Stop me if you’ve heard this before: having a child is one of the greatest gifts in life. You’ll have a part of you walking on earth for a lifetime, and they’ll be your legacy.
See, that’s all true and great. For being a gift, though, children sure take a lot of work and pain to bring into the world! But mostly pain.
If you really want kids no matter what, that’s great!Just to be upfront with you, though, below are the shittiest things in pregnancy you can expect and prepare for. And it’s hard to rank all these from most to least tolerable because, honestly, they’re all shitty. So they’re in no particular order.
10. Leaking - or completely soaking your pants
This starts in the first trimester. But it gets worse later in pregnancy, when the baby has grown so much he’s sitting right there on top of your bladder. That, and the fact pregnant women have to drink more water, makes for a very leaky situation.
You could leak when you sneeze, cough, or when you’re having a good laugh with your friends. Or when you’re vomiting, you could wet yourself so much you’d think your water broke - even prematurely!
Imagine the hassle of changing your underwear and pants for the third time of the week. Or having to bring extra pants and underwear with you. Or even worse, having an accident in public!
The only thing you can do is wear pantyliners, regular pads like you’re on your period, or even Depends. (Nothing wrong with wearing Depends - it’s just you gotta do what you gotta do, right?)
9. Nausea, and all the crap that goes with it
Ah yes, the infamous morning sickness. But even that name’s deceiving because it could come on any time of day. Nausea affects every pregnant woman differently (like everything on this list). It usually starts in the first trimester and pretty much lasts throughout pregnancy.
The vomiting’s the worst. It comes so fast sometimes you don’t even have time to run to the toilet or a trash can before it goes splashing all over the floor. And you don’t even feel better afterwards, but like lying down for, I don’t know, a week or two?
And it’s not just vomiting, either. Nausea could include gagging, smell and food aversion (don’t worry, we’ll get to that one!), headaches, gross tastes, fatigue, and total malaise.
The solution? Fortunately, there’s a lot. So you won’t have to depend on pregnancy-friendly nausea medicine and puke bags unless you have to.
8. Food aversion - say goodbye to your normal diet
For you, it might not be that bad. Who knows until you actually go through it? On one extreme, you could be the pregnant woman snarfing down tubs of ice cream, making those famous midnight runs for different foods, and chasing down every intense, bizarro craving that pops into your head. (Which unfortunately makes the weight gain worse. See #2)
On the other extreme, you could be the woman that gets nauseated by so much of everything you end up subsisting on the most basic diet imaginable. Which is also not great for you or the baby.
There’s a workable solution, although it involves changing your diet and maybe taking supplements. It’s still a good way to still nourish yourself and your little-one-to-be. Your OB/GYN could have good suggestions, too. As they say, “keep your eye on the prize” - a bouncing baby.
7. Sleep loss - good luck sleeping
What is it about pregnancy that makes getting a good night sleep so damn hard? Is it the hormones? The anxiety and nervousness of having a baby (especially if it’s your first time)? The big belly later on?
Maybe it’s all the above. But in time, you’ll spend a bunch of your days groggy, trying (and failing) to catch up on sleep, and worrying about everything you have to do. Meanwhile, you’re struggling to keep your eyes open. What makes it even worse is the fact you’ll already have enough sleepless nights when the baby comes. Ohhh, joy.
Your best bet is working on stress reduction and sleep hygiene practices like putting electronics away before bed.
And from what I’ve read from other moms, snoogles can be a breakthrough! They’re body pillows that give you support on your hips, back, neck, and belly. You might end up keeping yours after giving birth.
6. Unsolicited advice/comments
Ugh, too many people have this urge to blurt out their (unhelpful, unkind, unsolicited) thoughts and advice. It’s like verbal diarrhea.
Like when somebody tries to ask you “Um, should you really be eating that?” Or when total strangers come up to you at the store asking how many months you are. Or when family tarts regaling you with nonsensical old wives’ tales you’ve heard a million times.
If you’re unlucky enough to have this happen a lot, you’ll lose a bit of your faith in humanity. You’ll end up scared to go out in public with a big belly, just because of the staring and the comments.
Use your best judgement on dealing with this. If you’re somewhere where you have to be civil (like at work), you may have to be gentle in your answers. Or ignore them, or say “I’d rather not talk about that.”
Otherwise I’m all for letting rude strangers have it! Call them out for staring (or give them a death glare). Shame them when they make a rude comment or give unsolicited advice.
You’ll upset some people, sure. But it’s their own damn fault for being rude in the first place.
