15 Things You Wish You Knew Before Becoming Pregnant

Expecting a baby is one of many wonders of life but certainly the biggest life-changing event one can have. Hence why it is crucial to bust misconceptions and dig deeper if you wish to keep your sanity, often your valet but most importantly your overall health and being intact. Due to lack of time, people often only have the opportunity to scratch the surface and tick the baby shopping list which has now become a symbol of our collective cultural rite of passage to parenthood. With this list, I aim to shed a little bit of light on what is important to be aware of. There are more, of course. Here we go…

  1. You Can Have It All!

Dear ladies, listen…I let you in on a secret. Growing a baby is the most extraordinary of our ordinary body functions. Are you required to perform at work the same way as you performed before becoming pregnant? Are you getting tired, especially during the first trimester? Do you know why? Because you are growing another human being or more if you have multiple pregnancies. It is time to be selfish, well you won’t really be selfish as you are doing a very important job for someone else: for your child, and for the future of humankind! No one can put a price tag on that. So, do yourself a favour, and spoil yourself. If it is calling in sick when you are tired so be it, if it is cutting down on your hours so be it, if it is spending days in bed so be it. Respect your body and listen to its needs and yearning. It is time to turn the narrative around and put our feminine power of growing human beings in our bodies onto the pedestal, without which there would be no humans on the globe. You don’t need to please anyone! Remember, you are the Queen, henceforth you are required to be pleased, her Majesty.

  1. Prepare Mentally.

During pregnancy, your hormones will change. Birth will be a pinnacle experience, a cathartic one, or a traumatising one. I sincerely hope it will be a cathartic one for you! The postnatal time? Your baby reaching 1, 2, 3, 4 years of age…. Your life will likely be turned upside down and to not only cope but to enjoy and thrive as a parent and a human being you will need to prepare for the changes to come mentally. Pregnancy, birth and the postnatal transition is the ultimate heroine journey. You can read more here about the essence of this transformation. My best advice is not to get caught out by the natural changes but to prepare for them… learn, take courses, start to read quality parenting books, tune inward, question societal expectations, get a general idea regarding parenting styles and so on.

  1. Rest And Asleep Are Crucial.

Lack of sleep can be detrimental to you and to your baby’s health. Be smart with your sleep hygiene during pregnancy and please if you have any sort of sleep disturbance during the ‘bump-months’ see an appropriate specialist, don’t just put up with aches, pains and discomforts! Make sure to rest smartly such as reduce your blue light exposure (you can read more here why) and be mindful of your position not just slouch on the couch (that’s a definite NO!). Inappropriate sleep before the onset of labour could negatively impact the birth.

  1. Postnatal Rest.

Can I tell you another secret? You can spend hours in bed during the day with your precious baby. I strongly encourage you to do that, obviously maintaining a safe environment. You can be naked, half-naked…whatever your heart desires, nobody will judge you! Will you judge yourself? You need to rest as you have just given birth and your newborn’s brain development and overall well-being will thank you for that! Skin-to-skin is hugely advised and beneficial for an array of reasons. Look after your sleep during this time as post-birth hormones will likely be fluctuating and now your recovery should be at an utter and most important focus. All babies are different, and you will get the hang of your baby’s sleep-wake pattern. If you are concerned on the long run (when your child is older) and struggle with your little one’s sleep, please get in touch with a sleep consultant, preferably with someone who is NOT supporting the crying-out method. It is so tempting to get s**t done while your baby, toddler, or child is asleep but slow down please and listen to your body. Rest and sleep if you need to, don’t just tough it out and do the tasks. Your patience with your child might be the very first thing that suffers as a result of tiredness…let’s not even mention your overall health.

  1. Exercise!

During pregnancy, I’d encourage you to begin integrating a type of movement form that makes you feel happy, a type of exercise that brings you joy and at the same time is gentle on your body. Pick an in-person group class you can continue after the birth of your child to boost your endorphins and keep away from feeling down or depressed as well as benefitting other ways from regularly exercising. I know most people turn to pregnancy yoga but did you know that belly dancing is extremely beneficial during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period? You can read more about it here. Spending time among women can be enriching, safe and comforting. It isn’t necessary a pregnancy or postnatal group? Well, sometimes it’s good to get out of our mummy role and socialise as a woman for an hour, nurturing our eternal and unique feminine side without conversations about nappies and childhood illnesses.

