You'll Judge Your Partner More Harshly
Once you find out you're pregnant, your husband is no longer just a cute guy you don't mind clipping your toenails in front of -- he is "The Father of Your Child." Every time you open that certain drawer of his, the one overflowing with crumpled bank statements that he swears "planning to organize real soon," you panic that this man is going to plunge you and your offspring into financial ruin. Every time you see him sprawled out on the sofa in boxers, watching Sportsnet with rapt attention, you think, "This will be my child's male role model?" Every time he walks out of the house with one pant leg stuck in a sock and a piece of food in his teeth, you'll briefly think, "OMG, what was I thinking?" And when he asks you why you looked panicked, you say a small prayer (even if you're not religious). For the baby.
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But You'll Also Feel Closer to Him
You and your spouse have created a being who you don't even know yet, but will keep you bonded for life. This is a scary thought, but it's also an exhilarating one. You wonder: Will the baby have his eyes? He wonders: Will the baby have your smile? You both will think about all the holidays and milestones you'll share with your child: breakfast in bed on Mother's Day, his first pitch in a Little League game. Even if you've been together for years, this means you'll be a family. Together. This makes you want to smother your beloved husband with kisses.
You'll Bounce Back and Forth Between Horny -- and So Not
One minute you're ramped up and ready to go. Your boobs are big. Your hair is full, shiny and bouncy. Your skin is glowing. You feel like an earth mother -- no a goddess! And your guy couldn't agree more. The next minute, you start thinking about the baby. Is it weird to have sex while your innocent baby is in there? What if your partner accidentally pokes him? And besides, you do feel kind of tired. And fat. And gross. Hmm… maybe tomorrow night?
Naming the Baby is Ridiculously Stressful
Before you were pregnant, the possibilities for names seemed endless. Noah, Violet, Sophie. They all sounded so cute. But when it comes down to actually naming your own baby, you start scrutinizing every option. One is too popular, the next is too weird, another doesn't sound right with your last name, yet another means back luck in Swahili. It doesn't help that the one name you like, your husband can't stand because it reminds him of his junior high nemesis. This makes you absolutely crazy. Your parents have opinions. So do friends. And despite your better judgement, you solicit them all. Finding the right name becomes an obsession. Then, one day, it just happens. You decide on a name -- and it feels like a small miracle.
It's Hard Not to Wish for a Certain Gender
You may say all you want is a healthy baby and, of course, this is true. But you secretly either hope for a girl or hope for a boy, and when you find out it's not what you had wanted, maybe you're so bummed you cry. It's not a question of love. You will absolutely adore your child, but you were attached to a certain image and you mourn the loss of that image. You get over it, but when other pregnant women tell you they are having what you wanted, you still have a small pang of jealousy.
You Will Truly Marvel at What Your Body Is Doing
Even if you always knew you'd have a baby one day, you'll still find yourself marveling at what's going on inside your body. Before you start showing, you'll have moments when you "forget" that you're pregnant, only to remind yourself that your insides are working away, multiplying cells at an enormously fast rate. You'll sit at your ultrasound appointments, jaw-dropped, knowing that there's a teeny tiny heart beating inside what used to be your normal, only-one-heart self. and you'll think about how, for your first 20 or 30 or 40 or many years alive, your body hadn't done this, but now, suddenly, it knows exactly what to do to create an entire person -- and it's doing it right.
Your First Three Months May Suck
Finding out you're pregnant is pure elation (if you were trying, that is). But after that, getting through the first three months can be a little dicey. First, there's morning sickness. Then there's the possibility of miscarriage -- about 15 per cent of known pregnancies end this way. More than 80 per cent of these happen before 12 weeks, so it's no wonder so many pregnant women don't feel like they can actually get excited until the second trimester. If you had a miscarriage before, you'll live in constant fear, not trusting that, for you, a pregnancy can "stick." But if you can get through the first trimester, you're golden. Also, the risk of miscarriage goes way down once you're through it.
The first trimester is also the time when you make your toughest decisions. Deciding which genetic tests to take, weighing risks, looking at odds, thinking about what choices you are willing to live with if something does appear "abnormal" -- all of these things can suck the joy right out of the pregnancy (temporarily). Luckily, once your decisions are behind you, you can start to relax. A little.
You'll Start Feeling Like a Mom Long Before the Baby's Due
Sure, you don't know baby yet, but you'll quickly become protective of her -- and that means taking care of your own health, buckling up in taxis (which you never did before) and taking the well-lit way home. You'll feel a kinship with other moms and moms-to-be -- it doesn't bother you now to hear a screaming baby on a plane or to have a maneuver around giant strollers in a crowded restaurant. Plus, you and baby will bond as you feel her movements and maybe even have little tiffs when she gives you an extra hard kick. Your partner probably won't truly bond with her until she's born, but you and her -- you've got something special.
The Delivery Isn't the Only Painful Part
As your uterus swells from the size of an apple to the size of a watermelon, things inevitably start to feel achy, and in some cases, downright painful, in your pelvic area. Some women's hips hurt. Other women get sciatica. Many feel occasional sharp stabs inside their lower abdomens, a condition called round ligament pain (as the uterus gets bigger and heavier, the round ligaments supporting it must stretch, often pressing on nerves in the process). The pain generally lasts a couple minutes and then passes. But, beware, it can wake you up from a deep sleep.
As Scared as You May Be, About the Birth Now, at the end, You'll Be Psyched
Throughout most of your pregnancy, you may fear the moment when labour begins. You have visions of yourself screaming in agony, sweat pouring down your back, weird grimaces on your face. Or you may just block out that part entirely. But either way, labour does come. and by then, you've gotten so big and uncomfortable and are sick of being pregnant, that the fear subsides, and you're ready to face whatever it takes to get that baby out.
