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Onyinyechi Njoku: Here Are A Few Things Nobody Told You About Pregnancy

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So when we were growing up, it was always great news to hear that Aunty Ola or Aunty Seun had a baby. Being the first born in my own family, I saw my mum have five kids after me – although, I was only fully aware of three or four of them. So I can say I have had a front seat view of the pregnancy process, so I always thought “How hard can it be?” I’m going to shoot those babies out like a gum ball machine. Piece of cake.
Now here’s the thing, nobody prepares you for the realities of being pregnant. After all, women have been doing this forever, so it’s expected that as an African girl with child bearing hips, you should rise to the occasion with all tenacity. Our mums, grandmas and aunts tell us that pregnancy is a beautiful experience…’ashi ashi!’ as my people would say. LIES!

See, I am not here to scare anyone, but pregnancy is not fun. There, I said it. I have had a lot of people try to hush me when I say this – claiming that I’m being ungrateful! But, hey when we ladies gather in our secret places, we spill, we all agree that pregnancy is haaaaaarrrd work. As soon as you do the urine test and see those two crimson lies, you are to expect these and more:

Get ready for the waterworks down below
In other words (you go piss tire!) You laugh oh, you pee a little; you cough, you pee a little; you work out, you pee…I mean, any form of exertion makes you pee. Before the day is over you can go like 32 times. I was one of those women who could never pee outside, but one day in my seventh month, I went out with the hubs, there was no bathroom in sight, I just had to go. I took hubby along so he could cover me. We went to the back of our car and I did it under the beautiful Nigerian sun and it felt good.

Sex may become a chore
If you are the type who loves to get freaky between the sheets, please do not be disappointed if your libido wanes. For some reason you can’t even get wet. Hubby will whip out all the tricks in his box, yet my “wetin call” will be there staring at him, as dry as ever, like you are trying to draw water from a rock. It’s frustrating, I tell you; and when your belly is a lot bigger, heaving the extra weight around mid-coitus isn’t fun either. So all these people who say that pregnancy sex is the bomb, please share some of your tips, because my “huuhaa” didn’t get that memo. Key me into your “rhea”.

Sound sleep will become a luxury
So my fave sleeping position is to lie on my belly. Of course, you can’t sleep like that when your belly gets bigger, and these doctors’ advise that you should sleep on your left side, which gets pretty uncomfortable after a while. Coupled with your having to visit the bathroom 9 times before daybreak. It’s no wonder you can’t get some decent shut eye. Even when you do get to sleep, your snoring will probably wake the whole house. Hubby had to leave the room for me a number of times.

Your looks may take a nosedive(literally)
One of my fave features on my face is my nose. I love my nose; so, imagine my horror when 7 months down the line I couldn’t recognise this pretty part of me. The thing swelled to almost double its size. In fact I`m yet to see any woman who has escaped the preggy-nose syndrome. Then, I had hyper-pigmentation. My legs got swollen. Mine wasn’t so bad anyway. My cousin had to deal with skin issues, huge pimples on her face, even inside her ears. I have seen women have serious eczema. A friend of mine had to deal with huge, dark varicose veins on her limbs.

You may get depressed
I hear about post-natal depression a lot, but no one seems to talk about what happens to your mind while you are still pregnant. I was heading toward depression when I was pregnant with my first child. I hated looking at the mirror because I didn’t like what I saw. It was also frustrating when the shirt I wore 2 weeks ago wouldn’t button and I had nothing cute to wear. I had serious morning sickness, so I couldn’t keep any food down.
I am a very active person so when pregnancy slowed me down I felt helpless. One warning: don’t ever Google your observations. When you feel something is off just go to your Ob/Gyn, because Google will send you to your death with their suggestions of ectopic pregnancy, eclampsia and other scary stuff. It’s great that we have the extended family system down here, the support can be really helpful. I had relations come around to take my mind off things when hubby wasn’t available.

You will hear a lot of unsolicited, weird advice
I loved coke when I was pregnant with my first. You know coke that is “mortuary standard”. Cold with a little ice in it. So I was drinking coke straight from the bottle, then this women told me, “my dear you shouldn’t be drinking from the bottle or your cervix won’t open at delivery, use a cup”. Chineke! How? What is the relationship between the bottle, my mouth and my cervix? Just Negodu! Then another told me not to cross my legs that baby will come out bow-legged. Don’t eat Okra soup or snails, so that your baby won’t drool a lot, and these are two of my favorite things. Then when I passed my de date, stop drinking cold water, do my exercise you have allowed the baby to relax. Some old lady even suggested I drink gin to shake the baby up a bit.

I could go on and o. The craziness is limitless; but after all said and done, when the doctors put that little piece of heaven in your arms. It’s all worth it at the end. That’s why afterwards we go back and do it all over again.
I swear women with plenty children dey try shaa. It also annoys the hell out of me when I hear that a pregnant woman was physically abused. Pregnancy is hard enough, as it is. How can you add to her stress?
Don`t mind me if I have in any way discouraged you. It’s all for fun. If it’s that bad, I won`t be looking to do a third journey, “see my mouth na”.

There are some perks though. Nigerians become really nice when they see a pregnant woman. You are allowed to not wait your turn at queues. You get lifts from nice people. You get discounts in the market as well. Oh, and your boobs get huge too! So if you are pregnant, keep your eyes on the prize. Enjoy the ride and have a safe delivery.

If you are looking to conceive get ready for the time of your life, because it will happen and don`t say I didn`t warn you.

So, comment and rant on what you dislike about being pregnant.

Photo Credit: Photowitch |

My name is Onyinye Njoku, A wife, mum and an accountant. So when I`m not bending over spreadsheets or catering to my family I`m listening to the random voices in my head and writing down what they say to me. I also have a terrible sweet tooth. ☺

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