A friend called me today to tell me the wonderful and exciting news that she is expecting her first baby. “Guess what?! I’m pregnant!” I immediately replied, “Oh my god I’m so excited for you! You’re going to be such a great mom!”

Then she said something I was not at all prepared for. “I am going to put you on speed dial. I plan on calling you to get all kinds of advice.”

It hit me at that moment that my cover is about to be blown wide open. Advice? From me? Ha, that’s laughable. Sure I’ve been a mom for almost seven years now but the fact that she thinks I actually know what I’m doing is just plain funny. I feel like the Wizard of Oz. I’m over here chilling out behind the curtain but the moment my friend has her baby the curtain will open and I will be revealed. I am clueless. Frankly, I’m just making this shit up as I go along. So far it’s working for me but it’s only a matter of time before I am in some type of situation that I don’t have a clue how to handle. I’ve heard the teenage years are something all-together frightening. I’m shivering just thinking about it.

After we hung up the phone I started thinking about what kind of advice, if any I could really offer a new mother. My youngest is three so I had to dust off the cobwebs in my brain and think back to when I was expecting my first son. Here is the list of advice I came up with offering expecting mothers. Let’s get real about this shall we?

1. The Birth Plan

That kid is coming out one way or another, so just go in there knowing that and you will be fine. If you don’t plan on getting an epidural, more power to you. But if you change your mind just know that no one will think any less of you for it. Hell I was begging for that thing with what turned out to be gas pain.

2. Bottle or Breast?

Do whatever works for you. Babies are always hungry, so feed them. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks and if someone tries to give you shit for whichever choice you make simply tell them you started your kid off on steak and potatoes but after realizing that was a bit too heavy you switched to the bottle or the breast. They won’t judge you anymore. In fact they probably won’t talk to you anymore and that’s okay because judgy people are super annoying anyway so it’s a win/win.

3. Sleep Training

Oh dear god if the kid is sleeping do not wake them up. Do what works best for you. Will your kid only sleep in the bouncy seat? Bounce away my friend. Do you need to visit a park at 10pm and hold them in a swing for five straight hours to get them to sleep? By all means get to know your local Park Ranger. Do what works. Obviously do what is safe (I’m not a complete moron) but if your baby is sleeping long enough that you can take a hot shower and clean the spit up off your face then do it. If you don’t care about the spit up on your face but would rather get your zzzzz’s while that child is sleeping (raising my hand and jumping up and down) then do that. Don’t worry about what everyone else says you should be doing. You are holding the baton, so run on my friend.

4. When will my body look normal?

Define normal? Stop. You just pushed out a kid. You literally brought a human being into the world. Don’t even worry about getting back into your jeans. Yoga pants are your new friend and when things settle down again you will start to get back in shape. You might become a whole new shape than you were pre-baby and that’s OK. I will go shopping with you. Shopping is fun. Not with kids though. Shopping with kids is some type of torture you should avoid for as long as possible so leave that baby with someone else on the day we go shopping.

5. What should I make sure I have before I bring the baby home?

Diapers. You will not believe how much babies poop. Girlfriends. You are going to need one or two good ones who will listen to things like “My nipples are so raw.” And “My husband just doesn’t get it.” It’s vital to have some people lined up to help you, listen to you and hug you. Granny panties. Stock up on a bunch of those girls. You can just throw them out when you don’t need them anymore, or hold onto them to laugh about one day.  All that stuff you got at your baby shower is great but you won’t need half of it until that kid can sit up and trust me that doesn’t happen overnight.

6. How will I know if I am doing everything right?

Ha! What does right mean? Is your child still breathing? You see the thing is everyone and their mother will have an opinion to offer you, and by offer I mean jam down your throat when you are at your most vulnerable. Invest in good earplugs. There is no right way to do things. There is your way and then there is everyone else’s way. Do what works for you. At the end of the day if your child feels loved, then you are doing it right. Sure your house may look like it was ransacked by burglars and you might serve your family questionable milk from time to time but if your child is happy then rest assured the rest of the stuff doesn’t matter.

