pregnancy

Expectation v reality: 'What I learned from 3 pregnancies, and the months that followed.'

Blackmores
Thanks to our brand partner, Blackmores

"You’ll glow," some said.

"Pregnancy is the easy part, just wait till the baby is here," said (less helpful) others.

Then, once bump became baby, it became all about how quickly the baby days would fly by; how my precious bundle of milky deliciousness would be applying to university and borrowing my car within the blink of an eye.

One thing is for certain - pregnancy and new motherhood is one heck of a journey, and one which everyone seems to have an opinion about. It’s no wonder really that we end up with a head full of expectations that, ahem, don’t always meet the reality.

As a mother of three, I’ve been knee deep in #mumlife for the past nine-and-a-half years and I’ve certainly learnt a few things along the way.

From waddling through the last stages of pregnancy to surviving the fourth trimester, I’m living proof that you will survive (and maybe even go back and do it all over again). Here's what knowledge I can impart, looking back on my three pregnancies and those precious moments after.

1. The pregnancy 'glow'.

Expectation – Smugly strutting though nine months of pregnancy with barely a break in my stride.

Reality – Waddling through nine months of nausea, heartburn and lower back pain with a few interspersed periods of glowing.

Image: Supplied.

 

During my first ever pregnancy, I worked for a pregnancy magazine and was thus convinced I would rock the following nine months. Then I actually fell pregnant. And realised that it was nothing like in the pages of my magazine.
ADVERTISEMENT

There was the random vertigo that struck and meant I almost had to crawl into the 20th floor meeting room to avoid any of the windows (and when you haven’t told anyone you’re pregnant, garnered a few strange looks).

Heartburn that seemed to kick in from week six until the day I gave birth. And the nausea, oh the nausea.

Quickly, my grand plans to eat only the most nutritionally beneficial foods flew out the window. Vegemite toast and orange juice became my primary partners in crime and were served as breakfast, lunch and dinner. Which then, naturally, led me to worry about whether or not I was giving my baby enough of the good stuff. 

I learnt that having a good pregnancy vitamin could help fill the gaps and keep my nutrition on track. With 20 nutrients, including important ingredients like folic acid and a gentle, non-constipating form of iron, Blackmores Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Gold also contains Omega-3 DHA, which is usually found in oily fish (something there was no way I could stomach) to help support maternal health from the early days of pregnancy through to breastfeeding. Just remember - take it every day and at the required dose.

2. Birth and breastfeeding.

Expectation – An easy birth with baby latching on and immediately feeding while I glowed like something out a of ad for maternity bras.

Reality – Easy-ish births with a less than easy, breezy breastfeeding experience (two words; blistered nipples).

Image: Supplied.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Ah, birth. The main event. The day you finally meet the tiny creature who may (or may not) have been really putting you through your paces for the prior nine months. It’s a biggie. And you often spend a lot of time preparing. Pre-natal classes. Hospital tours. Birth affirmations and visualisations (if you’re a little bit hippy like me).

Thing is, it’s over pretty quickly (relatively speaking) and then the feeding fun starts. Because all of a sudden, you realise that the tiny, helpless creature on your chest is relying on you for sustenance. And they want it every two to three hours.

Whether you’re bottle or breastfeeding, it’s a whole new world that you need to get a handle on quickly. Add to that, the post birth exhaustion and a sizeable helping of sleep deprivation and it’s a recipe for tears, confusion and, in my case, cravings for more chocolate than is healthy for a single human. I kind of assumed I’d latch my baby on and we’d be off, and, within a couple of weeks, I’d basically be back to ‘normal’ life with my regular eating, sleeping and socialising habits back on track.

There is not a big enough eye roll emoji in the world for how far back in my head my eyes roll when I think about it now. Breastfeeding in particular is a learnt skill and one that requires support AND an extra focus on lifestyle aspects like nutrition, sleep and rest. Which, when you're exhausted, bewildered and doing everything one handed, can feel so much easier said than done. Take it easy on yourself, and always remember there's lots of support out there (check out the Australian Breastfeeding Association's website here).

3. The first three months, AKA the fourth trimester.

Expectation – Nailing #newmumlife. Life returning to normal. Mastering drinking a hot coffee with one hand while pushing a pram with the other.

Reality – Leaking multiple bodily fluids. Day and night often melting into one. Growing accustomed to cold coffee and wearing a baby carrier 24/7.

Image: Supplied.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

For all that is said about pregnancy and birth, the fourth trimester often doesn’t get a look in. It’s that phase between no longer being pregnant but still feeling befuddled by motherhood. Maternity clothes are too big, but your pre-pregnancy gear is still on the tight side. Sleep is elusive. Emotions run high. Your baby seems to be growing and changing before your eyes and, just when you think you’re getting the hang of things, it all changes again. 

The fourth trimester may arguably be the most exciting yet exhausting part of the journey as you remember what life was like ‘pre-baby’ and realise how different it is ‘post-baby.’ You’re finding a new normal and that takes time and experimentation. 

Life, like bodies, doesn’t just bounce back and that’s OK. Because life has changed irrevocably (and trust me on this one, in the most amazing way possible) and it’s an adjustment.

Ride that wave, mama, because you’re on your way to resurfacing on the other side and from there, it just keeps getting better and better.

So what expectations and realities did you notice, if you've been pregnant? Tell us below.

Feature image: Supplied.

Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Supplements may only be of assistance if dietary intake is inadequate. Always seek advice from your healthcare professional.

Blackmores
Blackmores Pregnancy and Breast-Feeding Gold provides important nutrients to support a healthy pregnancy for both mum and bub. It contains a form of iron which is low nausea, low constipation and gentle on digestive system. It also contains omega-3 DHA which is important for the healthy development of baby’s brain and nervous system. Support you and your growing family with Blackmores.