What “they” don’t tell you about Pregnancy | Newborn Baby Family Photographer, Fremantle, Perth
What they don’t tell you about pregnancy....
And I don’t mean what happens each trimester! I’ve read all the books, and have all the apps to prepare me for each trimester, preparing me for how how my baby grows. What I am talking about is those first three to four months when your world has been flipped upside down!
Now I know what you think, I sound grumpy! But hear me out...
As beautiful pregnancy is, its not all peaches and cream. Over the last three months I have spoken to so many pregnant women, and we all have the same emotions, the same feelings.
Instagram paints such a beautiful fairytale of pregnancy.
Again, don’t get me wrong, I am so happy that social media is used to highlight difficult topics like miscarriages, healthy body image and post partum depression but I guess I just wish this part of what actually is going on with our mental and physical health, the real nitty gritty of pregnancy, was also talked about...
I might sound like a drama queen, I know, but someone’s got to talk about this, right?
Before I do though, no, I am not depressed and I don’t regret conceiving. I absolutely adore babies, and cant wait for that beautiful glow, I’m just merely here to tell you a few truths that I think are often swept under the rug.
Just like so many women out there, the concept of being pregnant has always been such a beautiful one, but reality is so much different.
In plain old English: Sometimes it sucks! Yep. I said it.
The majority of women that I have spoken to who are currently pregnant are actually admitting how much they dislike(d) those first few months. But it’s like this big secret and taboo - and if you dare make some sort of negative comment to someone who has already had a baby, or someone who hasn’t been pregnant, or someone that’s struggling on their fertility journey, its almost like you’ve spat in their faces, almost like they feel you are super ungrateful and or that there’s something mentally wrong with you (insert eye roll).
But this is definitely not the case. We found out we were pregnant very early on, as I am very clued in with my cycles. In fact I just knew, by what my body was telling me, even before I took a test. As soon as it was a positive I made some immediate changes. No coffee, no wine etc.
The first two-three weeks was okay, sore breasts, tiredness, nothing major.
I remember weeks six to fourteen not so fondly.
Nausea commences in earnest. It’s such a confusing time and morning sickness is not what you see in the movies. I was nauseous all day long, everyday, and if I didn’t eat every 2 hours, I would be sick. But not just the regular old vomiting. No, we’re talking about such strenuous vomiting, that my nose would bleed on occasion, and I would end up crying, as I struggled taking breaths in between retching. (I had to keep a box of sad little plain crackers in my bedside drawer for night time.) On one occasion, I went for a walk with my husband and dog, had a banana on the way. Five minutes later I had to be sick, couldn’t make it home and had to be sick in one of my neighbours verge gardens...so embarrassing.
Tiredness kicks in, my word, the fatigue! I had 2 naps a day, which for me is unheard of and then still fell asleep at 7pm at night. You might think this is amazing, and to some extent it was, but I couldn’t get any work done! I couldn’t do my normal day to day jobs, just even answering emails and texts, was exhausting.
Suddenly even just taking the dog for a walk took my breath away, almost like I haven’t exercised for months.
A few days later...hellooooooo bloating! Now you might be thinking “Hey! I’m starting to show!” But no. Sorry. You are just full of gas! I actually had to ask my colleagues that if they heard me fart, to just pretend they didn’t, and just turn their music up. Not only do you walk around farting, but the need to wee has increased ten fold. (I cant tell you the amount of time that I nearly weed myself)
Then, swollen feet from being on my feet all day, I couldn’t wait to change into my flip flops, provided that I could free up a moment and a hand from itching my boobs! Bane of my life! As your breast tissue expands, your boobs become itchy and heavy, and its really hard to not look like some weirdo fondling yourself in public!
All these pregnancy hormones are starting to play havoc with your skin, just like when you were a teenager! So, your skin breaks out - great. And as an added bonus, if you’ve got any grey hairs they are going to become more visible than ever. And speaking of hair, hair on your chin! Not only do you feel gross, but you also seem to be growing a tiny beard of very fine, soft hair!
Food aversions and cravings are probably two of the more widely known symptoms, and as far as symptoms go, probably the easiest to get around. I am up and down but the only consistent craving is pickles. I’ve gone from two litres of orange juice a day, to Doritos (I don’t even eat crisps), popcorn, carbs, tomatoes, hummus, polenta, hot chips, oranges with salt on and many other things. Aversions so far have been the smell of cut onion on the chopping board, broccoli, (don’t ask me why, because I don’t know), steamed milk and that’s about it but I can smell the kitchen bin from a mile away though, so needs emptying every day, regardless of how full it is.
