10 Things I Didn't Expect While Expecting
From Pinterest to mommy blogs, everyone has opinions and advice about what to expect when you are expecting. The availability of information, both old and new, makes it easy for new moms to do as much research as they want in preparation for their new arrival. However, even with all the hours of reading and help making to-do lists, some moms say there are aspects of pregnancy and new parenthood that still caught them off guard. A survey of Kansas City metro moms brought us this top 10 list to help keep the same surprises from sneaking up on you.
1. Morning Sickness. While reading material can be found all over about home remedies, tried and true methods to ease the discomfort and the best foods to eat and avoid, many metro moms said they still weren’t prepared for the amount of time they spent feeling queasy. Moms reported being surprised that the feelings lasted into the second, and sometimes third, trimester. Also, the name ‘morning sickness’ suggests that you might feel sick in the morning. Metro moms said they wish they had known that the feeling could last all day.
2. Conflicting Information. Many new moms said they were surprised to find the sources they turned to had conflicting information. What a mother-in-law suggested didn’t match up with the mommy blogs, and what worked for a best friend wasn’t recommended by the pediatrician. Metro moms said the best way to sort it all out was to do the research and then rely on what works in your own house.
3. Heartfelt Heartbeat. The first time you hear your baby’s heartbeat during a check-up is a very special moment. This moment ranked high with moms who said they didn’t know just how much that little sound would mean to them until they heard it! “I think it was the first moment I felt like a mother. I had no idea how emotional and exciting that moment would be, hearing that little pitter-patter for the first time,” says Casey Meyer, Kansas City, KS, mom.
4. Sleep, Rest, Repeat. Every book and pregnancy website will warn moms-to-be that exhaustion and fatigue are common, especially during the first trimester. Many area moms said they didn’t realize just how tired they would be. Some moms said the need for extra sleep lasted up until Baby arrived, while other moms reported getting much of their energy back in the second trimester.
5. Don’t Leave Out Daddy. While new moms are spending hours reading and researching online for what to do about back pain and how to put together the perfectly styled nursery, most new moms reported not spending much time stepping into the new dad’s shoes. A new dad is likely going through preparations and changes of his own as he gets ready for the new arrival. New parents around Kansas City said it helps a lot to understand what your partner is feeling. “It isn’t until the final few weeks, the actually delivery and the days that follow, that our role in the process hits the critical level. But putting the preparation in at the beginning will make the transition at the end so much easier,” says Chris Becker, Blue Springs, MO, dad.
6. Hair Happiness. Have you always wanted a head full of shiny, thick hair that will style on command? Good news! Many moms surveyed reported that their hair and nails grew faster, thicker and were easier to maintain during pregnancy.
7. Hospital Hospitality. What to pack in your bag for your hospital stay is the topic of many helpful lists, articles and blogs. Metro moms said after doing their pre-birth research, they were surprised at how much was actually offered by the hospital. From sanitary pads to throw away underwear, more than half of metro moms surveyed said they did not use most of what they brought from home.
8. My Body STILL Isn’t Mine. Even weeks after delivery, many Kansas City moms reported being surprised by how much their bodies are still being controlled by Baby. If you are nursing, that can impact what you eat and drink. Your body is also making milk on demand for Baby. You are still healing from delivery, and Baby rules the sleep schedule and dictates the daytime schedule. Moms assure you that you will get some independence back, but it might take longer than you thought!
9. The Mommy Wars. Are you going to do natural childbirth? Are you going to breastfeed? Are you going to return to work or stay home? Are you going to make your own baby food? Are you going to allow plastic toys? Are you going to co-sleep? There are blogs, articles and websites galore dedicated to all of these issues. For every decision facing a new mom and dad, there are passionate arguments on both sides. Many new moms reported being surprised by how strongly their friends and fellow moms felt about their choices in these matters and how it can sometimes feel like you are being asked to choose sides. “My biggest surprise from pregnancy was the way pregnancy brings everyone's opinions on childbearing and child rearing out in the open. I have people coming up and telling me their opinions or posting articles for me to see regarding discipline, using organic-only foods, cloth diapers and vaccinations. Eventually, I just stopped caring what others thought and figured out what worked for us,” says Sally Groesbeck, Overland Park, KS, mom.
10. I Will Miss It. Almost every mom surveyed said that by the ninth month, she was ready for certain aspects of pregnancy to be behind her. However, those same moms all said there were parts they would miss. Topping the list was the feeling of Baby’s moving and the closeness of having Baby inside you.
Melissa Bellach is an Overland Park mom and freelance writer who is currently expecting her second child. She knows more of what to expect the second time around, but is sure caring for a newborn and a toddler will bring a whole new set of surprises!