I know a lot of women who have been pregnant before me, and many of those women have shared anecdotes and experiences that have taught me many things. And so I presumed, like the total noob that I am, that I had a pretty good idea of what I could expect when I interpreted my little blue stick. So for the reading pleasure of all those mommas who came before me, here’s my list of a few things in particular that I really had no preparation for:
1. The misnomer of morning sickness
Aside from the fact that this could strike at any time of day (of which I had already been forewarned), this concept is also a misnomer because it implies getting sick as a stand-alone occurrence; that is, you puke and you’re done. What did not occur to me was that I might feel sick but never actually become physically ill and instead just feel like crap all. day. long. Boo, baby. Boo.
2. The incessantly aching breasts
I cannot fathom, for the life of me, why no women in my life ever warned that I would come to hate my boobs while pregnant. This may be TMI, but I have never dreaded taking off or putting on a bra more than I have over the last few months… at some points it has been unbelievably painful and I feel like I should have at least been given a hint!
3. The lack of immediate confirmation of the pregnancy itself
I had this idea in my head that I would test for pregnancy at home, and then if the test was positive I would go to the doctor, who would then scientifically confirm that I was, indeed, with child. This seemed like the normal course of action. Instead, my doctor didn’t take any tests, do any physical exams, or even feel around my belly or anything; he seemed to just take my word for it, and he gave me some requisitions for bloodwork and an ultrasound which, in my case, ended up getting delayed because I transferred my pregnancy care to a midwife who then wanted to see me and give me new requisitions before any of these tests were done, none of which occurred until I was almost 3 months into the pregnancy. This was entirely anti-climactic for me, and I was unprepared, nearing my 3rd month, to have feelings of uncertainty over whether the pregnancy was just all in my head!
4. The lack of movement or “showing”
I hadn’t previously considered how one woman might grow a baby differently than another, so when my belly wasn’t growing and I wasn’t feeling any signs of life down there, combined with the lack of “official” confirmation of my pregnancy (see point #3), I really started to wonder whether I’d just imagined the whole thing. What I know now is that women start to show at all different times, and that in the beginning the baby is usually much too small to be pushing against the womb with any force so there’s not much to feel. Not to mention I didn’t know what it would feel like and so I probably didn’t recognize it for what it was the first few times!
5. The possibility of disagreement over finding out the gender
It never occurred to me that Tavis and I would feel differently about this, so when someone asked whether we’d find out the gender and we answered at the same time and said two different things, I was quite surprised. I have always thought it to be the best surprise, to wait until the baby is born, while Tavis was adamant right from the get-go that he wanted to know. Ultimately we decided to compromise and do it one way for our first, and the other for our second baby. This time around we found out and I have to say that despite the location, it was still exciting and tear-inducing to find out!
6. The reality of “maternity wear”
Maternity wear is my size clothing when I’m not pregnant… that’s the reality. Here I was looking forward to shopping in a store that’s made to accommodate bigger people… but it turns out it’s basically skinny-people clothing with big banded waistlines and less slinky material. When I went into my first just a couple of weeks ago, I struggled to put on a pair of leggings… yes leggings, you know, the stretchy pants… because they weren’t actually so stretchy and were seemingly designed for tiny legs. It was a huge letdown for me to discover that clothing stores still suck even when I’m supposed to be “fat.”
It’s always funny to look back and wonder what I was thinking when I thought I had a clue, and I’m sure there are still a number of surprises still to come over the last half of this journey! But as long as I keep an open mind and a smile, I think I’ll survive.