If you've been keeping up, you know I've shared alll about pregnancy from the first trimester, to the second trimester, and lastly the third trimester! If you read those, you know that I was constantly surprised throughout pregnancy by how different expectation vs. reality turned out to be. Which got me thinking about what it is they don't tell you about pregnant.
5 Things They Don't Tell You About Being Pregnant
1. Every pregnancy is different.
Okay, maybe some people tell you this, but chances are you didn't really listen or understand it until you got pregnant. Honestly I could stop the post right here and please keep this in mind as you continue reading. It's really important though to let this sink in: every single pregnancy is different. From person to person to baby to baby. As much as you'll want to read or talk with others, no one can really predict how your pregnancy will be. Which I kind of love, because it gives you an opportunity to co-create the experience.
I remember watching Kate Hudson on Ellen and she said her current pregnancy was kicking her butt basically… she had never swelled up like she did with her most recent baby and everything felt harder to do. Another person I follow had two kids, worked out and looked amazing through her first to pregnancies, but her third felt totally different and she was more tired, ached more, etc. I had friends who had really trying pregnancies and felt blessed to have an easy pregnancy.
Go in with an open heart and open mind. Give yourself grace through it all and don't compare. Trust you're having the exact experience you're supposed to. Personally, I didn't really talk with anyone about their pregnancy or read any pregnancy books because I wanted to experience it all as it unfolded and not be filtered with any biases. This allowed me to tune into my body more and roll with pregnancy symptoms as they came up and figure out what prompted them.
2. Things will come up.
I had the easiest pregnancy you could possibly imagine IMO. Even with that though, at 27 weeks I met with the other midwife in the practice. They do this just in case my midwife isn't there for delivery, every person meets with the other midwife in the practice so you know who your “backup” is so to speak). I was already feeling stressed that day because of the glucose test and waiting for my blood draw. Then I got weighed and the nurse said I gained 14 pounds in 4 weeks… uhm no I definitely didn't! I've gained 14 lbs this entire pregnancy…” She was like “oh someone must have written it down wrong – uhm no you did my weight last time so you must've written it down wrong. – That gives you an idea of how on edge I was.
When I went to get my blood taken I didn't feel comfortable with the nurse so I asked for someone else and got all sorts of less than great vibes. After the blood draw I went back to the waiting room and had to wait what felt like forever to finally meet the other midwife… only for her to tell me (within 2 minutes of meeting) that I have mutant blood and my body would attack any future baby I conceived… welp I'm not panicked or anything.
Truthfully it wasn't a big deal it was just a really bad day. I had to get a shot in week 28 and another when the baby was born if her blood was incompatible with mine. But it was a rough day full of anxiety. So when I went in the next week to get my shot and meet with my midwife for the first appointment of the third trimester, I was still a little on edge.
I had been moved from doctor to doctor up to this point in my care. I had started with my OB that delivered me, then saw a different doctor in his practice, they then had me see a perinatal specialist, then I switched to my midwife but for some reason the perinatal specialist had me schedule my 20 week ultrasound with them, so I went to back to them, and then of course meeting the back up midwife and it felt like a big clusterfuck that I was ready to be over.
Tip: If you know you're not going to deliver with your regular doctor switch ASAP.
I couldn't have been happier with my midwife and the other midwife (who I just mentioned from my 27 week appointment). But transitioning definitely left my Type-A control freak side feel very out of whack. I'm happy we switched as early in my pregnancy as we did so I felt comfortable with everyone and everything by the time I delivered.
I was optimistic to finally just have all my care at my new provider with my actual midwife going forward… she reassured me about the shot I was getting that day and understanding my blood type and I felt at ease (well as much as I could)… and then we listened to the baby's heartbeat and very quickly I knew something was off.
The baby's heart was arrhythmic. My midwife assured me it was probably nothing, but procedurally she referred me to another specialist to make sure it really was nothing. After that appointment I started crying hysterically. I blamed myself – like I slept on my back too many times or shouldn't have had that half a cup of coffee the week before. Baby wasn't even Earth side yet and I couldn't stop crying and questioning myself as a mother.
A week later, we went to the specialist appointment, only to get there and they told me there was no appointment for me. They said they tried calling to cancel it since they didn't take my insurance. I saw red. Both my midwife's office and I had confirmed with them that they did take my insurance when setting up and confirming the appointment. They never tried calling me to cancel the appointment.
