If you’ve been following along, I had my first daughter when I was only 19. The fact that I turned 20 a week later is irrelevant. I was, in my opinion, very young to be having children for so many reasons.
Women urged me not to scratch my tummy or else I’d get stretch marks; I never listened. I was told to take the prenatal vitamins everyday; I rarely did. In fact, I ate lunch meat, drank coffee and soda, and remained in a state of denial for most of my pregnancy. Of course, as I mentioned earlier I was 19, and when you’re 19, you know everything! So obviously this didn’t bother me a single bit.
I read a book by Jenny McCarthy called Belly Laughs (which is hysterical and should be read by all expecting mothers), threw out that book about expecting things, and just welcomed whatever was on the other side of that big ol’ stretch mark covered tummy. (Side note: I should have at least rubbed a little lotion on there.) So, armed with all the knowledge I had learned from A Baby Story on TLC, I was ready to be a mom.
I remember people giving me advice about all kinds of things. However, I do not remember anyone telling me how familiar I would become with something we do everyday. We don’t talk about it as much as, say, eating or driving. But we do this more often than we eat or drive, so it seems fair to mention it here. For you, that beautiful young new pregnant person who has never seen the other side of pregnancy, or perhaps you fragile little lady who just birthed a human being (or several) from her body, I have one question: did you just pee a little?
If I had to guess, I’d say yes. One thing that happens when we get pregnant is frequent urination. As a pregnant person, you should be consuming so much water that you actually feel heavier. And obviously, accompanied by the fact that your body is in overdrive pumping all kinds of things through your vessels for the continued life of your wombmate, this will increase your urine output. And that is completely normal. You’re doing great, keep that up.
I’m more referring to the after-birth process.
You’re standing in line at Aldi getting ready to pay, and have to sneeze. In doing so, you not only stop the quick-paced flow of an Aldi line at checkout, but you also pee your pants a little. Or maybe a lot, depending on the last time you emptied your bladder. Regardless of how full or empty that bladder may be…if you have had people living inside your body, chances are at one point or another, you’ve peed your pants.
It’s funny because as I write this, I’m reminded of Rachel Hollis talking about how she peed while she was on the trampoline once. She spoke about it in detail in one of her books as a ploy to joke on herself while also being relatable (which kudos to her, she did a great job; buy all her books, I love her). But she wasn’t wrong about that relatability. I can literally list off a bunch of things that I learned from other people telling me when I was expecting: the stretch marks, the mammary enhancement, the waddle I would have—even how your skin and nails grow better. But at no point did anyone tell me I would pee my pants in line at Aldi and then have to bag my groceries, soggy, and walk out. Luckily, I’m sure I’m the only one who noticed, but still. I potty train kids, not pee in my own leggings!
Women’s Health magazine says that around 10% of women ages 19-30 have urinary leakage issues. They attribute this to genetics or pregnancy and child birth. Funny story…just don’t laugh because you might pee.
Okay, so we know it’s a thing now, and we can stop bringing up all our situations. I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that there are a lot of things that change about our bodies hormonally which I covered, but I think you should know a few other things.
- Your nipples will get darker, larger, or both.
- YOU CAN GET PREGNANT WHILE BREASTFEEDING!
- If you choose not to breastfeed, that’s okay too.
- You will have your period for a couple or few weeks after baby.
- You could develop a mustache (speaking from experience) or blotchy skin that looks almost stained.
- After the baby comes out, your hair might also fall out. Like, a lot.
- Your feet might actually get bigger. I don’t care who tells you that’s a myth, they’re lying.
- Your vagina will not feel the same afterwards for a little while, no matter the delivery method of your baby
- Hemorrhoids happen, and they hurt. Get witch hazel.
- Pooping after the baby comes out might take time. Get laxatives. Prunes are life.
- Those underwear they give you at the hospital are GOLD. Make sure you get a couple pairs.
- You will sweat at night. Like a lot. A lot a lot.
- Those bags under your eyes are normal. Welcome to your life now.
There are a lot of great things about having babies, too. Now that I just numbered off that list, it seems bleak, I’m not gonna lie. But the bonus here is the amnesia of the mother. We all experience this one last unicorn of life. Once the baby comes, we forget about ALL those things. We beam into their little faces and think, “I would do that again.” Some of us more than others.
But I’m not a doctor, either, and if you have side effects after having a baby or during pregnancy that seem weird or unknown, don’t just Google them senselessly. Ask the doctor. Ask a friend. Ask questions. Being a woman and knowing your body are good things.
And maybe pack a little bag with a rolled up pair of leggings and spare underwear in case you’re too soggy-bottomed to be in public after your first epic sneeze.
Reality Changing Observations:
1. If you’re a female reader, how do other people and the media talk to you about pregnancy and motherhood? What’s helpful and what’s missing?
2. If you’re a male reader, do any of these experiences that come along with pregnancy and delivery surprise you? Do you have a different view or appreciation of what mothers experience?
3. If you are a parent, how would you talk to someone thinking about becoming a parent, or an expectant mother or couple? What’s important to let them know?