Pregnancy is a magical, wondrous thing. It’s also batshit insane. You are growing an actual human being! Inside of your body! Your body goes through some pretty major changes to make this happen. If you’ve read any books on pregnancy, you know what to expect … sort of. The thing is, there is SO MUCH STUFF that can/will happen that isn’t in any damn book. I don’t know if the pregnancy world has collectively decided that surprises are fun, but some of these are downright awful. So if you’re pregnant and want to know what to expect, read on. These are the things no one tells you about pregnancy. But I love you, so I’m going to tell you. Apologies in advance, dear readers.

The things no one tells you about pregnancy are the things you NEED to know. You want to prepare! Even though nothing can prepare you for some of these.

1. Like pregnancy gas.

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Yes, the books might tell you that you’ll have gas. But what they don’t tell you is that it can be constant. Like, every time you move, you toot. Every step you take, a toot! Your ass will start to feel like a steam-powered locomotive, just puffing air out on a continuous basis. And it smells, really bad. It might embarrass you at first, but I promise you, you’ll get over it.

2. Morning sickness is incredibly misleading. You can be sick all day, for months on end. And it can come on very suddenly.

You may just be constantly nauseous, or you may cross that finish line and head right into barfing. If you’re expecting to know when it’s going to hit, I have some bad news for you. It will come out of nowhere, and it will ruin your life (and your outfit). Some pregnant women drive around with a barf bag for moments like this. Some have vomited mid-conversation with no warning at all. Oh, you’re out enjoying a nice lunch with girlfriends? Be a shame if you … OH LOOK YOU VOMITED IN YOUR SALAD. It’s rude, but it happens.

3. Some pregnant women get really horny. This could be you! Or you could go in the opposite direction, and develop an aversion to your partner. Fun, right?

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Sure, your sex drive might ramp up to … concerning levels during pregnancy. There are a lot of hormones and increased blood flow! But, you could also go in the complete opposite direction. You could develop an aversion to your partner! Not just when it comes to sex, but when it comes to just looking at their stupid face. You won’t want to hold hands, you won’t want to touch or be touched by them in any way. The mere sight of them may send you into a silent rage. It’ll be awkward.

4. Everything grows. Not just your belly and boobs! Your nose, your feet, your, um, labia.

Congratulations, you’re pregnant! I present to you the gift of giant labia. Yes, you read that correctly. GIANT LABIA. I know you’re prepared for the belly, and the boobs, and the butt and anywhere else you gain weight. But are prepared to suddenly fill out your underwear in an uncomfortable manner? Or have to buy all new shoes because yours no longer come close to fitting? Are you prepared to suddenly bear an uncanny resemblance to Karl Malden? Well, you should be.

5. And those things that grow? They might not return to their pre-pregnancy size. These are the things no one tells you about pregnancy but THEY NEED TO TELL YOU.

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The baby will eventually come out, and your belly will return to its normal size (sort of). You’ll eventually stop breastfeeding and your boobs will once again resemble their former selves, albeit longer and floppier. But your feet and nose and labia? It’s entirely possible that they won’t go back to pre-pregnancy size. I was a 7 1/2 before my first pregnancy, went back and forth between an 8 and a 9 1/2 during my childbearing years, and finally settled on an 8 1/2. It’s been four years, and my feet are still a full size bigger. I don’t even want to talk about my labia.

6. You can just stop pooping! The things no one tells you about pregnancy are so much fun, right?

Constipation is a pretty common pregnancy side-effect. But I’m not talking about having trouble pooping, or not going with as much regularity as you did before you got pregnant. I’m talking the dam completely stops flowing. It’s the equivalent of a cork in your butt. You may find yourself on the toilet, sobbing in pain and frustration, willing the poop to exit your body because IT’S BEEN ALMOST TWO WEEKS PLEASE JUST GET OUT. Or you may find yourself on the phone with your doctor as they walk you through administering an enema. Not that I know anything about that or anything. MiraLAX will be your best friend. Don’t miss a dose, for the love of god.

7. How do you feel about the nickname Bleeding Gums Murphy? I hope you like it.

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I was not prepared for the frequency and severity of bleeding gums. Not even while I was brushing my teeth! I mean, I could run my tongue over my gums and the blood would flow like some sort of fucked up dessert fountain. They didn’t hurt, necessarily, they just bled like my mouth was having my period while my uterus was occupied. So. You’re welcome?

