8 Things they never told you about pregnancy and parenting

Updated July 19, 2017

Babies do not come with a set of instructions, just lots of good advice and well-meaning support. New mothers and fathers can all relate to that first time alone with their newborn child -- a feeling of awe, dread, helplessness and wonder combined -- and it doesn't get any easier for the next 20 years. Just when one hurdle goes down, up comes another. The second child can be an easier task -- despite the different personalities of the siblings -- but there is always an unspoken wish to hear the things they never mentioned about parenting, from pregnancy to the day they pass their driving test.

Nausea can last ALL day

Pregnancy nausea is not just morning sickness, according to WebMD writer Dr Sherry Rauh. Despite its name, it does not strike only in the morning and simple acts like teeth brushing can trigger it. Other aspects of early pregnancy include a highly developed sense of smell that make regular scents quite nauseating. Fatigue in the first trimester is also well documented and the fact that it can increase as the baby grows.

Pregnancy by-products

Constipation, heartburn and unpredictable allergies are all pregnancy by-products that may not have come up in casual, or even medical conversation, says Dr Rauh. Changes in digestion and heartburn are both due to excess progesterone and the allergies and asthma can increase during pregnancy. Not a lot of people know that. Pregnant asthmatic women should continue using their inhalers.

The body is never the same

They don't tell the truth about the mother’s body. It will never be the same. It may look almost the same, once the baby is born and the parenting begins, but the changes are there, from the stretch marks to the larger shoe size. A deep sleep is a thing of the past, from listening for a newborn’s cry to listening for a teenager returning from revelry. As one mother notes, a baby keeping you up at night is not nearly as difficult as a teen doing so.

Learning to let go

They never tell parents that the most difficult job is learning to let go. From the moment they start crawling, and on to their walking and tricycle stages, they are moving away. While the milestones may be exciting, they also start to come too fast and too soon. Some mothers say the scariest moment comes when they watch their children drive away for the first time – though fathers might add the scariest is in teaching them to do just that.

Busy life for parents

Parent advisers never teach much about just how busy parenting can be, and is. Nappy changes occur at the most inopportune moments, the baby's demands for attention always occur when parents are busy at the computer and a ringing phone is always a prompt for the child to want something else. Parents say that with small children two and one equals more than three – and that was not how the teaching went at school.

Breastfeeding is not as easy as it looks

Breastfeeding is not as natural as falling off a log – and that’s something every new mother learns. Many have to learn it the hard way, that it can be a big challenge and, for some, impossible. Mothers say there is a lot bad advice out there – for example that all would be well once the baby was latched on and sucking. Often there is a lot of screaming (from baby) and frustration and exhaustion (from the mother) before the baby establishes a pattern.

Children will teach you

Another surprise in parenting is how much can, and will, be learned from the children. Parents who say their children taught them a lot have probably taught them much more. Having said that, parents are not aware, nor taught about, how much even the littlest things will make them upset. So they have to guard against that.

It's all worth it!!!

Parents hear about the joy of parenting – but never fully understand it without first-hand experience. They relish the little moments like when a little girl stops holding one of her mother’s fingers and grasps the whole hand. And they wonder at how their hearts can find room for another child when they have one already. Then they find that a child can love like no other – and give more than any gift -- and they sit and wait for grandchildren.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Geoffrey Darling has been writing since 1980. In 2007, he received an Ohio Senate award for contribution to the arts, recognizing his work performing in Ohio prisons. Darling also worked for the New Zealand government as the Minister of Energy's press secretary and edited three small community newspapers.