While I was pregnant, I experienced a million physical and emotional changes and I was prepared for less than half of them. It's difficult to prepare for pregnancy. Your body goes through so many changes, and every pregnancy is a unique experience. So, I've teamed up with a few of my coworkers to compile a list of what you need to know (and no one tells you) when you're pregnant.
If only I had known...
1. About all the swelling
I didn't see my ankles until two weeks after giving birth. My calves were so swollen and I had very real cankles. What I wish I had known was that maternity compression leggings and pantyhose exist! Compression works to squeeze your legs and keep blood flowing back towards your heart. When you're pregnant a lot of your cardiovascular system begins working for the baby in your belly and forgets about you (spoiler alert, that's how the rest of your life will be). Maternity compression (you can buy it here) prevents cankles and leg swelling. Tell your ankles I said, you're welcome.
Mom hack: you can continue wearing your compression post-birth. This will help boost your energy levels, which you will need.
2. No nursery rooms
What shocked me more than my cankles was that those cute little baby rooms you see in the movies, you know the one with the glass, where family members wave to the babies and you wonder how many get mixed up? Those don't exist anymore. You literally spend every night with your baby, for the rest of your life. My son didn't sleep through the night for a year, so, to be honest it would have been nice to have that. But, you know, it's important to bond with your baby and all that. I did, however, discover a nursery room hack. I asked the RN working the midnight shift to take my screaming bundle of joy so I could close my eyelids, and she did! Wheeled the little guy under a heat lamp for two hours. Best sleep of my life.
3. So many tears
Before you give birth there will be so much crying. That's right, you turn into a total cry-baby. Your clothes don't fit, you're building a person and your estrogen and progesterone levels are skyrocketing. All of these changes would make anyone weepy. This can continue after giving birth, too! Your hormones won't normalize the second you give birth. So, be gentle with yourself. If you feel like you can't get a handle on your emotions contact your doctor, not the internet.
EVERYONE will tell you "sleep while you can, once you have the baby you won't be able to". Ok, sure, sounds great. Except, it doesn't work like that. Sleep, who's she? It get's to the point where you start to wonder if the universe is preparing you to never sleep again. You're stomach gets way too in the way for a comfortable night of rest. Yes, the giant side lying pillow helps, but lets be honest, it's not a miracle. Or, you have wild dreams and nightmares that wake you up at the craziest hours, and then you're afraid to go back to sleep. Or, you're way too into nesting and you physically can't sit down, let alone nap.
In the end, it's about what works for you and your little family. No matter what the mom in your life, baby discussion boards or articles on the internet say, do what feels right to you. Even if you don't feel ready now, when your tiny, little human arrives, you'll be ready. You have your own mom super powers now. You got this, girl.