By Dylan Bartlett
If you have a baby on board, you’ve likely spent hours scouring the internet for information on how to select the right crib and a long list of other minutiae. However, some of the changes associated with pregnancy don’t receive a whole lot of press.
Forewarned is forearmed, so it benefits you to know what unexpected changes to anticipate. Some of them hit you in the pocketbook, while others affect you physically. Fortunately, none of these hurdles prove impossible, especially if you prepare.
1. It Can Make the Job Search More Challenging
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 prohibits gender discrimination based on pregnancy or motherhood, but that doesn’t mean you won’t face challenges if you’re in the market for a new job.
If you only recently saw the plus sign on your home pregnancy test, you don’t have to worry about recruiters zeroing in on your bump just yet. However, once you begin to show enough that your condition becomes apparent, employers might think, “Why hire her if she will leave the minute she gives birth?”
This bias can make it more challenging to find a job — there are several reasons companies can give as to why alternative candidates performed more favorably.
Be careful to avoid shooting yourself in the foot by opening your mouth unnecessarily. It’s illegal for employers to ask you about family planning in interviews, so don’t volunteer information. If you can’t hide your condition, try to reassure the prospect by laying out concrete plans for how you will balance your new duties with parenthood.
2. It Can Make It Tougher to Buy a Home
Legally, lenders cannot discriminate against you based on pregnancy. However, they are allowed to consider how you will make monthly payments once you give birth. They may fear your income will decrease after delivery. If you apply with a partner who can win approval without your income, you don’t have to worry.
However, if you are applying solo, your lender may want to see savings enough to cover your mortgage if you go on leave. If you already took maternity leave, your pay may have decreased significantly. Communicate openly with your lender about when you plan to return to work to design the best solution.
3. It Will Rev Up Your Number of Bathroom Trips
Hopefully, you stocked up on your toilet paper because you will find yourself running to the loo much more often. This phenomenon happens for two reasons. Your body increases blood flow early in pregnancy to build up the lining and placenta. Your kidneys amp up the urinary output to keep the increased flow clean.
As your pregnancy advances, your uterus will press on your bladder. The sensation feels like you have to go all the time, but you might have trouble emptying. Therefore, you visit the facilities more regularly.
4. People Will Say Questionable Things
From asking whether you planned your pregnancy to commenting on how huge you have gotten or how tiny you remain, people will cross a lot of lines when they see your bump.
Some individuals deem it necessary to share pregnancy horror stories — like you need more stress! Learn the subtle art of saying, “I appreciate your input, but I am following my doctor’s orders” and walking away.
5. Everyone Becomes an Expert on Parenting
Equally infuriating is the amount of unsolicited parenting advice you will receive. Sometimes, you can pick your battles and brush off the unwanted tips with a smile. Otherwise, you might need to educate the other person gently.
For example, you might encounter people who insist that vaccinations are part of a government conspiracy to poison the populace. You can present the scientific evidence, or you can give a rueful smile, nod and walk away.
6. You Might Need to Find New Hobbies
Believe it or not, life happens on Saturday mornings before 11 a.m. However, if you previously spent this time in bed hungover, you may find yourself with a ton of time on your hands.
You can only decorate the nursery once, so use this period to clean out cabinets and otherwise organize your home. Once the baby arrives, you’ll have plenty to do.
7. Yes, You Can Despise the Experience
If you look at popular media, you would think all pregnant women walk around glowing and smiling serenely as a Madonna. If you loathe the experience, you might feel like there’s something wrong with you. Relax. It’s okay to despise being pregnant, and you don’t have to apologize for that emotion.
Give yourself a break. Your breasts feel like you’re lugging around painfully overripe watermelons. Your back feels like you got hit by a semi, and your ankles swell up like a rattlesnake has bitten you. Only a genuine saint would bear this with a grin, so if you lack a halo, let yourself vent occasionally.
Knowledge Is Half the Battle While Expecting
You might never expect these pregnancy side-effects, but knowledge empowers you. Prepare yourself for these changes, and congratulations on your new family member!