After my last blog (What Not To Say To A Pregnant Woman) I received lots of positive feedback from women who'd found themselves faced with similar remarks during pregnancy. It led to some interesting conversations, one of which got me thinking - why do people talk negatively about pregnancy to pregnant women?
It seems to be the same for post-birth. I've had lots of "just you wait" comments, and I have quietly thought to myself - maybe, maybe not. Everyone is different. And every baby is different. But I'm looking forward to finding out.
I prefer to find the positives in the negatives, which is what this blog is about.
Because this is my first full pregnancy, I didn't know what to expect. So when other women who'd had babies told me I was going to get stretch marks, get fat, be hungry all the time, have swollen ankles, feel exhausted, be heavy and hormonal, and wish this precious time away - I assumed I would have all of the above (although, I never believed I'd wish the time away).
I even told my husband to expect some big changes - physically, and emotionally. I wanted to prep him for the storm that was headed his way; this heavy, hormonal lump that everyone told me I was about to become.
Only I didn't.
As my pregnancy progressed, I waited for all these changes. The weeks and months went by and I noticed my body, and my emotions, changing, but not in the way I expected.
This blog is to reassure mums-to-be that everyone is different. That they might not get any or they might get all of the above or just some - and that if they do, it's ok. And if they don't, that's ok too.
To Waddle Or Not To Waddle
If you waddle it's because your hips have widened and become looser - you are carrying a baby. What an amazing thing to be doing! If you start to walk from side to side, who cares? - Waddle with pride!
Putting On Weight
There is a misconception that when you get pregnant you will get fat. You will only get fat if you let yourself. Putting on weight is not the same as putting on fat. You are growing a human being inside you.
That's not to say it's wrong if you get cravings or feel hungry. If you feel hungry - eat. Listening to your body is the most important thing during pregnancy. As is being healthy - for your baby, and for you.
Stretch Marks The Spot
I can't say why some women get stretch marks and why some women don't. Maybe it's down to genetics, or maybe it's down to diet and exercise, or perhaps both or neither. Maybe they just appear on some woman and not on others, and have nothing to do with anything other than your body accommodating what it needs to. The bottom line is, it doesn't matter - they are the memory marks of your precious baby!
Exhausted or Exhilarated?
You might find yourself completely exhausted during pregnancy, but then again, you might not. I'm guessing it depends on your lifestyle, its demands, and you in general. I believe if you listen to your body, rest when you need to, and get as much exercise and fresh air as you can, you'll find an energy that might just surprise you.
However, if you're reading this with your eyes hanging out of your head because you already have children keeping you up at night - don't listen to me. Listen to your body.
Heavy And Hormonal
Don't get me wrong, if I've eaten late and I get into bed, I feel heavy (sometimes like a beached whale, and sometimes I probably look like one) but generally, during the day, I feel pretty normal, apart from the 50cm of baby that's wiggling around inside me.
You're carrying a human being inside you so you're bound to feel heavier. I bumped into two ladies while out walking who told me pregnancy is such a burden for women and that's why we just want to get the baby out at the end.
I honestly had no idea what they were talking about.
I've loved being pregnant. The only reason I want to get the baby out is because I can't wait to meet it! But I guess it depends on personal experience; if I'd spent the entire time being sick, I might feel completely differently. I think the key is not to assume it's the same for everyone.
As for hormones, I can't say why some women do and some women don't feel hormonal, and I'm not about to judge those who do or those who don't. It's a sensitive subject. Hormones can creep up at different stages, at different levels.
But what I will say is - they are normal.
So don't give yourself a hard time over them.
Don't give yourself a hard time over any of it.
Whether or not you experience all, none, or just some of the above, don't forget what you are doing - you are growing a mini human being inside your body.
If that means sacrificing bits of yours for nine months, then it's a small sacrifice to make.
HuffPost UK Parents has launched 'Mumbod', a new section to empower mums and mums-to-be to feel confident about their bodies pre- and post-baby. We'd also love to hear your stories. To blog for Mumbod, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To keep up to date with features, blogs and videos on the topic, follow the hashtag #MyMumbod.