You see my dear friend, motherhood is a journey. You will learn as you go and some days will be an epic success and other days will be an epic fail. It’s not about the days though. It’s about the years. I guess after seven years on this journey it took you to help me figure that out. Go ahead and put me on speed dial. I won’t be offering advice but I will definitely be here for you and the wine will always be stocked!

This post was originally featured on Jennifer Lizza’s blog, Outsmarted Mommy. Photo via.

How does one survive pregnancy?

Patience. Lots and lots of patience.

When you are pregnant, you find yourself counting weeks, not months. Your life revolves on the age of your growing fetus. Most pregnant women probably know how many weeks pregnant they are better than the day it is. For example, I know that I’m 20 weeks 2 days pregnant, and have another 19 weeks to go. If asked the date, I’d have to look it up. Sad, but true story.

Anyhow, I’ve been through this pregnancy thing seven times (if you do the math, yes…I lost a few. And yeah, it sucks.). I’d almost consider myself a pro at pregnancy, but I figure my Grandma Davis (God bless her soul) has that over me. She went full-term seven times. I’m not sure how she managed.

Since I have experience with this incubating-a-baby thing, I’ve ascertained a few must-have items that help to survive all 40 weeks of pregnancy. If you’ve recently found out you are pregnant, you may want to take notes.

10 Things This Pregnant Woman Needs

1. Prenatal Vitamins

I started taking these darn things a few months before I got married in 2009. Yep, I’ve been on prenatals now for six years! And, here’s a secret, I HATE taking pills. But I do it. It helps my body prepare for the baby and keep the baby strong, even once it is born and I start nursing. While they aren’t always fun to take (they are horse pills after all), you need to take them!

2. Caffeine

I know this may seem like a strange one, but I don’t think I could survive without caffeine. I tried to go without with my first, but I failed. I deal with awful pregnancy headaches in the first trimester plus pregnancy fatigue. When I tried to give up caffeine, the fatigue and headaches only got worse. I gave up trying. Instead, I make sure to add up the caffeine I ingest. I’m not a coffee drinker; I drink soda. I make sure I limit my intake to one caffeinated soda a day. Just enough to help me survive and not throttle my husband or children.

(Oh, and for those concerned, most doctors and the March of Dimes don’t require that you go off caffeine altogether. The recommendation is that you drink less than 200 mg of caffeine a day.)

3. Zofran/Morning Sickness Medication

I always deal with awful morning sickness. My oldest made me sick until I was 34 weeks along! She tortured me. (I will hold it over her head when she’s a teen…”You made me sick for 34 weeks, the least you can do is….”) I wasn’t nearly as sick with my two-year-old, with my morning sickness stopping at 24 weeks.

I’m guessing that I’m dealing with my worst morning sickness ever with this pregnancy. It’s hard to know because I take a wonderful little pill, Zofran, that helps me manage. I need to take it every night at least 30 minutes before dinner, otherwise, I lose dinner. Fun times! The other day, I decided to see if I could go without the pill. Big mistake. Yep, I definitely need my Zofran.

If you can’t keep anything down, don’t be afraid to contact your doctor and ask for medication. There are a few options that might help.

4. Snacks

Along with getting sick, my appetite suddenly disappeared. Not only do meals sometimes taste unappetizing, but I eat much smaller portions than normal. (I hope to keep that up once the baby is born so I can lose weight…but I doubt that will happen. Darn it.) One thing I’ve found that helps me is having lots of snacks available for when I do get hungry. There are days that I need to eat lots of small meals during the day. My stash of snacks includes Wheat Thins, apples, carrots, pretzels, and veggie dip.

5. Colace

Here’s a secret for you first-timers. You will never look at going to the bathroom the same way. Colace may become your best friend. I know it’s mine. I hate having to take it, but if I don’t, I’m miserable with constipation. Yep, I said it. Oh, and not to mention the resulting hemorrhoids (so get some Preparation H, too). Oy!

6. Body Pillow

I love my body pillow! I just pulled it from my closet last week. My belly has gotten large enough that I need a little extra support to get some sleep. The further along you get, the more uncomfortable it is to sleep. A body pillow helps you survive it. My husband and I sleep in a queen so I know he gets sick of it, but if it makes me happy, he doesn’t complain.

