5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Got Pregnant

File Jun 04, 6 10 54 PM

As my pregnancy comes to an end (38 weeks and waiting not so patiently…), here are a few things I wish I’d known before I got pregnant.

Oh well, they’ll come in handy for baby #2!

 1. That an OB/GYN might be great for yearly pap smears, but not for my ideal birth. I am a prime example of this. I am one of those women who switched practices at 30+ weeks, desperately searching for a doctor with a natural mindset. Although I am so glad I found the midwives at Full Circle Midwifery, I do wish I had met with all doctors at my previous practice within my first 15 weeks of pregnancy.

2. That most of the symptoms I thought I’d be spared… Well, I should’ve enjoyed the lack of them. Exhaustion? Swelling? Insomnia? Nope. Not me. 500 bathroom trips per day? Don’t know what you’re talking about. I even thought my pregnancy pillow might never serve its purpose. Wrong. With two weeks to go, I am feeling them all. The 3 A.M. bathroom trips (on the dot, no less), days when I can’t keep my eyes open… A few days ago, I even thought I was going to have to call 911 to have them cut my wedding band off my finger (luckily, Windex and 20 minutes of pulling and twisting did the trick.)

 3. That this exists : 


4. That nine months fly by so fast. When we got pregnant, we kept saying we had such a long time to go… “It’s just October, we have all of Winter and Spring to go through before he gets here. It’s going to take forever.” Well, before you know it, you’re 8 months pregnant and all you can do is look over those weekly belly pics and cry over how skinny you used to be at 15 weeks.

5. That being pregnant isn’t a disease. I’m not going to lie, there are times when I was nervous about not being able to handle being pregnant. When you see pregnant women on TV or in the movies, they wobble around dry heaving, they’re emotional wrecks… I was deathly afraid of everything I read about online: Medium rare steak. Bacon. I avoided all cheeses like the plague. Any time I bumped against a wall or table, I would literally stop breathing until I could feel Liam’s next kick. I was terrified of falling when I took a walk outside. It’s only now that I’m starting to realize that although there are many precautions to be aware of, being pregnant is just a small adjustment. Yes, it’s uncomfortable at times, but overall, being pregnant is not the end of life as you know it. And besides, it’s temporary. You can eat cheese, as long as it’s pasteurized. Follow your gut. Take walks outside, just walk a little slower. Remember that your baby is resilient in there, and so are you. 

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Johanna Riehm teaches in the department of Communication and Media at Manhattanville College and in the department of English at Mercy College. She teaches courses in the history of communication, public speaking, and social media, as well as creative and technical writing workshops. Johanna’s work has been featured in Graffiti Literary Magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Bangalore Review, Cactus Heart Press, and the LaMothe Review. She is working on her first longer work, a creative nonfiction novel called We Carved Our Names in Tamarind Trees.

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