Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Things no one told me

It’s funny how once people know you’re pregnant the advice starts flying at you from all sorts of unexpected angles. But even more amusing, for me, has been that the advice seems in many cases to be too late. Now I’m not advocating we start proffering advice the moment a couple gets married, but there are a few things I wish people had told me before I was pregnant.

Sleep now because you won’t later. I’ve found this is the first piece of advice anyone offered this pregnant woman. Um, I’d like to meet the pregnant woman who is getting good sleep because it sure isn’t me. That ship sailed at about six weeks. I needed that advice during the months spent trying to get pregnant. If I’m not up making trips to the bathroom, I’m up because I’m ravenous because dinner didn’t taste good after all, or because I’m so congested I can’t breathe. The nights where I’m so exhausted I sleep five hours straight are pure heaven and you must believe I do treasure those, but it’s not like I’m back to my teenager or college-aged self with the sleeping in.

The second trimester is glorious with a burst of energy. Every book says it. And that is reinforced once you start telling friends and family. Eager to be helpful people will tell you just wait it’s coming. Well, for me at least, it didn’t come at 12 weeks, nor 14 weeks. By that point people started revising and saying well, it really was more like 16 weeks. When that marker came and went without a change in energy, the goalpost seemed to move back again to 18 weeks. I will say that I did get energy back at 18 weeks but I would hardly call it a burst. It’s been more like a return to somewhat normal. Don’t get me wrong it’s a very welcome return but it’s not quite the superwoman strength other seemed to speak of.

Kids are expensive. OK, yes, I freely admit I could have figured this one out on my own. And I did in terms of spending the last three-plus years saving every scrap of PTO I could to have a fully paid maternity leave and socking away money in the FSA for delivery costs. I even started looking online at the big necessities the moment we got the positive test result to start budgeting out how much the big stuff would cost.  But the depths of the expense are something that even my obsessive planning personality managed to underestimate. One of the surprise costs I wish I’d known about was if you have your heart set on a particular crib that you supposedly need to order it before 20 weeks or risk it not being there in time. Or you can be like me and be flexible enough to go with what is in stock. Yes, I knew we’d have to get a crib eventually, but I really didn’t think it needed to be so soon in the pregnancy. Luckily for us, and unluckily for our bank account, I stumbled into and snatched up a floor model that was marked down that required no lead time and was cheaper than anticipated softening the blow.

These are just a few of the head-scratchers I’ve encountered so far. I’m sure more will come once I hit the third trimester. Any Moms out there want to share your similar experiences to help lessen the surprises of the third trimester for this first time Mom?

Jennifer Erickson is a Sr. Communications Specialist with Texas Health Resources and first-time Mom in her second trimester of pregnancy.

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