7. Poise Pads

Now, maybe I need these more because it isn’t my first pregnancy, but….I would highly suggest getting Poise pads (or a brand of your choosing). When you sneeze or cough, you will discover that any control you used to have is gone. It’s not pretty, but it’s reality. Get used to it.

8. Asthma Medicine

Most women don’t need asthma medication when they are pregnant. I’m one of the few who do. In fact, 33% of women don’t see an increase (or decrease) in their asthma symptoms. 33% experience a decrease in asthma issues. I fit into the last group of 33%, though, whose asthma worsens while pregnant. Each time I’ve been pregnant, my asthma gets worse and worse. I need to take special medication twice a day to keep my asthma contained so I can breathe. So, if you have asthma and have more issues, speak up and take care of it. It not only helps you, but helps the baby.

9. Comfy Bras

When you are expecting, your boobs will hurt! My daughters seem to know this because they love elbowing me in the boobs for no clear reason. I swear that children are little magnets attracted to hurting parts of your body that are already in pain.

A good, comfortable bra may help you survive pregnancy. I’m normally an underwire girl because my boobs are huge. But, I found underwires very uncomfortable as my breasts grew. I went shopping and found some decent supportive bras without the underwire. It made a huge difference in my comfort. The trick is finding what works best for you. Oh, and be ready to buy bigger sizes as your pregnancy progresses.

10. Maternity pants

Forget the dang Bella Band. Yeah, I bought it with my first child and was impressed with how it worked. But then, I discovered maternity pants! Oh my! Why hadn’t anyone told me that they were so comfortable? They are the best. I recommend full-coverage, too. Bella Bands and using rubber bands to help your old pants last take lots of work and don’t give your sensitive belly much comfort. Come to the dark side….go straight to maternity pants. I did with my next pregnancies. I’ll never regret it! (Oh, and they are perfect to pull out when you aren’t pregnant on Thanksgiving. Trust me!)

This post was originally featured on Denise’s blog, Jayhawk Mommy

It is a miracle. It is a joyous experience. Birthing my 2 (soon to be 3) kids = my life’s greatest achievements. However, there are many aspects to pregnancy and birth that no one talks about.
So I will.

1. Most of your maternity clothes will stop fitting comfortably around week 32. There are just no clothing manufacturers that can really figure out how to keep our pants up comfortably after this point.

2. You will stop looking at yourself in the mirror at around week 30. However, you will accidentally pass in front of a mirror at some point around week 32 and notice that your shirt does not cover your stomach. This will happen in a public bathroom. You will be away from home for the day and will not have another shirt with you.

3. No grown up in your life will have had the courage to tell you about #3 because they are all scared of you. Your kids would have told you if they had noticed.

4. Speaking of your other kids, they WILL tell you how it is. Your 4-year old will catch sight of your protruding stomach while you are getting dressed one day and say, “Whoa, Mom. Cover that up.”

5. You will experience an exhaustion like never before, but somehow, you will have insomnia. You will lay awake at 2 a.m. having to pee (even though you will have peed twice in the last 20 minutes) wishing for sleep.

6. After 30 weeks, you will pee your pants a tiny bit if you sneeze.

7. You will get nosebleeds at unfortunate times — like while you are getting your son ready for school. Therefore, you will drive him to school with tissues stuck up your nose. Your 2-year old will point at your face and say, “Boo-boos in Mama’s nose?”

8. The bigger you get, the more people will tell you how “great” you look and how “small” you are. These people are lying because they are afraid of you.

9. You will hold on to your gym membership, despite the fact that you only walk at a 2.5 pace for 30 minutes on the treadmill, so you can have a place to put your kids. The gym employees clearly will not want you there anymore and will look at your stomach with horror when you walk in.

10. At some point in the last 6 weeks, you will abandon any and all attempts at normal “maintenance” like painting your toenails and shaving because these tasks are too painful and you cannot see what you are doing anymore. And really, what is the point?

11. You will feel an extreme loathing for your partner followed immediately by love and appreciation for them all within 90 seconds. They will start spending time in other rooms to protect themselves from your wrath.

12. You will be pregnant for a really long time. 40 weeks is as close to an eternity as you can get, but it does end. Eventually.

