I’ve been pregnant five times, given birth three times and I have four kids. (Can you work out how that is possible?)
I’ve had ‘morning sickness’ that lasted the entire pregnancy, and I’ve felt amazing and loved being pregnant.
I’ve had a c-section and two VBACS. I’ve given birth to very premature babies, been 2+ weeks overdue and had one baby bang on their due date.
I’ve read some of those big thick books about pregnancy, and I’ve heard lots and lots of advice.
Despite all of that, and even now, years after my last baby was born, there are still some things about being pregnant and having a baby that niggle at me. It seems there are still some things no one ever tells you about pregnancy and birth.
Ten Things No One Ever Tells You About Pregnancy.
If you are newly pregnant, glowing, and don’t want anyone to burst your bubble, click away now.
But if you are wondering about some of the less talked about sides of pregnancy and birth and are prepared for the truth, read on!
Things can get really weird when you are pregnant
So we all know our bodies are going to have weird things happen to them, but your brain gets weird too.
Ridiculous crazy dreams (I had a recurring dream about Barbies popping babies out of their stomachs!), craving odd food (I wanted to drink vinegar straight from the bottle!), super smell powers (which are not a good thing most of the time), going from ‘I love you’ to ‘I want to stick a fork in your eye if you look at me again’ in the space of 30 seconds, wanting to sleep but not being able to sleep. Any, or all, or none of these things might happen… just be prepared for weird!
What is that? Am I growing a third leg?
You are not growing another appendage, they are skin tags – tiny bits of overgrown skin that can pop up in the most awkward places during pregnancy. They are supposedly due to the extra hormones, so not only are you growing another human, you are growing extra, useless, bits of skin too. How awesome.
I read all the books, I knew that my stomach was going to get huge, I’d probably have some back pain from carrying around that huge stomach, and maybe, towards the end I’d have some pelvic discomfort as the baby engaged and things moved around down there. The books never said that my babies might take up residence in between my ribs and make it their business to shove my rib cage apart at every opportunity. I spent an awful lot of pregnancy trying to shove that baby down a smidge… just a touch.. a little… just get the hell out of my rib cage so I can breath ok!
People think it is ok to touch you.
Yes, random strangers will walk up to you in the supermarket and touch your pregnant belly. You should perfect your death stare but try to refrain from actually breaking their arm if you can. They will also ask kinda personal questions about how you got yourself into that state, and offer advice that will vary from rude, to ridiculous, to actually kinda helpful, but you will have no way of knowing which category it falls into until your baby is at least two years old.
You can’t plan children.
You can write a birth plan with the best of intentions, but no matter how much research you have done, no matter how much you’ve thought things through, you just can’t plan children. Still write that birth plan if that helps you, but just know that pregnancy and labour and children in general are a wild ride that it is very difficult to control!
Labour and birth isn’t always long and painful
If you listened to the same horrifying birth stories that I heard, you would think that labour and birth is the longest, most painful event you’ll ever be unlucky enough to experience in your entire life. But it’s not always like that.
Ask around and I’ll beat you will hear stories of fast labours, and you might just hear a few stories about painless labour too.
My last birth was pretty fast, and my middle one was pretty much pain free.
No, I am not insane, nor was I so hyped up on drugs that I didn’t feel anything, or remember it. I felt the contractions and towards the end they were hard work, sometimes difficult to manage or a little scary, but never super, over the top painful. I didn’t feel pain when the baby crowned (not even that ring of fire thing that everyone talks about) nor when he was born. And he wasn’t a small baby either at 4.6kgs or 10lb3oz. I’ve felt more pain with a tooth ache or stomach bug than I did giving birth that time.
It’s never the same twice.
So you know how I told you that my middle child’s birth was pretty much pain free? Well, my last one was not.
All three of my pregnancies and births have been entirely different, and each time I thought I knew how it might go based on previous experience, I was proved wrong.
It’s not just your vagina that is goning be forever changed.
All things being well and good, the baby is going to come out of your vagina, and we all know that pushing something that big out of such a smallish space is going to cause a few changes. Combine that major event with a few other fabulous pregnancy symptoms and there is also a good chance that your bottom is going to be forever changed too. Haemorrhoids anyone? Anal Fissures? And I thought my vagina was going to be sore after that VBAC!?!
Everything will leak a bit after you give birth.
You will have weird fluid leaking from everywhere after you give birth. From your boobs, from your eyes, from your vagina. Yes, even if you have a c-section you will still bleed after giving birth, and let’s not talk about the post birth poo, except to say, be prepared.
And later, your midwife, your OB or your hospital physio (or all three) will tell about pelvic floor exercises and you’ll nod dutifully and vow to squeeze and hold 100 times a day. But because no one actually likes to admit to being 30-something with three kids and peeing their pants a little every time they sneeze, cough, or jump on the trampoline, it just doesn’t seem that important, but take it from me, it is!
You might not fall in love with your baby straight away.
Right after you give birth you will be going through a LOT of crazy stuff. Weird physical stuff, and even weirder emotional stuff. And all the weird stuff will be like a roller coaster ride of changes during those first few days. Usually everyone will tell you that all the crazy stuff about being pregnant, all the hard stuff about giving birth, and all the weird stuff that happens after it will be worth it when you look at your baby and fall in love. But sometimes, it doesn’t happen like that.
Sometimes you don’t immediately fall in love with your baby. For lots of reason, sometimes bonding with your baby is not instant and instinctual. I didn’t bond with my babies when my twins were born. That’s not how you expect it to be, but it will get better, promise.
Please tell me I am not the only one who experienced some (all!) of these things during my pregnancies? Surely I am not alone here?
Share your stories with me. Make me feel slightly less crazy. And share any tips you have for getting through all this crazy stuff too!
What can you add to this list of things no one ever tells you about pregnancy and birth?