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Pregnancy & childbirth: expectation vs. reality

In my first antenatal class, we were asked to write down what we expected from labour and childbirth based on what we’ve ever heard or seen in films, tv shows etc. While we knew that expectation would be very different from reality, I didn’t realise quite how much. I know every woman has her own unique experience and so will be completely different to mine, but I thought I’d share just how much my reality differed from expectations…

Morning sickness

Expectation: I’d barely be able to leave the bathroom. I’d wake up every morning and sprint to the toilet and spend the first three months of pregnancy in a queasy haze.

Reality: I think I was sick once. I also didn’t find out I was expecting until I was about six weeks, so I was obviously lucky enough not to spend my mornings throwing up. I did however feel incredibly nauseous for the first three months, and found I could only eat small portions of food.

Weight gain

Expectation: I’d put on some weight, sure, but it would all be bump.

Reality: I put on a lot of weight. The whole eating-for-two thing is not something you need to do when you’re pregnant, but I definitely took advantage of the chance to eat and not worry about my weight. Mostly it was just bump (he was a veeeeery big baby) but it wasn’t until after giving birth that I realised just how swollen I was – I lost sight of my ankles around month 7, and wearing rings was no long an option!

Baby on board

Expectation: I’d wear my Baby on Board badge and always be given a seat on the train.

Reality: Hahahahaha. No. Don’t get me wrong, I was offered a seat quite a lot, but I was amazed at how often people would bury their heads in the paper or their phone and ignore me. Once a guy said to me: “I’m getting off in a couple of stops, you can have my seat then.” Throughout a lot of my pregnancy I was actually more comfortable standing, but the last couple of months when I was basically an uncoordinated whale and it was the height of summer (granted, an English summer but believe me you get hot when carrying around an extra human) I found that the only way to get a seat was to ask. Or stare people down until they realised they could no longer avoid my ginormous bump.

Waters breaking

Expectation: Something dramatic. I’d be walking in a shop and they would spectacularly break all over the floor and it would be mortifying but so exciting because I’d know that the baby was coming.

Reality: They didn’t break at all. I had to have them broken for me a few hours after labour had started, plus Dougie had pooped in the waters so…that was lovely 😛

Birth plan

Expectation/hope: I’d go into labour (after a dramatic water breaking as mentioned above) – ideally around 9am so I would have had a good nights sleep first, and then I’d have a lovely water birth with a nice, calm midwife talking me through it.

Reality: Just gone midnight…middle of the night drive to the hospital in a panic…contractions kicking in around 3am…I was however lucky enough to be given a birthing suite with a lovely pool – that part exceeded my expectations – however after an hour or so of splashing around, the baby was coming and they couldn’t find his heartbeat, cue a dash to an emergency delivery room being surrounded by doctors. Not ideal, but you just have to get on with it.

Childbirth

Expectation: Pain…screaming…more pain…but everything would hopefully go to plan.

Reality: I can’t pretend it wasn’t painful, it really was, but I was lucky enough to be able to do it all with just gas and air for contractions, then I did the whole pushing part with nothing – although I remember being offered paracetemol…not sure that would cut it. I repeatedly told myself that it would be over soon, that it was the smallest part of the pregnancy and that at the end of it I would have a baby boy in my arms, and to be honest, the whole thing was pretty much a blur, which I’m grateful for as we had a bit of a scare. Also apparently I barely made any noise whatsoever – I do remember being told that screaming wasted energy and my god do you need your energy! I had a birth plan as I said, but I told myself to not get fixated on it as you don’t know what might happen.

Parenting

Expectation: Exhausting, challenging, terrifying…

Reality: All of the above, and completely and utterly worth it.

 

 

 

The Tale of Mummyhood

 

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  • It’s good to hear an honest point of view because you never know what to believe and a lot of it has made me terrified about the idea of getting pregnant x

    • Hels

      🙂 Like I said, everyone has unique experiences, but it was nothing like I expected, definitely nowhere near as terrifying as I thought! xx

  • Ellis Woolley

    Ah god this makes me broody! Childbirth terrifies me but as I’ve got older, I can understand how totally worth it it must be. Gorgeous photo – you all look beautiful! Ellis x

    http://www.elliswoolley.blogspot.com

    • Ahh thank you – it was taken literally seconds after he was born! It’s definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done (parenting) but so worth it, and the actual birth is such a tiny part of that in the grand scheme of things! xx

  • OMG… everybody is like “pregnancy is amazing” or “you’ll feel so complete”… well it doesn’t sound that amazing to me… Like 9 months… I guess yes it is completely worth it in the end but so much pain… You’re so brave. COngrats for getting through this! x Corinne

    • Haha thanks! It was totally different to what I expected, I never really felt that whole “glow” thing though! Xx

  • This is so interesting to read! The whole idea of giving birth terrifies me! I’m nowhere near children but this makes it seem a tiny bit less daunting for the future. You look lovely in the picture at the end!

    Kirsty | The Monday Project | themondayproject.co.uk

    • Ahh thank you! I was terrified, although by the end i was desperate to go into labour, and that was definitely not as bad as I expected! X

  • Claire

    I loved this! I get so scared thinking about labour but it I’m so sure it’ll be nothing like I expect it to be. Congrats to you – beautiful mummy and baby!
    Claire xo