(feel free to print this out and leave it for your teenage daughter before she goes on dates or maybe to the prom...)
1) Your life is no longer your own.
Sure, there are plenty of lovely things that happen: the anticipation, the bonding between you and your mate - and between you and other mothers, but you will lose the opportunity to push through hunger and fatigue - you become at the mercy of your biological needs. And if you are someone that cannot abide by that, then do not get pregnant.
2) Your body will change in weird ways.
Some highlights of how my body has changed... some of which you have heard already: my nose has gotten broader, by eyes have gotten dryer, my carpal tunnel is so bad I haven't felt three fingers on my right hand for nearly two full months. You will get veiny. I'm lucky, no varicose veins, but you can see nearly my entire circulatory system, if you were to have the misfortune of seeing me naked right now.
3) Your second trimester will lull you into a false sense of security.
At six months pregnant you still look cute. You have a bump, people are supportive. You start planning. You don't feel sick anymore. And if you are like me, you have this glorious, smooth belly. Then, one day in your eighth month, there is one stretch mark. You cringe a little and swallow hard. By the end of the next month, you beautiful belly is gone, looking instead like a scratching post for a tyrannical feline. You tear up when you accidentally open the drawer to your bikinis, wondering if you will every wear those beautiful, tiny creations. You laugh at yourself for worrying about a little cellulite for the last decade. Now you have real worries.
4) You may eat weird things.
It all started with Popsicles and salad. Now it's avocados and rice cakes. It could be worse, but it's weird. I look forward to eating alone, so I can embrace the weirdness of my food choices in peace.
5) You will come to hate people.
Some people will be nice. Some people will be mean, but they will ALL have something to say about how you are doing or looking. By the end, you will just want them to freaking shut their pie-holes. Compliments exist - use them people. Most of these people are well-intentioned, but after nearly a year of hearing their opinions, you will not have patience for them. God forbid you don't have an awesome OB that keeps their comments in check - or if you don't do your research about what is normal, because then you will truly be at the mercy of these comments and then, well... god save you.
6) You will get scared.
People will tell you they loved being pregnant. These are people with no imagination. This is scary stuff. From the moment of conception, there are a million things that can kill your unborn child. Every book you read will go into great detail about what these things are and what might help avoid them. You will do some of those things and worry the rest of the time about the possibility of being the worst mom of all-time, killing your child with tuna sandwiches and blue cheese dressing. Then at the end, the stories of how hard it is to be sleep deprived and breast-feeding - you will create images in your head of you morphing into some kind of psychotic zombie - who at any moment could eat her newborn child out of pure frustration. Don't worry, the books say that's normal.
7) Nothing will ever be good enough.
Even if you continue to work up until the very last minute - with your water breaking on the copier-room floor, your colleagues will still try to get you to do "one last thing" before you leave. Not everyone, but enough that you will feel guilty and perhaps like a bad employee. Even if the very same people have been encouraging you to have kids for years.
8) Clothing will betray you.
You will be able to wear alot of non-maternity clothing for a VERY long time. Some things even longer than your maternity clothes. That is because maternity clothing is cheap and ugly - unless you are a millionaire. Also nursing bras are weird. And you will shop for things like bands to wear on your wrists to ease morning sickness, bands to keep your belly from showing when your shirts start to shrink up, and bands to compress your stomach after the blessed event. There are alot of mildly embarrassing bands in your life, and yet you will not be embarrassed by them, they will feel like life preservers.
9) Your skin will do crazy things.
Maybe you'll have acne. Maybe you'll have an itchy rash. Maybe you'll darken in weird places. Maybe you'll develop "skin tags" in places where no one but you will ever see. Or just maybe, you'll develop pregnancy leprosy, but don't worry, the books will tell you that is perfectly normal.
10) Your breasts will revolt.
Whatever you used to like about your breasts will change. They will start to do the opposite. Your nipples will look like dartboards. If you thought they were too big to start with, they will get bigger. If you want them to get bigger, they will not. If you even think for a second that they are looking good, they will start to do something different with the very next breath. Breasts are not to be trusted.
11) And finally, the worst comments - the pure evil ones will come your way.
Things like "sleep now, it will only get worse!" and "enjoy this time, because before you know it they become teenagers!" and "oh, you are in for one hell of a ride!" These comments, much like this list I have just created, are born out of frustration and meanness. Ignore them and do what you want. Everything will be okay and you will be able to live a mostly positive existence - if you want to - if you work at it - even despite the challenges.
One week from today, I will have a baby.