These changes definitely won't apply to everyone, but hopefully if you're reading this and it's happening/happened to you too then you may find some comfort in knowing it happened to me too.
First things first - BOOBS!
I have never been blessed with the boobs I want, until I got pregnant! I always wore push up bras and looked crap in a bikini (just my opinion, no offense to anyone in the Itty Bitty Titty Committee and loving it) but around month 4 I started to spill out my normal bras. I opted to wear looser bras because not only did they get bigger but they got a ton more sensitive and tender so a rock hard bra full of padding was so uncomfortable. I liked Peacocks £3 slightly padded sports bras as they were super comfy but still had a bit of shape to them. I think anything with cups was a waste of money as it soon wouldn't fit. I haven't ever had my boobs measured but I would say I went from a 32A at best to a full 32C over the last year. Of course it came at a price - dark nipples. (TMI) a very common pregnancy side-effect (if not a guaranteed side-effect). The nipples darken so that the baby can find them better in the dark - how hilarious is that. Since breastfeeding they have definitely got a lot bigger too. It's not so much of a big deal as the breast grows too so the 'ratio' if you will, stays the same. I'm not suggesting you end up with enormous burger nips on some 32AAs don't worry, it all stays in proportion.
Throughout my teenage years I always had bad skin. I don't think I would ever tell someone with actual bad skin/acne that I thought my skin was bad, but I'm the type of person to get one or two spots, spend an hour trying to cover it, decide it looks too hideous and not leave the house. When in retrospect you probably couldn't even see it in the first place. I always had spots on my chin which Google always told me was 'hormonal' which meant it had nothing to do with how well I was washing my face or taking my make-up off, it was a chemical in balance internally, so creams and treatments never really worked. ALAS, I came off contraception and got pregnant and not a single spot! In hindsight, I think it may have also been coming OFF my contraception and that perhaps it was my contraception (the implant) in the first place that may have been giving me bad skin as I have had the implant put back in and have had a few blemishes, granted not like before, but was nowhere near the perfect skin I had while pregnant.
Having a bump and gaining weight
Having a bump is the strangest thing. As it happens so gradually you don't notice how big you're getting. I remember taking photos at 20 weeks and posting it on Instagram with hashtags saying how huge I was - little did I know I would become ENORMOUS and I didn't even go full term! Around month 4/5 my belly button was flat as it had been pushed out by the baby and boy did it need a serious clean ha ha - gross right?
I gained just under 3 stone during my pregnancy. Before I got pregnant I weighed 9 stone 10 lbs and when I had Oscar (at only 35 weeks) I was 12 stone 3 lbs. Our scales at home tell you your weight in KG and this means nothing to me as I've always weighed myself in stone so I used to ask Siri on my iPhone 'how many stone is 65kg' and hearing it said outloud back to me was probably the worst bit. I have never been more than 10 stone in my life and as soon as I creep up to 9 stone 12 lbs I hit the gym hard and get back down to my safe zone at 9 stone 10 lbs!! I definitely would consider my pregnancy to be 'all bump'. Now that I've had Oscar, my body 6 weeks later looked the same as before I was pregnant but the consistency of a jelly belly is simply bizarre. It looked flat and toned but if you grab it, it has so much loose skin it's unreal! The jelly belly started to shift around 3 months post partum and I am now exactly the same as I was before having Oscar. (I will do another post on baby weight!) I currently weigh 10 stone 2 lbs and can't see myself getting down to my pre-baby weight as I now have the weight of my new boobs!
Having a huge bump started to get really inconvenient around 30-32 weeks. I had to squat like a ballerina to pick things up off the floor, getting off the sofa required a lot of grunting and shimmying, driving became really quite nerve wracking as my belly was so close to the wheel and I was really aware there was a tiny person in there and if I crashed he would definitely be squashed to say the least! Shaving became a distant memory. Although it is fun having a bath and your bump poking out the water and having something to look at in the bath, shaving is SO difficult. I gave up shaving anything but my underarms from about 30/32 weeks after admitting defeat. I booked a wax in for the big day but obviously Oscar came early, and let me tell you in Theatre there are about 10-12 people staring at your naked body so bush or no bush you're not going to be looking great nor does anyone care or will you ever see them again.
I have a tattoo of a rose on my hip and was really worried that would stretch but I think it was perfectly placed that it just grew ever so slightly as my skin stretched and did so at such a slow rate that there was no difference during pregnancy or after which I'm so pleased about! After having the baby it has gone exactly back to the way it was so I'm really lucky. My c-section scar is really faint where they had to cut under one of the leaves of the tattoo and has healed differently to the rest of the scar as I think where they cut under the tattoo, the skin there is scar tissue so has healed white and the rest of the scar is pink (for now).
