Today I wanted to share a bit of a fun post with you all, one to be taken with a pinch of salt at most times but with a few serious points mixed in there for good measure (and a couple of TMI mentions at times, but let's be honest, pregnancy isn't all roses). By no means a definitive list, but a list of things I wish I'd known before I became pregnant.
001. You will always be shocked to see that 'BFP' (that's Big Fat Positive, if you're wondering).
Whether like us you are trying for a baby or getting pregnant was a surprise, seeing your test say positive will always leave you feeling a dozen different emotions at once. Shock, happiness, fear, exhilaration, worry, uncertainty, excitement to name but a few. For me it was an immediate feeling of shock and fear before happiness snuck in, followed by shock and fear again. This was really happening.
002. One test will never be enough.
I already had a test to hand, but despite it telling me I was pregnant I was convinced it was lying. Off I dashed to Tesco to get some really expensive Clear Blue digital ones thinking that they would tell me if I was really pregnant or not, compared to my cheapo Superdrug test. Low and behold, they said I was pregnant too, so I must be! I took 3 tests in total, and both the digital ones soon disappeared (I didn't realise they had a 'shelf life' of 12 hours or so, meaning your result is only visible for a short amount of time), making them a pretty expensive test I wouldn't use in the future; I think I'll stick to my cheapo Superdrug tests for future pregnancies!
003. It's true, you really will spend those first 12 weeks panicking - and every week after that, too.
I don't care how self-assured you are, you are likely to spend your entire pregnancy worrying about the 'what ifs', whether it's just a little bit or a lot (like me), the responsibility of carrying this growing life that is never 100% guaranteed to arrive safely will always play on your mind. Even with a week to go those what if thoughts plague me, but the first 12 weeks are the worst - and why a lot of people wait before telling family and loved ones as well as friends that they're expecting. I feel incredibly lucky to have had a smooth pregnancy thus far, and touch wood none of my fears manifest, I know how lucky we will be to have a family many people have taken from them in the worst way.
004. Getting pregnant doesn't mean you will get morning sickness.
In fact, 25% of women don't suffer from morning sickness at all. If you're one of those 25% like me, then embrace it and don't fret over why you're not being sick. I spent weeks convinced I couldn't really be pregnant, simply because I wasn't being sick. If you're one of the unlucky 75%, I'm sorry; don't forget you can ask your midwife or GP for help in dealing with morning sickness, as well as checking out alternative (and safe) methods for making it more bearable.
005. From the moment you find out you're pregnant to the moment your baby is here, there is little room in your head to think about anything else.
Honestly, I told myself I wouldn't be one of those people that talked about being pregnant day in, day out, but nope, that was it, as soon as I saw that positive there was nothing else I wanted to talk more about. My brain was no longer obsessive over the latest beauty release, binge watching entire seasons of my favourite shows on Netflix or devouring books in one sitting (ha, like I have the energy for that anymore!), instead it was shopping for baby clothes and deciding on colours for the nursery. Babies. Take. Over.
006. Maternity clothes are the least flattering clothes you will ever come across.
Literally, unless you have hundreds of pounds to spend on a couple of outfits, you are extremely limited in what you can find. Most maternity wear is only flattering on those size 8 models with the perfect (and probably fake plastic) bump it's advertised on, clothing brands charge extortionate prices for clothes you'll only need for a few months knowing there is literally nothing else you can wear and if you're looking for something for a special occasion, you may as well give up now. I have spent most of my pregnancy in stretchy Primark pj's and strappy tops!
007. You will need bigger knickers than you have ever needed before.
My bum has expanded just as much as my bump and I have never in my life worn knickers as big as I am now. Oh, and don't get too comfy in those new bigger knickers, because after a few weeks you're guaranteed to need to go up another size. Probably another size after that, too.
008. Thought you were done with sanitary products for 9 months? Think again.
Maternity pads will become your new best friend, both during and after pregnancy.
009. As soon as you can't have something, you will want it like never before.
There's a few things food wise it's best to steer clear of whilst pregnant and if you're anything like me, as soon as you realise you can't have it, you will crave it day in day out! I am counting down the days until I can stuff my face with race steak, pate, cured meats and stinky cheeses. I don't even like stinky cheeses, but I'm going to eat them, because I can!
