Pregnancy: The Honesty Edition
We always try to keep the topics of pregnancy and parenthood as honest as possible, but we wanted to go a step further in this blog. We talked to our closest friends and family about the questions they were too scared or embarrassed to ask during pregnancy. We’ve taken those questions and put them in one handy place so that you can get answers without any fear of judgement.
Is it normal to feel scared about giving birth?
Girl, yes! The transition from woman to mother is enormous, and many of us feel completely overwhelmed and anxious, even if it’s something we’ve been dreaming of for a long time. Whether you’re worried about the birth itself, the days that follow, or your future as a parent, you’re not alone. Your midwife or a doula can be a great resource to help talk through your fears.
Will I get stretch marks?
Possibly. Probably. Despite what the miracle creams say, many of us are genetically predisposed to stretch marks, whether we like it or not. Moisturising and staying hydrated might help, but it’s not guaranteed. Stretchmarks do fade from dark pink to silver over time, and eventually, you’ll probably stop noticing them altogether, or simply embrace them as your “tiger stripes”, an outward sign of your journey to motherhood.
Q: "Will I get stretch marks?"
Is the perineal massage an essential thing to do before birth?
Now, this one depends on who you ask. Is it essential? No. But if you’re worried about labour, you may want to consider it. The thin skin of the perineum often tears in childbirth (some statistics say 9 in 10 new mothers will experience a tear, graze or episiotomy), so if you don’t like those odds, it’s definitely worth a try.
Is it normal to think about how much my life will change and what I will be giving up once the baby is here? Is that selfish?
Yes, it’s normal, and no, it isn’t selfish in the slightest. Pregnancy is the start of a journey that will require you to make many sacrifices. It starts with sushi and only gets more complicated from there. Whether it’s missed promotions at work because of time off caring for little ones, having to shelve your favourite hobby, or missing out on those lazy Sunday morning sleep-ins, parenting requires a lot of sacrifices.
But it isn’t all doom and gloom. You’ll find joy in so many unexpected places, from the sound of little feet padding down the hallway to a hot cup of coffee in your own company - parenthood creates richness in the minutia. What we wholeheartedly recommend, is to take the time to enjoy the other bits while you’re pregnant; trips to the cinema, going out for a leisurely meal, going to the toilet on your own… consider those moments of appreciation a gift to your future self.
Will it hurt?
For the vast majority of women, yes, and possibly for longer than you expect. Childbirth is a huge physical feat, and unless you’ve mastered some seriously good hypnobirthing techniques, the chances are high that yes, it will hurt. What is absolutely mind-blowing is that the pain of contractions and breaching is almost immediately forgotten once your baby is born; after all, people do go on to have more than one child!
One aspect that isn’t always discussed is that you may still experience some level of pain for weeks after birth, especially if you had a tear or episiotomy. We love the saying that women should spend “five days in bed, five days on the bed, five days around the bed” - in other words, take it easy and let yourself recover.
Will I love my baby straight away?
Most parents will forever remember the moment they locked eyes with their newborn baby - love washes over you as if by magic. In that moment, and forevermore, you would do anything to protect that little person. However, about 10% of women will suffer from postnatal depression, and this can sometimes present as detachment from your baby. PND is very easily treated, and many antidepressants can be taken while breastfeeding, so speak about any concerns you have with your midwife or GP.
Q: Will I love my baby straight away?
Motherhood is the most amazing, fulfilling and life-changing experience, but it isn’t always easy. Approaching parenting with the acceptance that there might be hurdles along the way will help you take those challenges in your stride.
If you’ve got a burning question that isn’t on our list, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a Part II.
Looking for more honest pregnancy and postpartum reading? Why not check out this blog: 'What I didn't know and wish someone had told me about'... your pelvic floor.
Originally from New Zealand, Sarah is a mother to two boys and has lived in the UK for the past 10 years. She is a home-educator, freelance writer, Netflix-binger and has a penchant for strong black coffee.