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I wish I had known..

July 5, 2007

So here it is, a collaborative list of what we all wish we had known before becoming pregnant. Once again, I find us a very diverse group and this list reflects that (often by directly contradicting itself). I love it – touching, funny, painful and uplifting all at once. Read on for the full list of 141 points (somewhat edited, narrowed down and duplicate thoughts cut out). I plan a more rambly post later today but first I have to go and be very busy. Have a great day!

1. Every one told me morning sickness always stops. That was such a lie. Sometimes it doesn’t.

2. Labor feels like nothing else. Not like cramps, not like pooing, more like your body just opening. Cramps my ass.

3. That I would love this little man more than anything else in the world, nothing else will ever matter more.

4. How my life would never be the same again, in both good and bad ways.

5. That everyone would have an opinion and/or be the expert on how I should raise my son.


6. That I wouldn’t squeeze right back into a size 6..or 8 for that matter, the day after he was born.

7. That I could look so good 6 months after gaining ENTIRELY TOO MUCH weight while pregnant.

8. How good a mom I would be.

9. They push HARD on your tummy after giving birth. This hurts WAY more than labor and the birth part.

10. That after an epidural I would fart. A lot.

11. You have to potty with a nurse after childbirth – and you’re grateful for the help!

12. Zippered onesies are sooo much easier than those with snaps.

13. It takes two people to change the first diaper!

14. I wish I’d known that my pregnancy could end suddenly at nine months with a stillbirth.

15. The old saying ” Eating for Two” doesn’t mean that you should eat everything in sight times two.

16. Though labor hurts, its nothing compared to the 9 months of farting, burping, peeing and constant puking that not only YOU must deal with, but your entire family also.

17. Your hormones can take you from being a sweet-heart to a raging bitch then to a crying lunatic in ten seconds or less.

18. Your sex drive takes an EXTENDED vacation.

19. Doctors are NOT gods, what they say isn’t written in stone. Trust YOUR instincts and follow what you believe is the right path for you and your baby.

20. I wish someone would of told me it doesn’t always go “text book” and I wish I would not have been looking for “text book”.

21. How I wished that my parents had tried harder when they raised me.

22. How attached to my son I would become by just looking at him.

23. How almost dying would give me a new lease on life.

24. How easy something could go wrong.

25. That my feet would get bigger!

26. How “poop talk” in our house would become the norm & detailed.

27. How much closer my friends & I have become.

28. How much I would miss it when I couldn’t become pregnant anymore.

29. That hormone changes would cause my face to break out like a teenager’s.

30. That parenting was going to be so exhausting for the first few months.

31. That co-sleeping would make it easier for me to get sleep (didn’t know this the first time around).

32. How much my children would teach me.

33. That preeclampsia was a possibility.

34. How exhausting pregnancy would be in my forties.

35. How unfriendly to parents and to breastfeeding mothers U.S. Workplaces are.

36. That parenting would be more life-changing than and just as important as my career.

37. What real women’s bodies look like, under their clothes, during and after pregnancy.

38. That there would be a wonderful blog one day named “The Shape of a Mother”.

39. That the first two weeks aren’t the hardest… in fact the first two months weren’t the hardest. For me it was going back to work and not feeling guilty about leaving my son at daycare. And actually enjoying being at work and not feel guilty about it.

40. That whatever you don’t want to do will happen. For example I was against medical interventions for my delivery…but I ended up having a c-section.

41. To live in the moment of being pregnant. I wanted it to be over so bad and to have my baby… that I wasn’t present in that moment.

42. All babies do NOT sleep in a crib.

43. Poop, pee, throw up, snot, and drool will no longer phase you.

44. Hearing that first cry from your baby makes you forget the pain of labor…it is also the most beautiful sound in the whole world.

45. Watching a child being born changes many men. They show more emotion, are more loving, and head over heels for that baby.

46. Men really can sleep through a crying baby.

47. I wish I had known how my body would change. I didn’t love my body because I listened too much to society, but I am learning to love it now.

48. Having pureed or smooshed food smeared in your hair really isn’t that bad.

49. It’s OK to mourn the loss of couplehood or your-own-person-hood when you enter familyhood. It doesn’t mean you love your child less or don’t want them. Your life has forever changed.

50. Cloth diapers are not gross…they’re easy!

51. Public breastfeeding is not something to be worried about. You are feeding your child and most people are not bothered by it in the least.

52. Morning sickness is the only time in your life you will be able to be sick at the drop of a hat, at the oddest times, and throw up, then go eat a full meal.

53. You will receive the “momma nose” able to smell strange odors that no one else can smell, including pooped in diapers!