8. Next up in things no one tells you about pregnancy: baby kicks! First of all, you may not like or enjoy them, AT ALL.

Don’t feel bad if you hate the way it feels when the baby moves. It’s weird as fuck, and honestly, I hated it and never got used to it. From that very first bubble flip to the end when they baby was doing somersaults on my bladder: hated them all. I appreciated how important the movement was, but I was not a fan. You don’t have to be, either.

9. Another thing about fetal movement: it fucking hurts.

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Toward the end of your pregnancy, the baby is getting bigger and quickly running out of space. So when it stretches out? That foot is going right in your spine, or your bladder, or up into your rib cage. And you will cry out in pain, because nothing should kick your spine from the inside. There were times when my youngest had her butt up in my rib cage and I literally could not breathe. Good times.

10. Your vagina isn’t falling off, but it will feel like it is.

You’ll have to resist the urge to cup your vagina to keep it attached to your body. That’s how close it will feel to falling off. It’s so HEAVY. Must be the incredibly large labia you’re carrying around now! It’s like that feeling of dropping vagina you get on your period, but 19284792 times worse and more intense. You’ll laugh at those harness belt things in your first and second trimester, and then wear five at once in that final month.

11. Another one of those things no one tells you about pregnancy but absolutely should: you legs will become demons possessed by the devil himself.

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And this will happen when you’re trying to sleep, so double the fun! Your legs can feel like they’re covered in bugs, or you may get that awful pins and needles feeling. Have you ever tried to fall asleep while constantly kicking your legs to make them stop feeling like they’re going to run right off your body? It’s not easy.

12. You might be prepared for heartburn! But you are not prepared for pregnancy heartburn.

No matter what I ate, what time I ate, how much apple cider vinegar I drank, what position I slept in, NONE OF IT HELPED. My heartburn was constant, 24 hours a day, every single day, for the entirety of both pregnancies. It was the hardest pregnancy side-effect for me, and it was nearly debilitating. I eventually went on daily medication, and STILL went through a Costco-sized bottle of Tums a week. Yes, every week. It was goddawful and I still go into a panic when I have even a hint of heartburn now.

13. One of the things no one tells you about pregnancy that may surprise you: your skin will itch like you’re covered in fire ants. Not just your belly, but your entire body.

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You sort of expect your stretching belly skin to itch, you know? But you don’t expect for your entire body to itch constantly. But it can happen! If your body itches like crazy, this is one of those symptoms to bring to your doctor’s attention, because it can be a sign of a rare but very serious liver disorder. It usually isn’t, and nothing really helps, so buy a good scratcher.

14. Those hilarious pregnancy cravings? Sometimes they can get a little … weird.

Pica is a disorder characterized by wanting to eat stuff like rocks, drywall, dirt, and other things you most definitely shouldn’t eat. It’s not incredibly common, but it’s common enough in pregnancy what people should warn you about that shit. Craving ice is totally normal. Craving cat litter and paint is … not.

15. Finally, one of the things no one tells you about pregnancy but every pregnant women deserves to know: you don’t have to like being pregnant. In fact, it’s OK to really, really dislike it.

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Here’s the thing: pregnancy IS amazing. But it’s also remarkably difficult. Even the easiest pregnancies are hard! And you do not, under any circumstances, have to enjoy it. People will tell you to enjoy it, oh yes they will. They will tell you to savor every moment. They will try to guilt you into loving it because some women can’t get pregnant or carry a pregnancy. People will tell you how lucky you are, how grateful you should be, and they will tell you it’s not that bad, that’ll be over before you know it and you’ll miss it immediately.

Listen to me: you do not have to do any of that shit, or feel any of that shit. It is 100% possible to be excited about impending motherhood and STILL hate the journey. It is 100% possible to have a completely normal, healthy pregnancy and still not “enjoy” a single second of it. And it is 100% OK, and it is 100% fine. Feel how you want to feel. Every emotion and feeling you have about pregnancy and motherhood is valid and real.

There are so many more things no one tells you about pregnancy. It’s like a Pandora’s box of weird and terrible shit, and every woman will experience it in her own way. But I am one of those people who needs to know every single possibility so I can be prepared, and I wish I had known then even half of what I know now.

Knowledge is power, ladies.

(Image: iStock / g-stockstudio)