A letter to myself on what I wish I’d have known when pregnant, offering some thoughts to those who are in their first or second trimester. It’s not meant to be life-affirming advice but an insight into some of those little little pregnancy challenges.
Dear pregnant self,
Morning sickness is a lie. It can be all day sickness and you may need a bag in your car for when you are stuck in traffic. You could be lucky and not get sickness at all but you will potentially feel sea sick at some point, particularly when you smell food being cooked. Lay off the strong smelling stuff.
Welcome to pregnancy and to the constant questions from people that include; how far along are you? Oh aren’t you small/aren’t you big? You look pale, are you eating enough? And my absolute favourite, ‘Do you know what you are having?’ Don’t bark “Of course I do, I’m having a baby you complete moron!” at anyone. Instead smile sweetly, nod politely and go and do things exactly how you want to. Being pregnant shouldn’t make you any less human. However, those complete strangers that want to touch your bump – they are not obviously sane, run for the hills.
Your baby when he or she arrives will make you feel like you have a permanent hangover for at least three years. Your washer and dryer will constantly be on and you will not be able to get through the mountain of washing…ever. You will also feel like you are constantly sterilising bottles or feeding your suckling new-born which is exhausting. Bear all this in mind throughout your pregnancy. You tend to do everything, moving mountains if you can but when your body tells you to ease up, do it. Put your feet up, go to bed early and empty your brain too. Stop scrolling through Instagram at the fitness freak preggos and thinking you need to do those exercises too.
Your growing bump will put a lot of pressure on your bladder and so your sleep will be disrupted by countless trips to the loo. That and for some reason your hormones have you up some days at the crack of dawn. Don’t just lie there with your stomach rumbling. Have a stash of ginger biscuits and a bottle of water in that drawer next to your bed that you never use. That way you can go for a wee, then curb your hunger to get you back to sleep without your tummy aching. You aren’t getting fat.
Don’t panic. Other pregnant women can’t put on their own socks too and most first-time mums are also frightened to death about birth itself and the need to suddenly become maternal. Sign up to that yoga course or the NCT group because you will make new friends for life. They will support you in many times of need. Like when the first poonami happens or when your car breaks down and you have no milk or dummy in your bag.
In theory, women should have been able to design the perfect fitting range of clothes for you and bump. In reality you won’t be able to go into your favourite clothing stores and walk towards the maternity section because generally there isn’t one. Instead you have to trawl through a limited selection of clothing online. Some are cheap and nasty and you won’t even have the energy to send them back, others will be over priced but very comfy so invest in just a few of these. Just so you know, you don’t look like you are wearing a tent, your bum shouldn’t require a wide load sign but yeah your boobs are massive and your partner might want to touch them. Remind him they are sore and off limits!
Don’t freak out. Those pains in your tummy probably aren’t early labour, your uterus can tighten as your baby grows. No need to automatically think you are going to die. Plus, it is a good idea to remain calm so your blood pressure stays level. In the later stages sneezing and laughing can actually make you wee a little. Ohhhh that’s what those silly pelvic floor exercises are for.
Do get that hospital bag packed two months in advance with fresh clothes, some toiletries, face mist spray, face wipes, lip balm and some snacks for when you actually go in to labour. Your hand bag is not sufficient!