Ahh, yes, The Miracle of Life. Surely you watched that piece of cinematic brilliance at least once in your high school career. You might recall lots of kids yelling “ewww!” and people shielding their eyes and praying that it would be over soon. On the one hand, it’s just the human body and if you can get past the weirdness of farts and periods, you’d think that childbirth wouldn’t be all that hard to wrap your head around. On the other, there’s the weight gain, the bloating, the cravings, the mood swings, and the actual process of push – rip – push – rip – or worse – having a C-section. What if your water breaks in public? What if the baby in your belly actually makes you fart at work? Do you want to get an epidural? Guess you shouldn’t have gotten that super sultry tramp stamp last year. It’s still worth a conversation with your doctor about your pain management options, btw. You can discuss the hundreds or questions and concerns you have too. It’s a guarantee that you’ll have many other thoughts and emotions throughout the duration of your pregnancy, but you’ve only just found out. So don’t be surprised if you have any of the following thoughts.
Before you jump to conclusions and think anyone is anti-baby or anything, keep this in mind. This could be a good or bad “oh my gawd!” Maybe you and your husband/boyfriend/friend with benefits/fiancé have been trying for a while and you’ve had no luck and this is the greatest news you’ve heard ever, other than that time your sick aunt Judy won $650 thousand dollars and she announced she was leaving it to you instead of her money-hungry vulture children… or maybe, a shotgun wedding is in order and you’re currently doing everything in your power not to throw up, pee or cry in sheer, unadulterated fear. Regardless of whether your new found pregnancy is very much wanted or slightly less wanted, many pregnant ladies will have an OMG moment when they find out. Your OMG moment may not even come until you’ve verified with three over the counter tests and then a doctor’s visit… but it’ll come.
14 Am I ready to do this?
You can read every book ever written on pregnancy and parenting; you can ask all of your friends with children how it all went down and take note of all of their advice; you can take a parenting class with your partner; you can talk to dear old ma and pa about what they went through with you. Nothing truly prepares you for the overwhelming floodgate of emotions that pour through you when you find out that you are with baby. It’s normal to fear unsure and unprepared. It’s normal to have doubts about if you’d make a good parent or even if you and your partner can handle this new responsibility mentally, emotionally and financially. You can even think you’re ready all through your trimesters and come delivery day, you get rolled into the birthing room screaming because you are not, indeed, actually ready (like everyone else in the world). Push your insecurities aside and remember, you got this!
13 What is he going to say?
In this case, "he" is, of course, referring to the baby-daddy. Whether that’s your boyfriend, fiancé, husband or the mailman, usually when you first find out, assuming you are peeing on the stick alone, in the bathroom, without your eleven closest friends on standby, you aren’t really sure what anyone else is going to say. Heck, you don’t even know how you really feel about the whole situation quite yet, you just got the news. You’re hoping he’s happy if you are; or you’re hoping he’s scared because you are, too. And more than anything you don’t want him to up and leave like the scary stereotype of young fathers everywhere. If your relationship was steady and permanent before this joyous news, it’s a lot easier to predict what he’s going to think or say. If not, well, you don’t know until you go and tell him. Just make sure he’s sitting down first.
12 I have to call my [blank]
[Blank] might be the father of your newly acquired sea-monkey, but it could also be a variety of other people in your life, close to your heart. Your mother, father, sister, best friend or long time pet come to mind as people you’re going to tell right off the bat. Now, they do warn against making any announcements until after the first trimester because so much can happen and nothing makes grief worse (knock on wood) than having everyone know about your bundle of joy, that wasn’t meant to be just quite yet. You’re scared, you’re excited, you’re overwhelmed and you have no idea what to do right now except pace back and forth in your bathroom, staring at the stick, not even caring that you probably have pee all over your hands. You want to tell someone. Not even to share the good news; more so that you just need to talk to someone about all your conflicting emotions. It’s recommended you tell someone that you trust, who can keep your secret, until you’re ready to reveal it to the world.
11 Boy or girl?
The age-old question: is the cake going to be pink or blue when we cut it open. Of course, that’s a silly analogy because you know the answer to that; and you have to in order to have your baker neighbor make you a cake with the correct color of food coloring in the vanilla cake mix inside the cake so you can announce it to all of your friends and family. Or maybe you’re a bit more traditional and you want to be surprised when you push the sucker out of you. You probably have a preference, whether or not you’re thinking of it at this exact moment, and you’ve probably picked out some names you like for both genders (that’s what grade 10 history was for). Many don’t care; they just want a relatively painless childbirth and a healthy, happy baby to be born. Just remember, no matter what they tell you, yellow is not gender neutral.