Stay tuned for the 12 truths no one tells you about birth. Except me.

This post was originally featured on Karen’s blog, 21st Centry SAHM. Photo via

Pregnancy is an incredibly sacred time. Your body is changing and accommodating to grow a precious, beautiful life within.

You’ll definitely need to choose what you’re putting in your body carefully to help that incredible baby develop and give him or her the healthiest start possible. The idea of “eating for two” is not really true- some researchers believe that excessive weight gain during pregnancy can actually contribute to a more difficult birth and other health complications. There’s no need to double your caloric intake simply because you’re pregnant, or let all dietary rules leap out the window. Besides, you don’t want to put less than ideal, processed foods in your body that would end up in the baby. But you will need to increase your caloric intake by about 300 calories per day. There are also certain nutrients you should make a special effort to get more of in your diet while you’re at it. Choose your foods wisely!

Consume More of These 7 Nutrients:

There’s really not much that you need to consume when you’re pregnant that you didn’t need when you weren’t pregnant. You’ll need to increase your intake of certain nutrients, though, because they’re especially helpful for preventing birth defects and reducing the likelihood of complications.

1. Folate/Folic Acid

Folate (found naturally in foods) and folic acid (the supplement) are especially important the first 28 days after conception. Since you may not know you’re pregnant right away, consider increasing your intake if you’re trying to get pregnant and continue throughout the pregnancy. The CDC actually recommends folic acid supplements, but you can also increase your folate consumption to meet the RDA prior to pregnancy with foods like leafy greens, fruits, fruit juices (skip the store-bought juices, though, and juice your own!), nuts, beans, peas, and grains. Take a look:

1 cup of raw spinach has 58 mcg and a cup of cooked, drained, unsalted spinach contains a whopping 263 mcg
1/2 cup of raw, sliced avocado has 59 mcg
1 cup of shredded romaine lettuce has 64 mcg
4 spears of boiled asparagus have 89 mcg (or 134 per cup); 70 mcg per cup of raw asparagus
1/2 cup of cubed papaya has 27 mcg
1 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts contains 47 mcg, and one cup raw gives you 54 mcg
1 cup of cooked quinoa has 78 mcg
Parsley has 91 mcg in one cup
The recommended daily amount to decrease the likelihood of neural tube defects like spinal bifida and anencephaly is 400 mcg. My Raw Tabouli Salad with Hemp Seeds gives you folic acid (via lots of parsley!) and omega-3s, which are also important during pregnancy.

2. Omega-3s

Eat your chia seeds! Many women don’t get enough omega-3s while they’re pregnant (DHA is especially important for a developing fetus). Some women have been trained to believe that the best–or only–source of omega-3s is fish, and when they learn that certain types of fish, in fact, can be dangerous because of their mercury content, they may cut back on seafood without replacing the omega-3s in their diet.

A fetus’ exposure to mercury in the womb could result in mental retardation, cerebral palsy, deafness, and blindness, but both baby and mom need omega-3s. Since the consumption of seafood should be severely limited (no more than 12 oz. per week, or roughly two meals) during pregnancy, but omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for healthy neurological and eye development in the baby, women have to seek out other sources. Luckily for Beauty Detoxers, we know that you can get your omega-3s from seeds, nuts, algae (including seaweed), and avocados. Pregnant women need 300 mg of omega-3s per day. If you’re still concerned, algae-based DHA supplements are available. DHA may not be present in your prenatal vitamins.

3. Calcium (with Magnesium)

When you’re pregnant, the baby needs calcium to develop. If there’s not enough calcium for both of you, the baby will still take what it needs, leaving you, mom, with potentially weakened bones. The recommended amount of calcium for pregnant women is 1,400 mg. Don’t head straight for the dairy products, though! Since dairy is acidic, it, too, will leach the calcium from your bones in your body’s attempt to neutralize it. Instead, seek out Beauty Greens—bok choy, broccoli, collard greens, cucumbers, kale, romaine lettuce, sea vegetables, turnip greens, spinach and sesame seeds/tahini to reach your recommended calcium goal per day. To absorb all that calcium, you’ll need another Beauty Nutrient, magnesium. Side note about magnesium: it also helps keep our bowels regular, so if you’re experiencing constipation during pregnancy, increasing your magnesium intake could help. Hempseeds, pumpkin seeds, and spirulina are all good sources of magnesium. While you shouldn’t depend on your prenatal vitamins to cover all your calcium needs, there is usually some (anywhere from 75 to 300 mg) to supplement an already nutritious diet.

