What we wish we had known before becoming pregnant

IF we were to believe the media stories, pregnancy is the ultimate, beautiful sacrifice a woman makes to bring forth life, and at the end of the nine months there's a bouncing baby that bonds the family closer together. Even women who go through the process will describe it as a beautiful thing, and indeed it can be — but no doubt there are oddities and strange occurrences during the months that aren't widely discussed, and that, many times, surprises the women who goes through it.

From stretched ligaments to increased shoe sizes, failing to bond with their babies to postpartum depression, below women tell some of the things they wish they knew before becoming pregnant.

Erolia, 32, mother of two:

I wish I knew that my body would never recover. No matter how hard I diet or exercise it will take surgery to get me looking normal again. I had a 10-pound baby by C-section three years ago and even now I have a belly that won't go down, and a scar that looks worse with time. I wish I could process that I will never feel like the person I was, ever again.

Sandy, 40, mother of three:

I looked and felt horrible with all three babies — my morning sickness never went away, I was swollen all over, my foot size increased each time (I'm now a 10W), and I lost teeth, even though I practised good dental hygiene. My children were like parasites sucking all the nutrients from my body, and even though I'm just 40, I look like a 60-year-old the way these three pregnancies ravaged my body.

Annika, 37, mother of one:

After going through the worst pregnancy, including having pre-eclampsia and having an emergency delivery, my daughter is the spitting image of her dad. She doesn't even acknowledge my presence once he's around, and I feel no kind of bond with her. I thought there would have been a natural, motherly bond, but there is just nothing but an obligation that I feel to care for her and provide for her.

Debra, 30, mother of one:

Nothing works like in the books — you will leak all over, feel like crap 90 per cent of the time, and worse, even after you've given birth, everything will change, including your preference for certain foods. Fish still makes me nauseous, and it's been a year since I gave birth, and my body looks like a railroad track with all the marks this kid left on me.

Monese, 32, mother of one and one on the way:

I wish I could understand why my body is fighting against me — when it's not a UTI it's yeast or a bacterial infection, or a cold, or peeing when I laugh, or bleeding gums and loose teeth, or my hair shedding, and my acne breaking out… it's just a lot to deal with. And they say each pregnancy is different, but this one is exactly like the last — like I'm being punished by the gods for daring to have a family.

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