I must say, one thing that surprised me, is that I’m not craving any sweets. For those that know me, I love me a bar of dark Lindt chocolate with raspberry or the salted caramel one. I love jelly sweets and after dinner mints but haven’t wanted any of these things.
If you are prone to cold sores - you better know that they will visit you with a vengeance (side note - manuka honey worked wonders for mine)
I cannot stop stuffing my face! I’m so, so sick of eating, which isn’t a sentence I ever thought I would write, and all this eating is leading to some of the worst heartburn, indigestion and gas I’ve ever experienced.
But remember, your baby needs to literally feed from you to survive, hence your seemingly infinite appetite. You take your prenatals for that vital nutritional and vitamin boost, but often it’s still not enough. When your baby isn’t getting the nutrients it needs to grow, your body will literally TAKE it from you and divert it to your ever growing fetus..Baby doesn’t have enough calcium, don’t worry, your body will take it away from say, your teeth or bones and give it to your baby. This was yet another thing I was suprised about and when I visited the dentist for a check up he explained that many women have dental issues at some point in their pregnancy.
Ok, what’s next? Constipation? FUN! You are doing all the right things, eating healthy, taking your vitamins, but why cant you go poop? IRON. Prenatals are crammed with it. As your body ramps up production of just about everything, preparing you for what’s to come, you will generate between 30 and 50% more blood to support your growing child. Sufficient iron is vital for this, hence its abundance in prenatals. I learnt this quickly, the hard way, (‘scuse the pun) so I switched to a lower iron brand of prenatals - thank GOD!
Dizzy spells caught me off guard. Just all of a sudden I would feel faint with a massive sense of panic. What if I fall over and hurt the baby? Nope, I will just stuff my face again, all good!
Vivid dreams. I am a crazy dreamer anyways, this is next level, from dreaming I’m a crucial part of the Criminal Minds team in the FBI to talking bananas and so much more. Waking up in the middle of the night, usually to turn, or to go to the toilet means interrupting REM, your deepest stage of sleep, which often results in remembering dreams that you normally wouldn’t.
Suddenly you don’t feel attractive or sexual, insecurities become more, so much so that you convince yourself that your husband is going to leave you because you are such a grumpy cow!
So, now you know why they say pregnant women get crazy hormones and those famous mood swings. How can you not, when all this and more is going on?
And through all of this lies your deepest, darkest fear, that you might lose your baby. It never leaves me. I swear each new week, I breathe a sigh of relief!
All in all, so much fun in the first trimester! Believe me I am extremely happy and excited for our little nugget but I do wish I was better mentally prepared for what those first three months entailed.
Overall, the only way I could describe the first trimester is like being 16 again, with all those insecurities that you get going through puberty, but with a constant hangover.
But it’s not all gloom and doom, there have been some beautiful times ;
1. When we saw the heartbeat at 8 weeks
2. When we told our families & friends that we were expecting
3. When we saw the actual baby at 12 weeks
4. When the nausea stopped (week 14! Woo hoo!)
5. When we went into a baby shop for the first time and and started imagining our little nursery
6. The first little person clothes and trinkets we bought
7. When we received our nuchal results back and it was all low risk, whooooooo hooooooo!
8. Now that I’m starting to show, it feels a bit more real
9. When we purchased the first piece for the nursery (bassinet)
10. When we went to the birthing centre and met our primary midwife - it all became really real.
So If you had a chuckle at my expense, then great, because someone has to, right?
If you have taken offence at what I wrote, I am terribly sorry, but someone needs to say these things. They are, admittedly, glossed over by wider society, but it shouldn’t be some kind of taboo, or crime against social justice to be pregnant and complain about feeling pretty crappy at the same time. And I am fully aware that every pregnancy is different, but the majority of women to whom I have spoken have experienced some or all of these things. Maybe next time you speak to someone who is pregnant, ask them how they are actually feeling, and listen without judgement?!
If you’ve read all the way through, I thank you, and hopefully if you’re in your early stages, I have helped you realise that all those feelings and grumpiness are pretty normal. If you’d like to follow me on this journey, check back soon, I will post every few weeks. If you have/had any other crazy things going on with you, comment below.