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5 Hard Truths No One Tells You About Pregnancy

And how to cope with them.

Photo by Cassidy Rowell on Unsplash

I always thought being pregnant would be one of my favorite life phases. But I was wrong.

The beautiful baby bellies, the pregnancy glow in every woman’s face, and the deep connection you get to your body by giving life to another human being. It all sounded very romantic.

I never thought I would end up writing a text like this.

I am only eighteen weeks pregnant, and so far I don’t like it. Until week fourteen, I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a condition that leads to excessive vomiting up to fifty times a day. While I was losing more and more weight, my partner and I decided to bring me to the hospital. I spent two weeks there, but I didn’t receive any helpful treatment.

Brutal reality hit me hard during the past months. Being pregnant is not always as romantic as I imagined.

Sickness, constipation, headaches, tiredness, and the fact that no one could help me with my nausea, left me desperate and alone. Not to mention the social pressure of being a happy mom and the feeling I am failing my baby by not being content with my life right now.

So I started to develop coping strategies that helped me get back on track and deal with all the struggles and unexpected truths I experienced so far.

If you are in a similar situation, this article is for you. You are not alone!

Accepting that you need help makes the first step in the right direction. And searching for ways to feel better is the best thing you can do for yourself and your unborn child.

Here are the five hard truths no one told me before I was pregnant and how to cope with them:

Your Pregnancy Might Suck.

Some pregnancies are more challenging than others.

Some women might suffer from severe nausea or have to stay in bed for weeks or even months because of medical reasons. And there are multiple other conditions around pregnancy, like gestational diabetes or pregnancy poisoning.

I am not writing this to scare you off. But I think it’s important to know that some pregnancies are pretty challenging.

During the worst phase of my Hyperemesis, I couldn’t shower, prepare my meals, or go grocery shopping. I was dependent on my partner and my family for weeks. And that was only the beginning of my pregnancy.

Here are my tips for you on how to cope with a difficult pregnancy:

  • Accept help: Think of the people in your life who would support you. Even though you are only a few weeks pregnant, consider telling them. Please don’t be shy to ask for help but let them know what you need to get through this. The worst thing you can do is not ask for help. You’ll need plenty of it, especially when the baby is born.
  • Go to therapy: After my hospitalization, I went to a hypnotherapist to cope with the feelings and fears I had so far. It helped me get back a positive mindset and deal with my chronic sickness. Even though it was still hard, I didn’t feel so desperate and alone anymore.
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself: You create a new life! Feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, or grumpy is normal. Just because you aren’t always the happy perfect looking yoga mom who dances around with her Chai Latte and does plenty of sports, you will still be the best mother for your child. You are valuable the way you are, and your child will thank you for relaxing and sleeping enough during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Will Cost You Thousands of Dollars.

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Even though my partner and I receive almost all the “baby stuff” from relatives, we already spent more than 1,000 dollars on other things we needed to do.

And I’m only in week eighteen.

Doctors appointments, prenatal diagnosis, pregnancy vitamines, psychotherapy (in my case), belly oils, antenatal class, midwives, maternity wear, etc. Everything that turns around pregnancy is highly over-priced.

Of course, you don’t have to have a midwife at all. You don’t even have to get a prenatal diagnosis. But as a couple who experiences pregnancy for the first time, you might feel safer to do so.

Here are my tips for you on how to save some money during pregnancy:

  • Pregnancy vitamins: I went from 50 dollars to under 5 dollars a month by buying simple vitamines that only contain folic acid, iodine, vitamin d3, and vitamin b12. Some of the more expensive pills include dozens of vitamins that aren’t necessary. Please speak to your doctor to know if you need more than the recommended supplements.
  • Maternity wear: Buy your maternity wear second-hand. Remember you are only pregnant for nine months. Most of the time, you won’t even need maternity clothes. In the beginning, you can wear your regular clothes, and after that, some oversized pullovers and blouses will do. The only thing I’d recommend buying (second-hand) are maternity trousers/jeans. They are incredibly comfortable and warm.
  • Equipment for the baby: If you don’t have any friends or relatives who can pass on their baby stuff to you, you can buy it second-hand. There are multiple used high-quality products online. You don’t need to buy anything new. As you don’t need the baby equipment forever, you’ll be happy not to have spent too much money on things you only needed for a few months or years.

