This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Nuuly, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board.
If you’ve already seen Barbie, then you’ve been properly introduced to Midge—the pregnant Barbie. Midge came with a removable plastic belly and a tiny plastic baby, and most importantly, she was my absolute favorite doll as a child. I was completely amazed by the science behind carrying a tiny person in your body. Maybe it impacted me a bit too strongly at the ripe age of eight, but it became my dream to be pregnant one day. I was fortunate that my dream came true 14 years later (and then again 20 months after!). Yet even after back-to-back babies, there are still a few things I wish I knew when I was pregnant.
I could name the obvious ones like how expensive raising kids actually is or how much postpartum truly sucks. However, I’m pretty sure those have become common knowledge by now. The realities of pregnancy are not kept so secret anymore—thankfully. Pregnant and previously pregnant people are now a lot more willing to share the nitty-gritty for the sake of those considering parenthood. Even though every parent’s experience is unique to them, the decision to become pregnant should be a properly informed one. So here are the five things I wish I knew before my kiddos popped out.
You don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort (or budget).
There was a time when you had three outfit options as a pregnant person: a flowy top with stretchy jeans, a stretchy dress, or a stretchy top with stretchy leggings. That’s a whole lot of stretch and very little opportunity to feel like yourself. When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I hated having to trade my style for the same five basics. But I recently discovered a solution that I would’ve jumped at four years ago given the chance: renting maternity clothes with Nuuly.
Nuuly gives expecting moms the opportunity to look and feel as incredible as they are. For $98 a month, you can rent any six items with thousands of brands to choose from. Rent maternity and maternity-friendly pieces from labels like Hatch, Nothing Fits But, Ingrid & Isabel, Citizens and more. Many of them offer thoughtfully designed features like nursing and pumping-friendly necklines, and patented supportive and cooling technology. Plus, there are no late fees, damage fees, or fees to pause or cancel. So no big deal if you lose a button, spill something, or just need to take a break.
Moms-to-be can rent clothes for special occasions, maternity photo shoots, or work events without breaking the bank or feeling frumpy. I remember resorting to non-maternity clothing in bigger sizes because I desperately wanted my clothes to reflect my personal style. But naturally, all of those items ended up in donation bins since they didn’t fit post-baby.
Nuuly is the perfect way to save money, regain confidence, and avoid waste while dressing a growing bump. You can still use your subscription after baby—especially since your body may need time before returning to pre-baby clothes. Nuuly can help you get from ‘just popped’ to postpartum in style.
Yes, your relationship will change—but not in a bad way.
People love to scare expectant couples with the “just you wait!” scenarios. “Just you wait, the kids are gonna take priority real soon.” “Just you wait until quality time is a thing of the past.” Of course, maintaining a healthy relationship after children takes more effort than without children. But it’s not impossible. It’s all about where your partner falls in your list of priorities and being on the same page about it.
There have been periods when my husband and I only have a real conversation after the kids go to bed at 8 p.m. However, both of us are quick to point it out and make an effort to reconnect again. Relationships after kids require so much more intentionality, but it’s worth it because when we’re strong so is our family. I was so worried we would lose each other after two babies, but to be totally honest, our relationship has never felt better (or spicier 😉).
Breastfeeding is not effortless.
Breastfeeding a baby can be beautiful and fulfilling, but for me, the beautiful part didn’t happen until six months after giving birth. I breastfed both of my children for over one year, each. To sum it up, I spent 18 months of my life growing tiny humans and then another 26 months feeding them from that same body. My biggest takeaway: breastfeeding is so. freaking. hard.
First off, the first few weeks of nursing a newborn every 2-3 hours, 24 hours a day leaves your nipples totally raw. Oh, and then there’s the engorgement. You know, when your boobs get so full of milk they feel like a bag of rocks. Did I mention the breastfeeding contractions? Yeah, those don’t end once the baby is born. Fun times.
And yes, breastfeeding did get easier once those lovely symptoms faded away. But it is still a constant job. Leaving your child for more than three hours requires an existing stash of milk, breast pumps, breastmilk bags, and a cooler. It’s highly demanding work on top of an already high-maintenance baby.
Of course, mothers have every right to choose what feeding solution feels best for them and, for me breastfeeding was it. But breastfeeding was not as effortless as I thought it would be.
Flexibility is just as important as making plans.
Planning out your desires for pregnancy and parenthood is important before taking the plunge. But so is the ability to be flexible and adjust your expectations as you go. I had such concrete ideas of what my pregnancy, birth, and parenting style would look like. Almost all of them were either wrong or just different. I was pregnant during a pandemic, I had to be induced for my first labor, and I didn’t bond with my baby right away. None of those situations went as expected, and I had to readjust quickly.
A thousand more unanticipated scenarios have occurred since becoming a mom because that’s just life with kids. You never know what you’re gonna get. So yes, make plans but also be adaptable because changes will come your way.
Your identity will shift over and over again.
I was so excited to bear the title of “mama” when I became pregnant with my son. I carried him for nine months idealizing the new identity and putting it on a pedestal. Then he arrived, and being a mom became the most prominent part of myself. I tried so hard to wrap myself up in the two-syllable word “mama” even though it never felt quite big enough. I got pregnant again and thought, “Maybe ‘mom of two’ will fit me better.” It didn’t. Not because being a mom wasn’t enough but because it wasn’t all of me.
I wish I had known then that it’s okay to be more than one thing. It’s okay to find joy inside and outside of motherhood—that doesn’t mean you love your kids any less. My sense of self has shifted drastically in just the three years I’ve been a mom. And I’m sure it will change again in five, ten, and twenty more.
This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Nuuly, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.</em