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Mom Talk: The Things No One Told Me About Being Pregnant

Written by Natalie Thomas

Photography by Chloe Fleury, Photographed By Sabrina Bot

We’re back with another round of  “Mom Talk”, where we invite some incredible mothers, from all walks of life to share their personal experiences and journeys through motherhood, whether it be struggles, triumphs, or anything in-between—nothing’s off limits when it comes to topics. This week, Natalie Thomas give us the (sometimes) ugly truth on poop, thinning hair, and other things people don’t always tell you about pregnancy. -JKM

You get pregnant. You’re thrilled, terrified, anxious, and excited. The congrats come in, along with the advice—lots of advice. Never-ending, unsolicited advice, “make it stop, please God” advice. From friends, neighbors, strangers. There’s what gear to buy, what apps to download, where to deliver, what (and what not) to name your kids, opinions that you must (insert eye roll here) breastfeed, sign up for this class, that school. But, where’s the real stuff you need to know? Why isn’t that offered up? The actual brass tax of pregnancy and post? Things that are going—and will go—on with your body that no one talks about? I can Google all the other stuff. I need a friend, a real, no nonsense, brutal truth pal to tell me what to expect, not a damn book. If no one’s prepped you for what’s about to happen to your body and your life, allow me be that person for you.

First, if you thought poop was stinky before, you have no idea what you’re in for. There’s a special odor to pregnancy bowels that you won’t soon forget. I suppose it’s preparing you for baby poop, toddler poop, and kids poop. You’ll be talking about poop for the next ten years or so of your life, so you might as well get comfortable with it. I consider myself a fairly appropriate, if not proper person, at least in public. At first meeting, I’m usually quite reserved. Although after getting to know you for awhile, I let my freak flag fly. But, soon after having my daughter, Lilly, my husband Zach and I were meeting other new parents, and within the first few minutes, talking about poop, gas, and boobs. Parenthood: the great equalizer.

It doesn’t end there. Pre-pregnancy, I had a really nice back—not one mark, fairly toned. It was hardly J.Lo-quality, but as a thirty-something, real person, I was satisfied with it. Post-pregnancy, I’m horrified. It’s like a connect-the-dots game gone crazy. The amount of moles are astonishing and disgusting. Others experience major acne outbreaks. Thankfully, I’ve been spared that side effect. But, whatever “your thing” is, guaranteed, it’s not pretty.

This is probably a well-known one, but for those that don’t know, don’t let the term “morning sickness” deceive you. Sure, it happens in the morning. It also happens mid-morning, late morning, early afternoon, afternoon, late afternoon, early evening, and all through the damn day and night. Whoever named it was likely a man. It comes in all forms—actual vomiting, dry heaving, gagging, extreme nausea—it’s fun.

Another one I’ve been spared, but hear my friends complain about is the thinning and loss of your post-pregnancy hair. During, you’re told you’ll have long, flowing, and healthy locks. I haven’t experienced that, either. It’s definitely growing faster, but sadly, not any thicker or nicer. And, my nails, which are supposed to be strong, are thin and brittle as ever. But, at least I don’t have bald spots or baby hairs like many of my mom friends.

Let’s talk about eating, shall we? You have this idea in your head that you’re going to be able to eat whatever you want and treat yourself, but the reality is, there’s a very small window when that actually happens. If you’re sick, you toggle between not wanting to think about food at all, and needing carbohydrates like your life depends on it. It’s not a “what would I like?”, it’s a “if I don’t get a bagel stat, I’m not going to make it.” And, you often don’t get to enjoy it for long because it comes up anyway. Then, the last thing you want is another bagel because it reminds you, triggers something, or you eat them every day for three months and can never look at them again. Once you’re past that period, there’s a magical unicorn stage called “the second semester” where everything evens out. You’re able to enjoy food and have energy. If all pregnancies were only second trimesters, everyone would have ten kids. But, soon enough, you’re in your third, feeling like a beast, but barely eating. The idea of food no longer turns you off, in fact, it sounds quite nice. But, a few bites in, you have to stop yourself. If you don’t, you’ll end up sick again. There’s no room for anything to go anywhere, including that piece of cake you once craved. Which leads me to: heartburn and indigestion!

Much like the mole epidemic, I never had experience with either of these lovely symptoms. Welcome to pregnancy. I now lay awake at night, propped up with what feels like a piece of Aladdin-sized bread (you know, the super-sized one he steals from the scoundrels in the marketplace, while singing “One Jump Ahead”—don’t tell me I’m the only Disney fan) lodged in my chest every night. It doesn’t matter what I eat. And, that’s not to mention the burping and ridiculously loud sneezing. It’s as if an ogre with horrible manners has overtaken my body.

I can’t think of a better segue than sex. The movies, once again, have it wrong. We’re led to think that pregnant women are super horny. I have yet to meet one. We’ve already addressed how unattractive you’re feeling and everything that’s likely going on with you. What about any of that screams aphrodisiac? Extra weight, bad breath, smelly bowels, moles, acne, thinning hair, heartburn, sciatica, lightening crotch (trust me, it’s a thing), propensity to puke? I don’t know about you, but that’s hardly the picture of romance to me. The thing we haven’t talked about yet is how much your partner, at this point, will likely annoy you more than he or she ever has. The comments that come out of his or her mouth, their odor, the fact that their life and body has, up until this point, barely been effected. None of it is a turn-on. And, if you happen to have a brief moment of interest (I have the occasional sultry dream), the reality of you on top of them is a quick, cold shower to your libido.

Besides the physical effects, the emotional and mental are pretty unpleasant, too. Beyond the aforementioned advice in the intro, people suddenly feel free to comment on anything and everything from the size of your bump (And, the rest of your weight. I was called “plump” by my daughter’s nanny on a weekly basis) to what you’re likely having based on how you’re carrying, to actually touching your belly without asking. Think about it, would anyone have ever touched your stomach before you were pregnant? That would’ve been a total violation of personal space and privacy. So, why is it okay when you’re carrying a child?

No matter what you experience—or don’t—during this bizarre, beautiful, incredible nine months (and post), know that you’re not alone. It’s happening to all of us, some are just more open to talking about it than others. My mother, for instance, was horrified when I told her about this topic, which lets me know I’m on the right track. It’s time to leave the 70s behind, people. This is not your mother’s pregnancy. So, speak up and out often. You never know who also may be needing to talk about poop that day.

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