I have spent plenty of time around pregnant women throughout my life and I have gotten plenty of sage wisdom. And perhaps foolishly, I thought that meant I knew a lot about pregnancy. I learned very, very quickly that there are a lot of things that no one ever told me. And probably because some of these are a little personal, but I spent the first several weeks of pregnancy freaking out and googling a lot of things.
Google is not such a friendly place when you’re newly pregnant and freaking out. I do not recommend doing this.
Things have settled down somewhat now, I know most of my normal aches and pains, I know the things to look for and when to worry. It doesn’t mean I don’t still panic from time to time, but overall I have just learned to assume that totally abnormal feelings are very normal when you’re growing another human. My body clearly does not belong to me anymore. I think I actually worry more when I feel like myself than when I don’t.
Anyway, for you seasoned mothers you might know all this already (and maybe you can tell us when this stuff gets better!), but for this newbie, these were the 5 most surprising things I’ve learned about pregnancy.
Insomnia 1 of 5It's no secret that early pregnancy comes with pretty extensive exhaustion, but what was surprising was that despite the exhaustion, I cannot sleep through the night. Sometimes I get up to pee, sometimes I get up because it's been an hour since I was last awake, sometimes there's just no rhyme or reason. I haven't slept through a night since the week I found out I was pregnant. (The first person who says that this is preparing me for not sleeping after having a baby is going to get the full hormone wrath.)
Gas 2 of 5From weeks 4 to 6, I frequently thought that someone was trying to tear apart my insides because I had unbelievable gas pain. It has gotten a little bit better in the subsequent weeks, at least in the pain realm. But I can still keep up with pretty much any frat boy in the country. And frat boy gas is not very lady-like.
Hunger 3 of 5I think we always knew pregnancy was always going to involve an increase in food consumption, but no one explained that by week 6 I was going to be so hungry I would literally be eating graham crackers in bed at 3 in the morning. It's not just hunger, it's one small step away from starvation. The middle of the night is the worst, but this morning I ate breakfast and not 10 minutes later was hungry again. This baby had better be growing like a weed, because heaven knows my appetite sure is.
Digestive…issues 4 of 5This one was probably the biggest surprise to me. It turns out that pregnancy does all kinds of crazy things to your digestive tract. It can speed it way up to a point of being totally awful and keeping you bound to your house (me, weeks 4-6) or it can slow down so much you'd swear it's halted altogether (me, week 6-now). My OB assured me that both are normal and both can be explained by hormones. Obviously no one wants to talk about these kind of things with their friends, but man would I have liked some warning on this one.
Leaking 5 of 5I'm going to try to be delicate about this but the fact of the matter is that no one really told me that there would constantly be something leaking out of my nether regions. The first few weeks I was constantly convinced I was spotting and something terrible had happened, but 6 weeks later, I've discovered that it's just a constant state of leakiness. As if I wasn't peeing frequently enough to begin with, this has led to about 10 extra bathroom trips a day, just to be sure.