You can have a “normal” pregnancy and still be terrified or at least mystified by some of the seemingly abnormal aspects of growing another human. Pregnancy on television, in books and especially in movies is a rather clean affair filled with cute maternity clothes, smiling trips to the doctor and a few pangs of labor before the baby slides out into the doctor’s waiting arms. Oh – and your water will almost certainly break in the middle of the street or a restaurant.
In reality, pregnancy is a mystifying spectrum of events and just when you think you’re the only one in the world whose face is turning different colors, you find out it’s “just another part of pregnancy.” In fact, this phrase will become exquisitely annoying very soon. And you’re much more likely to wet your pants sneezing than have your water break in public, by the way.
You’ll know you’re pregnant when you realize (ten days later) that you’ve missed your period. In truth, most women have no
idea when to expect their period when they stop taking birth control, so you don’t get to be blasé about missing it and then rushing to take a test. You’ll most likely start suspecting the pregnancy using some other sign – such as an outrageous need to pee all the time or horribly sensitive breasts before you clue in to a missed period. The only time you really pay attention to the missed period is when you start counting days to when you think it should arrive so you can take horribly scientific tests to tell you if you’re about one second pregnant already.
Just when you think you’re getting a break from panty liners and a monthly inconvenience, you’ll realize pregnancy is just chock full of fluids – and some of it is regular discharge. While not your typical period, you’ll give up one week of pads a month for a full nine months of them as you try to contain your “typical” amounts of discharge. And those pads might actually help you near the end of pregnancy – not because your water will break, but because you’re much more likely to leak pee when you stand, sit, talk, sneeze, laugh or breathe.
When you’re pregnant, you might start to notice something peculiar with your face. Something looks different and you can’t quite place it until you realize all contour is gone and your nose looks squashed. The myth of the baby belly being the only change during pregnancy is soon displaced after just a few months. One day you’ll look in the mirror and notice you have dark splotches on your skin, acne everywhere, no more hollows under your cheekbones thanks to water retention and for some unlucky mothers, your nose will even get larger or wide. Don’t panic – it’s all “normal.”
The best myth of all is how joyful you’ll be the whole time. Don’t misunderstand – you can be elated you’re growing a new life, yet at the same time be ready to rip the head off anyone who gets in your way. You can be miserable the first three to four months of pregnancy - even wind up in the hospital due to extreme vomiting. (Don’t worry, it’s normal.” You can be put on bedrest for a bit of bleeding at any time. (Don’t worry, it’s normal – the bedrest for sure, the bleeding only in certain cases.)
You can have raging hormone surges that you simply can’t control (It’s normal) and finally, you can threaten your husband with divorce one minute and then cry in his arms over feeling of inadequacy as a mother now that you’re five weeks pregnant the next (Oh right, that’s those normal hormones again.) A new baby is always a joy, but if you’re not joyful 99.9% of the time, have no fear – it’s normal.
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