Honestly, I’m not sure what the general attitude of this post is going to be. There’ll be some bad things they ‘forget’ to mention (whoever ‘they’ are), and some good things that you’re never told about. Don’t expect anti-pregnancy propaganda, but don’t expect “It’s all sunshine and rainbows” either.
What They Tell You – “You’ll get morning sickness until about 12 weeks”
What They Don’t Tell You – Basically, don’t expect to keep down anything you eat for weeks and weeks. It’s a lie that it finishes at twelve weeks. It’s a lie that it’s just morning sickness. It’s a lie that it only happens if you’ve eaten. If you’re one of the God-forsaken 80% of women who suffer from morning sickness, you will bring up whatever you eat within moments of eating it, at any given point during the day or night, and it doesn’t stop after twelve weeks. I’m still praying it’ll stop at fourteen, because thirteen is NOT a magic number. Oh, and don’t try and get around it by not eating – I’ve learned the hard way to always have a drink of water and a dry biscuit before I dare to bother getting up. I’ll still be sick – but at least there’ll be something to bring up. The simultaneous feelings of throwing up and having your mouth and throat eroded by what feels like battery acid is NOT NICE.
What They Tell You – “Once you reach the second trimester, you’ll glow”
What They Don’t Tell You – I think there’s a little bit of a second-trimester glow, but really I think it’s exaggerated – you just get back to some semblance of normality. Your hair can stay non-greasy for more than a few hours after you’ve watched it, and all your puberty-throwback tea-tree oil and cleansing facial wash and Clearasil actually starts to work on the spots you’ve developed – I’ve never had acne in my life and always had a good complexion, but I broke out in the most awful spots from about 8 weeks onward. You’re actually able to smile without the movement being enough to make you throw up. Your eyes are only shiny because you can sleep for maybe a couple of hours.
What They Tell You – “You need to do your pelvic floor exercises”
What They Don’t Tell You – I certainly wasn’t told the consequences of NOT doing pelvic floor exercises. In short, you wee. All the time. Sneeze? Pee. Laugh? Pee. Move? Pee. It’s horrible. And then suddenly your boyfriend knows what a pelvic floor does because all you can do is lie there and cry about how much you hate your pelvic floor. And then, when he inevitably asks what a pelvic floor is, you have to explain the Circle of Pee and then he knows all about that. He does the sympathetic face, but you can tell he just doesn’t find you as attractive as he used to.
What They Tell You – “Having a baby will change your life”
What They Don’t Tell You – It doesn’t matter whether the baby hasn’t even been born yet; being pregnant changes your life. In the space of the seven weeks since I found out, everything has changed. I don’t drink, I’m more careful with what I do, I’m more protective. I’ve had to rely on others to help me when I’m ill, something I hate doing. I overcame a slight fear of being sick and turned it into anger against the sickness rather than fear of it. You suddenly realise that you’re capable of so much more love than you ever thought – and even though you’ve only seen it once; a tiny image in black and white on a computer screen, you love this little wriggly thing more than you can put into words. For me, despite everything – despite it not being planned, despite the reactions I got at first, despite my feelings of the world being about to end – that is the confirmation that I am doing the right thing, and the confirmation that I am going to be a good mum. I can’t give it the world, but I have so much love in my heart ready for when that little squiggle is in my arms, I don’t think the world will be that necessary after all.