Preparing for Pregnancy- The Brutal Truth
We don’t often hear about how to prepare for the ailments of pregnancy because once you have that perfect baby in your arms, all is forgotten. But the brutal truth is, pregnancy is harsh. Women go through a lot to create their ideal family, and although it’s worth it in the end, many women go into it unprepared. So, if you’re thinking about starting a family, here’s a heads up.
You’re Likely to Feel Ill for Nine Months
The women who get a slight bit of nausea in the first trimester and glow through the rest of their pregnancy are unicorns. I’ve never met one and I don’t think I ever will. There are a far more women who end up suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum than women who escape morning sickness altogether. HG is a severe form of morning sickness that means you’re unable to keep down food or fluids and usually require an IV in hospital to ensure you and your baby get the nutrients and fluids you need.
As the sickness passes, you may end up with other ailments, such as headaches, dizziness, aches and pains. Many women become fed up as they near the end of their pregnancy, often suffering from back ache, swelling and difficulty breathing. As you can see, pregnancy is no picnic physically.
You May Have Mood Swings
Pregnancy produces an increased level of progesterone in the body which may have an odd effect on you. Even the most positive of women can feel unusually low throughout their pregnancies. Women who have been through IVF may have an increased chance of feeling depressed throughout their first trimester because of the additional progesterone they are asked to take, either as an injection or pessary. It’s important to remember that these feelings won’t always be there but it’s important to talk about them when you experience them.
Mood swings may cause a rift in relationships too. Your partner may not understand the change in your attitude and behaviour, putting a wedge between the two of you. An unplanned pregnancy can cause major stress in a relationship and it’s important to sit and talk about what you want for the future. For some people, pregnancy doesn’t automatically mean happiness, but you have got options, including abortion and adoption.
From the second you become a parent, the worrying never stops. As a pregnant woman, you’ll be asked to monitor everything that goes on in your body. You’ll probably be nervous before each scan, even if you’re confident there’s nothing wrong. There’ll be a fleeting moment at each midwife visit where she’s unable to find the baby’s heartbeat, until at last you hear that beautiful thudding. Every blood test result will be at the back of your mind and then as you reach your second trimester you’ll have to continually count the kicks. When your baby has a quiet day, you’ll certainly end up panicking. This is all before you’re ready to give birth and the baby arrives safe and sound.
Of course, there are many couples with far greater worries. There are many things that can go wrong in pregnancy. From growth difficulties to being diagnosed with certain conditions, and miscarriages to stillbirths. This first rule of a healthy pregnancy is to always get checked when you feel like something may be wrong and never let anyone tell you you’re overreacting.
Go with the Flow
There’s a reason many midwives don’t ask you to fill in a birth plan anymore. You may know what you’d like from your birth experience, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. Many first-time mothers will say they want a natural birth without any pain relief. When it comes down to it, most women will take whatever pain relief is on offer. It’s also very common for complications to arise during birth. From having to be induced because of gestational diabetes or going over term, to being rushed into theatre for an emergency c-section because contractions aren’t developing, it’s very rarely plain sailing.
Some women may also underestimate the amount of time it takes the body to recover after giving birth. We watch movies and see women bouncing back quickly after giving birth and think its real life. In truth, it can take up to three months to feel completely back to normal, no matter what kind of birth experience you have. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Allow the midwives to take your baby while you rest. Allow family to cook you meals once you’re home. You don’t have to figure it all out the second you welcome your little one to the world.
You Will Forget
Women are warriors. It doesn’t matter how harsh of a pregnancy and birth you had, you will eventually forget. The day your baby is born, you may be saying never again. A few months down the line it’s likely you’ll be ready to do it all over again. The biggest truth about pregnancy is that it doesn’t matter how bad it gets. The amount of joy that baby brings to your life is worth any kind of trial or tribulation and you’d do it a thousand times over just to see them smile and watch them grow.
Although you’ll cringe at the memory of the sickness and horror of the pain, you’ll know that the ending is worth it all. You might brace yourself the second time around, but in some ways it’s even more exciting than the first time. Pregnancy is just the start of the race, while parenting is the marathon. It’s the start of an epic adventure, filled with really bad days, and really good days. But never a dull moment.
So, if you’re wondering what to expect from your first pregnancy, it’s certainly no piece of cake. But, it won’t last forever (even if it seems like it) and it will end with the best thing that’s ever happened to you.