54. For the momma, not sleeping through the night starts before you have the baby and as early as the first trimester.

55. Hormones can make you feel depressed, moody and generally unhappy. (i.e. Pregnancy isn’t all planning the nursery and picking out cute little baby clothes)

56. Stretch marks are largely genetic, if you had them before you’ll get them again.

57. Stretch marks are NOT limited to your belly!

58. Your hair sheds a TON starting at 3-4 months postpartum.

59. Labor was not as hard as the preceding months of pregnancy for me. And absolutely nothing compared to the months with a colicky newborn! In other words, don’t sweat it too much. The kid is coming out and your body knows what to do even if you don’t.

60. There is nothing else like the feel of a baby moving inside your body – enjoy it and appreciate it while you can.

61. Your labor and delivery is your own. Don’t let hospital bureaucracy prevent you from the birth you deserve.

62. The hospital is not a jail. If you can’t have the birth you want, you are free to leave.

63. There IS such a thing as nipple confusion.

64. An episiotomy is not the end of the world.

65. After delivery, hemorrhoid pads are your very best friend … closely followed by a squirt bottle of warm water. Trust me.

66. If you think you have enough maxi pads for your postpartum experience, you are wrong. Buy another pack. And another. Better to have too many than to gamble on your husband bringing home the right ones… or worse, having to hobble out of the house four days postpartum, praying you don’t bleed all over the grocery store.

67. If you have any plans to breastfeed, don’t have any formula in the house. (Not even for “just in case.”)

68. Nothing smells sweeter than your baby’s neck.

69. Infancy is merely a heartbeat in your child’s life. Enjoy it, appreciate it, and don’t wish it away. Don’t spend today eagerly anticipating tomorrow’s new achievement – it will be gone in what seems like an instant. You will hear people say this, but you won’t believe it until one day, your baby is in Kindergarten, and the next, graduating high school.

70. I wish I’d known that Percocet causes constipation and bowel obstructions.

71. I wish I’d known how truly horrible episiotomies are.

72. I wish I’d known how awesome hospitals can be–it was truly a second vacation (with pain meds of course)!

73. I wish I’d known about plagiocephaly so I didn’t put my baby on her head so often.

74. I wish I’d known that my daughter was posterior so I could have tried to turn her or something!

75. I wish I had known that when you take the diaper off your newborn son, he is guaranteed to pee, and it will hit his wallpaper beside the crib you are changing him in, and it will also get him in the eye. I learned quickly to have a cloth handy to cover his dangly bits while removing his diaper.

76. I wish I had known that thyroid problems could be mistaken for PPD – Get tested before taking anti-depressants

77. I would have to change my nursing pads, then my sanitary napkin, my sons diaper, my sheets and repeat- all night long!

78. I will forever pee my pants when I sneeze or cough.

79. Regardless of weight- my shape is not the same.

80. I would suffer from migraines every month after his birth.

81. That after he was born and they laid him on my chest I would cry tears of “happiness” for the first time in my life.

82. But what I wish I had known? Is that my “lady bits” would swell so much after each birth I looked as though I had grown testicles! I have proudly given birth to 5 sons, and while my body never looked like I was 16, each one brought me more joy. Except for the swollen “lady bits”!

83. I wish somebody had told me that between 30-50% of pregnancies end in a first trimester miscarriage, sometimes before the woman even realizes she is pregnant. Having a missed miscarriage made me feel like a total failure, but then I found out that miscarriages are common as dirt. Another womanly secret that nobody seems to talk about much…

84. I wish somebody had told me not to overdo the reading as it will bring out every neurotic tendency you might have.

85. Take all that advice about not lifting heavy objects or overexerting yourself in the last few months SERIOUSLY … it’s not worth hurting your back or ripping your abs to keep going with business as usual.

86. Business as usual is going to change, forever, and you might as well get used to it while you are pregnant.

87. I wish I would have known that after I gave birth my stomach would feel like a floppy empty sack (and look like one too!) the sight and feel of it literally made me queasy for a few days until I got used to it!

88. I wish I would have known that a week old baby with her diaper off can shoot her breast milk poo 3 feet across the room!

89. I wish I would have known that a 9mo pregnant woman can BARELY control herself when she has gas.

90. I wish I would have known that a 34 week old fetus has the capability to keep up you for 2 hours at 3am with her kicking and could actually kick things OFF my belly!

91. That when your water breaks, it is not just one big gush…it is several gushes…many gushes…. I gushed amniotic fluid for a full 21 hours! My doctor said that it would gush throughout my entire labor…What a surprise!

92. That not only did my hoo-ha hurt after labor…EVERYTHING hurt! My bottom was so sore that I could not sit without the donut cushion for 3 weeks! (Thanks to a 4th degree tear!)

93. That I would continue to leak milk from my breasts long after I quit nursing! I was still leaking for 7 months after I had weaned my little one.