I called my midwife hysterical and she got me in to see her that day for an ultrasound. The arrhythmia was gone! She had said that could happen, it could come and go throughout pregnancy and even be there all of pregnancy and not be there at birth. My husband's dad is a cardiologist and he kept telling us it wasn't anything to worry about but I still felt so afraid and crushed. Thankfully, we never heard the arrhythmia again.
If you skipped to here:
So that's my long winded way of saying even in the easiest of easy pregnancies things are going to come up that may terrify you. Be prepared for the unexpected since that's basically all that's going to be coming at you as a new parent. Which leads me too…
3. You have a say in your pregnancy experience.
Obviously you can't control what will and won't come up. But you can choose how you experience all the things coming up. All events in life are neutral until we assign a feeling or meaning to it. I could choose to blame and shame myself about the irregular heart beat or I could choose to believe everything is okay and there's some other reason I had that experience – even if the lesson isn't clear in that moment.
You can choose to focus on the aches and pains, or you can choose to focus on the miracle that actual life is being created inside of you. Personally, I think your pregnancy comes down to how well you actually can listen to your body too. Sometimes that's out of our control and we have to spend 9-5 in an office we hate. But how can you give your body what it wants in that setting? Can you bring a blanket to make it extra cozy, can you rearrange your space so it's more conducive for your new needs? I think really being able to tune into what your body wants and is telling you is so key.
When I found out I was pregnant and had to stop doing all my usual pain management stuff, I listened to my body and started seeing a prenatal chiropractor and I had little to no pain or discomfort until my third trimester really, and even then it wasn't that bad if I chose to shift my focus. Meaning, if I just sat there thinking how uncomfortable I was all day then that's where my focus and energy would go and that would magnify my discomfort. If I chose to go for a walk or focus on how great I felt that date mentally, that would magnify and the physical discomfort would go away. The mind is a powerful tool, use it!
4. You will pee more than you can even imagine and earlier than you think
I've said this since my first trimester symptoms post – but before I even knew I was pregnant I already noticed I was peeing more than usual! Guess what?! Your bladder doesn't kick into high gear just when the baby grows and is pushing on it… nope it kicks into high gear once you actually become pregnant thanks to a pregnancy hormone!
5. People may not be as nice and caring as you'd think…
I always heard how much nicer people are to you when you're pregnant and that just wasn't the case for me. Maybe it's because I didn't really start “showing” until my third trimester (the first time a stranger congratulated me on my pregnancy I was 34 weeks). So I didn't get the perks of cutting to the front of the line or just random people throwing smiles around.
But what surprised me – especially postpartum – is how many people feel entitled to your child. Now this is more specific to my family, which if you've been a reader for a long time should come as no surprise – but I was particularly surprised by how many family members decided to add unnecessary stress to my life while pregnant. And postpartum, how many of those same people are only asking to come and see the baby, instead of asking if there's anything the hubs and I need. We've had friends drop off food and offer to pick things up for us, but some of our family members? They simply are only focused on their needs, regardless if it's good for us and baby.
I bring this section up as a reminder: boundaries start while you're pregnant.
The energy you're experiencing while pregnant is being passed to your baby. If people are causing you undo stress or pain, block them, ignore them, tell them you'll get back to them after the baby is born. Now is not the time to be a people pleaser. Now is the time to be a parent. The way I looked at is: if I wouldn't have the conversation while holding my baby in my arms, then I'm not having the conversation while she's in my belly.
Okay, this may not hold true for everyone, but it definitely caught me by surprise – and in my postpartum state brought on a wave of guilt so I thought I'd put it here…
You'll miss being pregnant.
Yep, even with all of the discomfort, symptoms, limits, etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm over the moon to hold our baby in our arms and ecstatic she's actually here. However, I also find myself reaching down to touch my stomach and, thanks to postpartum hormones, tear up a little that she's not there anymore. We'll never be that close again – she's her own person now and that's unbelievably beautiful and exciting, and also a little sad. I was one of those women who loved being pregnant, so I know this may not be true for everyone, but I just wanted to say there's no shame in missing it a little, it doesn't mean you love your baby any less.
Here's a list of 5 Things They Didn't Tell You About Being Pregnant
Every pregnancy is different.
Things will come up.
You have a say in your pregnancy experience.
You will pee more than you can even imagine and earlier than you think
People may not be as nice and caring as you'd think…
BONUS: Boundaries start while you're pregnant
BONUS: You'll miss being pregnant