Dear new mother-to-be,
Welcome to the new and exciting world of being knocked up. That strange thing that is happening to your body? Yep, that happened to mine, too. Makes things seem less scary when I say that there are others, doesn’t it? Well, there are; hundreds of thousands of women, in fact, who are wondering what the duck is going on in their bodies as well. We all have different variations, of course; some pregnancies are more difficult while others find out minutes before they feel the urge to push. Seriously, just read here if you don’t believe me. So there you have it, you’re way ahead of the game by simply confirming you are, in fact, pregnant.
I know you barely know me and may even be questioning my credentials in the parenting department. I’ve finally cleared the terrible two’s with my third and final offspring. I was 25 years old when we started our family, and I was absolutely paralyzed with fear. I took four pregnancy tests (all positive) and still scheduled a blood test. Almost nine years later, I have been adopted in my circle of friends as a guru of what not to do! I’m half kidding, but really, I’ve tried, failed, miscarried, pushed, succeeded, been stitched back up, reasoned with a threenager (for real, this is tough to do), and did it all over again … and again.
The one thing I did not hear too much of however, was that it was OK to be deathly afraid of being pregnant. Beyonce fiercely glowing with twins in the oven isn’t the norm, and you aren’t going to be a bad parent just because you are scared of what your pregnancy will feel like. It’s the scariest thing you will ever do in your life! There are a few phenomena however, a few Beyonce-like individuals who rise and glow, wear heels, gain 20 pounds or less and all without a bout of nausea, but they are not the norm.
Sometimes the unknown is scarier than reality, so here are a few things you can expect in your pregnancy. What you’re about to read is loosely based on actual advice I sent a terrified friend, who happened to be trying to get pregnant just months ago.
You will be terrified of harming the baby.
Every day you will fight the urge to be nervous because you haven’t felt the baby move or kick enough. You will be afraid that you might eat something that will give you heartburn for a week, and fear the hot pepper that snuck into your sub sandwich will burn a hole in your baby (OK, maybe not that one specifically, but don’t judge me). You will fear hard boiling your baby in a hot bath, or rattling the baby’s brain if you run too fast down stairs. You will debate Down syndrome testing, trisomy testing and fear your baby will come out missing fingers or eyeballs, or worse, be a redhead.*
Have questions about scary terms? Ask your doctor, DO NOT Google.
You will want to google terms like “episiotomy” and “epidural.” For goodness sake, don’t Google either one. You will get the worst, most outlandish horror stories on parenting boards that have little relation to your pregnancy. There will come a moment when you will be begging to push the baby out, and no word in the English language will scare you. I almost put my epidural in myself after months of being terrified of my Google engine search results. Do Google: “How to cure nausea.” Your toilet and your bed will be your best friends. This is called the First Trimester.
Sleep does not get easier.
After the first three months, most things will get easier. Until bed time. The nausea will subside almost instantly, but the sleep will become more challenging. You will get in bed every night at 7 p.m.. You will try approximately 95 different sleep positions with 10 different pregnancy pillows you make your partner run to get, and you will end up sleeping on the couch. Your back will hurt. Your boobs will hurt. Your hair will hurt. Your feet will hurt. Ask for massages. Eat ice cream. And DO NOT GOOGLE EPIDURAL OR EPISIOTOMY.
You will start to worry less about pregnancy and more about the next 18 years.
The baby will take its sweet time exiting after nine months, and you will be excited. And nervous. And prepared for absolutely nothing the next 18 years will throw at you (50 years if you’re just a little clingy like me). But none of that will matter, because you are about to hold the only thing that has ever really mattered. You will forget the pain of nine months in nine seconds. Your baby will cry and you will be the only one in the world it needs. You will stare at little lips, eyelashes, fingers and toes all day long. Your baby will look at you and the world will go quiet. Your heart will be more full than you ever thought possible in your wildest dreams.
You will find out what it really feels like to be tired.
You will be on cloud nine one day and exhausted beyond your wildest dreams the next. Your body will overcome the pain and the fear, and the unknown will become known without having any idea how it happened. You will become a “baby” person and holding your baby will be the most natural thing on the face of the earth for you. You may even consider getting pregnant again! Why? Because it will be worth it, even if just to see your partner change their first blow-out diaper. Lol! Kidding, kind of.
I signed off with my friend on somewhat of a challenging day with three little ones, “I hope this helps, I have to jet to Mom and Tot class to play with fingerprints and be nice to moms. Damn.” Yes, there are still days postpartum that you are exhausted beyond your wildest dreams. But man, it is ALL worth it.
*My dearest friends are redheads, and in regard to my joke, no one will laugh harder than them! So I hope all you lovely redheads out there don’t get too angry at me. 🙂