Yes, babies are tiny miracles and it’s truly unbelievable that our bodies are made to grow and nurture these tiny miracles inside for 9 months. It’s also true that being pregnant can really, really, REALLY suck. While every pregnancy is different, below are the 8 gruesome truths I wish I had known beforehand. No, it wouldn’t have changed our decision to start a family. However, if I had known these were possible I wouldn’t have felt so isolated and alone.
#1 | Acne and Backne
Yep, I suffered from both. My daughter caused painful, cystic acne that was unlike anything I had ever experienced, and I am already acne prone. I wish someone had told me it was all hormonal and not to pick at it. I was so focused on clearing my skin that I picked, frequently, which led to really bad scars I’m still trying to rid. With my son I had horrendous backne (back acne) that was painful, super unsightly, and all thanks to those lovely pregnancy hormones. Since he was born in August, I was largely pregnant most of the summer and left unable to wear all the super cute dresses that had any type of back cut-out or strappy straps. Nothing helped, and I tried it all. Then, magically, about three months AFTER giving birth it all cleared up. Hormones are crazy.
#2 | Gastrointestinal Issues
Ohhh…where to start with this gem. Heartburn I had heard about. “Oh, you have heartburn? That must mean your baby will have lots of hair.” Horse crap. My baby’s hair is on top of it’s head, currently pointing down towards their exit. What’s actually causing my stomach acid to torch my throat is the fact that there is NO ROOM in my belly for all MY organs and this tiny human I’m growing. Pass the Tums and mind your own business. Or, better yet, if your heartburn is super bad, tell your OB and get a Rx for serious relief. My daughter sat so high in my abdomen that even the Rx heartburn meds were not sufficient. Now, on to the lower GI issues…
Constipation started almost immediately after conception and lasted the entire time. There are several ways to combat this easily.
- Incorporate more fiber into your diet by eating lots of leafy greens.
- Take fiber supplements alongside your prenatal vitamins. This was my preferred method because it was easy to remember and didn’t rely on me eating something specific at meals.
- Grab a Costco sized bag of dried prunes and eat a few every day.
- Drink lots of water. Do this anyway to help prevent stretch marks.
If you choose to ignore the constipation, you will be blessed with hemorrhoids, guaranteed. Yep. If you choose to treat the constipation, you will still most likely be blessed with hemorrhoids. Being pregnant is such a blessing, isn’t it?
#3 | Swelling
Sure, sure, everyone has seen how pregnant women can get swollen feet and how foot massages are the parental duty of the father. What you might not know is that your feet won’t be the only things to swell. All appendages will swell. Your face will swell. Rings, watches and braclets might not fit anymore. You will feel like you weigh a million pounds. Fear not, if you’re pregnant in the summer this will be dramatically worse. I remember being 38 weeks pregnant with my son and just terrified of the numbers on the scale at my weekly OB appointments. I kept asking my husband, “do I look big to you? I feel really swollen.” He would lie , “no, of course not. You look good.”
#4 | Sight Changes
Yes, your eye sight may change during your pregnancy. But that’s not exactly the “sight” I’m talking about. At some point in the later part of your pregnancy, your belly will get so big you won’t be able to see your feet. Before that happens, your belly will get big enough that you won’t be able to see your own lady parts. Seriously. And this happens at a point that isn’t too dramatically big. After two pregnancies I’m and 100% confident that there are millions of old men out there with potbellies so big they haven’t seen their own dicks in years. It’s physically impossible, I don’t care what they say.
#5 | All-Day Sickness
Sure, we’ve all seen the newly pregnant lady run to the bathroom and puke in movies. “Oh, morning sickness” the directors and writers want us to believe. What they don’t tell you is ‘morning sickness’ can last all damn day. Yep. From the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. Sick. Neausa, vomitting, headaches…all just a mixed bag of all-day sickness. The lucky ones will have this end with the first trimester. The not so lucky ones will be sick the entire 9 months. If you’re seen Amy Schumer’s documentary or read about The Duchess of Cornwall’s pregnancies, you might be familiar with hyperemesis gravidarum already. Totally not fun.
#6 | Frequent OB Visits
I remember how excited I was to visit the OB when I first discovered I was pregnant. It made it all seem so real and fun! What I was not prepared for was the frequency of those visits. During your last trimester, OB visits jump from 1x every couple of months to just about every week. Had I known this I would have strategically picked my OB based on one thing alone: parking. Newly pregnant with our son in Chicago, getting to my OB required a ride on the El, transfer to a bus, and a 15 minute walk OR a $45 parking pass and a 15 minute walk. Oofta. We moved to Indianapolis when I was 8 months pregnant and was blessed with a new OB who had FREE PARKING on the premises. Hallelujah! My swollen feet rejoiced! She also happened to be a pretty fantastic OB who delivered both my babies, so I really lucked out. (Hi, Dr. Hahn!)
#7 | Fear and Dread (trigger warning)
Saving the biggest for last. When I was finally in my second trimester I remember so clearly how excited we were to tell EVERYONE that I was pregnant. Each time we were greeted with, “CONGRATULATIONS!!”. Eventually the shine wore off and the fear and dread kicked in. And, if I’m honest, it was there from the moment of conception. Am I pregnant? What if I miscarry? What if something is wrong with the baby? What if I fall and the baby gets hurt? What if we lose the baby after the first trimester, like so many people do yearly? What happens if I go into early labor? What if I get preeclampsia? What if something terrible happens during delivery? If the baby comes and everyone is healthy, what do we do with the baby now? How can we take care of such a tiny, fragile human? What if, what if, what if!!! The fear and anxiety can be really crippling. No one talk about that – instead the focus is on what a blessing this is and how happy the mother must be. My advice? Find a mom-group and lean on them for support. They will be your lighthouse in the storm, during pregnancy and afterwards.
#8 | Post-Partum Depression
This is a biggy and one that I will likely dedicate an entire post to later on. The basic thing to know here is that post-partum depression hits so many mothers and fathers every year. You don’t need to have a former history of depression to get post-partum; it can strike any mother/father anytime during the first year post-delivery. Get help and don’t wait too long to do so! That first year of your baby’s life is so precious and you deserve to be happy and healthy, just like them.
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