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5 Pregnancy Perks You Ignore Until You Have the Baby

Photograph by Twenty20

I was one of those women who loved being pregnant. I loved my growing abdomen, I loved having people comment on my pregnancy and, surprisingly for someone who prizes personal space, I didn't even mind when people touched my belly (although it was a little awkward when a kid tried to lift my shirt to see what was making it stick out).

So as someone who enjoyed most of the moments of pregnancy, once it was over I began to realize that there were some aspects I hadn't fully appreciated. This became even more apparent when I became pregnant a second and then a third time.

There is nothing quite like your first pregnancy, so on behalf of all the mothers who have gone before, I want to share this vital information with you, the first-time pregnant woman. Take this advice to heart and enjoy these five perks, because they are unlikely to happen ever again.

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1. Sitting down

I didn't know that sitting down was a luxury until I had kids. Once you're a parent, you spend 95 percent of your time standing and the other 5 percent of the time sitting on the floor or hiding in the bathroom (they always find you).

Take advantage of these last pre-parent months by enjoying the time you spend sitting. Appreciate the fact that you can sit down without being forced to stand again before your cheeks can warm your seat. Sitting is a beautiful thing. Enjoy it while you can.

2. Being treated like you'll break

Admittedly, by the time your due date rolls around, this one has gotten pretty old. It's annoying to be treated like you can't do anything just because you're growing a baby. Obviously you can do amazing things—the proof is right there for all the world to see!

Enjoy that pickle, sauerkraut and vanilla pudding sandwich if that's what you're craving.

That said, there will never be another time in your life when you are both healthy and treated like a queen. So let your mom bring you a hot drink while you put your feet up. Let your neighbor help you move the living room furniture. Let your husband carry the groceries inside. Let your co-workers walk you to the car, because they don't want you to slip on the ice.

Once the baby arrives, the focus quickly (and rightfully) shifts off of you and onto your baby, so enjoy the pampering while you can.

3. Your husband taking over cleaning duties

I'll never forget the moment during my second pregnancy when I realized I wasn't going to be treated in quite the same way I was the first time around.

During my first pregnancy, any time I'd attempt to clean the bathroom, my husband would snatch the cleaning supplies from me while shooing me out of the room, certain that allowing me to breathe any harsh chemicals would cause permanent damage to our growing baby.

Then, while early along in my second pregnancy, he happened to walk in just as I was starting to scrub the shower. He used the toilet, and as he headed to the sink to wash his hands commented over his shoulder, "Make sure you open a window to let out the fumes."

4. Eating for two

Your doctor will tell you that you don't need to double your caloric intake when you're pregnant, and that's true. Even so, sometimes it feels really good to get that second helping of ice cream.

Plus, the next time you're pregnant, you'll probably be in the stage of parenthood where you forget that you haven't eaten breakfast, until you're making lunch for your child. You'll just end up combining the two meals by eating your child's leftover sandwich crusts while standing at the counter (refer to No. 1).

So sit down and eat a big hearty meal when the urge strikes. Enjoy that pickle, sauerkraut and vanilla pudding sandwich if that's what you're craving. You won't have as much time to eat what you love the next time around.

Yes, I am telling you that half a shower will soon be considered valuable free time.

5. Free time

This is the biggie. If you ignore every other suggestion I've shared today, listen to me now:

One day you will look back on your pre-baby self, and every memory will be fuzzy. Yes, you'll remember life before children, but there will be one thing you won't be able to wrap your mind around: What you did with all your free time.

I can see you laughing at the screen. "Free time," you scornfully cry, "What free time? I work! I volunteer! I have obligations!"

I'm not saying you sit around on the couch watching Netflix all day. I'm not even saying you're not busy. But, right now, you are in the unique position of having your free moments be your free moments. You want to work out at the gym? You work out at the gym. You want to go out to eat? You go out to eat. You want to sleep in on Saturday until 11 a.m.? You sleep in on Saturday until 11 a.m.

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Once that baby arrives your time will no longer be your own. Someone else will control every move you make and, pretty soon, you'll be trying to sneak in a three-minute shower without waking the king of the castle, because if he catches wind of what you're doing, he'll insist that you feed him before you get the shampoo out of your hair. Yes, I am telling you that half a shower will soon be considered valuable free time.

So, value that free time now. You'll get it back eventually—but that's still years away.

There are other perks, but I've been around long enough to know you'll ignore most of my advice anyway. I won't bother to go on. Just remember, when you discover that things are a little different the next time you're pregnant, I tried to warn you.

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