5 Things They Didn’t Tell Me About Pregnancy
The end is close, at 33 weeks I can say that *touch wood* I have had a relatively easy pregnancy so far, but this does not mean it has been stress free. Yes I have the usual back pain, hormonal break downs and feel like I am being beaten internally but as far as real complications or morning sickness I have been pretty lucky.
There are a few things though that I have discovered that I hadn’t been told or read prior to falling pregnant, most are related to my anxiety disorder but looking through some ‘mummy forums’ some are just generally mum-to-be things.
1. You feel guilty for stupid reasons
The guilt set in as soon as I knew I was pregnant, you are hit with a sudden wave of responsibility to grow this human to the best of your ability and any sign of not being perfection brings on a tonne of guilt.
I have felt most guilty about my diet. I knew all the usual things that mums-to-be should avoid, such as runny yolks (although some will argue lion marked eggs are okay nowadays, I still haven’t risked it), sushi (woe is me!), caffeine and alcohol. What I didn’t know are there are loads of extra guidelines and ‘no nos’ that the midwife fails to mention in your booking appointment. For example, MSG, although there is little proof that this causes harm to an unborn child, reading just one study made me feel like the worst mum in the world, so even though I was craving Beef and Tomato Pot Noodles like mad I had three in total before the guilt got too much, it also meant an end to Chinese takeaways… For now.
Similarly, Aspartame, this is generally not considered healthy for anyone’s consumption, with many scaremongers throwing the C-word (Cancer not the other C-word) around every time it is mentioned. I used to treat myself to a Pepsi Max most evenings, a refreshing change from a day of water and decaf tea, but as it did with MSG, the guilt was too much and it had to go.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are little studies around these things causing harm and millions of babies are born perfectly healthy after the addition of these additives in diets, but it is the niggling ‘what if’ that comes with anxiety and is amplified by pregnancy that means I am living a Pot Noodle and sugar-free fizzy drink free life.
2. Every worry is the end of the world
By the same token as point number one, pregnancy has seemed to delete all rationalisation in my mind and now every worry is the end of the world premarin cream cost.
With general anxiety disorder (GAD) you do worry about everything to the point of being irrational anyway, well pregnancy intensifies this massively, all you need is a trigger. A few weeks ago I was sure I had Toxoplasmosis, now this is something I read as only being caused by handling cat poo, and ingesting it (YUK!). Phew! I thought, I don’t have cats so there is no chance of me getting this one, and then you see that you can also get it from not washing your fruit and veg properly and by undercooked meats… oh good! My fear of this disease was set off by dropping a slice of apple on the floor at work, I picked it up, gave it a quick rinse and went on to eat it. Yes it was stupid and yes in hindsight it was gross and unnecessary but I am not a germaphobe normally, I hadn’t even heard of this disease until I was pregnant. So there I was, having regular panic attacks, breaking down to my husband and to my mum thinking I had damaged the baby with this mindless act.
The anxiety got so bad that I had to go to the doctors, who were not understanding of the mental health issue I was clearly suffering from but arranged a blood test to put my mind at ease. A couple of days and a negative result later I was back to my own doom free self, until the next thing came along.
This is still something I am struggling with, particularly as the birth gets closer, I read the news and immediately focus on all the women who have had complications or worse focus on the birth related fatalities.
I am starting an online hypnobirthing course with Natal Hypnotherapy to allow me to remain calm leading up to and during the birth, hopefully it will also give me techniques to manage my general anxiety issues post-pregnancy as well.
3. Movements are constant and sometimes hurt
Remember that episode of Friends where Ross feels Ben kick for the first time and Carol acts like it is the first time she had felt it too, well, I’m calling bullshit. I was genuinely under the impression that you would feel a couple of kicks here and there, turns out you start feeling little movements fairly early on and they are constant!
I first felt little twitches in the bottom of my stomach at about 18 weeks. I had no idea what they were and thought they were a normal under the skin twitch/ spasm you can experience on your arm or leg for example. They continued to happen on a daily basis and I realised it was actually the little one making his presence known.
My placenta is at the back which means that baby is at the front, this makes it really easy to feel all of his movements, a godsend for the anxious.
HOWEVER he is now getting quite big and rapidly running out of room, this means that what were once little cute nudges and taps are now huge, swooping movements that sometimes hurt a little. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love feeling him wriggling around and would only be thrust into a fit of panic if he stopped, but I am 80% sure he is an octopus that has blades for limbs.
4. Common sense goes out of the window
My mum had my sister when I was 12, so I was grown up enough to help out and did so without questioning everything. Similarly I have babysat relatives when they were really young and other children to earn a little money in my early teens.
Now I am due to have one of my own all common sense has escaped me and I am left a bumbling idiot that questions even the simplest of things.
Here are a few examples of some of the questions I have asked recently:
- How do you pick up a newborn? Their heads need supporting and in my mind I just can’t fathom it.
- Where do I put the baby when I need to go to the loo? Seriously? Where?!
- How do you change the nappy of a boy? In my defense I have NEVER had to experience this so this is somewhat valid.
- How do I know if they have enough clothes on/ too many clothes on? I am always cold but that doesn’t mean they will be.
These are all things, aside from the boy changing, that I have had experience with but for some reason as the my due date gets closer the more I feel like I don’t know. I am sure every mum feels like this with their first and the whole maternal thing kicks in and you just KNOW, but for now I am clueless!
5. Everyone has an opinion
This is a bit of a bugbear of mine. I am someone who is always happy to take advice, but when I ask for it. When you are pregnant people see that big round belly as a gateway to impart their wisdom on you, which is great but this wisdom is often not straight up facts and is generally opinions.
My mum is my go to for advice, she raised me and I am pretty great so why wouldn’t I ask her?! But everyone has different parenting styles and thoughts on certain topics, so their advice may not be relevant to my beliefs or the way I think my child should be raised.
This sounds super pedantic and a little bitchy but it is the truth, I am not shy to ask for help but, just like religious beliefs or dietary preferences, I do not need lectures on why my way of parenting is going to be crap. Tom and I will figure out what works for us and we will run with it, the way most new parents do.