94. That I could start crying and absolutely not be able to stop. I would start crying for no reason and there was no way to cease the tears. I wasn’t necessarily sad or happy or tired or upset….it was simply a shift in hormones.

95. I wish I had known that delivering a baby vaginally is NOT scary…in fact, it’s one of the most incredible things ever!

96. I wish I had known that having a newborn isn’t quite so easy and peaceful. It’s stressful, scary, and not really all that fun. But it gets better every day and to treasure those newborn moments because they end so fast.

97. I wish I had known that even though I felt yucky when I was pregnant, to take pictures. Having just 2 pictures of myself pregnant are not nearly enough and I can never go back and change that now.

98. I wish I would have known that my hair would come in different!

99. Night sweats – the kind where you need to change your pajamas.

100. Letdown of milk hurts at first – then you can actually feel the tingle of the milk letting down.

101. Engorgement of breasts – so tight your child can’t latch on. AND red hot breasts.

102. Clogged ducts.

103. An undying thirst the first couple of weeks.

104. Even if you have the most meticulous and well-thought out birth-plan prepare for the unexpected.

105. I wish I had known about the increase in vaginal secretions that you get when you are pregnant, and that it increases the farther along you get.

106. I wish I knew about was the pooping during pushing in labor.

107. Bleeding for 6 weeks after the birth! Nobody told me about that.

108. How resilient babies are. If I had another one I would be a LOT more relaxed about so many things. I would have more faith in the whole process and enjoy it more.

109. How relentless motherhood is. I don’t use the word relentless in a negative connotation. Motherhood NEEDS to be relentless. When you love someone so much that your heart can just burst from it on any given day, you need the persistence of that mama strength….the strength that surfaces when you think you can’t keep your eyes open another minute, can’t answer another “why because???” question, can’t patiently ask another time to please stop doing that!!!!

110. That if you have a baby in the summertime, MAN- it is hot, so very very hot.

111. Wicked bad indigestion, and it is irrelevant what I eat.

112. How much fun it is to out your hands on your belly and play ‘guess the body part’ with your spouse.

113. How love is so much bigger than I had ever thought.

114. You can go into labor early despite healthy pregnancy and with no warning signs.

115. It is very difficult to pack for the hospital while in active labor.

116. Labor can be scary, even if you are well prepared and your Mom was a labor nurse.

117. When your baby is placed in your arms, your world turns inside out and upside down—the feelings that you have when you meet your child for the first time are so complicated, so primal, so intense.

118. You can feel trapped and isolated and lonely to the point of desperation.

119. It is possible to lose your mind to sleep deprivation.

120. Don’t make big decisions when sleep deprived.

121. It’s OK if you don’t feel a deep bond, or fall instantly in love the moment you see your baby. Sometimes it takes longer and it doesn’t mean you love your child any less.

122. You will be shocked by what your body looks like. Even if you are in great shape. Don’t be scared.

123. I wish that someone had told me that babies are easy – teenagers are hard!

124. My boobs might (they did) explode in size and that is where I got stretch marks. My poor beautiful boobs…

125. That for many days following I would get contractions when my baby nursed. I had heard about this but no one explained it fully.

126. A nursing mother can out eat a truck driver (easily!)

127. It is a full time job just feeding a baby (8-9 hours a day every day just nursing).

128. Your body cleans itself out during labor, you just need someone else to clean off your shoes after it does!

129. You can do it alone and it doesn’t make it any less special or amazing, just more challenging.

130. Your world perspective changes drastically and permanently

131. How difficult it was to pee and poop the first time after childbirth.

132. That I might have an emergency c-section. I never thought it would happen to me and was not prepared for how it would throw off my entire birth plan/recovery etc.

133.That they swab between your vagina and anus to test for something or other at one of your prenatal exams. Not a big deal but it came as a surprise!

134.That I might not be a pro at breastfeeding and would have to ask for help from every person with breasts that walked by!

135.That I could ask to have the catheter put in AFTER I was numbed for my c-section. Won’t make that mistake again!!

136. That I might not ever go into labor, have my water break etc. and that I might be induced.

137. Set up the changing table and rocker or glider so that they are usable in the dark when you are not really awake.

138. The advice to “Enjoy sleeping now” is not enough! Sleep deprivation is a torture method for a reason and you will be finding out exactly why.

139. How much I would love seeing my husband play with the kids. Their time interacting is so precious and it just makes my heart swell to watch them.

140. Take turns with the camera or there will only be one parent in the photos with the kids.

141. It’s okay to ignore all the baby books and the grandparents’ advice when you know in your gut you are doing the right thing for you and your family.

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19 Responses to “I wish I had known..”

