As the first person in my group of friends to start a family, and without any other close mates who were in the same position, it’s fair to say I was a little in the dark when it came to what to expect during my pregnancy.
I’m now at the start of my third trimester mark and already I feel like Bilbo Baggins on his ‘Unexpected Journey’. (Just a little Hobbit reference for those other cool people out there.) We have about two and a half months to go until the official due date, and while I know that having the baby will come with a whole heap of new, unexpected experiences, I wanted to share some of the things that have caught me off guard over the last 7 months…
People ask the weirdest questions
Did you know that when you’re pregnant, people seem to think it’s okay to ask any strange, personal and sometimes a bit offensive questions that pop into their head? Nope, me neither.
I’m not saying everyone reacts the same, but there have certainly been a few acquaintances who seem to let their curiosity run away with them. For example, on telling them we’re going to have a baby, decide to ask us whether it was an accident. For the record, we’d been trying for a few months, but regardless, there are some things you just don’t ask, right?
2. The Exhaustion
I know any new parent is laughing their head off at the idea of being tired right now, but for me, one side effect of being a pregnant person is the sheer exhaustion you can feel. I’ve been relatively lucky so far with my health, I’ve not been nauseous and have felt happy and well overall, but I wan’t expecting to feel so knackered after doing pretty much nothing.
A trip to the supermarket, or spending time at a family party completely wipes me out right now, which feels very pathetic. However, I’m just trying to go with it and get as much rest as I can, after all, I know that soon I’ll be missing every precious moment of sleep.
3. Food Confusion
In the first month or two that I found out I was pregnant, I had a few melt downs, mostly about food. Not about missing eating certain food or drink, but around the sheer confusion that comes with what you can and can’t eat while pregnant.
You see, I didn’t mind giving up certain things one bit, but what did frustrate me was the uncertainty and the conflicting information you find whenever you Google something. I wanted a straight-forward list of good and bad foods, which I eventually took from the NHS website, however, the fun doesn’t stop there. Trying to find out whether a certain type of cheese is pastured or not is often a research project in itself, and you’re always that div that has to ask a million questions when you go to a restaurant.
4. Professional Support
I’m very lucky that so far, my pregnancy is considered ‘low risk’. However, while my baby might not need that much in the way of health care just yet, as a first time Mom, I feel I need a bit of extra help. My midwife is lovely, and I don’t want to criticise the NHS, as I know the pressures everyone is under, but especially in the early days, I didn’t feel as informed or supported as much as I wished I had been.
Things have changed since I’ve joined an NCT group, (which I fully recommend doing if you can) but these are expensive and If you can’t afford to sign up, I can imagine it’s easy to feel very out of the loop when it comes to what’s happening during pregnancy and what’s going to happen during labour.
5. The Choices!
In my blissful ignorance, I assumed that choosing the right place for our child to sleep would include a relaxing potter around Mothercare, finding the perfect crib to fit in our room, picking up a few bottles and throwing some blankets int the trolley. Knowing what to buy for a newborn baby is actually really hard! There are so many choices out there and again, a lot of conflicting information around what’s best.
There are also a lot of horror stories about what can happen if you get the wrong product or make the wrong choice. It’s enough to terrify even the most laid-back parent!
6. The Emotions
Think PMS on crack, that’s what pregnancy emotions can feel like sometimes. When you find yourself in Patisserie Valerie, crying uncontrollably into a cake without any clue why you’re upset, you know the hormones are kicking in.
7. Body Changes
Stretch marks in strange places, fat feet, back-acne, these are just a few of the unexpected changes happening to my body right now. I was fully expecting that my body would change, my belly would grow and I’d feel less like myself, what I wasn’t expecting was that my shoes wouldn’t fit or I’d feel like a turtle on it’s back when I try to get out of bed in the morning!
Personally, I’ve found that most of the changes, even some of the less pretty ones, are kind of incredible in their own way. I often find myself looking in the mirror and thinking how weird and wonderful it is that I barely recognise my body anymore.
8. That even though there have been some testing times throughout my pregnancy, what with a surprise redundancy, back pain, and general confusion, I’ve actually found the whole process pretty amazing, and so interesting. Feeling and seeing the baby moving, getting our home ready for the new arrival, and imagining how our lives are going to change is so exciting.
As I mentioned, I’ve been lucky to have bypassed some of the side-effects that knock so many pregnant women off their feet, and I have a great and supportive partner to help me out, I know it can be a different experience for every woman.
However, if you’ve been faced with some of the same unexpected experiences, you’re definitely not alone!