'It’s like a second job': 5 things I wish I knew before getting pregnant.

Thanks to our brand partner, NSW HEALTH

Once upon a time, I thought I knew it all. Then I got pregnant.

I always wanted kids, so I’d given plenty of attention to the topic of pregnancy. 

I read some books, I fussed over my pregnant friends. Heck, I even had a preconception app.

Despite my preparation, it turns out there’s a whole world of pregnancy that remains a delightful enigma until you experience it firsthand. 

Three babies later, I've navigated the ups and downs of pregnancy. Here are 5 things I wish I knew before getting pregnant. 

1. The mental load of pregnancy hits you like a tidal wave.

Being pregnant is like getting a second job, and then a third. Yes, you’re a human incubator, but you also become an EA for the tiny person growing inside of you. From booking scans, to hospital admission forms and filling out Centrelink applications for parental leave, your life will be admin central. 

Luckily once you have the baby all that admin stops. 


THIS is your life now. Consider it training for being a parent.

Set yourself up for success by investing in a password manager to get all your different logins in order, colour code your calendar so it’s easy to read when booking appointments and get used to writing daily to-do lists. 

Your baby brain will thank you.

2. You’re going to get sick. Like, a lot. 

Forget movie style morning sickness, vomiting into the nearest trash can (although you might get that too). Pregnancy brings with it an increased susceptibility to colds and viruses, especially in winter. 


Suddenly, you find yourself dodging every cough, sneeze, and germ-laden hug like a pro.

Influenza, or flu hits differently when you are pregnant, and no, not in a good way. 

That’s why the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommend the influenza vaccine for all pregnant women (or women planning to get pregnant) to help protect you and your baby. 

The flu vaccine is safe (for both baby and mum) and you can get it at any stage of your pregnancy. The flu shot will protect your baby from influenza after birth because of the protective antibodies that are passed from the mother during pregnancy. 

A flu shot reduces the risk of you getting seriously ill during the winter months, and it’s free – consider that a rare pregnancy perk. You might still be charged a consultation or administration fee, but the flu vaccine, provided by the Australian Government is free for all pregnant women, and you can get one at your local pharmacy.

You’ll also get lots of offers for help during pregnancy. One of the easiest things your loved ones can do to help you, and your baby, is get a flu shot. Their vaccination will help protect you from risk of contracting influenza and its complications. 

So keep your hand sanitiser close, politely decline hugs from the sniffling friend, and don't feel guilty about prioritising your health.


Image: Supplied. 

3. Pregnancy is serious but, you shouldn’t take it too seriously.

It’s easy to get caught up in the gravitas of pregnancy, given you are creating a whole person from scratch. 

If, like me, your main exposure to hospitals before getting pregnant was Grey’s Anatomy you might find yourself looking for the drama. I spent most of my first pregnancy worrying about what-ifs and potential worst-case scenarios. 


So much so that I didn’t really spend much time enjoying being pregnant.

There’s lots of weird stuff going on with your body. Try to find the funny side of a bizarre symptom and laugh at a new craving rather than assume it indicates a rare new condition worthy of an episode of House. Also laugh at farts, because let’s be real, they ARE funny...

4. Boundaries will be your new bestie.

Everyone, from your well-meaning mother-in-law to strangers on the street, will suddenly feel entitled to comment on your body, your choices, and your life in general. My pregnant belly was a beacon for unsolicited advice.

This led to so many tears (most, but not always, mine) in my first pregnancy as I took onboard terrible feedback and bent over backwards to keep people happy or passionately defend my choices. I wish I had known that most of the time people's comments said more about them than me, and a comment doesn’t need to become a conversation. 

By pregnancy two and three, I was having none of it. Perhaps having a toddler at home gave me a lower tolerance for nonsense?

I set clear boundaries from the start by politely declining unwanted advice. I straight up didn’t answer questions I didn’t want to answer and then changed the subject. 

People aren’t stupid, they’ll get the message that they’ve strayed into unwanted territory quickly. If they don’t, a simple “thanks but I’m happy with my plans and won’t be discussing them further” gets it home.


I also prioritised self-care activities, and didn’t apologise for being unavailable. I surrounded myself with supportive people on the same wavelength who I could trust to weigh in only when I wanted it. My mother's group friends were the best cheerleaders and we are friends to this day because of the shared experiences.

Image: Supplied. 


5. Maternity models aren’t actually pregnant.

When I envisioned myself pregnant I saw glowy skin, voluminous hair and a basketball style bump stuck on my regular body. After all, that’s how all the chic maternity models looked. 

Plot twist: turns out most “pregnant” fashion models aren’t even pregnant. They just wear a cute little belly pillow or prosthetic bump.

I wish I’d known this as I stood 25 weeks pregnant and miserable in a changing room, three hours into a fruitless search for a wedding guest outfit that wouldn’t make me look like a plum. 

Or a plum with a bow on it. 

Image Supplied. 


Side note: why do maternity designers think pregnant women want to wear bows? 

Colours and cuts that used to be trusty go-tos had deserted me. My skin looked grey and veiny. My joints were puffy. My body looked... wrong and where was that "pregnancy glow" I ordered? 

It's easy to get caught up comparing yourself to airbrushed images you see while scrolling, and feel like you’re falling short, especially with pregnancy hormones raging through your body. 

I wish I had known that self-compassion is the key to navigating the ups and downs of pregnancy. Remember, you're growing a human being inside you, and that deserves a whole lot of self-love and kindness. 

Also, DO NOT buy anything with a bow on it.

Trust me.

You’re welcome.

What do you wish you knew before getting pregnant? Tell us in the comments.

To discover if you're eligible for a free flu shot, visit NSW Health or speak to your doctor, midwife or pharmacist.

Feature Image: Supplied/Mamamia.  

Influenza is serious. Get your flu shot today.

Influenza (flu) is a highly contagious illness caused by the influenza virus. Some people are eligible for a FREE flu shot because they are at higher risk of severe illness from the flu. This includes:
Pregnant women
Children from 6 months to under 5 years of age
People with serious health conditions (including severe asthma, diabetes, cancer, immune disorders, obesity, kidney, heart, lung or liver disease)
All Aboriginal people from 6 months of age
All people who are 65 years of age and over.

Speak to your doctor today.