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Five Things a First Time Mother Wants You To Know

Updated on December 17, 2019
Stephanie Purser profile image

My beautiful daughter Quinn made me a mother in September 2019.

My Body, My Choice. Even if I Don't Know What I'm Doing!

Congratulations! If you're reading this, you or someone close to you is likely having a baby. It's an overwhelming experience to learn you are harbouring new life. From getting those two lines on that first test at home to seeing your little peanut in an ultrasound, being pregnant for the first time is an emotional and intense experience. Many changes are occurring and there's a lot of decisions to be made about your lifestyle and care during pregnancy and birth.

There is seemingly endless information about what you should and shouldn't do during your pregnancy. It's one thing to follow the advice of your doctor or midwife, even from text books. But for some reason pregnancy is something everyone has an opinion on. Your family, friends, mere acquaintances and even strangers will share theirs with you regardless of whether or not you asked. And unfortunately also applies to parenthood in general.

Here's the thing. It's our first time and while we might not know what we're doing or have any experience, we still want to do this our way! It is after all our body and our baby. Its also extremely important to our emotional growth into motherhood that we do. I'm not saying advice is unwelcome. On the contrary, guidance is highly valuable but given in the correct way. If someone close to you is pregnant avoid critizing their choices and support their decisions even if they contradict the advice given.

There's a Lot of Symptoms You Don't Know About Until It's Happening To You

Everyone knows about morning sickness and needing to pee more frequently when your having baby. But for some reason, it's less commonly known that pregnancy also comes with head aches, congestion and a mess of other random side effects from growing a person.

Headaches can plague you as early as first trimester and can even process into migraines. They can be a short lived symptom or return with avengeance in the third trimester. Pregnancy increase blood volume in the body which contributes to daily headaches however they can also be aggravated by stress and changes in posture. Because pain relief like Ibuprofen is not compatible with pregnancy, these head aches can become a difficult symptom to live with. Panadol is pregnancy safe, so make sure to have plenty.

Hay fever is one of the most random side effects of pregnancy. Sinuses are considered to become more sensitive during pregnancy due to a compromised immune system. Coupled with the increase in blood volume, pregnanct women can really struggle with congestion. Whilst a lot of medications aren't considered safe during pregnancy, a pharmacist can direct you to pregnancy safe antihistamines for some relief.

Indigestion is more notoriously associated with pregnancy. Commonly considered as an indication that your baby will have hair when they are born. This is most likely a myth. What actually causes it is the ever decreasing space in your belly, due to your ever growing babe putting the pressure on the valve that typically keeps food and acid in the stomach. This valve is also effected by the pregnancy hormone, relaxin which causes it to become loose and less effective at keeping food and juices down. What is less recognised is just how bad it can get and how long it can last. For me it lasted all day, every day for the last seven months of pregnancy. It did not matter what I ate or even if I ate. I would still get chronic indigestion even if I neglected to eat. The good news is, it was gone the very day I gave birth. In the meantime discuss safe medications with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you would like to contribute more unexpected pregnancy symptoms please feel free to share in the comments section.

Morning Sickness Can Happen at Any Time of Day

"Morning sickness" is just a cute name for pregnancy nausea and doesn't represent the likely reality for most women. The real thing happens at any time of the day and in some cases, around the clock. Mine was certainly worse in the morning when my stomach was emptiest. But through out the day, I felt like I was on a boat. For me the nausea was incredibly similar to being sea sick but was fortunately not accompanied by vomiting.

Every pregnancy is different. Nausea during pregnancy can vary dramatically for each individual and again for each subsequent pregnancy. Some are lucky enough to get little to none. Some may only have theirs at a certain time of day. Others can be debilitated for weeks with all day nausea. And some even more unfortunate, with uncontrollable vomiting. But it's important for others to understand that just because a woman is not vomiting, doesn't mean she doesn't feel awful.

There is no limitations on when or for how long a woman will experience her 'morning sickness'. Most women typically find it subsides at the beginning of the second trimester, but again it's different for each pregnancy. It can last for its entirety. For some women this means they'll have the horrible combination of nausea and indigestion, which is also common in second and third trimester.

A lot of First Time Mothers don't show until the second half of their pregnancy!

The transformation your body undergoes during pregnancy is enormous. But the bump remains the most significant sign to others around you that you have a little one on board. What most people don't realise is that for a lot of new mothers, the trade mark bump doesn't actually start to become big enough to be noticeable until around twenty weeks. That half way through the pregnancy!

I have found in my recent experience, that this can make me feel rather inadequate. Others around me are more likely to think I've gained weight than am expecting. This can be frustrating when strangers aren't as courteous as they might be toward a big bumped mum. Not being offered a seat on the bus until your third trimester is really dissapointing!

Even with family, friends and work colleagues, the lack of a bump can lead to hurtful comments or gestures. Being asked if you're sure you're pregnant may seem funny until your tired, uncomfortable and full of raging hormones! Not showing yet can mean you're expected to continue your usual duties around the home or work, because you don't look vulnerable yet.

On top of what others think or how they might treat you, not showing yet can also make a new mother feel unsure about her babies growth or well-being. The fact that many mothers do show in earlier pregnancy, especially in subsequent pregnancies can be confusing by comparison. But all pregnancies are different. If you have a friend or loved one who's expecting be sure to remind them there is benefits to this as well, they'll spend less time being uncomfortable and more time being able to shave your own legs!

Me at 23 weeks
Me at 23 weeks
Me at 39 weeks
Me at 39 weeks

The Idea of Giving Birth is Terrifying!

"A human body can bear only up to 45 del (unit) of pain. Yet at time of giving birth, a mother feels up to 57 del (unit) of pain. This is similar to 20 bones getting fractured at a time". May 23, 2016

Does Childbirth Really Reach 57 Dels of Pain? - Trimester Talk

What's not to fear? Going through labour and giving birth can be very intimidating for a first time mum. I mean, I all of a sudden wish I'd spent more way time at the gym! It's a long and grueling marathon to bring forth life and theres the inevitable possibility that things will go wrong. Even if all goes well, you also have to accept the probability that it won't go according to your plan.

So it is normal to be anxious about the D date. But for some reason people might try to reassure you buy telling you that women do this all the time, or have been doing it for thousands of years. Being told your designed to do it doesn't seem to help. Talking about it does help. So when we do try to hear us out and agree with us, it's scary! That's all.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2019 Stephanie Purser


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