010. Everyone will act as if they know everything about being pregnant.
And I mean everyone. I have people who give me helpful tips and advice, people I can ask questions and get the reassurance I need. I also have people who offer this information freely, but in a way that's most appreciated and actually very helpful, often enlightening me to things I didn't know before. Then you have the people who have to comment on everything, who have to tell you everything they know about pregnancy and being a parent, who haven't just yet worked out how to do so without coming across condescending and more than a little irritating. Smile, nod your head and remember they'll soon be someone else expecting a baby who they can irritate instead!
011. You will cringe when you think about how you have been towards pregnant friends in the past.
It wasn't until getting pregnant myself that I realised all the excitement I felt towards friends who have been pregnant in the past must have been more than a little bit irritating. Once you're pregnant yourself you quickly realise how annoying repetitive questions are. I'm already dreading people asking 'Has baby arrived yet?', especially if I go overdue (and have even put up a little 'don't do it!' warning on Facebook to friends and family!).
012. Pregnancy is basically all about preparing you for lack of sleep when your baby finally arrives.
Think sleepless nights are reserved for night feeds when baby arrives? Think again. Toilet breaks every 2 hours are your new found routine, and that's when you can even get to sleep in the first place! Except in the day, you can always get to sleep in the day.
013. You will never be able to go shopping again without 'just looking' at the baby section.
It doesn't matter whether it's a City Centre, Westfield or your local supermarket, if there's a baby section nearby you will spot it like a Police dog at an illegal rave.
014. Nothing will ever feel as magical as that first time you feel your baby kick.
It'll feel weird, you might not even be sure that it was your baby, but when you feel those initial movements and kicks, you will never be able to compare it to anything else you experience for the rest of your life. There is nothing like it, nothing compares - even the kicks that leave you slightly winded!
015. Your body is no longer your own.
What was once yours to use and abuse now has to be a safe haven for a growing baby. It's a huge responsibility and at times can be demanding. Everything you do takes a little more consideration, you have to be careful about what you eat, what you use, activities you take part in. Let's not forget you become a regular guinea pig at midwife and hospital appointments, being prodded and tested and answering questions for risk assessments at every opportunity. By the end of your pregnancy you're going to know all the terminology, an honorary midwife in the making.
016. Christmas is the hardest time to be pregnant.
You can't drink. You can't indulge in half the tasty treats adorning the shelves of your local supermarket. Oh and that celebratory drink at midnight on New Year's Eve? Yeah, make that a Ribena in a wine glass just so you don't feel left out.
017. They weren't lying when they said you'd be tired.
And I'm talking all the time, hits you at random moments, will leave you wanting to breakdown in tears tiredness. I have never known tiredness like pregnancy tiredness, it is intense.
018. Google will become your worst enemy.
Every niggle, every little thing you're unsure about, you'll search away on Google hoping for some helpful advice before finding yourself in a deep, dark place on the Internet. A place where everyone is a qualified Doctor and the only possible answer to your symptom is impending doom. Don't do it. Leave the questions to your midwife, and if you're worried - call your maternity unit and speak to someone 24 hours a day.
019. Strangers will stop you in the street.
No really. I've lost count of the amount of complete strangers who have asked me how far along I am, when I am due, if it's a boy or a girl, whether it's my first. If you're as anti-social as me, you'll find these times increasingly frustrating. It's as if being pregnant automatically makes you public property. People will touch your bump - complete and utter strangers will physically touch your person without even thinking to ask if it's OK. Like the aforementioned busy-bodies; smile, nod, they'll soon find another stranger to pester!
020. Whether an easy ride or a struggle at every turn, you will never experience anything like it.
Before I became pregnant, although it was planned and we wanted a baby very, very much, the idea of actually being pregnant terrified me. I was so worried how I would feel having this 'thing' inside of me, growing and moving, using my body. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, every worry and fear I had felt over how it would feel to physically be pregnant completely melted away. Being pregnant is unlike anything I've ever felt before, and it is an experience I will always cherish. To grow a baby, to literally nurture it from this teeny tiny cell to a full grown baby that is ready to come out into this world, it's completely and utterly phenomenal.
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