READ MORE: Being Almost 40 and Pregnant Isn’t So Bad (*#&@ THIS %#$*!)

4. Iron

When you’re pregnant, your risk of developing iron deficiency anemia is heightened because your body needs about 15 to 18 mg when you’re not pregnant, and then 27 mg or more when you are. Iron deficiency is already a common problem all over the world. Add pregnancy to that, and you need to be especially careful, especially if you’re a vegetarian. In addition to anemia in the mom, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says an iron deficiency could mean a decrease in birth weight, complications during labor and delivery, and even impaired maternal functioning could result. Pumpkin seeds (1 oz = 4.2 mg), spirulina, spinach (1 cup, raw = .81 mg and, when raw, includes vitamin C for best absorption), lentils (1/2 cup, cooked = 3.3 mg), chickpeas (1/2 cup, cooked = 2.4 mg), navy beans, black beans, and kidney beans are all good sources of iron. Eat the legumes with foods rich in vitamin C, like bell peppers, hot peppers, thyme, parsley, and leafy greens to maximize the iron absorption.

5. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is necessary for absorbing the calcium in your diet (and making your baby’s bones strong). With sun exposure, your body creates vitamin D, so you may not be deficient or in need of a supplement if you get plenty of sun. However most of us, pregnant or not, do need a vitamin D supplement. Pregnant women need at least 600 IU of vitamin D per day. Some prenatal multi-vitamins have all of that (and in some cases, more, like New Chapter’s Perfect Prenatal), so you won’t necessarily need an extra supplement. In 2007, the Canadian Pediatric Society stated that pregnant women needed 2,000 IU per day. A deficiency in vitamin D could lead to recurrent wheezing episodes later in life. If you’re not vegan, one tablespoon of cod liver oil can offer 1,360 IU of vitamin D.

6. B12

A B12 supplement may be recommended while you’re pregnant, especially if you’re a vegetarian or vegan mommy-to-be. B12 is important for the baby’s developing brain. It’s also important for the mom, before, during, and after pregnancy, and while breastfeeding. While you’re body will be more efficient at creating B vitamins in your gut with the right balance of healthy flora, it is a general recommendation across the board, as I mention in the Beauty Detox books, to take a B12 supplement if you are vegetarian or vegan.

The B12 in the body will go to the fetus first (so be sure to get enough for the baby and yourself so you don’t become deficient!), and the baby will generally have enough stored up for the first four months of life as protection in case the mother is deficient at first. You’ll need to continue with a B12 supplement while breastfeeding to ensure that your baby is getting enough. Moms who don’t eat animal products will need the vitamin for their babies and themselves. Deficiency shows up as lethargy, irritability, and developmental delays. The RDA for B12 in pregnant women is 2.6 mcg and 2.8 mcg for breastfeeding women.

READ MORE: What I Wish I’d Known About Pregnancy

7. Protein

Though it depends on your size of course, a general recommendation by the Mayo Clinic is 71 grams of protein per day for pregnant women. You can hit this requirement whether you eat animal protein or not. Some of the best sources of plant-based protein include:

1 cup cooked quinoa, 8.14 grams
1 Power Protein Shake, around 26 grams
1 16 ounce serving of Glowing Green Smoothie, around 6 grams
1 cup tempeh, 31 grams
1 cup boiled garbanzo beans, 14.53 grams
1 cup lentils, boiled and unsalted, 17.86 grams
1 cup sliced avocado, 2.92 grams
1 cup chopped kale, 2.87 grams
1 cup chopped walnuts, 17.82 grams
1 cup amaranth, cooked, 9.35 grams
1 tablespoon spirulina, 4.02 grams
What to Avoid Eating While Pregnant

