Written by Jess Raubenheimer-Free
In March 2019, I turned 30. What a milestone! I celebrated with a weekend away with friends and surprisingly, no booze. I’d been working my ass off for weeks on a weight loss challenge with my personal trainer, and I wasn’t about to let a boozy weekend ruin that right before we were done. “Are you pregnant?” were the obvious questions from friends, and my answer was “Nope!” But, I was. I didn’t realise it but while I was having a relaxing weekend away, swimming in the hot pools and eating way too much, my body was beginning a process I had been dreaming about for years. Flash forward a week or two, and I found myself staring in disbelief at two little pink lines on a pregnancy test. I was in mild shock. I’d seen so many negative tests, I didn’t quite know how to process this. We hadn’t even been trying! And so began my pregnancy journey. I’ve got lots to talk about, so I won’t go into everything just now, but today I want to talk about 5 things nobody tells you about being pregnant. These are my experiences, but I’m sure there are many others who will identify with what I’m saying here. Because pregnancy is a simultaneously wonderful, horrible, terrifying, magical and life changing time.
People are going to comment on your size, all the time
If I had a dollar for every time I heard “Oh my god, you’re huge!” while I was pregnant, I probably wouldn’t be rich but I could probably have had a pretty nice dinner out. With my huge self.
When you’re pregnant it’s like your body becomes public property. You’re scrutinised and sized up in ways you’ve never experienced in normal life (disclaimer: I imagine some people DO experience this while not pregnant, and to you I am SO sorry, it is never okay). But yes, you get bigger when you’re pregnant. Shock. My feet were swollen, my hands were bigger, my belly was obviously bigger (it’s a truly blessed day when you move from “ate too much” to “yep, pregnant”), my face was fuller.
If I was simply putting on weight, people wouldn’t comment on it. Would they? But because I’m pregnant there’s some unspoken rule that you get to comment on the size of my belly. So get used to feeling like everyone is looking at you, because they probably are. And they’re probably going to say something about your burgeoning belly.
Sleeping is damn near impossible
It’s a cruel, cruel irony, but it is damn hard to sleep when you have a watermelon protruding from your middle. You’re SO TIRED, but your back aches, your hips ache, and your baby kicks you in the bladder just as you’re falling asleep.
Pregnancy pillows? Waste of time. Just use a good old fashioned pillow and pop it between your knees. It may relieve some of the hip and back pain. Maybe. But probably not.
You may not ever feel like you’re ‘glowing’
It’s a tale as old as time. The “pregnancy glow”. I don’t know what fairytale pregnancy this one came from, but personally I didn’t feel glowy when I’d been puking my guts out all morning.
Sure, later in my pregnancy my skin cleared up and I didn’t get any pimples, but I still never felt “glowy”. Then again, I don’t even know what glowy is supposed to feel like. Can anybody shed a little light on this one?
What I DID experience though was the ridiculous hair growth. My hair had never been so lustrous. But, another cruel blow dealt by mother nature meant it wasn’t only the hair on my head that grew like crazy. Needing to shave your legs every other day while you’re pregnant is not a good time. Shout out to my hubby for the help, you da real MVP.
Everyone is going to give you advice
Okay, let me just start by saying I appreciate advice. I really do. From those who have been there before, it is awesome to hear tips and tricks for giving birth and having a newborn.
But after a while you feel a little bombarded. Here are a few pieces of advice I received (unsolicited) that made me do an internal eye roll:
Sleep when the baby sleeps (because really, if I do that, when will I ever shower? Poop? Eat? Not necessarily in that order.)
Don’t eat anything while you’re pregnant. Okay I’m being facetious, but the list of things you’re not “supposed” to eat is getting a little out of control. I ate soft cheese (gasp!), soft boiled eggs (THE HORROR), and even had salami towards the end of my pregnancy. My baby is fine.
Crying it out is fine. Yes, I really did get this one from someone I barely know. Go get in the sea.
There were many more but my mum brain is struggling to remember them.
Your body is going to change in ways you’d never imagined
Oh boy, this one hit me like a tonne of bricks. Yes, OBVIOUSLY I knew my body was going to change, but I was still surprised at a few changes.
My hair and nails were absolutely INCREDIBLE when I was pregnant. I picked off an entire set of gel nails and my nails didn’t even bat an eyelid. Indestructible.
Stretchmarks, if you get them, are weird. They show up in places you don’t expect. I got them on one side of my belly and not the other. Huh? They’re on my thighs and butt too – pretty sure my baby wasn’t sitting in my ass, but there you go. I also thought I’d avoided them altogether. Until they showed up in all their angry glory in week 37.
You’re also probably going to swell. Living so close to Antarctica means when I was at home I was lulled into a false sense of security on this one. But one trip to Australia cleared that right up, where my feet were actually SHINY they were so swollen.
So those are the five ways in which pregnancy surprised me. Can anyone relate?