Wednesday, 20 March 2013

If Only I'd Known....

I am a mum of five wonderful children aged between 3 and 25, and a granny of a gorgeous baby boy, but even with my quarter of a century of maternal experience under my belt (a belt which is straining under the expanded girth created by five pregnancies), there are still things I wish I'd known.

The mysteries of pregnancy, childbirth and new motherhood are things that you can never really master, however many books you read, websites you scour or episodes of One Born Every Minute you watch!  But you can attempt to glean as much information as you can from as many sources as you can, to make you as prepared as possible for the adventure ahead!  Aptaclub's new app 'Preparing for Birth' has loads of information to support mums through the last trimester keeping them organised and giving tips and advice whenever needed.  Unfortunately for me, mobile phones were barely even invented when I had my first born son.  Women today have access to so much more information (and they get to play Candy Crush Saga when in labour!)  All I had was an old handed down Miriam Stoppard paperback as my only point of reference!  But even with the birth of the World Wide Web and Smartphone technology, there are still things that mums-to-be will wish they had known!

Looking back at my own days of being heavily pregnant (during my grand cumulative total of 3.75 years of pregnancy) these are the things that I wish I had been made aware of during my last trimesters.

My Belly at 6 Months Pregnant with Freddy!

If only I'd known....

....that a baby's kicks at this stage do not feel like fluttering butterflies, but a herd of little elephants rampaging through your internal organs.

....that my belly button would protrude like the end of an uncooked sausage.

....that the smell of my husband would make me gag whenever he came close. (Not that he is particularly smelly, I just became super sensitive to any scent...particularly his!)

....that trying to shave your legs, let alone your bikini line, is utterly impossible with a third trimester baby taking up residence in your uterus. (And don't ask your other half to help unless you want to risk numerous flesh wounds in the process.)

....that I would never bloom.  I spent months waiting for the glow of pregnancy, instead all I got was the sallow, energy-less lethargy of a beached whale.  It would have saved much disappointment knowing I would never be able to replicate the famous pregnant Demi Moore Vanity Fair cover shot.

....that my belly would get so huge that even my husband's extra large dressing gown would not meet up around my middle.  Had I known I  could have avoided the embarrassment of exposing myself to the postman.

....that tattoos stretch!  Your tiny, discreet humming bird on your hip will end up looking like a crazed giant ostrich.

....that cleaning my teeth would make me heave.  Not the best thing to do whilst heavily pregnant with limited bladder control.  Morning underwear changes should be saved until after taking care of your dental hygiene.

....that I would not just get 'cankles', I would get 'thankles'.  Straight down from thigh to foot my legs were like tree trunks.

....that my unborn baby using my bladder as a squeezie toy makes a good night's sleep impossible.

....that cutting my long hair into a very short style to make it easier to manage was a really bad idea.  Not only did I ending up looking like a bloke with a beer belly, instead of a heavily pregnant goddess, it was no easier than having a ponytail.  It took me a year to grow it back before I felt like 'me' again.

....that my craving for Chow Mein from the local Chinese would become a very expensive habit and pile on unnecessary extra pounds that I would convince myself were down to water retention.

....that I would be so emotional.  I would sob at anything...TV programmes, songs, even TV ads!  One glimpse of a smiling child or a kindly old person would see me in floods of tears.  I even cried at a cookery programme once...but the biscuits they made were just so beautiful!

....that Braxton Hick's contractions will make me think I'm in labour many times.  Timing them every single time I got a slight twinge only led to disappointment. So instead of thinking 'this is it' every single day for the last four weeks of pregnancy, which is very stressful, just relax and go to sleep.  If you wake up in the morning still pregnant, it was a false alarm. tell everyone my due date was two weeks later than it actually was, to avoid the well meaning "Are you still here?" comments.  They drove me insane!  "Yes I am still here!  Still pregnant and utterly fed up.  What are you gonna do about it!"

....that having a hot curry followed by sex does not guarantee that you will go into labour...but it's a nice way to spend an evening in with the hubby! make a date to do something that you really want to do on your due date.  This is a win-win situation.  You will either have something lovely to do as a distraction from the prospect of going overdue, or you will be unable to do it because you will have given birth already and will be basking in the joy of your new baby.  Either way, it's a result!

....that every ache, pain, embarrassing moment, stretch mark, varicose vein and sleepless night will all be worth it in the end, because being heavily pregnant meant I was growing the most precious and important things I will ever have in my life inside me.

new baby
"If Only I'd Known....It Would All Be Worth It In The End!!"

This post is Inside the Wendy House's entry into the Aptaclub 'If Only I'd Known...' Competition.



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