Warning: not for the faint hearted! This post contains overshares and too much information. You have been warned!
Things no one tells you about…
***disclaimer: this is not a pregnancy announcement! I am not pregnant, good God no.***
From a very young age, I wanted to be a mother. I wanted 6 children (and a farm, and a tractor-driving husband and 30 cats…). I wholeheartedly expected that when I fell pregnant, I would be some kind of Earth mother, who relished and adored the whole experience. But let me be clear on this one… I really, really did not like being pregnant. Sure, I was thankful we were having a much-wanted baby, grateful that I was finally fulfilling my dream of becoming a mother, excited to meet our child, and hopeful for our future as a family, but pregnancy was a means to an end for me, and there were so many surprises that pregnancy had in store…
Now, everyone tells you that pregnancy is tiring, and how you should try and get as much sleep as you can, but no one tells you that being pregnant is actually like having 9-month-long (well, let’s face it, 10 month long) jet lag, and a simple task like putting your socks on can mean you need a 90 minute nap. I was so tired, all the time. 7pm became my bedtime, and prising myself from my bed each morning was enough to make me sob. I was so tired, I felt like someone had whacked me round the head with a spade most of the time, and that feeling lasted my whole pregnancy. Funnily enough, as the owner of a sleep thief, I still have never felt as mind numbingly tired as I did during my pregnancy.
Being dark haired and with Portuguese heritage, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve always been a bit hairy. Nothing unmanageable, just a few moustache issues from time to time but nothing a bit of bleach can’t fix…! However, pregnancy makes you next-level hairy. I’m talking Chewbacca style hair. Hair on your belly, on your chin. So much hair. And of course, the bleach isn’t safe to use in pregnancy so you have to rock the hair in an ‘I’m growing an actual human over here’ kind of way. And silently cringe every time your midwife asks you to lift your top so she can check on the sprog.
Another excellent wonder and marvel of pregnancy is that you can no longer reach places. Places like your feet to put on your socks, your toenails to paint them, and your… ahem… lady parts to sort your bikini line. You try tending to it with a razor when there is a small human in your way. A solid, ball of a human, who won’t move, no matter how hard you try to smoosh your growing tummy to the side. I suggest visiting a reputable salon to have someone else do the job for you, or become one with nature and embrace it…! Oh the glamour.
As if I wasn’t thrilled enough with my ever changing form, another wonderful side effect of pregnancy is that, as well as your tummy (and boobs and face and hands), your FEET seem to grow in size. Given that my feet are already a size 8 when I am not with child, you can imagine my joy when my flippers stopped fitting. Squid was a September baby, and so during the last trimester of my pregnancy it was warm enough to wear flip flops, which was lucky seeing as that was all that would fit my trotters.
Screw driver head
When I was in labour, apparently I told the midwife that it felt like the baby had a screwdriver on his head and was trying to get out. I don’t remember saying that, but I wholeheartedly maintain the sentiment – from the time you’re about 30 weeks pregnant, you get something magical occur pretty regularly – lightening crotch. It quite literally feels as though someone is jabbing a lightning bolt (or screw driver. Or other sharp instrument) at your cervix. It’s barrels of fun, let me tell you. Especially when you’re in the middle of a maths lesson, trying to explain how parallel lines never touch, when you get hit by one of these delightful lightning bolts. You can’t stop it, and it really bloody hurts, enough to take your breath away – I guess it’s all just preparing your body for what’s to come… ha… ha… ha!
Obviously pregnancy plays utter havoc with your hormones, but until you’re pregnant, you can’t quite appreciate the levels these hormones will take you to. I remember once sitting in the carpark of Sainsbury’s, about 25 weeks pregnant, sobbing my heart out because I had imagined what Squid would be like when he was an adult. I was crying because I was sad that one day he would be an adult, and that would mean he wasn’t a baby anymore. I cried for about 15 minutes before I could get my shit together enough to drive! There were countless times when I cried for absolutely no reason whatsoever, and in fact many times I would pause halfway through my sobs because I actually couldn’t remember why I was crying. Pregnancy is an emotional rollercoaster, and it was not a ride I enjoyed at all!
You’ve probably heard of the phrase ‘baby brain’, and maybe even scoffed at the idea, but honestly, pregnancy makes you feel as though as your brain has been put into a blender and blended to a pulp. I would forget where I’d put my keys, forget where I’d parked my car, forget what I was saying halfway through a sentence. This was always particularly bad when I was in the middle of teaching, and my brain would feel like it had shut down and I’d trail off mid-sentence! Having said that, I am not convinced that my brain has returned to its full capacity even now – I am just too sleep deprived!
Last but not least is my favourite surprise that pregnancy brought about… giant nipples. Yes, really. Giant, dark nipples, which just seemed to spread and grow. I was constantly surprised by these throughout my pregnancy, and I was genuinely fearful I was going to be left with burger nips for life. I have since found out that the reason for the growing and darkening of the nipples is so that a new born baby can find the breast themselves, as demonstrated in the ‘breast crawl’ where the baby shuffles up the mother’s body to find the nipple to feed. Amazing really! However, I am thankful to report that my nips have since returned to normal (and when you breastfeed a toddler, you don’t need great big, dark signposts on your boobs for them to find their milk… toddlers can seek that out from across the room!)
So in all, you can see there are so many reasons to feel like you’re blooming and beautiful when you’re pregnant. Of course, I never took for granted the fact that I was incredibly lucky to be pregnant, but the less-talked about side effects of pregnancy took me by surprise, and that, coupled with the heart burn, super sense of smell (the smell of one of my colleague’s aftershaves made me heave – and it’s a really nice scent!), the restless legs, the constant weeing, the tiny feet squashed into my left rib cage and the shortness of breath meant that I really could not wait to get that child out. And the little terror punished me by being 2 weeks late, I guess that was karma!
What did you find surprising about pregnancy? Did you enjoy it? Let me know!
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