Being pregnant

6 things nobody tells you about pregnancy

Karen is amazed by everything she’s learning about her body and herself — that wasn’t covered in her baby books.

Granted, as a first-time mom-to-be, there is a lot to learn. But, I can’t believe everything I’m discovering about myself and my pregnancy body that hasn’t been covered in my baby books—or by everyone around me who’s doling out prenatal advice.

First, let’s discuss a few of the ickier things I would have loved to have had a heads-up on:

1. Panty liners will become a must
I know you ladies know what I’m talking about. Ick. Why didn’t anybody tell me about this part of pregnancy? I realize that on the grand scale of body changes — not to mention life changes—a little vaginal discharge might not seem like a big deal but leucorrhea, as I now know this totally normal milky substance is called, is seriously gross. Period.

2. My belly button will totally freak me out
This is a body part that I’ve never given much thought to, or paid much attention to (except during a few years in the mid-90s when I made the unfortunate decision to get a belly piercing), but in the past week it’s become a point of grotesque fascination. Apparently my innie is preparing to be an outie and this isn’t the straightforward process I might have anticipated. The first time I noticed it we were watching Bridesmaids. It was late in the evening and I was feeling bloated and stretched per usual when, during a fit of pretty intense laughter, it suddenly went “pop.” Over night it went back to it’s fairly flat, but very stretched, state. It’s been half-protruding on and off ever since. I keep checking to see when it’s going to make its final move.

3. Heartburn will ruin my favourite meals and keep me up at night
As someone who has rarely experienced any form of indigestion, this has been a real shocker. The first few times I didn’t even know what was happening. I kept waking up in the middle of the night with this uncomfortable gurgling in my chest but had no idea what was causing it. Finally my husband, a die-hard Gaviscon fan due to his own digestive issues, clued me in. I’m now trying lighter, smaller and earlier dinners (no more late-night curry or pizza!) and propping my head up while I sleep. So far though the heartburn monster is still keeping me up in the wee hours. (If you have a great pregnancy-safe cure please share!)

And now, the rather lovely things that I’m thrilled to discover:

4. Confidence will abound
I always wondered why every celebrity who’s interviewed postpartum goes on and on about how her priorities have changed, how she feels like everything in her life suddenly makes sense, blah, blah, blah. Strangely this mental shift is already taking hold in me, too. Not only do I feel a bit more purposeful, I’m also a lot less stressed-out about the small stuff like being a few minutes late for an appointment, forgetting to do the laundry (again) or arriving at the grocery store sans list or bags. Suddenly these day-to-day bloopers that used to make me sweat seem like no big deal. I’ve never felt this confident or sure of myself. And all is pretty much right with the world. (That’s right, I said it!)

5. This experience will bring me closer to my own parents
There have been moments when my mom has driven me a bit batty with questions about what I’m eating, whether I’m resting enough and what exactly was said at my last midwife appointment. She wants details—and lots of them. But, I know deep down this isn’t meddling. It’s because she lives in another city and since we only see each other every few weeks this barrage of questions is her way of keeping tabs on me and showing that she cares. The same goes for Barry’s parents: It’s really fun to watch them get excited about their first grandchild and it makes me feel closer to them knowing that we’re embarking on this amazing baby journey as a family.

6. I’ll start feeling like a mom long before baby arrives
At 27 weeks I’m already feeling super maternal. I’m monitoring baby’s kicks, talking to her, thinking about what she’s feeling and how she might look by this stage. Our bond is already pretty solidified and she won’t even get here for three more months. I’m also remarkably more tolerant of screaming babies in stores and restaurants who, if I’m honest, would have really irritated me before. And then there’s this unspoken bond with other moms I see pushing their prams or corralling their tots. It’s like, “Yes, that’s right, I’m one of you now!” And let me tell you, it feels great.

Originally published in July 2012. 

Read more:
What to expect if you test positive for group B strep
Why advanced maternal age could make you a better mom
Pregnancy perks: The health benefits for mom