Equality During Pregnancy Is Impossible.

Even though you might have the most equal relationship ever, equality is impossible during pregnancy.

It’s you who is pregnant. It’s you who suffers from the side effects. It’s you who gives birth.

You also might want to breastfeed, which means you are the primary food provider for your child for at least a few months.

Breast-feeding can be beautiful, don’t get me wrong! But as soon as you decide to do it, you will automatically spend a lot more time with your baby than your partner does.

Your partner will not be able to help you with everything!

Still, there are some things your partner can do. Remember to always ask for help when you need it. Not only your partner but also friends and relatives. You are not alone.

Here’s what your partner can do to support you:

  • They can go grocery shopping, run some errands, clean the apartment, or cook for you.
  • They can help you with all the paperwork that needs to be done.
  • They can massage your feet, back, or belly in the evening.
  • When the baby is born: they can go for a walk with the baby so that you can sleep a bit.
  • They can soothe the baby every time it is not hungry.

There are plenty of ways your partner can be there for you. Don’t be proud to ask for help. You are not the only parent! And it’s undoubtedly better for the child to have more people around than one person who is tired and exhausted all the time.

You’ll Get a Lot of Shitty Advice.

Almost everyone has an opinion on everything that turns around pregnancy. This includes:

  • Diet advice
  • Medical advice
  • Comments on your appearance
  • Book recommendations
  • Tips on how to furnish the nursery
  • Advice on vaccinations
  • Strollers

There’s plenty of shitty advice on almost everything.

And quite often, I have the feeling people do not want to inform me but scare me off:

“I know someone who got the Covid vaccine during pregnancy and two weeks later she lost her baby. You shouldn’t get vaccinated while pregnant.”

“There are women who suffer from Hyperemesis Gravidarum until they give birth. Don’t expect to feel better after twelve weeks.”

“I wouldn’t put the changing unit in the bedroom. Rather install it in the bathroom where it’s warmer. Otherwise your baby will always be cold.”

And so on.

Don’t forget that most pregnancy advice isn’t rooted in science but value systems. I learned to distance myself from advice that doesn’t serve me.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Get information from trustworthy sources and don’t rely too much on what others say, especially when it scares you.
  • When it comes to doctors: always get a second opinion when you are not sure you are getting the best treatment/advice.
  • Trust your intuition. You are the mother of your child, and you know best when something is wrong.

You Can’t Control What Happens During Pregnancy.

At the beginning of my pregnancy, I thought I’d have enough time to register for the hospital, search for a midwife and get information on maternity leave. Instead, I spent two months in bed and two weeks in the hospital without being able to plan anything.

Some children come way earlier than they should. Some have a diagnosed gender, but they surprise their parents in the delivery room. Other babies are diagnosed with a disability during pregnancy, but they are born completely healthy.

There are many uncertainties during and after pregnancy. I always thought I continue with my everyday life. But everything changed in the past months. It taught me that life gets even more exciting and uncontrollable when a baby comes.

Here’s how to deal with it:

  • Enjoy the pregnancy as much as possible. Use the moments you don’t feel exhausted or sick. Go for a walk, meditate, do yoga, or whatever makes you feel good.
  • Everything can change from one day to another. Instead of losing yourself in plans, focus on the moment.
  • Don’t overthink the time after birth. Get some helpful information, but don’t plan too much. Puerperium is as uncontrollable as pregnancy, delivery, and life itself.

Closing Words

Having children is one of the most exciting journeys I’ve ever made in my life. And I can’t wait to get to know the human being inside my belly that I already love very much. Pregnancy is still complicated for me, but I can feel it gets easier every day.

You might also go through it right now, and everything is different from your expectations. But pregnancy isn’t motherhood. Just because you struggle right now doesn’t mean you are a bad mother. It just means you don’t like being pregnant so much. And that’s fine.

We have to erase the image of the devoted mother who suffers in silence and replace it with compassion, female empowerment, and helpful advice.

Remember:

  • To accept help
  • You don’t need to buy everything the internet tells you
  • To get help from your partner
  • To only listen to helpful advice
  • Not to control, but to enjoy the moment

I wish you all the best, and I hope you have lovely, uncomplicated pregnancies!

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