A million and one books have been written on pregnancy to date, or at least it feels that way. They either talk about the flawless woman with glowing skin and a cheery smile, who gracefully glides around the house completing everyday errands (the one that does not exist). Or, they talk about preparing women for what’s about to come by writing about possibilities and anecdotes.
To be honest, nothing can truly prepare a woman well enough for her pregnancy. This is because each pregnancy is different. And what might be a bad pregnancy for one might be an okay or even a good one for another.
For example, some women are under medications all through the gestation period, either because of extreme morning sickness (Hyperemesis) or constant weariness due to lack of enough red blood cells (Anemia). Some suffer from little more than an occasional bout of mood swing and cravings for unusual foods.
It is mind boggling, the kind of contrasting opinions and anecdotes one gets to hear from women who have been pregnant or mostly from midwives. They have the best stories.
This, it is safe to say that pregnancy never fails to blindside women. These surprises sometimes turn out to be pleasant, but for most other women out there, they are no less than nightmares. The following is a compilation of the many things that a woman might not expect during her pregnancy.
While most are prepared for morning sicknesses, weird cravings and an uncomfortably swollen chest, here’s a list of things most women seldom take into account.
15 Sudden Maternal Instincts
Okay, so in the case of a planned pregnancy, it is expected that both parents would be overjoyed at the news of expecting a baby. Maternal vibes will be radiating from the woman who’s expecting and she’ll resign herself into the full time job of finding the perfect name for the baby and other such mommy stuff. So perfect.
But even in the cases of unplanned pregnancies, wherein the complete pregnancy is what blindsides the woman (which is another issue in itself), there is a good chance that such a woman will also feel maternally inclined. It is mostly because of the various hormonal changes going on inside her body.
Which means that even if the pregnancy can wreak havoc in the her life, she would want to protect the baby at all costs
With this comes the nesting instinct. It's when women clean the house up and make it perfect before the baby arrives. Women who never vacuum can now be seen willing to carry a full blown spring cleaning routine out. This often takes women, as well as their families, by complete surprise.
14 Impatience And Irritation
Honestly, it is beyond us how people assume that they can go on testing the patience of a person (“Can I touch your belly?”) who literally is carrying another person inside of her, who in turn is annoyed about how difficult the entire situation is. Insensitive, much? No, really, get out of her face if your intention is not to make the whole deal easier for her in the first place.
It is funny when people see the gentlest of women snap and tell people off for annoying them. Most of the time, these women themselves are surprised by their behavior. But since there's so much she already has to deal with that they just assume that people will understand their situation, and don’t make much effort in practicing patience and self control.
Because hey, they’re pregnant. They’re allowed to behave like they want to! People, of course, are mostly understanding and don’t make a big deal out of things. Instead, they whisper to each other, “It’s them hormones, I tell ya!”
13 Unexpected Thoughts About Abortion
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While pregnancies can be categorized as planned ones and unplanned ones, abortions are seldom “planned”. A woman is as surprised to be considering abortion as she is to not be considering abortion, in both planned and unplanned cases. This is because most women feel that they know what they will be getting into if they get pregnant.
If in case a woman goes for an abortion for an unplanned pregnancy, she will most likely feel surprised at herself for having enough guts (or heartlessness, depending on her state of mind) to be putting herself first instead of her unborn baby.
In case of an abortion of a planned pregnancy, it possibly is the late realization of the gravity of the situation that dawns upon the woman. In all these cases, surprise at oneself for even beginning to think about abortion when pregnant, is something that blindsides a lot of women out there.
12 Becoming Super Self Conscious
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It is wrong to expect a high degree of confidence from a woman who does not recognize her own body, because that is how much an expecting woman's body changes during pregnancy.
Not just this, wardrobe malfunctions are a given occurrence at any given time and place. Safety pins become the new best friends, and women are forced to wear maternal jeans and loose clothing, which by the way are terribly ugly to look at.
For a woman who has always loved her figure and physique, it can be an especially hard hitting reality for her. Who could have predicted the extreme insecurity and over consciousness? Yes, of course we see all those women on TV handling their pregnancies so well, but when it happens to us, it becomes an entirely different issue.
To think about it in one’s head is one thing, but to experience it, is entirely different. Most women totally avoid any plan involving getting outside the house. This over consciousness, however, slowly fades away after childbirth and it doesn't take long for things to go back to normal.
