1. Goodbye, old friends. The moment you discover you are pregnant, immediately take your clothes off and take a photograph of your boobs in their original, untarnished condition – for posterity. Sooner than you think, your once beautiful boobs will be somewhat worse for wear (see point 3).
2. Hello, new friends. Remember that episode of Sex and the City where baby Brady is crying all night? A neighbour comes round to tell Miranda off and asks if Miranda’s friends have children. Miranda responds: “no, but they’re very supportive.” Cue sympathetic look from neighbour: “Oh – then you’re screwed!” Truer words were never spoken. If you are childless, hoping to become ‘with’ child, and don’t have any friends with children; you need to acquire some immediately.
3. The truth about nipples. Some books and websites may mention things like, “Your breasts may feel swollen and tender.” Pah! Let’s tell it like it is… your boobs will be unrecognisable. They will be 80% scarily dark nipple, with prominent veins showing AND feel like they’ve been attacked with a cheese grater.
4. Bizarre crushes. For some unknown reason there will be a celebrity or two, whom you know to be unattractive but you develop a crush on them regardless. Embrace it! I love Claude from the Apprentice and I don’t care who knows it.
5. Baby brain. As the baby grows inside you, your brain shrinks. Fact.
There’s no shame in finding the TV remote in the fridge and the milk in the washing machine. Embrace this too and accept you are no longer capable of logical behaviour.
6. Crying. There is crying. Lots of crying. Sometimes you will be crying about something minor (you have run out of bread, etc) other times you won’t even know why you’re crying: it just happens.
7. Rated PG. Speaking of crying…Beware! Television during pregnancy is a mine field!
Think about it – if running out of bread can reduce you to tears imagine what The Notebook could do. It’s also best to steer clear of watching animated films. I watched the Disney Pixar film Up for the first time while pregnant and it really has scarred me!
The Lion King, Bambi and Beauty and the Beast should also be avoided at all costs.
One Born Every Minute is another big risk. Watching it while pregnant is generally a lovely thing to do: I found it quite motivating. “Look, all these women can do it, I can too!”
Take heed however and always watch it on catch-up. Once a series, OBEM tends to show a birth that ends in tragedy. This is not something you want to see. Let a friend or your mum watch it first to confirm that the episode is safe for you to watch.
8. Pregnancy nose. There is distinct possibility that you will develop a strong aversion to one of your acquaintances. It’s most likely to be someone whom you’ve always known isn’t the most hygienic of people. That seed in your mind will grow and they will start to repulse you. You know it’s illogical, you know you’re being mean but you can’t help it. You do not want them and their germs near you or your unborn child.
9. When pregnant, your body is not your own.
Once you start to develop a bump, strangers will think it is acceptable to touch your stomach. I don’t know why – after all, you would never wander up to a non-pregnant person and touch them. This goes hand in hand with people saying, “you are massive!” and making other equally flattering comments. Which, again, no one would dare say if you weren’t pregnant. Luckily this stops as soon as baby is born: because, even if you are four stone heavier than you were pre-pregnancy, people regain their composure and realise that it’s rude to comment and grope.
10. Pregnancy makes you tougher.
If like me you’re quite a placid person who normally goes along with things to make other people happy – e.g. if you agree to your partner’s suggestion to watch a film that you have no interest in; or you’re going out in a group and agree to go to a restaurant everyone likes apart from you – that ALL stops. You become much more no-nonsense. Depending on your pre-pregnancy habits, you’ve already probably had to sacrifice a lot: wine, dippy eggs, brie…and that is where you draw the line. You aren’t prepared to additionally sacrifice your time on things you don’t actually want to do. I personally like to think of this as nature giving you a last burst of selfishness before baby comes along; and selflessness is all there is.
11. It’s getting hot in here…so take off all your clothes. You may find the urge to get naked at work. Not for any sexual reason. Just because despite working in an office with minus 25 degree air conditioning you are finding it too hot and in desperation, you lock yourself in the toilets and sit there in butt naked bliss, whilst your body temperature cools down.
12. Attack of the giant mummy muff. Your lady triangle doubles in size for two reasons: 1) stretching and 2) your own inability to tame it. Just don’t look. Not that you can look after 28 weeks. Preferably ask your midwife to give you a quick wax (one more puff of that gas & air will do it) so you are none the wiser.
13. Maternity clothes. They fit from 20 weeks until 32 weeks only. Before then, you have to make do with looking overweight in your normal clothes. After 32 weeks most of the maternity clothes burst at the seams apart from those faded black leggings with the baggy knees and huge grey jumper. Embrace it because this combo will be your uniform for the next 8 weeks.
14. Foot fetish? Heaven is a foot massage lasting for infinity. You don’t want anything else in life.
15. Antenatal class props. You can’t help thinking that watching a doll fall through the model of a pelvis isn’t going to be exactly what it’s like on the big day. And that knitted boobs can only breastfeed like pro’s because they don’t have nerve endings.
16. Nesting. The urge to suddenly polish your shoes; wash all the cushion covers; disinfect the toilet 5 times a day and redecorate the living room. No the Queen isn’t visiting: you are having a baby, whose behaviour will of course vary according to how clean your skirting board is.
17. Partner’s symptoms. Infuriatingly your partner may decide to develop pregnancy symptoms too. Headaches, tiredness, cravings, putting on weight…my husband actually went to the doctor about his ‘changes’, and the doctor’s straightforward answer was “I bet you aren’t half as tired as your pregnant wife is”…
18. The unexpected gifts. You may be given hand-knitted booties by the lady you sit next to on the bus, a breast pump from your mum’s friends cousin’s daughter and a cellular blanket from an acquaintance at work. These bursts of generosity from almost strangers are a completely normal and lovely part of being pregnant.
19. Sod’s law. If you are pregnant, you can guarantee that you will have more hen do’s, weddings and 30th birthdays to attend than any other year in your life.
20. Let’s face facts. You are growing an actual human being inside your body. It’s then got to come out of you somehow – and it does. That’s got to be the weirdest part.