9 Intense Things About Pregnancy I Wasn’t Ready For

For the record, I didn’t expect pregnancy to be blissful. I knew, like I think most people know, that it can be challenging, exciting, awe-inspiring, uncomfortable, and scary. Actually, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. That’s like, pregnancy on a random Tuesday afternoon. That doesn’t even count all the major ups and down and hormonal shifts that happen throughout the entire process. Really, there are a number of unexpectedly intense things about pregnancy I wasn’t ready for. Thankfully, and now that I’ve been through approximately 1.90 pregnancies, with my second baby due only a few weeks from now, I can look back with a little bit of perspective. Well, as much perspective as one can have when they’re technically still in the thick of things.

To be fair, some of these things may have been unique to me. After all, every woman and every pregnancy is different, and I'm not too sure know anyone else who cried over their birthing class (more on that later). Still, in my experience, it’s like, the more my belly grew, the more my stress increased. Much like Gretchen Weiners and her big hair full of secrets, my big belly is indeed full of intense feelings and fears that I seemed to be experiencing entirely on my own. OK, I’m mostly kidding because yes, there’s a baby there too.

To make a long story somewhat short, my point is this: pregnancy is not easy, regardless of your unique experience or set of circumstances, and I think there are some universally overwhelming aspects of pregnancy that are definitely worth acknowledging. For example:

How Severe Certain Symptoms Could Be

My second pregnancy has had some significant differences from the first. I’m exponentially more exhausted, and I’ve also been exposed to the wonders of heartburn and random cramps.

Side note to my partner: sorry about the time(s) I fell asleep on the couch and left you on solo parent duty for hours on end, especially after we had agreed you’d have time to work.

How Everyone Around You Wants To Tell You Horror Stories

The fact that I’m pregnant does not mean I want anyone to tell me how they, or how their loved one, almost died during childbirth. In fact, I’d even go as far as saying the opposite is true; the fact that I am pregnant means I definitely don’t want anyone to tell me about near-death experiences. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

How Google Results Are Always Terrifying

Speaking of things I’d rather not know about, Google is a frequent perpetrator. Early on in my first pregnancy, I spent a ridiculous amount of time searching for any and all things plus, the word “pregnant." For example, "roller coasters + pregnant,” or, “coffee + pregnant,” or, “all the things that I normally enjoy doing + pregnant.” As it turns out, you can find warnings against almost anything on the internet, just like you can find support for them, too.

On a related note, I’ve grown to be much pickier about the links I choose to click on.

How I'm Literally Unable To Get Up

My spouse deserves some kind of medal for the number of times he’s pretended not to notice me rolling around like a walrus in order to hoist myself into a seated, or even standing, position. I don’t mean that as a dig on walruses, either, because I think they’re awesome. I just never thought I’d identify so strongly with them.

How Unforgiving My Emotions Are

Yes, I actually did cry for a grand total of 18 times yesterday. In the ongoing competition of who sheds more tears between me and my toddler, I think I may actually be pulling ahead now.

How Invasive Certain Questions & Comments Would Be

Even well-meaning people sometimes go where you don’t want them to go. To be honest, I’m still trying to find a good way to say, “I’m really happy for you that you’re able to talk openly and comfortably on my Facebook wall about your own hemorrhoids, but I would like to be excluded from this narrative.”

How I Would Feel When I See Other Babies

There’s a slight vibe of solidarity that I can’t help but feel when I see another mom with her baby. For the most part, I think pregnant women get a little bit of a pass when it comes to squeeing over other peoples’ little ones in public. At least, that’s been my experience. It probably has to do with how we’re a pretty non-threatening bunch, with our limited mobility and the likelihood that if there were some kind of confrontation, we'd be out of breath after like three steps anyways.

How It Feels For Your Number One Priority To Be On Display For The World

If there was a way to go through pregnancy more subtly and process it more privately, I totally would. Having a bump on display invites attention and comments and conversation. Sure, some of it comes from friends and loved ones, who I’d be sharing with regardless, but it also comes from people who I have no real reason to be talking to, aside from the fact that they can visibly see my pregnancy. This, apparently, is on par with straight-up inviting them to come ask me deeply personal and invasive questions.

How I'd Feel About Birthing Class

So, I cried during my birthing class. I don’t mean “cry,” like, one gentle tear because one of the birth videos they showed was beautiful. I mean “cry” like full-on sniffling and choking and face-wiping, one step below sobbing. I was not prepared for some of the intense explanations our instructor gave about the different stages of labor, and they freaked me out a little bit. Turns out, I got worked up over nothing, because my labor experience did not include any of the things I freaked out over. At the time, however, I had no idea that would be the case, so I think my face-wiping cry was warranted.