My least favourite thing about being so big or having a bump in general was how much I missed sleeping on my front. I used to fall asleep in seconds and had mastered the perfect position on my front. Sleeping on my side I found really uncomfortable - but now I love it, funny how you get used to things. I bought a 'hugging pillow' for £8-10 from Dunelm and would literally hug it to stop me from trying to creep onto my front and found that it just felt like I was my normal size but hugging a huge pillow and my bump seemed non existent.
During my pregnancy, which I only realised after having Oscar, was a pregnancy symptom/side effect, was how bad my gums got. I only realise this now as I've had the baby and they are 100 times better and have healed so well. My front two teeth on the bottom row, the gum line got so incredibly low down that the strip of gum between the two teeth in fact came away and was like a 'flap'. It bothered me every day and I would stare at my teeth in the mirror every time I brushed my teeth and would be so scared to go to the dentist and I presumed they'd give me some lecture about not flossing, that I just avoided the situation completely and hoped it would get better. I tried all sorts of mouthwashes and toothpastes and would endlessly Google bad gums and talk to Luke saying I needed surgery to fix my gums and would have to skin graft from inside my mouth. He thought I was crazy, quite rightly. I used to watch the adverts about the woman waking up with no teeth and panic that that was what was happening to me. But sore gums is a recognised pregnancy side effect - so just take care of your teeth as much as you can, go to the dentist and don't panic it all goes back to normal!
Not being able to eat certain foods is a bummer. I didn't mind not drinking, but definitely missed rare steak, blue cheese, pate and boiled eggs. It was only around 30 weeks that someone posted an article saying you could eat boiled eggs if you were pregnant as long as the packet had the Red Lion stamp on. I had one coffee every now and again but didn't mind not drinking one everyday, I didn't need coffee anyhow, I was able to nap anytime I liked. On the day I had an emergency c-section to have Oscar I had had a roast dinner with a red wine jus and actually asked the Midwife if that could have been the reason he came early. I'd like to say she didn't laugh but I guess it was a stupid question. I did have any cravings whatsoever during my pregnancy but got kind of sad when people asked and I had no reply. I tried convincing myself I craved tuna as I happened to fancy a tuna sandwich for lunch 3 days in a row. But lets be honest, that's not a craving that's just fancying a tuna sandwich 3 days in a row.
Being 'the pregnant one'
I found it frustrating that nobody lets you do anything or lift anything heavy because you're pregnant. I know its for the best but the small stuff I could still do people were still fussing over me! I felt useless and didn't like depending on other people to do incredibly simple tasks for me. (I won't lie, I did enjoy leaving the weekly shop in the car and getting Luke to bring it in! Simply because our front door was miles away from our driveway). On the other hand, I was shocked how little people actually give you their seat or let you push in. I remember doing a carboot sale with my friend and going to the queue for the portaloo, there was about 6 people queuing and I was desperate, I was about 5 months so wasn't enormous but was still quite clearly pregnant and nobody let me push in!!! I even stuck my belly out more and tried to look like I was in some discomfort and nobody gave a toss! I didn't need to push in but I wanted to feel like royalty and not queue.
Strangers asking you a thousand questions is something you quickly get used to and commenting on your body and hearing everyones "MY friend once went into labour and..." Why is it word vomit for people to share their horrific labour stories? You only ever hear about the ones whose babies that just slip out in an hour or the ones that are in labour for 4 days. People commenting on your bump, mostly elderly women, is also something you constantly get. "That bump is so low, it must be a boy" "You're all bump, you don't even look pregnant from the back" "You're huge!" "How long to go? You're low! He's ready! Is his head down? Have you felt him kick?" You almost want to wear a t-shirt saying 'Yes I'm pregnant, it's a boy, yes my bump is big, yes its low."
I remember one day in the space of 20 minutes I got two women make snap judgements of me while I was shopping in Matalan and then Dunelm. I had to sign up for a Matalan card and she asked me if I was a student, I said no and her reply, "It's never too late! Maybe when little one comes out you can go back and study!" Errr... Thanks, I already have a degree. For then ten minutes later for a women to say I must be hot in the sun with a bump that big, to then explain, "Well I planned my babies you see, so I was able to make sure I was at my heaviest in the winter" Thanks very much, this baby is planned to!