Pregnancy is a magical time in a woman’s life. She’s growing a miracle, glowing from the inside out. Her mother and friends who are already mothers have told her about all of the joys of pregnancy. Then she—okay, I—discover a few things that nobody ever tells you before you are pregnant.
1. Hair, Hair and More Hair!
Everyone said that my hair would become fuller and thicker. What they didn’t mention was that it was the hair everywhere but my head that became darker and thicker (including the lady parts) and that the hair on my head would start to fall out in almost horror-movie-like clumps, and I’m told it continues after you give birth. You’ve been warned.
2. You Never Say Goodbye to Your Favorite Panty Liners
Before I became pregnant, I heard a lot of people say, “At least when I’m pregnant I’ll get to give up the pads/tampons/menstrual cups/etc., for nine months!” Au contraire! From the moment I became pregnant, that “little extra discharge” that some doctors say you may experience was more like a waterfall (and still is seven months later). If I leave the house without a panty liner, I’ll need a new pair of knickers by lunchtime. This brings me to…
3. You Will Pee Yourself
Yes, you read that correctly. There is a very good chance that no matter how strong you think your kegels are (and I thought mine were pretty damn strong) that you will pee yourself. Once you can feel the baby kick, and he or she lands a swift kick to your bladder, prepare to simultaneously be mortified that you peed yourself and grateful that you wore a panty liner to catch that extra liquid.
4. Any Modesty You Have or Mystery in Your Relationship Will Go Right Out the Window
Your body will find a way to adjust to pregnancy, be it morning sickness, diarrhea, fatigue, or a fun combo of side effects. There is a good chance you will feel like hell in your first trimester even if you don’t have the dreaded morning sickness, and you won’t care about how good your hair and makeup looks in that moment. The only thing you care about is when the hell will end!
5. Unsolicited Advice and Unofficial Pregnancy Experts
Once you finally decide to come out to the world about your pregnancy (or you start to show), everyone around you, including strangers, suddenly becomes the expert on everything related to your pregnancy and body, and will try to contradict everything your doctor tells you (because obviously they know better than your doctor). On top of that, prepare to get dirty looks whenever you enter Starbucks or, in my case, reprimanded by the barista for ordering a medium iced soy green tea latte because in her eyes, 50 mg of caffeine in my vacation beverage treat is way too much. It took everything I had to not slap her across the face (after the third time of her asking me if I’m absolutely sure I don’t want to order something completely decaf like their passion fruit iced tea), tell her to mind her own damn business, and blame it on…
6. Pregnancy Rage
It’s real, and it’s scary. I knew that there may be a few mood swings, but I never prepared myself for the all-out rage that erupted in my head for the first few months of my pregnancy. Luckily, I was relatively in control of my crazy preggo-rage, but let me tell you: It’s like your brain is filled with land mines and any little thing can set one off. If, like me, you’re a pretty relaxed, loving person, this rage will scare the hell out of you and your spouse, and make you wonder what crazy alien took over your body. Don’t worry, it will go away; it’s just a bitch while it lasts.
7. Nipple Changes
I don’t know about you, but I was told there may be a “slight darkening” of the nipples and areolas. What I didn’t expect was that they would look as unnatural as if they had been painted on by a color-blind painter. I’m incredibly pale, and my nipples that were once nearly translucent pink are now a deep, deep shade of brown.
8. Baby Movement
“It’s the most magical feeling in the world,” they said. What they don’t say is that it goes from what feels like gas bubbles, to gentle nudges, to full on punches and kicks in a matter of weeks. On top of that, babies like to stretch, and when that happens, it will look and feel like an alien is trying to break free from your uterus. My little boy once stuck his head up so far that not only could you see the outline of his head, but it felt like my skin was about to break open. I was freaking out just a little bit.
9. Sudden Uncontrollable Gas
Starting sometime in your mid-to-late second trimester, you will begin farting uncontrollably and without warning. You may even make it impossible for your husband to walk into the room (or even within 5 feet of you on a public sidewalk) without gagging.
10. Immune System
I’m not sure why everyone I talked to said your immune system would be fantastic while you’re pregnant, but that’s certainly not the case. Because your baby is essentially a parasite, your immune system lowers its defenses so it doesn’t attack the baby. That, in turn, means that you are more susceptible to other illnesses like the flu, colds, strep, and even infections down in your lady bits. I’ve been fighting off a cold and tonsillitis since New Year’s Eve. Good times.
There you have it. Consider yourself warned! Pregnancy has many not-so-fun and downright strange moments, but just remember, (some of) these things are only temporary.