3 Things that I wish I knew before I was pregnant. There are so many articles written on what to expect when you’re expecting. However they tend to leave out some bits of information I would have wanted to know before we were pregnant.
The first. Bodily functions.
We are all aware that with increased lack of space we go to the toilet more often to empty our bladders. Where it once felt like it was able to hold litres and litres of urine, it now feels like you need to rush to the loo for every sip of fluid intake. This is not the worst of the bodily functions that they could discuss. Why did no one ever write and warn about the bio-weapon our farts will become. The absolute fear inducing farts that help create the space in the bed for the pregnancy pillow, since your partner will die from the smell of the farts you release. It smells like a bioreactor your body has become from creating a human being inside of you. There is a reason baby store personnel look like they could die and a bit green in the face. The amount of drive-by farts they have to endure on a daily basis is probably enough to make any person want to give up on life.
Now before you run to the hills and decide not to be pregnant out of fear for the smell. There is a very good reason your body does this. The high levels of progesterone that makes muscles relax. Intestines are muscles, so the intestinal tract relaxes too, this increases the time period food remains within your body. Thus increases the gassiness pregnant woman experience. The longer the gas stays, the more bacteria farts (Yes bacteria farts, and that is what gives bodily gasses a smell) gets built into the gas, and therefore your farts will smell horrible. Good news, though, not every person who is pregnant will smell like a bioreactor, but your farts may become smellier during pregnancy and don’t be alarmed about it. Talking about relaxing intestines.
The slower peristaltic movement also increases your chances to become constipated. Constipation adds to the smell… You see where I am going with this? There are ways to manage this and speaking to your obgyn about safe remedies to relieve the constipation is a real win on this topic.
The second. Pregnancy and happiness
Many pregnant people love being pregnant, they adore the feeling and they walk on sunshine throughout their pregnancy. I am happy for them. Yet there are some people, more than you expect, who hates being pregnant, They dislike the way their bodies feel, the way pregnancy impacts their life and just in general do not enjoy being pregnant. Do they love their baby any less? Not at all. It is the experience that affects them negatively, and we need to have room for that.
Hormones are all over the place and many pregnant people dislike the feeling of being out of control. Some have severe “morning sickness” which, btw is not just in the morning, it is all day sickness. Some have all of a sudden have severe reactions to smells they used to love and adore. SOme may have complications during the pregnancy that drains joy out of the experience. Some may have uncomplicated pregnancies, but just do not enjoy being pregnant. When we add societal expectations to the mix and they have anxiety ridden and guilt inducing interactions with the world. From which random stranger will just touch the belly to did I just fart and kill the pot plant at the entrance.
The constant tracking of growth and development, may be joyous for some, but for some it creates fear. Fear that something may go wrong. The barrage of products to look at, to consume and manipulative marketing done towards pregnant people are nauseating. Creating the idea that if you do not do this, or do not do that during pregnancy, you will end up as a failure as a parent.
Being pregnant is not all smiley faces and rainbows for some people and people need to start talking about this. We need to start acknowledging that not enjoying pregnancy does not make you a bad parent, it makes you human on so many levels and that it is totally okay not to love every second of every day of your pregnancy.
The third: Parenting ideologies:
When you co-parent many conversations start with… This is how I was raised. Many pregnant co-parents only start seeing the differences in how they were raised once the baby is born and they are trying to find their feet with the new addition. Before and during pregnancy with the raging hormones and all, is the time to have these discussions. You and your partner have to sit down and actually talk about what your parenting ideology will be once the little human is in your care.
Yes there will be various things you will decide and then once the baby is born, you may have to change tact, however the foundation needs to be there. From the practical to the more nuanced. Like who will change diapers when, who will bath baby, and how will the food and cleaning chores play out. Heads up the person not pregnant will most probably have to step up and take responsibility for various things they have not been responsible for. You need to talk about and research things like breastfeeding (yes it may be natural, but natural does not always mean easy or without its challenges)
You will have to discuss discipline and read up on it and discuss continuously. It is important that both parents, or all involved in raising this baby are on the same page when it comes to the foundational strategies you as a partnership will implement. Many times over the fights parents have about their kids, stems from never having this discussion and assuming you are on the same page. This discussion starts with how and where the birth happens, all the way through to adulthood. Keep talking and reading.
Once a baby is born, the person who was pregnant will take a lot of the child rearing responsibility on their shoulders. You will have to learn to delegate, and not interfere when the co-parent does things with the baby differently than what you would have done. They will change the diaper differently, bath the baby differently and absolutely engage differently, and they have to. You are different people and both are learning. So ideally remember the grace for each other. This is coming from the one who was pregnant, did the research and still put on the first diaper the wrong way around
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