When I joyfully announced my pregnancy on Facebook, I was unprepared for the almost instant stream of unsolicited advice that, nine whole months later, has yet to trickle off.
Being a new mom, at first I maintained my “it takes a village” attitude, welcoming words of wisdom with open arms. But over time, the advice — while well-meaning — became overwhelming and redundant. Worse, a lot of it didn’t actually reflect what I was feeling.
Among all the pregnancy noise, here are seven things I wish someone had told me:
Your pregnancy is uniquely your own.
People will talk about their own pregnancy as if everything that happened to them will happen to you. But the truth is each pregnancy is as unique as the woman experiencing it. Own your journey, celebrate it and don’t panic if it doesn’t look exactly like your best friend’s cousin’s mom’s pregnancy or the stranger’s who stopped you on the street to tell you why you should eat your placenta.
You might love your pregnancy body.
I cried for a day or two after finding out I was pregnant, wholly convinced that I would never again feel beautiful. For many of us, it took a dang long time to learn to love our bodies, and some of us are still learning. But as my pregnancy progressed and my belly grew, not only did I begin to like the way I look, I became completely in awe of what this miraculous sack of cells could do. You might also feel this way, and if not, guess what? That’s totally okay, too.
Maternity clothes can be cute!
I love my pregnancy body so much that I’d actually have preferred to be naked for the last nine months, but because that’s not a thing, thank the pregnancy gods for cute maternity clothes. Yes, they do exist. And no, do not suffer one more day with a too-tight waistband waiting to get them. My favorite affordable maternity clothes came from ASOS, Old Navy and H&M.
Your brain changes.
Feel like a different person? It’s all in your head — literally. Science tells us that pregnant women experience drastic hormonal changes that affect the concentration of gray matter in the brain and increase activity in regions that control empathy, anxiety and social interaction. For me, these changes manifested as a noticeable shift in my awareness and an increased sensitivity to the people and world around me. Lean in to it; this is nature’s way of preparing you for what’s to come.
Self-care is mandatory.
From researching the pros and cons of midwifery and the safety ratings of the top 30 car seats on the market, to crafting a to-do list that now includes things like “apply for life insurance,” there’s a lot to learn and do before the arrival of your new baby. It’s all too easy to get carried away and forget about the no. 1 most important thing: taking care of yourself.
Eating isn’t fun anymore.
Sometime around the middle of my second trimester, I lost my appetite. Between non-stop heartburn and the reality that I was actually running out of room in there, mealtime became less and less enjoyable. If you experience this too, don’t stop eating. Instead, eat smaller meals made up of nutrient-rich whole foods and remember your appetite will come back after baby. When it does, have these meals on hand.
Your friendships could change.
Being pregnant is a big deal. Your friends who’ve never gone through it, aren’t planning to ever have kids or are in the thick of their carefree no-strings-attached lifestyle, might feel a bit bewildered relating to you or have trouble offering the support you need. Some might keep their distance, display feelings of jealousy or feel like they’re losing you. And all of that is totally okay. Find some mama friends and nurture those relationships — you’re gonna need them.