  1. Prepare For Birth.

I can’t believe this still needs to be mentioned! Yes, dear reader, there are many women out there who voluntarily choose ignorance due to fear of the unknown or just simply not aware that they are oblivious to it. It is often the unidentified unknown. Basically, this happens when we don’t know something but we are not even aware of not knowing that something. The perinatal period is filled with these unknowns and if a person is not medically trained and barely knows anyone deeply and spent lots of time with them during their perinatal period and/or motherhood these unknowns will persist and can hit the expecting person very heavily. As you are reading this article, I am sure, you are not ignorant as you made it this far. I am always very happy for those who wish to know more and willingly take responsibility for their own life, health and well-being! How can you best prepare for the unknown? You can check out my antenatal classes here, see my Doula support services here, learn about the techniques of HypnoBirthing here and see all the other wonderful offerings of the Womanly Art of Birth. Our goal is to give you full and complete support let it be informational, emotional, practical, psychological and physical during your perinatal journey.

  1. Know Your Human And Birth Rights!

You always have a choice there is no such thing as you have to be induced. There is no such thing like you have to give birth on the bed, disabling your birth physiology and anatomy by technology…and the list goes on and on… Take charge of your yeses and noes to take charge of your own, your baby’s and your family’s health.

  1. Movies Are Just That…movies.

Please take all births portrayed in a television show with a huge spoonful of salt (not a pinch). These are made to leave a certain impression on the viewer. Movies are the worst. Do yourself a favour and avoid watching any of them or if you happen to see a movie where birth is portrayed in a certain way, please make a mental note that is just a show (same as you wouldn’t take a Marvel movie as being real – excuse me, fans!).

  1. Help!

You had your beautiful baby finally! But…who is going to help you? What are you going to eat? Who is cleaning the kitchen, doing the laundry, running errands? I feel like I am opening a tin of worms when I talk about postnatal support. Most families just tough this time out, and get on with ‘doing’. I spoke to a mum who hoovered her house 3 days after her caesarean section! This is not something women should be doing or expected to do after the birth. We, women, are guilty as charged as we just get on with the housework and attend to our child’s needs. So, dear mummy and daddy! This is the right order:

  1. You (food, drink and sleep)
  2. Your newborn (it’s okay if at the beginning you change the order, it’s normal but aim to re-balance)
  3. Your relationship with your partner
  4. Looking after your home

Get a postnatal Doula, who can help you to make a personalised plan. Believe me, we have seen it all! All the struggles and all the aha moments. Message me and I will be happy to come over to you, and help you think through all the elements of the postnatal period. Why? Because I know what you don’t…remember? The unknown unknown, which is known to me and will be known to you after our meeting. Also, did you know you can get a housekeeper for your postnatal needs? See our flexible packages here. Think about food, batch-cook, freeze, stock up. Bottom line, dear human, please look after yourself.

  1. Technology Isn’t 100%.

Oh boy, it is not. Estimating baby’s weight? I have not heard once that a baby’s birth weight was just as the doctor said. Read it accurately – ’estimate’. Whether anyone tries to make it pass as a sacred text or not. Semantics are important.

  1. Baby Gadgets And Stuff.

Please take a hard look at your own home and arrangements as well as your aspiring parenting style and buy stuff accordingly. All the shiny things they display in shops or magazines are gorgeous but be picky. You can also buy so many things second-hand or you can even rent baby equipment! How amazing is that?

  1. Don’t Listen To ‘b.s.’!

By b.s. I mean…anything that is coming from superstition (other than your own), or other people’s horrible birth stories, judging the sex by your belly shape or if they think you are big or small re your baby bump size. Everyone has a story they love to tell, everyone wants to say something useful which often comes out in a wrong way, or people just don’t know what to say and they walk right into a topic that is sensitive for you. Just smile and walk away or ask them to keep these things to themselves. Pick your battles wisely.

  1. Love life…

Navigating the stormy hormones of pregnancy and the postnatal times, sticking together during your labour and birth and recovering from birth will just be the first few major steps that may or may not challenge your romantic relationship. It is important to get on the same page about all the decisions you need to make during your perinatal journey. Speak about the birth and your expectations towards your other half. Resentment can rear its ugly head sometimes after birth if you are not communicating clearly. Love life and parenthood? Well, that is a tricky one. Show this to your partner… Dear partners…the more you help out or the more you are helped out together, the more relaxed and rested your beautiful woman or birthing person will be. Why is it important? Give it a try and you will find it out. Agree on tasks, on who is doing what and be mindful: you are both in the same boat. Please make sure, you take time out to fill your cup, both of you. Women can get fully absorbed into being a mum and neglect their own needs. You are transitioning to be a new version of yourself, make sure you aren’t fully forgetting your old self and take with you anything you want from your maidenhood into motherhood.

  1. Do Yourself A Favour: Make This Your Daily Mantra…

“I am the most important.”

Why? Without you, there would be no pregnancy, no baby, and no taking care of your family. Remember? “Put your oxygen mask on first”.

  1. Your Life IS Going To Change Forever.

That is a fact, prepare for it accordingly. It is a journey with many uncertainties, the path is obscure. Do everything you can in your power to prepare for this wonderfully unknown journey. I am here for you. With Womanly love, Bernadett

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