10 Am I going to get fired?
This one’s a toughie. Usually, you are protected under most provincial and state laws. The general rule is that unless you work at a place with under a certain amount of people employed, or you’re still on probation at a new job, you are protected. Pregnancy can sometimes interfere with your work though, for example, if you work in a warehouse and are required to carry heavy loads on a daily basis. No matter how you slice it, it can still be nerve-wracking to tell a boss that you are pregnant and will therefore, in about 9 months, be missing all sorts of work. Even if you have a job that allows for some flexibility in working from home, your hands will be all sorts of tied up with the new baby, lack of sleep and being unable to drink until you are past that whole breastfeeding thing that most people do. And everyone knows it’s difficult to take care of an expensive baby with no job and no money. Just take a deep breath through this one, and remember that everything will be okay. If all else fails you, there are government assistance programs to help new moms; or you can call in some family favors.
9 When is morning sickness going to start?
Arguably everyone’s favorite part of pregnancy is morning sickness. Oh, glorious morning sickness. This hassle can interfere with your eating habits, your sleep cycle and your partner's (if you live and sleep together) if you are constantly running to the bathroom to yak at 5am. They say roughly 90% of women experience some form of morning sickness during pregnancy so it’s normal that you’d get paranoid about it. Even though no one quite knows why this illness occurs, one theory is that “morning sickness is the body's reaction to the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is produced at higher levels during the first trimester than at any other time during pregnancy, says Dr. Jennifer Niebyl… head of obstetrics and gynecology at University of Iowa College of Medicine.” Remember, vomit can do some damage to your teeth so make sure you brush after your puking subsides.
8 I’m going to get fat
Yes, you are. Astute observation. How else would you fit a 6-10lb baby in the middle of your tummy with all your internal organs if you didn’t put on a few. So much for your 40-week straight gym binge and your rocking 10/10 bod. You can kiss all of that goodbye for now, because congratulations, you will be experiencing the miracle of childbirth. You can do your best to maintain healthy eating and light exercise throughout your pregnancy, but if you really stop and plan for it, you’re probably going to have awkward cravings at 4am for some greasy fast food place's fries with pickles dipped in mayo or like garlic hot sauce. Making yourself hangry is not going to speed up the process, keep your partner happy or keep the baby healthy so you may as well enjoy some light binging, because when you think about it, it’s practically guilt free because all that food isn’t even for you. Baby gets what baby wants.
7 Oh crap, I have to buy new clothes!
Pregnancy is filled with all sorts of amazing experiences from being unable to touch your toes or put on shoes, to morning sickness, and mild to Velociraptor-level irritability. One result of the magical weight gain is the fact that your skinny jeans aren’t going to fit you for a few months. Neither is that cute little tank top you just bought at Guess that you can’t wait to wear out. Word of advice: wear it out now. Go! Just remember not to drink any alcohol. New clothes, especially maternity clothes, can be expensive (let alone the expense of having an actual new mouth to feed); these magical maternity clothes are also pretty awful and non-fashionable, even though they’ve gotten better in recent years. Once this realization dawns upon you, it’s important to budget for some of the new clothes in the near future and wear all the nice stuff you’re going to miss wearing as soon as time permits.
6 Please be healthy!
Whether you want a boy, or a girl; you want a single baby, twins or triplets, or you want your baby to have your hair and his complexion, or something totally different; one thing's for sure: you want your baby to be born healthy and happy. It’s normal to feel paranoid with every little kick and rotation in your belly that something is wrong. No one wants to experience the horror of severe complications, or be shocked and saddened with the birth of a child with a congenital birth defect. Lucky for you, some of your neuroses will be eliminated because many doctors can do pre-screening to test your unborn fetus for many of these potentially life-changing ailments and disabilities. Do your best to live a healthy life during pregnancy – don’t drink, smoke, take any recreational drugs, and limit the amount of OTC pain or prescription meds you are taking; get lots of fresh air and exercise and try to stay positive in your mood, and the rest is really up to mother nature and has nothing to do with you.