11 Being The Centre Of Attention
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It does not take long for people to acquire their masters in maternal and fetal studies once they’ve been informed about the impending pregnancy. It is actually pretty impressive how they can predict the pregnancy and the sex of the child using no means of advanced medical technology. Seems like we’re living around super humans no less.
Suddenly, everyone is a quizmaster and Ms Preggers is the shared contestant. Pregnant women hear the full gamut of questions from, “What is the due date?” all the way to, “Can I touch your stomach?” Moms-to-be are usually asked about their baby's gender, possible names, how they plan to deliver their child down to their cravings and if the baby is active or not.
Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? It is, but not really.
Women gradually get used to being the centre of attention, even though it catches them off guard at first. They also get used to looking mostly shabby and come to terms with the fact that people still find her amusing and adorable. Enjoy it while it lasts, ladies, because pregnancies don’t continue forever.
10 All That Discharge (Yay!)
This one deserves a complete subheading to itself. Imagine sitting anywhere in general. A public setting, having conversations with friends, that sorta stuff, when suddenly, a pregnant woman looks down and finds wet patches on the front of her shirt. Worse, those wet patches on her trousers!
For those who didn’t know, milk discharge is called colostrums, and it changes composition and texture throughout the pregnancy. Vaginal discharge is called leukorrhea. It is the same as women experience during normal menstrual cycles. The amount and frequency of discharge keeps increasing throughout the pregnancy.
These types of discharges are not something that many women know about, hence they are completely blindsided when they happen to them. However, there’s no need to panic. All that has to be taken care of is keeping tabs of the texture, color and odor of the discharge.
If it is any different from the discharge she generally has, a doctor should be consulted immediately. In the meantime, have fun hiding those wet patches on shirts and pants!
9 Extreme Optimism
The anomalies, both physical and psychological, that pregnancy bring can make any one break under shear pressure and exhaustion. Still, pregnant women are mostly found happy. At least in public! Is that not a miracle in itself?
That’s because to be pregnant, one must be ready to assume that the entire struggle will ultimately be worth it. A lot of women initially don't think so. Most of them plan to never get pregnant because of all the horrible things being pregnant does to the body.
However, once they are pregnant, a wave of positivity and optimism washes over them. They gain a can-do attitude towards life and tread forth despite of being in extreme discomfort most of the time. All this, on the foundation of the simple assumption that all will be fine in the end. And of course, thanks to all those hormones raging inside every pregnant woman’s body which happen to control her mood.
8 Perpetual Embarrassments
Under this heading are a barrage of things and occurrences that happen on an everyday basis. And almost all of them make women want to retreat in isolation and never emerge back to civilization. Why? Because their bodies have forgotten how to behave…normally
Women sometimes pee their pants when pregnant. Did you know that? It's only during pregnancy that the pressure on the bladder is so high at all points of time that the only way to know if a woman has indeed peed is to check if her pants are soaking. Ah, the blessings of having to carry another life inside of you.
And then come the loud farts and zero control over them. Women basically lose all muscle control below the abdomen and thus just have to go with the flow that is set by the body. And then of course, the terrible mood swings, the weird cravings and vomiting as and when your body (not your mind) think it’s okay to do so.
Honestly, if these things don’t blindside you, then nothing will.
7 Feelings Of Resentment
Many women struggle with feelings of resentment during pregnancy. The root of this resentment lies in the extreme physical and emotional discomfort they are in owing to their pregnancy. It is too much of a responsibility to be trusted upon anybody, let alone a woman whose hormones are raging inside her body!
It inevitably takes a toll, and anger, resentment and even frustration are what a lot of women feel during a majority of their time being pregnant. And towards whom are all these negative feelings targeted? It can be anyone, from the unborn baby to her significant other.
At the end of the day, when all those feelings have washed away, women’s maternal instincts crush them with guilt for feeling this way, but that should not be the case. The guilt that follows is futile. It is natural to resent a condition that makes one feel like crap. Second, she is not a mother yet. It is okay if the overwhelming and fierce love for the child takes time to come – it’s okay, and it’s normal.
6 Constipation…And Hemorrhoids
Constipation is very, very common during pregnancy. Which would have been okay by itself, but nope. Constipation, as it turns out, can also cause or aggravate hemorrhoids. For the uninitiated, hemorrhoids typically are swollen blood vessels in the rectal area which are excruciating and usually itch, sting or bleed either during or after going to the loo.
