So you just found out you’re pregnant – congratulations! Having a baby is one of the most amazing experiences, especially if this is your first baby. There is no shortage of advice and bloggers telling you about all of the wonderful experiences but we tend to leave out the not so fun moments. In an effort to find balance, here are some things you may not hear or read as much about having a baby!
- Your body will start to change and hurt.
I can write an entire book about this one but I’ll spare you the details and just urge you to look up, “what you didn’t know about pregnancy.” I did. Everyone’s body is different, so your list of body changes could vary from your best friends’. Just remember you are growing a tiny human inside of you and it needs to make room inside your body, which is already crammed full of vital organs like your stomach, bladder and lungs, so it only makes sense that some of the functions they serve may be impaired or altered. The good news is that it’s only temporary and should start getting better about another 9 months postpartum.
- Your body will also change, even if you’re not the pregnant one.
I truly believe my husband secretly loathed me during my pregnancy. He was extremely sympathetic to both my pregnancies not only mentally but physically as well. When my back hurt, his did too. When I gained weight, he joined in the fun! There’s scientific evidence that fathers-to-be experience pregnancy symptoms like nausea, weight gain, mood swings and insomnia; it’s called Couvade Syndrome. So, don’t dismiss his aches and pains because they may actually be real. Instead, talk about them and find ways to manage them together.
- Your pregnancy lasts longer than you think.
I still remember looking at my doctor in disbelief, like someone had played a cruel joke on me. Pregnancy is actually not a 9 month affair – it’s more! A full term pregnancy lasts 40 weeks – which is more like 10 months. Here’s why; the old school of thought used to be that “full term” was 37 weeks, but as medicine became more advanced medical experts have changed the definition of “full term” because babies born at 39-40 weeks have the healthiest start to life.
- Sleep is your best friend and your worst enemy.
It all depends on the trimester. For the first 3 months with both of my kids, I was extremely tired all the time. In fact, with my second child, it was my first clue that I could be pregnant. I was a narcoleptic. I remember visiting my father-in-law in Ottawa during my first pregnancy and overhearing him asking my husband if I was sick, because it was still too early to say anything and he didn’t know I was pregnant. Of course, I had to let the cat out of the bag. The opposite can also be true during your last trimester. I could barely sleep. Between the bathroom visits every hour to trying to find a way to sleep on a bowling ball, I became an insomniac. Nature’s way to prepare you for what lies ahead once baby arrives.
- New worries will start to creep in.
Pregnancy is not without its worries. From miscarriage to eating the wrong food or eating enough, to financial concerns, the stresses of having a baby may seem insurmountable. Relax and breathe. Women have been having babies since well, forever, and our bodies are meant to do this. Your doctor is also keeping an eye on your pregnancy. As for the little things, like a baby budget, find some time to sit down and plan before baby arrives. Financial planning for your growing family is important. You can do little things like setting up a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), but if you don’t get to it right away, don’t worry. Once you’re settled with your new arrival, there will be plenty of time to start saving early. Enjoy being pregnant, before you know it, you’ll be sending your little one off to college or university debt free!