There are millions of baby books that people will swear by, each one probably just as good as the next. They’re crammed full of great advice and what to expect-type info and probably some cute little diagrams and pictures, too.
Here’s what they don’t tell you…
You need to get to grips with who and where you are. There will be no alcohol to help you bring out your ‘fun side’ and, for the most part, you’re going to be the boring, responsible, reasonable person at the party. Oh, and boy will it be hard. Get used to being the grumpy one, the so-serious one, the one that just actually, really wants to go to sleep. ‘Guys, that is probably not a good idea’ will not make you popular and, in fact, you may be asked not to mother people. No, no, I’m just more sober that you and can foresee the outcome… Oh never mind. Go right ahead.
Over an above being uncomfortable, tired, anxious over your impending life change is the life change you’re currently in – the one where you have to start figuring out who you are before the little person arrives so that you don’t become one of those moms who loses themselves in their kids and, once they’re asleep, has nothing to say because they’ve lost their ‘voice’.
Sure, there will be wine for days like that. Thank goodness for that.
Your partner will not always get it. At times, you’re going to just be feeling a lot of things and, quite possibly, be left wondering why your partner isn’t being more supportive, attentive, compassionate, etc, etc. He’s (or she’s) going through his own things. Trying to be a part of this whole experience even though it’s mostly all happening inside of you right now. Trying to imagine what life is going to be like. The thing is, and it may seem like an obvious one but bear with me here, he can’t read your mind. You’re going to have to suck it up and tell him how you’re feeling and what you need so he can help you.
You’re going to feel very silly sometimes. See above, and the one above that. Now, remember all of those hormones they told you about in the baby books? All of this together means that sometimes you’re going to cry or feel down, you might eventually tell your partner what’s going through your head and then feel kinda silly for not having said something sooner or, once you’ve been reassured, wonder what you were so upset about in the first place. Then you might think about all the women who have gone through this before you (and survived! Imagine that!) and how exciting this all actually is, and feel even sillier.
You’ll think other people won’t get it. This is probably the biggest one, and the reason that so few people are honest about their preg-speriences (claiming that word). It’s meant to be this magical time and people love it so much and isn’t it all so wonderful – no. Your body is doing strange things, it’s miraculous and incredible, but it’s also hot and uncomfortable and just a little odd at times. I have come to the conclusion that giving birth, and then parenting, overshadow the preggie period and wipe the memory clear of anything less than wonderful and miraculous. You won’t want to sound like Debbie-Downer voicing all of your concerns and fears and strange aches in strange places, so you’ll try to avoid those preggie lovers, and then wonder who is left to chat to. The child-free may not get it (they do, more than you know) and again, you want to be positive. My advice – just talk and be honest. You’ll be surprised by who is able to help you and keeping it all in isn’t the answer.
You’re going to become one-dimensional. I know you’re not just pregnant. I know you have a job, are interested in what’s happening in the news, caught the game last weekend and have things going on outside of pregnancy, but humans get awkward around pregnant people and end up speaking to you as though pregnant is all you are. You’ll probably also be told to relax a lot, to ‘not worry’ etc. The same people will probably comment on your belly size every day. It’s just people. We’re an odd species.
For the most part, though, I can say this. You’re going to have a whole lot of weeks of baby things ahead of you. Try use some of the time to focus a little bit on yourself, too. The type of parent you want to be, the way you’re going to manage your life after the arrival so you don’t get lost in it all, the things you still want to achieve and do and how your Small can fit in (there, I said it). Try to enjoy it. Try to talk about it, honestly.