5. Everybody and their mom wants to feel your belly
Oh gawd, the unwanted touching of your baby belly. When you get big enough, chances are you’ll get people - co-workers, acquaintances, even strangers - reaching out with their snaky fingers to feel your belly. You’ll wonder who raised these people without telling them “Keep your hands to yourself”.
Don’t people understand the concept of consent? Or the fact that you only get the privilege to so much as hug people if they know and love you well enough?
Just like #6, use your best judgement on this. You could say “Please don’t touch my stomach.” But then if they insist, turn and walk away fast (if you can walk away.) For the ones that don’t learn after that, though, I think you’re within your rights to call them out loudly!
You don’t have to let total strangers touch your belly to be “friendly” or anything. Personal space is still a virtue.
4. Pregnancy brain
The day’s a complete haze. You’ll get up and not be able to focus on anything. You’ll forget things like the doctor’s appointment you had or where you put your keys. (And then find them hanging right next to the door like always.)
This really sucks because chances are you could have a to-do list as long as your arm - even if you’re on maternity leave. You’ll still have to clean the house and do laundry. You’ll worry about planning and having a baby shower. You’ll have to paint and furnish the nursery.
In times like this, you’ll have to lean on the calendar and reminders on your phone, and even on other people to help you. And there’s still other solutions to give you at least some of your focus back. Above all, be kind to yourself.
...Somehow you knew it’d get to this point.
I’ve seen so many stories from pregnant women about their attempts to do #2 - especially right after giving birth. Like so much on this list, it starts out early in pregnancy and lasts up to a couple weeks after giving birth. You could have the urge, sit on the toilet, and... nothing. You could sit there for hours, trying anything you can, and still nothing.
And then a few days later you could try again, and it hurts!Just because you put it off for a few days!
This happens when your progesterone increases in pregnancy, making all your body’s muscles relax - including the colon. This slows down your intestines and your digestion, and makes for constipation. It also doesn’t help that the baby will grow to the point she’s pressing on your colon.
High fiber foods, lots of water, and stool softeners could become your very, very best friend. Your OB/GYN might know of some pregnancy-friendly medications, too. And those should get things flowing smoothly.
2. Weight gain/body standards
Unfortunately, society in general is way too vain.
You look on TV, movies, and ads, and see skinny people everywhere. And if you see any bigger person, they’re usually either side characters, the butts of jokes, or portrayed as slow and clumsy.
This can take a toll on people’s confidence if their bodies don’t match society’s beauty standards. It’s partly why anorexia and bulimia exist. Naturally, pregnant women will have a hard time with this, too, because pregnancy usually means gaining weight. Not to mention trying to lose the baby weight after pregnancy.
But if you get pregnant and start gaining weight,please don’t feel bad! You can’t have a baby without getting bigger. It’s natural because your body needs to nourish a growing human inside you.
And remember that you’re not a bad person, or slow, or ugly, just because you got bigger. You’re still the intelligent, good person you always were. And if your family and friends are worthy of your relationship at all, they’ll know this and remind you.
But if you find yourself struggling with your body image, don’t be afraid to seek counseling. A good counselor will help you gain confidence and feel comfortable with your body.
1. Fears of miscarriage
I know I said it’s hard to rank everything here from least to most shitty. But I knew this had to top the list because miscarriage is so serious. It’s like losing an already-born child. The grief has a way of staying with you - even years later when you likely have other kids.
And we don’t talk enough about the shockingly high rates of miscarriage. Between 10 and 15 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. The greatest risk is in the first six weeks of pregnancy, when most women don’t know they’re pregnant.
But even after that, there’s still a chance - a much smaller chance, but still a chance. Your OB/GYN will even tell you to call her if the baby stops moving for a long enough time.
This is why even after your baby gets big, you’ll stress over your little one’s movements. The baby could just be asleep and you could suffer a sort of silent panic until he finally wakes. This is what you’ll go through, over and over, until you finally get to hold your baby in your arms.
The worst thing is, there’s not much you can do to prevent miscarriage because the risk factors are mostly uncontrollable. The best you can do is reduce caffeine intake, don’t smoke, drink, or take drugs, and keep yourself as healthy as possible before trying for a baby and throughout your pregnancy.
But if the worst should happen despite your best efforts, I highly encourage you to get grief counseling and lean on your closest family and friends. And don’t worry - you can have another chance at a family. Don’t let the miscarriage discourage you from trying again.
I know this doesn’t cover everything you could go through while pregnant. But I hope this gives you some great ideas on how to prepare.
And once you get the positive pregnancy test, I wish you the best of luck and a (relatively) smooth pregnancy!