I thought I knew everything about pregnancy when I started trying to conceive. I was wrong. Turns out, no book can tell you what pregnancy will be like for you. Every pregnancy is different, so even if you've done it before, you might be in for some surprises. Honestly, now that I've been pregnant three times, with vastly different experiences, there are so many things about pregnancy I wish I could go back and tell myself before I started trying to conceive (TTC).
Pregnancy was full of surprises from the start, and I mean the start literally. While I was definitely TTC, I discovered the hard reality that there's really no ideal time to get pregnant. The first time I was having serious marital problems, which a pregnancy and a new baby totally didn't fix. The second time I had just accepted a promotion and, had to tell my new boss I was pregnant and was going to go on leave in a few months. He was not happy, to say the least.
Then there's the fact that pregnancy can really suck. During my last two pregnancies, I had complications that seriously impacted my health, ability to function as a mom, and even my career. Last time I got pregnant, I had just started a new job as a fitness professional. I ended up having to take an unpaid leave of absence, and ultimately had to quit a job I loved when my health declined and I was put on bed rest. Pregnancy was a never-ending roller-coaster ride of vomiting, pain, and bed rest that I never want to do again. Seriously. If only I would have known.
"You Can Get Pregnant Right Away After Stopping Birth Control"
In retrospect I feel a bit foolish for not considering that I could get pregnant the moment I stopped taking birth control. Surprise.
"At Times, It Will Suck"
It really sucked. I imagined that if I did the "right" things — like eating healthy, exercising, and getting awesome prenatal care — I would have pain-free, low-risk pregnancies. It turns out, pregnancy can suck for anyone, no matter how healthy you are when you're TTC.
"You're Going To Have To Quit Your Job"
It sucks that we live in a country where some people have to chose between doing what they need to take care of themselves during pregnancy, and keeping their jobs. I never imagined that it would happen to me.
"You Will Throw Up Until You Deliver"
I had hyperemesis gravidarum during my last two pregnancies, which meant that I threw up almost every day. I had no idea how horrible I would feel, how depressed I would get, or that it would continue well after my first trimester. In fact, I threw up for the last time during labor. Ugh.
"Being Pregnant When You Already Have Kids Is Exhausting"
I honestly don't know how I did it. Being pregnant when you already have kids means you are exhausted, sick, huge, and slow, and still have to manage to keep tiny humans alive. I'm pretty sure magic was involved to keep them alive. I have no other explanation.
"Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help With Depression"
I wish I had known that I would suffer from depression during pregnancy. I felt so alone and afraid to admit I wasn't happy. It turns out, it's pretty common. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, between 14-23 percent of people will struggle with some symptoms of depression during pregnancy. Luckily, safe and effective treatment options — including therapy and medications — are available to treat depression and other mental health conditions during pregnancy. I wish I had gotten help sooner.
"Pregnancy Is So Much Easier With A Buddy"
This time when I was pregnant, I had a friend who was pregnant at the same time. Getting and giving support and having a person who is going through similar challenges at the same time made all the difference. I wish I had had a pregnancy buddy last time.
"Take It Easy"
If you overdo things, your body will punish you. Take it easy, badass. Otherwise you will regret it.
"Plan To Be On Bed Rest"
If I would have known I was going to have to be on bed rest, I would have done so many things differently, like make arrangements for things at work, hire help, and save money to make up for lost wages and to pay for unexpected hospital bills. I also would have totally painted my bedroom before I got pregnant, because damn, I now know every crack in these four walls.
"It Won't End Up The Way You Plan & That's OK"
I wish I could go back and tell myself that nothing in pregnancy will go as planned, and that's OK. I was wrong about so many things, from conception through induction, and child birth did not look anything like my birth plan. I wish someone had told me to remember that I grew tiny humans in my body, and even if it was messy and painful and didn't go as planned, I did good. Growing humans is totally badass, no matter how you do it. Seriously.