be helpful to her so she would know what she could expect on any given day. No one can prepare her for the unpredictability of pregnancy, but at least she would have some indication of the ups and downs her stomach can expect and it hopefully won’t be too upsetting for her.
After baby is born a woman will quickly forget all the long months, but really those nine months DO feel like forever when one is going through them. The long nights when baby is kicking away in the woman’s tummy, the nausea, the aches and pains, the difficulty walking, the peeing every five seconds. And then there are the positive things. The eagerness to meet this little human being growing inside, wondering what they will look like, sound like and be like.
The anticipation of seeing if baby will look like Mom, Dad, the aunts and uncles or grandparents, is sometimes too much to wait for. She finds herself on pins and needles counting down the days on the calendar until baby’s due date when she will incredibly push this tiny being out of her very own body. Though she has seen the videos and read the books and articles, it is still pretty incredible that the day is drawing near.
This is something a lot of people will not speak of. Getting pregnant quickly is a rarity for most women. It happens relatively quickly for the majority, but there are many couples that struggle with getting pregnant due to infertility, stress, or other issues. They will most likely go on to conceive at some point, but it may take a while. The busy bodies who can’t resist sticking their noses into this couple’s business, will have all kinds of theories as to why and will unfortunately share them. This does nothing to help the couple. It makes them feel inept, inefficient or that something is wrong with them.
Pregnancy is not an easy things for a body and does not always happen instantly. That is a fact, and no woman need feel like a failure as a woman due to having difficulty conceiving. No man should feel bad either. These things happen. It would just be nice if there were more open dialogues with couples who have successfully conceived concerning the length of time it took and that it’s ok if it takes a while.
For most women, this can help to accurately predict the right time, day and pretty much hour that her body is ovulating and hence ripe for procreation - aka, baby making. Nothing is one hundred percent certain or set in stone, but this gives a very clear indication to most women that this is their best time to maximize intercourse to conceive a baby. Now, this of course is a general rule and does not apply to all women. For some, the basal body temperature taking only provokes stress and anxiety, with still no baby resulting.
Therefore, a woman has to use her own common sense and see if this is a method that is working to help her feel more relaxed and in control. If it is causing more stress, then she needs to forget it. Her goal is to be as calm and relaxed as possible when baby making.
Similar to the difficulty of getting pregnant, most women do not realize how often meddling family and friends may ask her if she is pregnant and why not if she isn’t. Many may remark that she has put on some weight or looks a little bloated, so people may assume it's a baby bump. This is beyond frustrating and stressful for most women, and could even bring despair to some. After all, who wants to be quizzed or questioned at every turn, especially about something as personal as their sex life?
Again, most women know that people will ask. They have even seen sitcoms where the episode is pretty much based on that. But then again to experience it in real time is something else altogether. Women need to be told in advance that this could happen so they can have an answer ready for the rude individuals.
It is also important that beforehand, someone tells a woman in the process of trying for a baby, to sometimes stop trying and stressing about getting pregnant. There is some degree of truth in the “relax and it will happen” school, though of course, it is not always that easy. The point of relaxing and not stressing is just that. Once the couple stops trying for a baby, a competitive sport where there is pressure to succeed, they will not only enjoy themselves more, but will also most likely conceive.
When the pressure is taken off anything, it gets easier to have fun and have success. Couples tend to get very mechanical about sex when trying for a baby, and the risk of this becoming part of their every day operating becomes a risk for the relationship. This is not something any couple should make a part of their routine, as it could end up causing lots of problems in their sex life and marriage.
Then there is the theory that once baby is born, the woman’s body bounces back to normal instantly. Everything falls into place and there are no worries. This is hogwash in most cases, as the human body is fickle and every woman’s body reacts differently to pregnancy, labor and childbirth. Again, there needs to be an honest discussion paid to the fact that some women’s periods don’t resume for a long time (breast feeding or not), some women’s cycles go back to what they were, and some women’s cycles change completely.
They may have more or less menstrual pain. Ovulate at different times of the month. Skip periods. This is all due to the hormones readjusting itself after the incredible experience of childbirth. Women need to be prepared that their cycles will take a while to go back to normal, and their body will need time to readjust after pregnancy and birth. This is all normal and fine.
A tipped uterus is not something most women know about. They especially don’t connect the fact that a tipped uterus could be affecting why they are having trouble conceiving a baby. Once it is discovered that they have one, the doctors can suggest different positions where they may conceive more easily as these positions let gravity take its course. Many times they are successful in conceiving due to switching positions and knowing more about this.
Prior to knowing this, women may simply think they just aren’t capable of conception and beat themselves up that they are less womanly due to it. Understand, that even if a woman does not conceive and birth a baby, she is still very much a woman, but often times there is a simple explanation for lack of conceiving, and in those cases a little bit of investigating can help. Every woman needs to hear she is beautiful no matter what, and to never give up trying new things even if they don’t yield positive results right away.
So there they are: 15 things women wish they knew before pregnancy. Would it change many of their minds about having a baby? Probably not. But it would give them a heads up on some of what they could expect. The rest is, as they say, a surprise that will unfold in time.