5 Yes! (Nooooo!) My Boobs are going to get bigger.
This piece of news can be both a blessing and a curse. Ever since you were a wee lass, you dreamed of filling out your prom dress, but never did, so you compromised with an overpriced bra from Victoria's Secret. Bigger boobs are nice for the gal who has long suffered from flat-chestedness due to her smaller built figure; but it’s not all rosy and beautiful. There are definitely negative side effects like back pain, sagging and overall more body weight to cart around with you. With large boobs, comes large responsibility. Well, not really, but you’ll probably have to buy some larger bras; they will get tender, laying on your stomach will become nearly impossible, even before the baby bump forms, and the last thing you will want is your man to touch them. Ever. Even though he will be très excited and will just want to play with them. The doctor prescribed recommendation is to get a Taser. Don’t even get started thinking about breast-feeding.
4 How am I going to shave?
This is a good question. If you’ve ever cracked a rib or had some serious back pain, you may have experienced a small portion of what it’s like to not be able to bend over. No touching your toes, no putting on running shoes, time to break out the Crocs. Side note, pregnancy is certainly an appropriate excuse for lack of fashion sense. Milk it as long as you can. The easy answer to this question is that you’re not. But you don’t have to be a woolly mammoth. Waxing can cause unnecessary stress to your body, and the baby, but shaving isn’t fully off the table quite yet. Keep in mind that now is the time to make nice with the boyfriend so he can help you shave your legs, and other things that might make childbirth a little bit less awkward. He might give you some grief about it but he’d rather spend ten to fifteen minutes helping you than listen to you complain about itching or being too hot for the next few months.
3 What about getting jiggy?
Sex is what got you into this position to begin with so it’s completely normal that you will have thoughts about it right now, upon being informed of the news that you are indeed preggers. Many thoughts plague your mind: Is my vagina going to go back to normal? When can I have sex again? Will either of us actually enjoy it? Is he going to cheat on me with hookers and strippers because it’s like a hot dog down a hallway afterwards (or during my pregnancy)? First, it’s important to remember that being pregnant doesn’t mean your life ends for 9 months. You can still have sex as long as the pregnancy is going normally and it is comfortable for you. It gets to be all about you; what positions do you like (that are comfortable); how much work do you want to do so as not to overexert yourself (and be comfortable); and what type of sex do you want to have: oral, anal or vaginal? This changes slightly if you are with twins, or you’ve had any sort of irregular bleeding during pregnancy. Your sexual desire can sometimes peak in the second trimester and wane in the third. You should take your waning desire as an indicator that you’re taking a break from sex for a small amount of time. Discuss this with your partner to avoid hurt feelings and awkward “no-ments”.
2 How bad is this going to hurt?
Lots and lots. Probably. No need to sugar coat this for anyone because you’ve already asked your mom and fired up the Google machine. Many women experience pain and discomfort from back pain, inability to sleep, headaches, your overgrown sea-monkey kicking you way too hard in the gut, plus the actual pushing part, it’s been rumored, is not that pleasant either. Have you ever cut open your leg, but not like a small cut, more like a 7-inch incision clean down or across your leg? Well that happens in your nether regions. The baby’s gotta come out of somewhere. Lucky for you, there are options available from natural pain relief and water birthing to the oh-so-popular epidural. Pain can be considered subjective anyway, so it depends on how long labor takes and how fast that baby comes clawing it’s way out (your baby will have tiny fingernails but it won’t actually claw it’s way out). Practice deep breathing and meditation to make the best out of the fact that there are many more things in the world you’d rather be doing while you are in labor.
1 Why did I Google that?
Speaking of firing up the Google machine… Never, let’s repeat; NEVER consult Google for advice on pregnancy or to read stories of other women’s experiences. Do you understand how ad words and analytics and search results work? Basically, most popular results appear higher up on the list because they are looked at more frequently. Unless some WebMD style blog pays for results or has AMAZING SEO that puts them at the top of the list, you can’t guarantee you’re reading anything that is actually true. Reading the first three results does not in any way guarantee that you are reading factual information or real accounts of real pregnancies. Generally, audiences want to read things with shock factor, either because they are horrific stories, gross stories, stories about pain, near death experiences, and all sorts of strange cravings. Seldom do you read anything about the pleasantries of being pregnant and the magical experience of childbirth. Oh the places you will go; and the things you will read about how amazing it is to have a child, and be a mom and raise your baby. But you are less likely to read such happy anecdotes about the pregnancy or birthing process. You will likely read about being fat, blood, poop and lots of yelling. Embrace this inevitability.