What NOT To Expect When Expecting…

It is getting more and more difficult to keep pace with life these days. Everything is going on at higher speed than it used to. It is overwhelming. We need to plan everything so we can be one step ahead of… well, I believe of ourselves…

We are on a tight schedule, no time to enjoy anything, no time to be surprised. Thanks to technology, we can now, choose even when to reproduce. Intimacy itself cannot be anymore spontaneous… we need to “hit” that egg. Our mobile’s alarm goes on… Beep beep… it’s time to reproduce…

These said, since the second line becomes clear in a pregnancy-test the countdown of approximately 40 weeks.

Women are obsessed with applications, web pages, forums, books… anything at all, that can tell them WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN EXPECTING.

Lucky for them, they don’t always work. Life does not always deliver what is expected. And as a doctor and a woman, I am so warmly and deeply appreciative.

These “what to expect” stuff are ruining such an unique experience for us. And yes, I did say unique and not beautiful, not wonderful, not extraordinary, nothing extremely positive… I was recruited here, for a reason… that was, not lying.

Not very long ago, some article about Kim Kardashian was published. She painted her pregnancy as the worst experience she ever had. A colleague of mine, shared the article in a social media, and said “finally someone had the guts to say it”. This particularly had my attention. Women went on and on, about saying that the role of harboring a human being inside was great, and they were grateful, and happy and ready to endure all the pain that came with it, and I was shocked.

So here is the good news about all of you having a hard time over there. There is nothing to expect. Your pregnancy will either way, be a time of change, even permanent change.

1. Getting pregnant. For some comes unexpected. In the worst possible moment. Women feel as something is eventually wrong with them, for feeling this way. They choose not to discuss about that feeling. They bury it, and nothing good comes from not elaborating feelings.

For others it is a constant fight. Trying over and over and seems the Universe has bigger planes. “Not right now”, is the answer coming back at us.
The first lesson for you, it’s quite easy: It will eventually happen for everybody. It might come physiologically or with help from outside. But it will. Just that our inside clock is not synchronized with every woman out there who “got it right the first time”.

2. Nausea and vomiting. They call it morning sickness. But it doesn’t mean it will always be in the morning!

It can be present. It might not. It can end soon, or last until the end. Yes it sucks! And no, saying it does not make you a terrible mother. And no, again, it is not worth it. Your parfume, your shampoo, your favorite food, the cup of coffee you had every morning, can suddenly turn into triggers to throw up. You can, and you will be uncomfortable. What works for some women, does not work for other. And for some, nothing works!!! But this is your experience. Why trying to cheat the test you are going through. Embrace your experience, even as the worst one ever!

3. Tender or swollen breasts. Another maybe. Some women are able to say they are pregnant immediately after a couple of days being late, just because their breasts get swollen. Other do not feel any change until the end.

4. Fatigue. Women report sleeping more during the first trimester. Others, have a troubled sleep pattern, mostly because of gastrointestinal discomfort. Either way, listen to your body. Don’t try to feel anything. Do not ignore anything.

5. Cravings. A common miss concept is the need of eating more. In Albania we are used to our mother saying “ you have to eat for two now”. This is so wrong in so many ways. During the first trimester, eat when you want, what you want. Changes in the taste, and nausea can be tricky. After that, if you are stabilized, you can finally adhere to a healthy diet.

6. Physical activity. Some urban legend, taught to women not to exercise. They became more and more passive, until prenatal courses, brought to our attention that movement will help you when delivery day comes. Be as active as you can, without going into effort. Go for a swim, take a long walk, ride a bike, go horse back riding… as long as your doctor agrees.

7. Sexual drive. Women experience strong hormonal changes during pregnancy. Testosterone increases the sex drive. Unfortunately few women, feel comfortable enough to discuss this. Be in charge of your sex life. Don’t wait for an application on your mobile to beep and tell you to do it. On the other hand, don’t push yourself to feel what you don’t feel.

8. Stretches. Due to expanding the skin brakes, and creates the stretch marks. This is genetic predisposition mostly. You can help your skin by using different products, from the cheapest one, olive oil, up to special cosmetic products, targeted for the pregnancy period.

9. Delivery. Which way to go? If the circumstances will permit so, then you can choose whether you want to have a vaginal delivery or a C-section. Either way, do not let anyone choose for you. The recommendations of “Spartan women” saying you have to feel the pain, shouldn’t absolutely be your path if you don’t feel like. But if you do, be my guest. If not however, there are many ways to do so. Your gynecologist will be more than happy to help you with your birth plan. You can choose a pain free vaginal delivery, but you can also opt for a C. Pros and cons of this subject however are not focus of this article. Ask your doctor about them.

10. After delivery. This is tailored after you girls. This is going to be a sum of so many variables, I can’t even begin to count. Your mind can play tricky games at times. Feel free to discuss about that. Hard feeling toward your baby can at times be considered normal. You can be suffering from postpartum depression, so be sure to share your feelings with someone you can trust.

As you can see, there is more than a way, more than a color, more than a single attitude toward the whole pregnancy time. Things cannot be the way you knew them before you entered this particular time of your life. I can hardly say that pregnancy is physiological. I can hardly agree for it to be called a disease… I am though, one of those who consider it to be an “interesting condition, just in between of physiologic and disease”. So live it as you feel it. No one can give you the answers of the test. You have to go for it. Experience it, love it, hate it… but let it be yours. We live our lives through so many pre-constructed patterns… give your self the freedom of doing something “in your own way”.

Have a safe journey !!!