What friends and books failed to tell me about childbirth
Once you get pregnant, there are many things that happen to you physically, emotionally, and psychologically that you hear about from other moms and pregnancy books. But there were a number of things that came as a surprise to me both during pregnancy and after giving birth. Here is my list of unexpected events. I'm sure these things didn't happen to every mom, so keep that in mind as you read on.
- Insomnia. Beginning at my 6 month of pregnancy I started having a hard time falling asleep. It probably had to do with trying to get comfortable in bed with an extra 30 pounds of weight on my body. It would take me at least an hour to drift off whereas I usually could fall asleep within 30 minutes. Then once the baby was born my sleep was disrupted by late night feedings. But even when the baby fell asleep by 7pm, I still spent 1-2 hours just laying there trying to fall asleep.
- Having to pee all the time. I never knew that pregnant women had to pee all the time. Once I read about it, I still didn't think it would last after pregnancy, but it did for me. I felt like my bladder was smaller than it was pre-baby. Sometimes, after just 10 minutes of using the restroom, I had the urge to go again.
- Less time to do stuff. Prior to having a baby, I thought that once I take maternity leave, I'd gain 40 extra hours a week that I previously would have been in the office. I thought that babies slept a lot through the day and since I was no longer tied to a full 8 hour workday, I would have time to venture into starting my own business. But what I didn't realize was that the baby doesn't sleep 16 hours straight. They wake up, feed, play a bit, and then fall asleep only to wake up 1 -3 hours later to repeat the cycle. Whenever the baby did sleep, I had a huge list of new responsibilities that included baby laundry, pumping milk, doing the dishes, eating, showering, using the restroom, and resting. As Spencer got older, he slept less during the day, and demanded more of my time to play with him.
- Pushing your baby out. I read about it in the books, I've seen clips of it in movies, but I guess you really never KNOW what it's like to push your baby out until you do it. I had to push for 2+ hours and was just shocked at how long and how much energy it took. In movies and in Youtube birthing videos, they skip all the beginning part and show you the last push that gets the baby out.
- Weight gain. I knew I would gain a lot of weight. But what surprised me was the pace at which it was gained. In the first 7 months of my pregnancy I gained 30 pounds, then at month 8 I gained 10 pounds, and within my last two weeks I gained another 5-10 pounds.
- Marital challenges. My husband and I had a lot of conflict after the baby was born. It was probably due to the combination of sleep deprivation, depression, emotional instability, and lack of activities that nurtures the relationship. After seeing a couples counselor and reading books on life after having a baby, I learned that more than 50% of marriages struggle after the birth of the first baby. Some good books are: Babyproofing Your Marriage, And Baby Makes Three, and Boundaries in Marriage.
- Hair loss. After 3 months of delivering the baby, I began to lose hair....a lot. And this continues through the first year. I also have new hair growing so on the worst hair days, I just wear a hat.