My own mother claims that she had wonderful, comfortable, blissful pregnancies. The only negative thing I’ve ever heard her say was that one day she was just so tired while making the bed that she simply laid down to take a nap. That was the extent of her misery—an unexpected nap.
So naturally, I went into pregnancy thinking that the whole thing was going to be all roses and cupcakes and rainbow kittens. I saw the two lines and I felt…pretty good. And over the next few weeks I continued to feel…pretty good.
And then I woke up on week five, and that was weird. My breakfast tasted off. And then, huh, my lunch kinda made me want to barf. And then finally, oh shit, my dinner definitely made me want to die. That would be my reality with food for the next nine long months. I also had the pleasure of having to wear a heart monitor and was often prone to passing out if I sat in my car.
So, just in case you had a mother like mine, here is a longer list of pregnancy expectations vs. what might be your cold, hard reality:
1. The ‘Glow’
Expectations: My skin would be lit from within, like an angel, or maybe some kind of disco ball. I would radiate health and vitality, and in an instant, everyone would know that I carried the miracle of life within me.
Reality: My skin went completely wackadoo—pimples, rashes, weird brown lines. People told me constantly how tired and cranky I looked. They probably thought I carried a contagious disease within me.
2. Feeling the Baby Move
Expectations: Butterfly wings evolving into the feeling of lovely limbs stretching and the wonder of those first sweet hiccups.
Reality: It was cool but not always comfortable or timely. It often felt like a wrestling match where my bladder and I were clearly the losers.
3. Indulging Pregnancy Cravings
Expectations: Funny stories of how I would send my husband out late at night for barbecue sauce on popcorn or something.
Reality: Me, sitting alone at night while my husband slept, pretending like I wasn’t using the tortilla chip I was holding as a spoon for the trough of sour cream I was shoveling into my face.
4. All of the Attention
Expectations: “Aww! You’re pregnant? That is so great!”
Reality: “You are how far along? Whoa. Better cut back on all that sour cream.”
5. Cute Maternity Clothes
Expectations: The clothes! Adorable shirts and dresses to cover that teeny tiny basketball bump that I would surely have.
Reality: What really happened was that I didn’t actually care that much about clothes unless they were 1) big enough, 2) comfortable enough, or 3) could cover my ass.
Expectations: Me, frolicking in a field somewhere.
Reality: Didn’t happen. Didn’t care.
7. Getting Fat and Enjoying It
Expectations: I would eat all of the things! It would be a glorious and wondrous time. Who cares if I got fat—for once in my life, I was supposed to get fat.
Reality: So much crying. Once on vacation when I took a shower and glimpsed my whale-like proportions in the not-so-convenient shower mirror. Once while trying on an extra-large maternity dress that would not go over my ginormous belly. Once when my favorite yoga pants were no longer stretchy enough for my butt.
8. Setting Up the Baby’s Room
Expectations: The cute decorations! The mobile! All of the itty bitty stuff.
Reality: Being so tired that I couldn’t get myself to do anything, and besides, the baby probably wouldn’t sleep in there until they were in high school anyway.
9. Announcing Your Baby’s Name
Expectations: “I love that name. You should name everyone!”
Reality: “That’s what you decided on? Really? Oh well, at least she’s cute.”
10. Those First Few Sweet Days
Expectations: Blissful, snuggly days riding on a wave of oxytocin that I would remember for eternity.
Reality: I mean, I know those days happened, but I can’t say that I remember a whole lot except for a whole lot of weird smells and crippling anxiety about sleep and worrying about everyone just staying alive.
There were parts that I loved about being pregnant. I’m almost totally sure of it, but it definitely wasn’t what I expected. Maybe by the time I’m a grandma, I will have forgotten about all the hard parts and only remember that one time I fell asleep while making the bed.
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