Brave New World
The 20 biggest scares and surprises about having a baby
9. Fat Forever
Being 10 pounds overweight is not your destiny, as long as you take charge. “A lot of women say it’s not their fault, that they can’t lose weight after pregnancy,” Gise says. “But usually the problem is that they’re not making time for themselves.” Take care of yourself, exercise and eat right. The weight will take care of itself. Staying in shape during pregnancy helps, too.
10. I Can’t Handle Another Baby
Many women pregnant with their second (or third or fourth) child spend sleepless nights fretting that they won’t have enough love and attention for everybody. This idea isn’t necessarily far-fetched.
“There’s a cliché that there will always be enough to go around, but that’s not true,” Gise says. “There will be times when the needs of one child will come before the other or before the needs of your husband. On the other hand, love does not come in finite quantities, and you can give special love to many.” It’s a balancing act that millions of women have managed, and you will, too.
10 Biggest Surprises
1. The Power of Nesting
Most of us are sideswiped by the urge to nest. Hard-driven businesswomen suddenly feel compelled to regrout the bathroom. Cynthia Goodman, 41, a Los Angeles attorney, found herself painting every room in her house (with water-based paint, of course) before her now 6-year-old son was born. “Try not to do the ridiculous things, but do take care of the shopping, so you can cocoon with the baby later,” Iovine says.
2. Priority Shift
This is a pleasant effect that seems impossible for your prepregnant self to imagine. “You lose interest in the things you used to love,” Gise says. “Who cares about that hot new movie? Your baby just kicked.”
3. Overwhelmed With Love
Nothing will prepare you for the tidal wave of love you will have for this little bitty creature. “This can be a scary thing, because we think that if we lose that love, we’ll die,” Iovine says. “So we spend the next year hovering and taking a pulse and doing everything to make sure that the baby’s OK.”
4. Thin Again
Many women are unprepared for how they will look after childbirth. Muscles take a while to snap back. “After my Cesarean section, my abdomen looked like a Yorkshire pudding,” Iovine says. The happy surprise is that your old self often returns faster than you expected. “I gained 50 pounds, and when I pushed my finger into my puffy foot, the indentation would stay for an hour,” says editor Nancy Gottesman, 40, mother of 3-year-old Robby. “But 10 days after I delivered, I’d lost 40 pounds.” Much of her weight gain was caused by water retention, so it left in a hurry — and her constantly nursing baby took care of the rest.