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    18 Things No One Told Me About Having A Baby That I Had To Figure Out On My Own

    I've always wanted to have kids, but I wouldn't say I was one of those women who felt *destined* to be a mother.

    I've always wanted to have kids, but I wouldn't say I was one of those women who felt destined to be a mother.

    Woman with a baby stands near a mountain

    So, perhaps for that reason, when I got pregnant, I was pretty clueless about how everything worked and what to expect.

    Now I have a 4-month-old baby, but I had to learn a few things the hard way. Here's what I wish I'd known from the start:

    NOTE: The processes of conception, pregnancy, birth, and parenting are different for everyone, so it's worth noting that this is just my perspective and my personal story.

    I use the words "baby" and "mother" to express my experience, but not everyone who gets pregnant or has a baby identifies as a mother.

    1. When you decide to have a baby, you’re signing over your body to someone else for at least a year — and most likely longer.

    Woman in yellow shirt standing outside looking shocked

    2. In addition to potentially worrying about things like stretch marks, weight, and ever-changing boobs, you may also have to think about hair loss, split abs, and pelvic floor issues.

    3. When you're pregnant, you don't just grow a baby, you also grow an entirely new organ. An organ whose job it is to keep your baby alive.

    4. Any self-consciousnesses or modesty you have around your body will go out the window.

    5. In fact, I loved my pregnant body and wanted to show it off.

    6. When people find out you're pregnant, they may share horrible birth stories and tell you how hard your life will be going forward.

    Woman looking at phone and feeling frusterated

    7. The way they determine the baby's due date makes no sense.

    Person circling a date on their calendar

    8. You can’t have sex or exercise for six weeks after giving birth.

    Couple looking shocked

    9. When it comes down to it, your birth plan doesn’t matter.

    10. No matter how equally you try to disperse parenting duties, if you're a breastfeeding mother, things will inevitably fall more on you.

    Woman with baby in a white room

    11. Having your partner change diapers and get the baby in and out of bed will make nights feel way more doable.

    Man changes the diaper of a baby

    12. You can nurse lying down.

    13. The pump-and-dump method is B.S.

    Woman starting at the camera looking shocked

    14. If it's been awhile since you fed your baby, your boobs will get chunky and leak.

    15. You're supposed to "nibble off" your baby's fingernails when they're brand new. 😱

    16. You’re supposed to count your baby's age in weeks, then switch to months. And I'm pretty sure you don't use years — aka normal human speak — until they turn 2.

    17. Just when you think you have your baby figured out, they'll throw you for a loop. Your job is to roll with it.

    Tired mother with young baby

    18. You don’t need near as much stuff as companies (and other parents) tell you you'll need. And you can get almost everything you do need for free.

    What things did you have to figure out the hard way? Let me know in the comments.