First off, congratulations!
Second, I am not going to be that annoying person who tells you to enjoy every minute of your puking, under-boob-sweating, stretch-mark-inducing, anxiety-provoking pregnancy. Growing another human being inside your body, while totally worth it, is freaking hard work.
But I am going to be the one to tell you about a few things that you might not be expecting when you’re expecting—11 of them, to be exact.
You will not “make a ton of use” out of that maternity dress after the baby is born. You will be so sick of that damn thing by the time your due date arrives, you will not only refuse to wear it once you (sort of) fit into your non-pregnancy clothes again—you will actually consider burning it while doing a celebratory dance.
Your sweet little baby bump will freak you out in a few months. By your third trimester, you’ll see limbs pushing outward against your belly and you’ll start Googling whether a baby has ever emerged Alien-style from an abdomen. (Just FYI: There haven’t been any reported cases…yet.)
Your breakable objects are on death watch. You might be harboring fantasies of teaching your future crawler, grabber and thrower to say away from Mommy’s nice things. Good luck with that! The first time your little darling comes close to shattering that heirloom figurine on your coffee table and making a trip to the ER, it will be stored safely behind lock and key until you need to hock it to pay for your kid’s college tuition.
Ditto on candles. Fire, exhaustion and babies don’t mix.
Don’t get too crazy over your birth plan. Yes, we all have scripts in our head of how things should go. But more often than not, when you feel like there’s no way you’re going to survive the rest of the labor and you want to smack your sticking-to-the-plan, well-meaning, encouraging partner’s sweet face, some of that’s going to go out the window. Kids have a way of altering your best-laid plans, and childbirth is just the first time that this will likely happen. Consider it your initiation.
Take pictures when you’re 8 months pregnant. Yes, you may feel huge and can only see your double chin when you smile, but these shots will look a lot better when you’re on the flip side of the pregnancy. You’ll cherish the memory—and, when it’s a distant memory, also be fascinated by just how big your belly was. Also, you’ll only get bigger as Month 10 approaches (yes, it’s 10 months, not 9, if you haven’t figured that out already), so do it now before you freak out that you don’t have any pictures and need to take some then. Trust me.
Buy the maternity coat. If you’re newly pregnant in the summer, that means you’re due in the middle of winter, like I was with my first. You might think you can save a few bucks and brave the cold weather for a month or two, but here’s the reality: You can’t. When it’s cold, it’s cold, and your attempts to hunch over and clutch your coat lapels to stay warm will only exacerbate your back pain and carpal tunnel. Also, when you give in and finally go to the store, your size will likely be gone. Just suck it up and buy the stupid coat. Flash-sale sites like Rue La La and Haute Look are great for items like this if the timing is right. Or you can get a coat extender for your regular old winter jacket. Zip it in and voila—instant maternity coat! Bonus: It also doubles as baby-carrier protector once your little one arrives. This is one of those things I wish I had known about when I was pregnant!
Slather on the stretch-mark cocoa butter. Yes, stretch marks are genetic, so you might feel like this is a futile gesture. But regardless of the outcome, you’ll be happy that you at least tried. This will also help with the extreme belly and nipple itchiness that inevitably happens when your skin stretches way beyond reason.
Stop watching Grey’s Anatomy. And be grateful that Private Practice is no longer on the air. Actually, stop watching all medical shows, fictional and non-fictional. All it takes is one episode about an infant with a horrific and rare disease to completely freak you out and send you to Dr. Google for the next week. I didn’t take my own advice with this one, and I regretted it every time I hit play on my DVR.
All of that peeing in the first trimester is nothing compared with the third trimester. The bad news: You will be stumbling to the bathroom every 20 minutes in the middle of the night. The good news: You’ll be oh-so-prepared when your newborn wakes you up every 20 minutes in the middle of the night.
You will still be you once the baby is born. Just a better, weepier, crazier, mushier, more loving and more exhausted version of you. You will also require more wine, so you should really start stocking up now.