When you become pregnant, you tend to immediately turn to Google and find the Mummy Blogosphere. In doing so you will likely discover dozens of posts with very similar titles to this one.
I read tons of these articles. However there were still things about Pregnancy and Birth that I was not prepared for. Here are 5 things that shocked me about Pregnancy and Birth.
1. No Real Bump
When I got pregnant with my First Child, I had already put on a lot of weight. The combination of moving over 200 miles from my family, losing a lot of close friends and family members in one year all contributed to my comfort eating.
I was going to be a Mum! Once the shock and panic had subsided, the excitement started to build. I was looking forward to getting a baby bump and for once in my life feeling like I loved my body. Particularly not having to feel self conscious about a big belly because it would be obvious that I was pregnant.
At no time did I expect that I would never get that beautiful round baby bump that every other expectant mother seemed to have.
I have what is known as a ‘B Bump’. My stomach still goes in and out, rather than the ‘traditional’ bump that is known as a D bump.
Rather than feeling proud of my bump, I just got wider and fatter and felt uglier than ever. Only made worse by the fact that nothing fit properly (including maternity clothes) and I felt awful in everything.
Second time round, I have got a bit more of a bump but it is still a B rather than those beautiful D’s, however my expectations were significantly lower this time round.
2. Feeling Incredibly Unattractive
Before I got Pregnant, the general impression I had was that it would be hard, but you would get that famous ‘glow’ and feel fantastic.
What no-one ever mentioned was that being Pregnant would make me feel more unattractive than I had ever felt in my entire life.
I felt massive. I felt uncomfortable. Everything ached. Nothing fit. I felt hideous in everything I put on.
It was pretty much the complete opposite to everything I had expected to feel … and it was a huge disappointment.
I had so many visions of tracking my growing baby bump, and having beautiful photos to look back on. However, I have nothing because I despised and was so ashamed of how I looked.
Of course I now regret not having more pictures to document my pregnancy, but I have done exactly the same thing with my second one, so that’s just something to live with now.
3. The Intense Exhaustion
Now, I thought I was prepared for this one.
Exhaustion is a well known factor of being Pregnant.
The intensity of Exhaustion during Pregnancy is on a whole new level.
The best way I think to describe it is that someone has just pulled your power source out.
I have never felt so completely drained throughout my entire body as I have when I have been pregnant!
The exhaustion seems to have been worse with my second one, but I suppose that is because I am also looking after a Toddler and don’t have quite as much ‘freedom’ to just go and have a sleep.
Was anyone else completely knocked for six (in more ways than one) by just how tired you felt during pregnancy?
4. Your Birth Will Not Go As Planned
It is important to think about how you would like your Birth to go, using the glory of hindsight my personal opinion is that it is most important to think about what you really don’t want!
My first time round (and this time) I really wanted to have a Water Birth as I find water incredibly relaxing and thought this would be the best option for me.
As it turned out, I ended up not going into labour at all and having to have an emergency c-section – which also was nowhere near as bad as I had feared.
If you would like to read my full birth story, you can find it here.
The main thing I learnt from my first Birth Experience, is you can only really control your attitude towards it. And the best way to approach giving birth is with a very open mind!
5. Breastfeeding Is Hard
The last point I wanted to address in this post that really took me by surprise is how hard Breastfeeding is!
I have since learnt that as I didn’t go into labour the odds were very much stacked against me as neither my daughter or myself got the hormones that could have made it easier. Please note the could!
While I was pregnant I spent a long while researching Breastfeeding, and I really wanted to do it! It sounded so wonderful, not just for the bonding and nourishment for your child, but the ‘magic’ of it and how your milk would transform to provide exactly what your baby needed.
It sounded like the most natural thing in the world!
However, once my baby was born, I realised how hard it was.
No Labour = No Breastfeeding Hormones
As I hadn’t gone into Labour, my milk took a lot longer to come in. We spent the first 4-5 days trying to get a latch – which was a bit hit and miss. Plus hand expressing into a tiny syringe – which was a massive victory if we could get as much as 1ml!
In the end I spent 10 days in hospital, trying and trying to breastfeed, but it just didn’t happen how I had hoped.
I would occasionally get a good latch for around 10 minutes or so but my baby was losing weight so had to be fed through a tube.
When my milk came in around Day 5(ish) and I was given a pump, it was a complete game changer!
I kept feeding, from the source as it were, as much as I could, but then expressing the rest of the time so at least I knew she was getting my milk.
Around Day 8 in the hospital, I took the pressure off myself and started giving my expressed milk from a bottle. This meant we could finally get home as my daughter started gaining weight!
In the end I did a mix if everything. I expressed for her main food source for the first few weeks, breastfed for comfort and then moved onto formula.
This time around I plan to attempt breastfeeding again, but I am not going to put as much pressure on myself. If it works it works, if it doesn’t there is nothing wrong with formula and there is no need to have a bit of a break and keep trying.
Just Go With The Flow
My main advice would be to do whatever makes life easiest for you and your baby – as life with a newborn is anything but!
What things did you find unexpected about pregnancy and birth? Did yours go as you had thought? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for sticking with me!