We don’t want to ruin the surprise, but there’s some stuff you should probably brace yourself for…
The weird things your body’s doing now are just the tip of the iceberg
Of course, when you’re pregnant, you expect to grow a great big beautiful bump, but the other twists and turns of your body can come as more of a shock. Body hair does strange things (thicker in places, thinner in others), the hair on your head does even stranger things (mainly shedding massively and alarmingly in the early months of motherhood. Don’t panic, it grows back!), you might get freckles for the first time, your feet could go up a size – and stay there – and your bladder control will leave a lot to be desired for quite some time (PELVIC FLOOR REMINDER!), along with your mystical milk-making boobs and your magical elastic tummy. Remember, you are a thing of wonder and don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise.
Over the next couple of years you will buy seven buggies and five car seats (approx)
During pregnancy you’ll obsess over picking the right, eye-wateringly expensive pram – sorry, “travel system” – which will last your precious firstborn for years, can glide smoothly along urban roads and woody trails and exotic beaches and has multiple recline functions, as well as being compatible with your similarly eye-wateringly expensive, state of the art car seat.
We hate to break it to you but… once your baby is getting on for a year or thereabouts, you’ll find this lovingly chosen contraption a bit cumbersome and trade it in for a bog-standard, more acceptably priced buggy, plus an even more lightweight stroller for nursery runs/holidays, maybe a double further down the line, and even a running buggy if you’re a sporty spice, and then wonder why you wasted all those hours (days… weeks…) of research on something that was mostly just good for the newborn days. But all that research is a good distraction and feels like a way of getting control over the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you, so go with it, bank balance permitting.
Late-pregnancy heartburn can be just as bad as early-pregnancy morning sickness
Just like not everyone gets morning sickness, not everyone gets heartburn. Or, at least, not severe heartburn that puts you right off your takeaway. But anyone in the thick of it (are you digesting this guide with a side order of Gaviscon?) it can be just as debilitating, especially since one of the perks of pregnancy is supposedly being able to eat lots of food, and all of a sudden lots of food is the last thing your stupid burning gullet can handle.
The one plus side is that, by the point that heartburn likely kicks in, everyone knows you’re pregnant anyway, so you can luxuriate in moaning about it, rather than having to pretend to be hungover all the time like you did in the early days of feeling like death in the office loos. Plus, it goes away as soon as you’ve given birth (to be replaced by an altogether different burning sensation…).
There’s no point in worrying about sleep
Your baby might be a good sleeper, they might be a terrible sleeper; it’s mainly a luck of the draw situation, but the best (but, possibly, hardest) thing you can do is try not to fret about it and realise that sleep goes up and down throughout the early years, based on all manner of factors, and not your ability as a parent.
Your life is about to change, big time, but you’ll be so in love with your new arrival that you won’t mind how knackered you are, as long as you’re kind to yourself (by which we mean: biscuits). You’ll get used to your new routine (or lack of) and time with a newborn goes so fast that before you know it they’ll be 14 and refusing to get out of bed before midday. This is the time to put Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs on top volume and throw in a bit of lawnmowing for good measure.
You really, really need mum friends
You might think “I’ve got loads of mates!” but unless your bezzies all live under 10 minutes from you and are all due to give birth at exactly the same time, you’ll need some new mum friends too, for early morning park circuits, poo banter, emergency wines and emergency whines.
It’s hard to understand the value of finding people in exactly the same boat until you’re right in the thick of it, but whenever you need a friend, remember, Mush is full of likeminded mums with kids the same age – go get ‘em!