When you're pregnant you're bound to face a seemingly never-ending onslaught of advice, most of which is usually unsolicited. As a first-time mom this can be helpful, but it can also be overwhelming, exhausting, and taxing. When I was pregnant in my 20s I had more than a few people throw pieces of advice my way, and while it was sometimes daunting I later realized that a lot of that advice was relevant and helpful.
I have to admit that I was absolutely clueless about about pregnancy and motherhood — not to mention life in general — when I was in my 20s. My partner and I had been together for over a year when I found out I was expecting our daughter, so our relationship was relatively new, too. So you can imagine that while I was excited to be a mom, I was also scared out of my damn mind. I had so many questions running through my head, and to be honest I was scared to ask a lot of those questions and run the risk of people thinking I was going to be some kind of terrible mother. What happens during pregnancy? How do you even hold a newborn? Do I have to buy maternity clothes? I needed, and wanted, to know it all.
Yes, some of the advice I obtained as a pregnant woman was absolute garbage, but other people definitely knew what they were talking about and, perhaps more importantly, knew my situation well enough to know what I needed to know and what pieces of information were going to be useless. And while it's important for us all to listen to and trust ourselves at the end of the day, and especially when we're pregnant, taking a few helpful hints from people who've been there can be extremely beneficial, too. So with that in mind, here are some pieces of advice that actually helped me navigate pregnancy in my 20s:
"Take Crackers To Bed"
I had severe morning sickness that lasted all damn day and night. My doctor prescribed medication that was supposed to help but, to my dismay, it didn't. Then someone told me to take crackers and an unopened can or bottle of 7-Up to bed, and the moment I felt myself waking in the morning I should have a sip and stuff a few crackers into my mouth. If I munched on something before I even opened my eyes, then gave it a few minutes to settle before I got out of bed, I could at least make it to the kitchen without hurling.
This was one piece of advice that ended up being worth its weight in gold.
"It's OK To Let Things Slide"
I like to stay on top of my responsibilities, which means I'll cook and clean and run all over town to make sure errands are completed regardless of how I feel or what's going on during the day.
That's difficult to do when you're growing another human being inside your body, though. Sometimes your body simply can't keep up with the demands of your day-to-day life, and pushing yourself isn't necessary or, in certain situations, healthy. People reminding me that I could let some things go and tend to them later was the silent permission I needed to put my needs, and the needs of my pregnancy, first.
"Your Life Isn't Over"
When I was pregnant I didn't feel like myself, I spent less time with friends, and my relationship definitely took a hit. I needed to be reminded that while my life was changing and going to change significantly when my baby was born, it wasn't over, either. I could and still would be me... I would just be me with a baby.
"You Don't Have To Buy Maternity Clothes"
Maternity clothes can be expensive, but when your pre-pregnancy clothes no longer fit buying those overpriced items seems like a necessity.
Enter: stretchy pants and over-sized shirts.
I didn't have to buy maternity clothes, I could just purchase clothes with more give and/or items that were a few sizes larger than I would normally buy. Problem solved.
"You Don't Owe Your Life Story To Anyone"
Will you be going back to work? Are you and your partner going to get married? What are you going to do about your career? Will you be staying at home? What kind of birth are you going to have?
When you announce your pregnancy, especially if you're in your 20s and people consider you to be "young," the questions will come flying at you quicker than you could possibly anticipate. I'm so thankful someone reminded me that I didn't owe anyone an explanation about anything, especially when it came to my pregnancy.
"Sleep As Much As You Can"
Yes, I know it sounds obvious. And, yes, pregnant people of all ages undoubtably receive this piece of advice. But it's true and it's helpful to be reminded that you can and should take breaks from your daily life to sleep... even if it's slightly annoying to hear over and over again.
Stay Connected With Your Partner
To be honest, I assumed pregnancy would automatically bring me and my partner closer together. I was wrong, and we had to work at it during those 40 weeks (more or less) of my pregnancy. It was so helpful to hear that not only was this period in our relationship normal, but that we should be putting one another first and focusing on our relationship, our bond, and how we were going to parent together once our baby was born.
"It's OK For Certain Friendships To End"
In my 20s I was under the impression that I had to be friends with everyone, and maintain the friendships I already had regardless. But people grow and change and, as a result, don't always remain compatible with the people that used to be close with. That. Is. OK. And it was so helpful to hear, from other moms, that certain friendships were going to come and go, and others were going to remain intact and, in fact, a source of support as I navigated pregnancy and motherhood.