Pregnancy Ain’t Easy: Who Knew?

Katie Young
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Wednesday - September 24, 2008

Why are there so many things no one warns you about when you get pregnant?

I guess I had this idea in my head that pregnancy was easy. I don’t know why I thought that, except that my mother never complained about being pregnant (only about me breaking her tail-bone upon my arrival into the world and her “seven loooong hours of labor.”)

Many women even say they forget about the pregnancy and the labor after the baby arrives because you are thinking about so many other things such as how to make your child stop crying and sleep through the night.

So I suppose this whole time I’ve been focused more on what will happen to me during delivery and the days following the birth of my child than what I’d endure in the nine months of pregnancy.

I’ve already talked about my vivid and unusual dreams. Those still happen on a daily basis. But there is a whole list of other things I’ve learned about being pregnant that I wish someone had at least warned me about so I could’ve been prepared.

You’ll lose sleep as soon as you’re pregnant. I thought I had a good nine more months of sound sleep when I discovered I was pregnant. Boy, was I wrong. Consider the raging hormones, strange dreams, frequent trips to the bathroom and anxiety, and it’s very likely you won’t get a good night’s sleep long before your little one arrives. In addition, with a bigger body, it’s even harder to find a comfortable sleeping position. I wake up wondering if I’m smashing the baby if I’m too far over on my side, and I freak out when I awake on my back, knowing that in that position I may be cutting off blood flow to my child.

Your body will hurt - all over. Who would think doing a little shopping would hurt? Well, it can. On my feet for too long and I have aches and pains in my feet and legs you would-n’t believe! I also awake in the middle of the night with excruciating sciatic nerve pain and insane leg cramps that don’t seem to go away.

Speaking of your body, how it changes may really depress you. Pregnant women are beautiful, right? That’s what everyone says. But when you’re the pregnant woman, you might not feel so hot. I know a lot of pregnant women who now tell me how much they disliked being pregnant for this very reason.

You really don’t even feel like yourself. You’re bigger all over. Your hips seems to have doubled in size overnight. Your thighs rub together when you walk. You might get ugly spider veins on your legs, stretch marks or even more cellulite than you used to have. Further along in pregnancy you might even realize that body parts that were once perky are now resting comfortably on the top of your growing belly.

Every week you’ll think, “I can’t get any bigger than this.” But then you will. The average woman’s uterus (before pregnancy) is about the size of your fist and weighs about 2.5 ounces. At the end of your pregnancy is done, your uterus will weight about 2.5 pounds.

So you wonder if you’ll ever look the same again. Ask most women with children and they’ll tell you, “No, you’ll never look the same again.”

Your husband and everyone around you might keep telling you how beautiful you are, but it’s hard to feel beautiful when you have to find a new way to put on your pants every day and have to get someone to tie your shoes for you. (But people should keep telling you you’re beautiful anyway. It’s a lot better than when someone sees you and says, “Wow, you’re huge!”)

You might become so emotional you feel crazy and you’ll also feel like no one understands you. Pregnant women can easily feel very lonely because they think no one gets what they’re going through. The truth is, no one really does. And you can’t expect your significant other to get it either. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering why my husband doesn’t understand how I’m feeling, but it’s because he’s not the one whose body is changing. It would be like me trying to imagine what it might feel like to get kicked in the privates if I were a boy.

You’ll also be frustrated at how forgetful and clumsy you are. I can’t even chop a tomato these days without injuring myself with the knife. I can’t make dinner without burning my finger on the stove. I also misjudge corners, run into walls and bump into tables. I feel like a walking disaster. Not only that, but it appears most days my brain is missing in action. Things that were once so simple become major tasks. So when I remember that I have to get something done, I write it down right away because 10 seconds later, I’ll probably forget.

Every pregnant woman is different. Before you’re pregnant you won’t hear too many pregnancy stories. As soon as you announce you’re with child, you’ll be bombarded by tales (both good and bad) of pregnancies gone by. Some people will tell you things to help encourage you along, like, “I was so sick in my first trimester, but then I felt better than I’ve ever felt in my life in the second trimester!”

Great, but what if you’re sick in your first trimester and you’re waiting for that moment where you’re filled with energy - any day now - and it never comes? For me, I got less tired, but now I’m getting more tired again. I never felt full of energy and vivacious!

So it’s better not to hope for what might never happen and take your pregnancy symptoms as they come, one day at a time. If you’re feeling especially good one day, take advantage of it and go out and do something because you never know when a new ache, pain or weird side-effect will pop up.

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