1. You will hear the most God-awful birth stories that are like something from Saw
(Full disclosure – obviously I’ve never seen any of the Saw films – even Midsummer Murders can make me scared to go upstairs in the dark in my own house. Yes I know it isn’t scary. Yes I know I’m a pathetic wimp. Yes I know I’m about to be a parent and therefore need to pretend nothing is scary. But murderers are terrifying – even nice ones who do the deed in a genteel way at a country fete in the jam judging competition.)
I cannot count the number of times strange women (that’s right – you are under attack every time you leave the house and someone spots your bump) have come over specifically to tell me how awful their birth/their friend’s birth/their friend’s hairdresser’s dog walker’s cousin’s birth was. The baffling thing about these women is that they seem to think that they are helping you. They honestly think they are providing a service. After they leave you, patting your arm, or worse, patting your bump, in what they perceive as a comforting way, they go on their merry way, sighing with happiness at a good deed done. You are left with the images from words such as ‘third degree tear’, ‘permanent incompetence’ and ‘prolapse’ and a growing horror that puts your slight discomfort around spiders to shame.
2. You will experience excess bodily fluids (yes I’m going there)
You have this vision, (not helped by our media who still seem to hold pregnant women up to the pedestal of the virgin Mary, but I digress) of being a serenely smiling, gently glowing, tidy bump delicately emerging from a gorgeous dress, magnificently coping fertility goddess. Kate Middleton! You think you will be Kate Middleton! Oh ladies. I’m so very sorry, but this image is clouded by the fact that your ‘glow’ is actually sweat. And I wish this was the only bodily fluid you will sprout excess of…You will drool when sleeping, to the point where little pools and strange marks will appear on your pillows. Sweat will come on suddenly, sometimes for no reason, and from weird and wonderful places (my palms and soles of my feet are regularly dripping. DRIPPING.) And the most disgusting of all – VAGINAL DISCHARGE. (I think I felt by capitalising it I made it less grim – this is clearly not the case. Sorry.) You will find this in excess throughout your pregnancy, to the point where my husband asked me suspiciously if I was eating toilet roll, as we were going through it at a rate of knots (I think he’d read an article on pica and was concerned I was stuffing my face with tissue paper. The reality of course was that I was hoarding rolls everywhere to help feel fresher down below. Sorry. Again.)
3. You will have a quiet panic at least once a day (a.k.a – the internet is not your friend)
My google history (other search engines are available) is full of searches such as ‘is it normal to want to eat so badly that you would tear apart your loved ones in order to satisfy your hunger?’ and ‘WHY OH GOD WHY ARE MY PALMS SO SWEATY?!!!’. Do not succumb to the temptation of the God of Google. It is perfectly normal to have a little panic every day of your pregnancy. This can range from ‘does my bump feel a bit smaller/lot bigger/lumpy today’ to ‘I’m sure I haven’t felt the baby move for an hour.’ Please please please do not consult the internet. Just as when you consult the internet for a minor symptom (slight headache, sore throat etc) and message boards tell you you are dying, the same goes for pregnancy. The message boards will terrify you – they are full of doom and gloom, catastrophe vultures, and most worryingly, wrong medical advice. If you are at all worried, ring your midwife. They will give you reassurance, and most importantly, correct medical advice! Never feel like you are being a pain, and that perhaps you’ll consult the internet first…RING THE MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL!
Once again ladies, I am so so sorry. Please let me know if you think I have missed something that no-one tells you about pregnancy – the stranger the better!
Picture credit: http://www.healthline.com