  1. Deb Says:
    July 5th, 2007 at 9:05 am

    I didn’t make the list in time, but…
    I wish I’d had the balls to tell the lactation specialists to get lost.

  2. Raine Says:
    July 5th, 2007 at 9:38 am

    LOVE IT!

    I didn’t get to pitch in, so I will say this…

    I wish I had known that just because you are completely dedicated to breastfeeding, sometimes your body fails you and you simply cannot produce. It was the biggest heartbreak of my life to not be able to nourish my child.

  3. Bebunu Says:
    July 5th, 2007 at 10:24 am

    I love it! Thanks ladies, I’ll try to remember them when I’m pregnant/a new mom!

  4. Dee Dee Says:
    July 5th, 2007 at 11:47 am

    One more that isn’t on the list. Little baby girls can have a period when they are first born from all of your mommy hormones. Don’t be freaked out if you change a diaper and there is some blood.

  5. marjorie Says:
    July 5th, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    I loved every one of these comments. They are so true and made me think that in many ways, motherhood is hilariously funny. Sometimes laughing till your stomach hurts is the only way to get through a day with a toddler. I thought of one more “I wish I’d known.” After you have a baby, milk will shoot out of your nipples when you make love. I had no idea that would happen. Either did my surprised spouse.

  6. Maijken Says:
    July 5th, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    45 isn’t necessarily true. my husband has watched 2 of our children being born.. and it has changed him.. only for the worse, instead of for the better.

  7. Anna Says:
    July 5th, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    I didn’t make the list ontime either- but I wish I was told that after a c-section, I wouldn’t be allowed to drive for a month.

  8. Shelly Rawlins Says:
    July 5th, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    I didn’t make the list deadline either, but I would like to add, the possibilities of having a child with life threatening birth defects.

    Having secondary infertility after my first child.

  9. Autumn Says:
    July 5th, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    101. Engorgement of breasts – so tight your child can’t latch on. AND red hot breasts.

    for me that knowledge probably would’ve helped a great deal.
    my breasts went from a DD to about an F when my milk first started coming in, i couldn’t get my son latched on for the life of me and i didn’t know how to ease the engorgement in order to make it easier. i think i would’ve been as successful with nursing as i originally planned, had i known what to expect and how to deal with it.
    atleast i know for any future children.

  10. Diva Says:
    July 6th, 2007 at 4:29 am

    Another mum who missed the deadline here…..my contribution:
    I wish, I really, really wish that someone had told me that your first birth is not a predictor of your second birth. Then maybe I could have prepared myself after a “text book” first labour for a nightmarish second one that nearly killed me. Now I know – every birth is as different as every baby, even when the mother is one and the same.

  11. Cathy Says:
    July 6th, 2007 at 8:13 am

    I missed the list too. I wish I had known about waking up after a solid 4 hours of sleep looking like I was ready for a wet T-shirt contest because the milk leaked out of my breasts while I was unconscious. Of course, the engorgement probably didn’t help.

  12. Ash Says:
    July 6th, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    I wish that I had known that I would never again go to the bathroom by myself after my daughter learned to walk! I haven’t pooped in peace in at least four years!

  13. Brooke Says:
    July 6th, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    I can agree and relate to so many of these!

  14. Genevieve Says:
    July 6th, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    Playing off what Dee Dee said, your little BOY can have a period, too! I was thankful that I had read that in passing, because when my less-than-day-old son had blood in his diaper, I would have freaked out had I not been prepared! (And, no, he wasn’t circumcised… it really was a “period.”)

    And baby boy and girl nipples can leak milk, too!

  15. I-dra Says:
    July 8th, 2007 at 1:45 am

    i wish someone had warned me that i would get cellulite on my tummy & stretchmarks on my thighs!

  16. Michelle Says:
    July 8th, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    I missed the list too… but here’s another one:
    I wish I had known that varicose veins can appear in places other than the legs… like in your genital area!

  17. Cee Says:
    July 11th, 2007 at 10:51 am

    I wish I’d known that forevermore I will wear my heart outside my body for my daughter. My love for her is so intense it hurts (in a good way, but I was not prepared for the “instant love” I felt)

  18. Karyn Says:
    July 12th, 2007 at 5:31 am

    So True – especially the part about peeing when you sneeze and cough – for the rest of your life!

  19. Ann Says:
    August 31st, 2008 at 7:22 am

    I wish I had known how hard it would be when my babies grew up and left. I wish I had known how fast it would all go and how heartbreaking it is when they leave. But I wouldn’t change having them for anything – not for a “perfect body”, not for a “perfect house”, not for “perfect peace and quiet”. It’s all worth it, every bit. And in the end, when it’s all been done, and my babies have gone off into the big world where I can’t protect them anymore, I wish I had known hard it would be to forgive myself for all the mistakes I made – and how important.

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