The word 'expecting' is ironic because there are SO many UNEXPECTED things that happen during pregnancy. You know the obvious ailments like heartburn, nausea, and stretch marks. You may even anticipate constipation and haemorrhoids. But there are lots of niggley things that can happen during bump-time that might shock, worry or annoy you. To help you out, we've come up with a few surprising aspects of the whole thing so you know you are not alone.
Spoiler alert: Morning sickness is a myth and all-day nausea is a fact for many. If you didn't know, now you know. The key for me was to never let myself get too hungry or the world would spin and every odd smell would have me running for the nearest loo.
Try not to panic if you notice you are spotting during your pregnancy. This is an awful one for mammas as they fear the worst and know that miscarriage is common. However, spotting during pregnancy is so normal. The best thing to do is to visit your doctor so you can have some peace of mind.
For anyone in the early stages of their first pregnancy, this is a real thing. I had never heard about it and being the first of my friends to be pregnant, had no one to ask but my mother. I noticed my (enormous) breasts began lactating at about 30 weeks and as hormones were high I dramatically deducted that baby was coming early. It wasn't so as early lactation is very common and a good sign that you will have plenty of milk when baby finally arrives.
You might think that the odd close friend wanting to feel your bump is cute. You may also enjoy the attention your lovely bump is getting- the first few times.
Eventually, you will want to scream at everyone who grabs at the area that is actually quite close to your bladder and actual vagina. SO many people thought it was perfectly cool to feel my bump without asking- something I hadn't anticipated.
Anticipate these brats. Name spoilers are not-so-kind folk who will spoil any name you reveal as a potential for your baby. I loved Evangeline for my girl and was promptly told it sounded like some prescription vagina cream.
You will be surprised how easy it is to turn something beautiful into something unusable in just a few words. Keep your names to yourself unless you KNOW the person will not shoot you an anecdote of a b*tch named Emily or a serial killer named Luke.
You will have many fears about becoming a mother
You may not automatically feel the instinctive love for your growing child, that love that the media seem to tell you is imperative. You might worry about bonding with your baby. You might be concerned that you won't love her as much as you love your partner.
You might go through days of adoring your bump and days when you wish it didn't exist. Dreams about worst-case scenarios and terrible thoughts might occupy your mind because the pregnancy brain is a b*tch. If your pregnancy wasn't exactly anticipated or came at the wrong time, your mind may be full of doubts and anxiety.
This goes for complicated pregnancies, very precious pregnancies that took time and effort, and just about any pregnancy at all.
Being pregnant can be lovely (apparently) but often it just isn't. If this is the case for you, do not hesitate to visit your doctor or ask for help. Look to other mums and confide in them. You are not alone.
Up a size in Shoes
I went from a 38 to a 39 in shoes during the last trimester of my pregnancy. Many people will talk about swollen ankles and weight gain.
Very few will tell you that you need a whole new shoe wardrobe for a measly three months. If this happens don't spend too much money on footwear because your feet will bounce back to their original size- even if the rest of you never does.
Double-edged sword: WATER
Water will be your best friend and your worst enemy. What I mean by this is: you will be told to drink your body weight in water to help with haemorrhoids and constipation, but this will result in you spending most of the day on the loo.
You might be told not to give in every time you feel you need a wee, which might result in you wetting yourself.
Yes, this happens and yes you will be mortified. That is until you see another mum in the waiting room with the same issue- an angel sent by God herself, to make you feel better about the betrayal of your hydration efforts.
Your birth plan probably won't work out
I've never spoken to a real-live human whose birth plan went swimmingly. If you have watched tutorials or read articles instructing you on how to make a birth plan, that is too cute.
I really think they make those to distract from the drama of labour, delivery and all that comes with it. If you really need to be organised, have a flexible outline of how you will get to the hospital or what music you want playing while you pant.
However, a strict birth plan can leave mum feeling inadequate and disappointed. It is best to consider whatever your midwife or doula suggests at the time and make decisions based on baby's progress.