When I shared my post about the first trimester I had a lot of women who hadn’t had children messaging me with comments and questions and ‘oh my god is it really that bad?!’s. I realised that I have a lot of readers who aren’t parents, so I decided to start a new mini series of questions they want to know the answers to – the weirder, grosser, and more intrusive – the better!
First up we’re talking pregnancy!
How early do you notice changes in your body? And what changes? Not just the belly but the other things?
Pregnancy symptoms – like sickness, sore boobs, and tiredness – tend to hit quite early. They’re also easy to overlook if you aren’t expecting them. With my first pregnancy I ignored them for a week or so because I just figured it was a lingering hangover and surely I wasn’t pregnant, this time around I was counting down the days until I could take a test so as soon as I felt a pang of sickness I was a bubble of excitement! These symptoms can kick in around the time of your first missed period and carry on for what feels like forever…
Physical changes take a little bit longer. Other people probably won’t even notice them, but you will, oh god you will. To be honest you just get a bit fat. There’s no sign of a bump yet (as every baby book likes to remind you – your uterus is still below your trouser line and the baby is only as big as a lentil, bastards) but you just kind of puff up. Unless you’re fortunate enough not to be able to eat for months on end of course…
There’s also the changes that nobody seems to talk about. Constipation, bacne, ungodly amounts of discharge, the way your leg hair and pubes grow back at such a rate shaving becomes redundant…and that’s just the first trimester!
What’s that? Oh the pregnancy glow? Yeah, no, that’s sweat.
How did you learn what to expect or what was going to happen?
I’m not sure I know that much still if I’m honest. There is an ocean of information out there – apps, websites, books, forums. It can actually be a bit much at times!
I’m a terrible Googler, the amount of time I’ve spent trawling Mumsnet boards and the NHS website to work out if it’s normal that one breast is two cup sizes bigger and why I can feel my heartbeat in my toes…
Everybody buys a book or seven when they find out too, the classics are still the best I think and would recommend What To Expect… to everyone. It covers everything. Even the discharge.
Having somebody to talk to who’s going through it at the same time can also be a lifesaver, more so than the ‘been-there-done-that’s. Unless you’re in the midst of it it can be easy to forget just how shit it is at times, and way too easy to give the ‘wait until they’re here, then you’ll know tired!’ line. Which brings us to the next question…
Did you/do you have a lot of friends to talk things through with?
With my first pregnancy one of my best friends was also pregnant and she had bothered to go to antenatal classes so had gained a group of preggos. I was more lazy and just latched on to hers! There were also a few friends who had recently had babies so we had a little bit of a procreation girl gang!
This time around I don’t have many close friends with children at all, and none that are pregnant. It’s amazing how much of a difference it’s made. Sometimes you just need to moan about something without having to explain why/what/how/when/where…
Am I suggesting going to antenatal classes? I actually might be. Never thought I’d see the day.
What scares you most about pregnancy and does that change the further along you get?
I think pregnancy fears are unique for each woman, depending on your circumstances, however I imagine almost all of us have a fear of being able to do it, of being enough, and having the skills, patience, strength, and perseverance to raise an actual human.
For me personally there are many, many more fears – and these were entirely different with my first pregnancy and this one.
With my first I was terrified of everything, and in a very selfish way. I was 20 and so completely out of my depth. I worried about never having a social life again (didn’t happen), I was scared my identity would be stolen and I would morph into Just Mum (didn’t happen), I was scared of the judgement I would face being young (definitely happened), I was scared that my relationship wasn’t strong enough and I would be left holding the baby (*suspicious eyes emoji*), I was scared that it would all just be too hard (at times, yes, but somehow I made it through). And oh GOD was I scared of labour! I had so many me-focused fears that I didn’t give myself any time to really worry about anything else.
This time around my fears have been very different, much more based on the baby. I have been in a constant state of terror that something will go wrong with the pregnancy, this is lightening up a bit now I can feel strong movements every day. I am also pretty bloody terrified of being a mum of two! How do I even do that?! TI was the easiest baby in the world, the chances of that happening twice are very slim – especially given this one is the offspring of Matt… If you know him, you’ll understand.
Sex in pregnancy? What’s that like?
A basic overview of most people’s experiences goes something like this:
First trimester – ‘Stop moving a minute, I feel sick! Don’t touch my boobs, don’t touch my boobs, don’t touch my boobs, OW! What aftershave are you wearing? It smells weird. No like really weird. Hold on I might barf! NOT THE BOOBS! Zzzzz…’
Second trimester – ‘I’m fat, I’m swollen, you can see every vein in my boobs, my nipples are now the colour of a strong coffee, and I look like I’ve just been dug up – but I’m horny and this is your fault so climb on!’
Third trimester – you know when you see footage of spaceships docking on the ISS? It’s a bit like that. Slowly backing on and hoping for the best.
How does pregnancy effect your relationship?
Other than that listed above?!
You learn a lot about each other throughout pregnancy.
They learn about every bodily function they never wanted to know about, see a side of you neither of you knew existed thanks to hormones, have to give up drunken dates, sexy underwear, and filthy sex, and hopefully find a newfound respect for your strength at managing to survive all the changes you’re being subjected to.
You learn how well the can handle stressful situations, how good a nurse they can be, a lot about their patience, sympathy, and empathy levels, also have to give up drunken dates, sexy underwear and filthy sex, and hopefully a newfound respect at well they help keep you sane through one of the most intense and scary times of your life
I think pregnancy can bring a lot of problems within a relationship to the surface, no matter how ready you think you are to have a baby you never really are and pregnancy is the beginnings of the big changes coming. You’ll have a lot of rows, a lot of tears, and a lot of disagreements – this is where you learn to deal with them better. Because it’s about to get a shit load more stressful! (The main cause of arguments? Usually them getting shitfaced and not understanding why that is totally unfair.)
What’s the best thing about pregnancy?
Yeah I don’t really sell pregnancy well, I know that. But there are parts of it which are incomparably wonderful!
I love my bump, as someone who will never wear anything remotely tight around my stomach it’s nice to shove my body issues aside and rock the tightest clothes I can find. It’s hard to explain the feeling of having a bump, but honestly it’s great!
Feeling your baby move inside you is such a beautiful feeling. There aren’t words to explain what it feels like, and many people have tried! Yes sometimes it hurts, and sometimes they kick you square in the bladder and you wet yourself, and sometimes you just want to sleep…but it’s amazing knowing there’s a tiny little life inside you that you are entirely responsible for right now. It still stops me in my tracks every time I feel the wriggles inside me.
Also, your nails get really strong.
Plus it’s just bloody cool. You’re growing a damn human. A whole person! I can’t even keep a plant alive yet I can grow a person. Tell me that isn’t fucking amazing!?
That was just a few questions I’ve been asked, my Whatsapp is currently serving as a AMA for pregnancy related questions. Which is great! Happy to be of service!
Next up we’re talking childbirth!
If anyone who hasn’t gone through that magical experience has any questions they want answering either drop me a DM on one of my many social media platforms or whack me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to answer as many of them as possible! And yes, we will be talking poo and perineums.