Things I Wish I Knew During My First Pregnancy
I was a clerk at a grocery store when I thought I was having an anxiety attack. I told my manager I wasn’t feeling well and left early, and was told I needed a doctor’s note. My husband and I walked to the local MedExpress and I decided to mention a few odd symptoms I noticed. He told me I needed to have something done for the excuse and suggested a pregnancy test. I figured it would be negative, so I agreed but when he came back he told me it was positive.
Later on, I left the job and started school. By the end of my second trimester, I was so bloated I barely looked human. My mother-in-law, her best friend, and my mom all told me it looked like I had pre-Eclampsia. I ignored the advice until my lunch break one day at 27 weeks. I started hurting in my kidneys/stomach so bad, I couldn’t stand. My mom picked me up and took me straight to the hospital where they confirmed I had Pre-Eclampsia and needed to stay in the hospital until I had the baby. I had her 3 days later.
During her first year, I stressed over every missed milestone and grieved the “normal” milestones I wouldn’t see. I also started setting my own milestones that excited me just as much but I would have overlooked if she hadn’t had special needs. Her first year taught me a lot and there are a few regrets I wish I had done prior to having her.
1. “It happens to others, it won’t happen to me” is a bad way to think. Never get stuck in the mind that you are too young, too healthy or that things happen to others but not you. I went into denial when my body bloated up and it took my kidneys starting to fail to get me to accept I needed to go to the ER. Pre-Eclampsia primarily happens later in pregnancy and during the first pregnancy.
2. Enjoy the pregnancy but don’t feel bad about complaining if you feel bad. Don’t complain to random strangers, but never feel that you have to keep it to yourself. Pregnancy isn’t fun. There are a lot of side effects. It is a beautiful thing and feeling the kicking is magical but it’s not all fun.
3. Throw away the milestones. Babies develop at their own pace so yours may hit the exact milestones but they may be off by a few weeks or months. Obsessing makes you miss the milestones they do hit.
4. Saltines and milk will be your best friends. Saltines help nausea and milk helps heartburn. When I was pregnant, I kept milk close by and drank a glass before bed because heartburn was so bad at times I couldn’t sleep.
5. Time will start flying- I never believed it when people told me the time was going so fast, but the years flew by. Now, we just signed the baby up for kindergarten and my oldest is getting ready to enter her last year of elementary school. I still remember bringing both home and watching them grow has made the time fly.
6. “Mom guilt” is real, but doesn’t have to be. At times it feels like if you make the smallest mistake, you will mess your child up, but you really won’t. There are people who say to enjoy everything because time passes so fast and some who say not to ever complain but there are very real problems with the early years, lack of sleep being one of the main problems. Never feel guilty for needing time for yourself or not enjoying things. This one is a harder pill to swallow for most of us who are almost bred to believe mothers have to
7. Self Care is essential to taking care of young kids- Taking time out for yourself is very important. Even if you find a few minutes after nap time or bedtime to do something for yourself. This gets a lot easier as kids get older but it has been something I have always tried since the NICU days. I found fast that it is very difficult to remain focused on the baby when you’re sleep-deprived, hungry or burned out.
8. You don’t have to lose yourself to motherhood- Losing yourself is something that seems common. You become a first-time mom and suddenly, you seem to take on a new identity. As your kids go to school, you stop being you and start being the baby’s mom. Some people will tell you that if you have “immature” hobbies, you have to give those up. I was even told I needed to change how I dressed and the music I listen to (my 5-year-old has the same taste in music I have). Hobbies can be done and now, you have someone to play with. If you were into sports before having kids, you can see if they like playing with you. If you enjoyed singing or acting, you can still do it. A lot of times kids will end up liking some of the same things you like, but they won’t know unless you take them.
Most of us had a life before having kids and most of us have friends who would still enjoy being in our lives- plus we would have more to talk with an old friend about than just diapers or stages our babies are going through. You don’t have to drastically change when you have kids and you don’t have to stop talking to all your friends who don’t have kids. Things will take a bit longer and plans may be harder to make but it is worth it to keep those friendships intact.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Bethany Boggs
Bethany Boggs is a 30 something married mother of 2 kids. When she is not writing or working her day job, you can find her wrangling her 2 girls and 3 cats while sipping cold Starbucks and trying to remember why she walked into the room.