The Pregnancy Becomes Your Identity
In the beginning, when you first find out you are pregnant, you don't want to tell people because you still can't believe it's happening. Then, once you tell, the baby starts to take on life of its own (in more ways than one). Remember how after you got engaged, the wedding became the main topic of conversation? Now, the baby becomes your identity for the next six months -- it's all anyone wants to talk to you about. This isn't bad -- some moms love to talk baby 24/7 -- but be prepared. Everything changes once you spill the beans. There are times you may not want to talk about the baby or how you're feeling, but your obvious belly always starts the conversation for you.
Your Condition Is an Invitation for Anyone and Everyone to Make a Comment or Ask a Personal Question
So, were you trying? Are you planning on breastfeeding? Why are you having a C-section? What are you going to do about childcare? Since when are you complete strangers allowed to ask you such personal questions? Oh yeah, and everyone has a comment about the size of your belly. "You're so big. Are you having twins? You must be due any minute." Actually, I'm just big. That's all. But that's for making me feel like crap about it.
You'll Constantly Wonder if All That Discharge is Normal
The icky truth is that nothing you see in your panties is surprising anymore. An increase of milky discharge (leucorrhea) is not uncommon because your body is producing more estrogen, which leads to more secretions from the cervix and vaginal walls. The discharge may have a faint odour, which you will no doubt think everyone in the room can smell. But remember, your sense of smell is heightened; theirs isn't (unless, of course, they're pregnant, too).
You'll Obsess Over Baby's Kicking Patterns
When baby doesn't kick for a longer-than-usual period of time, you panic. You poke furiously. You yell, "Baby!!!" trying to get his attention. You jump on one foot. You blast the stereo. Then, when he moves a little, you rejoice. Other times, lie when you are trying to sleep and the baby is in the middle of his in-utero karate class, you're like, "Baby, what gives?" This is your first important lesson about babies: rarely do they do what you want them to do when you want them to do it.
Pooping Becomes a Problem
Sorry, but constipation rears its ugly head during pregnancy. Be sure to get plenty of fibber and drink gallons of water to help keep things moving. Hemorrhoids (swollen veins in the rectum) can result from all that pushing -- and from the increased pressure your growing uterus is putting on that area. Not so fun.
After deliver, the bathroom may once again become a battleground. You'll likely be taking pain meeds, which cause constipation. Plus, all that pushing in the delivery room can create even more irritation in that area. Don't worry though, the nurses will probably start you on a regimen of stool softeners at the hospital.
You'll Eat Something You Shouldn't
As careful as you are, you will inevitably eat something you aren't supposed to. (That tiramisu was so delicious -- until you found out it had raw eggs in it!) You'll panic and, if you just ate it, you'll actually consider making yourself throw up. But, chances are, you're fine and baby is too. Just be more careful next time.
You'll Have Weird Dreams
Somewhere toward the middle of your pregnancy, you may find that every time you close your eyes to go to sleep you become the star of either a bizarre Fellini film or a soft-core porn video that your husband wasn't cast in. Your dreams might be as outlandish as giving birth to a cat, but they'll probably also feel very real -- as a result of your subconscious acting out your anxieties about delivery and become a mom. Don't dwell on the bad dreams. Think of them like Netflix -- there's a good chance you'll like the next one in your queue.
You'll Gain a New Sense of Confidence
One of the best things about being pregnant is how it changes your mindset about yourself and your life. You feel a sense of confidence and a sense or purpose. You are going to be a mom. This is huge. You worry a bit less about having said the wrong thing at a work meeting or getting a parking ticket. In short, you grow up. This feeling gets even stronger once baby arrives. No wonder every time a Hollywood starlet has a child you have to read about how much her priorities have changed. Who knew you had so much in common with Halle Berry?
You'll Feel Closer to Your Parents
As much as your parents can drive you batty, seeing them excited about becoming grandparents makes you feel grateful. You realize that how you feel about your family is how they felt (and still feel) about you. Get ready -- they'll annoy you with constant questions about how you're feeling and what the doctor said at your latest appointment and comments about what you're eating and whether you're getting enough rest. But just remember that it's because they're excited -- and they care.
You'll Be Swept by a Perpetual Heat Wave
Remember when 68 seemed like the ideal room temperature? When you're pregnant, 68 can feel like 88. The amount of blood flowing through your body at about 32 weeks can be up to double your pre-pregnancy amount, making you feel like you're going through menopause rather than pregnancy. Plus, you sweat like a lumberjack.
Your Mood Won't Just Swing, It Will Attack
PMS has nothing on pregnancy. With your hormones going nuts, you can expect to be visited by some serious mood swings, usually during the first and last trimesters. Tears will spontaneously pour out of your with the smallest of provocations, whether it's a minivan commercial featuring a happy family or an indie film featuring an unhappy one. Anything concerning mother-child relationships is the worst (I couldn't make it through the children's book I Love You Forever with my oldest son without bawling). Then there are the senseless rages against the husband. And then embarrassing breakdowns over misplaced keys and dropped milkshakes. When you find yourself crying because you've just had the best chopped salad ever, you know you're pregnant.
Notions of a Perfect Birth Will Intimidate You…Don't Let Them
Just like there's pressure to breastfeed like a champ and to lose weight right away after the baby arrives, there's pressure to have an "idea birth." some women decide this means forgoing the epidural; others think it means giving birth in a tub. This is wonderful. But after pushing their hearts out, many women also have C-sections. These are not pretty, and many women feel depressed and embarrassed about the fact that they couldn't deliver a baby the way women are "supposed to." It's normal to feel robbed of a natural birth, to feel left out -- and for one brief moment to feel like you failed. But, in the end, it just doesn't matter. What matters is that you and baby are healthy.
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