Wondering how constipation worsens the situation? Well, ya gotta strain to poop when you’re constipated, right? It’s that straining which ends up giving you those lovely hemorrhoids.
This is a condition that doctors usually talk about, as it is not something experienced by all (or even most) pregnant women. But if the doc skipped on this particular information, women are in for a big surprise.
Obviously, they are unprepared for this particular, ahem, condition, when it happens to them. Needless to say, it completely blindsides them.
5 Skin Issues (Double Yay!)
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The ‘glow’ that to be mothers have on their face is due to an increase in blood volume needed to meet the metabolic requirements of the baby. Some women become subjects to a phenomenon known as chloasma that refers to dark patches (yellowish or brownish) on the skin. Mostly this is found on the face and nearby areas.
And which pregnant woman doesn’t want to appear prettier with dark, patchy spots on her face?
Another problem is increased acne. The skin increases production of sebum, thus causing acne, mostly on the facial region, because again, why have acne on places like your back or thighs, when you can have it on literally the most visible part of your body, right?
However, since these changes occur as a side effect of facilitating the pregnancy, it’s advisable not to break a sweat about these. And if women do break a sweat about it, rush to the doc because God sure as hell isn’t making life any easier.
4 Big, Big Babies
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When a baby weighs more than an average baby does (7.5 pounds) during gestation period, it is termed as a big baby. This is an unforeseen condition, because come on! Every woman thinks she’s gonna give birth to a normal/regular sized baby and not some gigantor, right?
And to be honest, nothing can prepare a woman for a big baby because how do you even prepare for one?
By the way, a myth that surrounds the birth of big babies is that they require an artificially induced labor or a cesarean surgery. This is untrue. While having a big baby may result in certain complications, natural birth still is a completely pragmatic and doable option. It is a rarity when a vaginal birth may threaten the health of the child or the mother.
In the meantime, go back to dreaming about having normal sized babies.
3 Crazy Birth Plans
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A lot of women think that they’d spend days and weeks on the perfect birth plan, but guess what? They never work. A woman can sit with her gynecologist for a complete day and chart a month by month plan in the hopes of having the most beautiful birth of her dreams.
However, it will almost always go to waste. Just like how a lot of women plan a natural and un-medicated pregnancy and childbirth, but then end up popping a dozen pills everyday for nausea and anemia, not to mention meds for induced labor and an epidural to ease labor pain.
Cesarean surgeries too can be as blindsiding as things go, as no one can accurately predict complications during childbirth. Birth plans go haywire all the time, but then that’s the norm in the pregnancy industry, and all doctors will vouch for that. Plus, there really is no reason to worry as long as the baby is healthy.
2 When Nothing Else Goes As Anticipated Either
Delivering on the actual due date is something akin to winning the lottery, being struck by lightening or getting attacked by a shark. It's pretty rare. Labor is either delayed or simply blindsides women by occurring before it's expected.
Same goes with the water breaking. And of course, the actual date when a pregnant woman does give birth. The possibility of giving birth to the baby on the exact date that was given by the doctor is, wait for it, 5%!!
Not to mention all the preparation which goes to waste because hubby darling forgot to carry an extra pair of clothing, forgot to put down emergency contact details in case labor happens unexpectedly, and all the usual stuff that people generally forget when their wives are shrieking as if summoning Satan from the pit.
And despite everything that we’re told or we watch in movies, it is astonishing when such moments finally arrive, women and their husbands (or wives) are completely blindsided and/or unprepared to handle these situations in an orderly fashion.
1 A Sudden Shift In Priorities
The thing is, thinking about being a mother, and actually being a mother, are two entirely different scenarios (even though most women believe them to be the same). When a woman holds her newborn in her hands for the first time, it then becomes the centre of her universe.
There’s literally nothing more important than the tiny baby she’s holding in her hand, which can be quite an attitude adjustment for many women. Yes, we know. Maternal instincts, blah blah blah. But again – you don’t know how it feels, till it actually happens to you.
Prioritizing the child before oneself is something that reflects in the everyday decisions of a mom-to-be. There are so many restrictions that come automatically in life, and yet, most women would gladly give all that they love, for their little babies (alcohol, physical workouts, a social life). Women really are blindsided by this shift of priorities. This is something no one can prepare for, yet it happens to everybody.