There's much to fear about pregnancy before (and even after) you actually become pregnant. So much is unknown and no matter what you hear, you're never fully prepared until it's happening and or already over. Pregnancy is also a time you get a lot of unsolicited advice and horror stories, but some of the things my friends said to me about pregnancy were surprisingly (not to mention, thankfully) true.
Way back before I had children I remember hearing tales of how my nine months would go, whenever it was I got there. I'd laugh or scoff or brush it off entirely because there's no way everyone could know how my pregnancy would play out. Surely each one is different to the point that there's no way we could all collectively share the same experience. Or, so I thought. Turns out, there are some things that are generally true for a lot of moms, which is nothing if not comforting.
My first pregnancy had its irregularities as my weight ballooned, my blood pressure rose, and my feet accumulated so much water I couldn't walk. It wasn't a necessarily pleasant experience, but there were some gems of excitement and wonder sprinkled throughout my pregnancy experience. For example, hearing that fetal heartbeat for the first time and feeling those first movements were capable of making a miserable pregnancy feel pleasant and worthwhile. There really isn't anything like it. Even when other moms would try to explain how these things would feel, I didn't know until I felt them.
So while not all the things I heard about pregnancy were true (because women are different, and so are their pregnancies), there were other things my friends and family told me that absolutely were, including the following:
"Everything Will Swell"
Of course I knew things would swell here and there, but I really didn't think all the parts could (and would).
Literally, from my toes to my scalp, I retained water. This is a real thing and it's horribly uncomfortable. There's no relief (at least there wasn't for me) until I had my babies and my body found it's way back to postpartum normalcy. And even then, I'm pretty sure nothing landed exactly back to the shapes and sizes they were before. Pregnancy does that.
"You'll Lose Interest In Your Favorite Foods"
Eggs were my daily breakfast of choice. Until, of course, I found out I was pregnant. Once I experienced morning, noon, and night sickness, I detested the sight of eggs. The stench was enough to keep my head in the toilet for hours and, though I swore one day I'd be back to them, it's been six years since my last pregnancy and I'm still not totally there yet. Sorry, eggs. Maybe someday.
"Your Hair Might Fall Out"
I've always had the kind of hair that clumps and breaks from being so dry, but pregnancy hormones made them go into overdrive. My hair grew rapidly, thanks to those pregnancy hormones, but it'd fall out as fast as it grew in.
At first sight, there's a bit of worry, and then I remembered my friends reminding me it'll even out after delivery. (Still waiting on that to happen, though.)
"You Won't Want To Go Out As Much"
Once a singer, I used to frequent bars and clubs on the regular. Of course I was much (much) younger then, but I genuinely thought all this going out fun couldn't possibly change just because of pregnancy. I was too free to be restrained! Wrong.
Pregnancy actually made me retreat. I changed into a person I never would've seen myself becoming (and for the better, honestly). Now, many years after giving birth, I still prefer to stay in as opposed to go out.
"At Some Point, You'll Hate Everything"
It sounds strange but you can't possibly know what your hormones will do to your emotions, or how they'll change the way you view other people, until you're going through it. I went from feeling pretty good about people and life to literally hating everyone and everything. Sure, it passed on an hour-by-hour basis, but I resisted thinking I could act this way when hearing about the fluctuations from others. Funny how life works.
"If You Don't Journal, You'll Forget Things"
For my first pregnancy, I wrote everything down. What I ate, what I felt, where I went, and all the hopes and dreams I had for my baby girl. With my second pregnancy, you could say I got a little (a lot) lazy.
I had a toddler, work, life, and pregnancy all to contest with. There wasn't the same amount of time or energy to devote to writing down my every moment. So, when I ditched the journal during my second pregnancy, I forget all the important things. Like when the first flutter was felt, when morning sickness ended, and all those "special" moments I have inked forever while baby number one was cooking. Oh well.
"The Time Will Go By Faster Than You Think"
When you're pregnant it feels like forever will come and go before you have an opportunity to meet your little nugget. I spent a lot of time folding little baby clothes and talking to myself about what life would be like, in an attempt to pass time time. Then, before I knew it, the time passed and it was over. I never believed anyone who said "blink and it's done," until I blinked and it was over. Nine months is just a blip in time when compared to parenting.
"You Will Not Want The Baby To Leave Your Body"
I know, I know. I can hear the sighs now. When you're in the thick of pregnancy, and you're unbelievably uncomfortable, it's hard to think there's ever going to be a time you don't want the baby out of your body so you can feel "normal" again. I didn't believe it, either.
However, somewhere around my five or seven months (before I was on mandatory bedrest), I'd sit in a warm bath and beg my baby not to go. I loved the incredibly intimate moments only he and I shared. Once he came out, I'd have to share him with the world. I had a hard time letting go of those feelings. Until the eight month. Then I wanted him out (and fast).
"You Will Miss Being Pregnant"
It didn't happen right away, but as my babies started to grow into independent beings with less and less need for me to do things for them, and I feel that pang of emptiness. There was a time those little people lived inside of me and now, here they are, arguing about a dumb toy. I really miss those days where all was quiet in the house, while my body nourished those sweet (loud) little babes from the inside. Back then, they were all mine.
There are a lot of things people told me about pregnancy I didn't believe would happen, but they did. While every woman is different, I'm grateful for all the advice and concern. Without it, I might've felt a little more alone.