Just as there are foods you should try to get more of in your diet while you’re pregnant, it’s super important to avoid certain foods due the potential toxins that are present, like mercury or dangerous bacteria, despite any potential benefits (like the omega-3s in fish). You’ll want to discuss the limitations with your healthcare provider, of course, but the Mayo Clinic lists:

Fish that is likely to be high in mercury, like swordfish, shark, tuna, king mackerel, and tilefish
Raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, or seafood
Refrigerated smoked seafood, like lox
Unpasteurized meat or soft cheeses
Deli meat or hotdogs, unless cooked until steaming (there are so many other reasons NOT to eat these foods while pregnant or otherwise, which we won’t get into here!)
Remember that one of the biggest sources of environmental toxins entering your body is through animal foods, which are concentrate toxins in their flesh as contaminants move up the food supply.

So Can You Follow the Beauty Detox Principles?

You can absolutely follow the Beauty Detox guidelines and eat Beauty Detox Foods while you’re pregnant, like cutting out refined foods, dairy, gluten, and fried foods and eating Light to Heavy throughout the day. In fact, it’s a sure way to get plenty of the nutrients you and your growing baby need while you’re pregnant. Increase the intake of the foods and nutrients as discussed above, and add an excellent prenatal vitamin and others that your doctor recommends. Regardless of the Beauty Stage you’re in when you get pregnant, whether you still eat some animal products or you no longer eat them at all, you can meet all of the nutritional goals for a healthy pregnancy.

What I don’t recommend is attempting to move through the phases too quickly while pregnant. It is not a time to unleash a lot of toxins in your system. Use it as a guide for incorporating more Beauty Foods with the important Beauty Fats, Beauty Minerals, Beauty Proteins, and Beauty Vitamins into your diet, a guide for making nutritious choices over the ones that won’t do you or your baby any good (like the empty calories in those fried and refined foods!), and eating too much fatty foods.

Enjoy this sacred time for nourishing yourself and baby!

This post was originally featured on Kimberly’s blog

There’s a lot to worry about when you’re pregnant: Is your baby developing properly? Are you gaining a healthy amount of weight? Do you want to know the baby’s sex? What about names? And childcare? And a nursery?

Like many other women, when I found out that my husband and I were expecting, my head became the headquarters of Worry Central, but curiously, I wasn’t overly concerned about birth defects or college costs. I was singularly, obsessively focused on one thing:

The Stroller.

At first, I justified this by saying that I had a natural enthusiasm for baby gear. Then I said that I just “knew what I wanted” because my niece and nephew had one stroller from heaven that drove like a Lexus and another with tires that hated curbs, bumps, and cracks.

“How many times did they wake up from a nap because I rolled the stroller over a twig?” I’d say to my husband. “We need a stroller with good wheels.”

But soon even justification couldn’t mask my fanaticism: My husband would find me furiously typing on my computer each morning, researching strollers. In the evening, my eyes would be glued to internet reviews of every stroller data point from suspension to weight to safety to ease of folding. My mom would call to say hi, and I’d have nothing to talk about but my latest stroller discoveries.

I visited five stores to try out various models.

In the meantime, friends and family who weren’t exposed to my compulsive stroller search would remark that I seemed very calm for a pregnant woman.

“I am calm,” I’d say, “Except for this stroller thing.”

The worst part of it was: I couldn’t figure out why this stroller mattered so much. But like most problems in life, once I finally began to admit my stroller obsession, I began to understand more of what it was about. And I learned that I didn’t suffer alone: My cousin told me she had a similar fixation with cribs (it had to be non-toxic and made in America) and a friend admitted she couldn’t stop thinking about bassinets.

Like me, they knew intellectually that their obsessions didn’t warrant the worry they put into them, especially when given all the other important things that happen during pregnancy: Your body is undergoing momentous changes; your family structure is about to permanently shift; how you’re going to maintain friendships or a work-life balance or an exercise routine or find time to sleep are all grand mysteries.

And yet, none of those things preoccupied us. What did? Bassinets. Cribs. Strollers.
That’s when I began to realize that focusing on the stroller might not be such a bad thing. In fact, maybe it was so important to me because it was one thing I could also control at a time when virtually every other change was outside my control. I have no ability to predict whether I’ll develop gestational diabetes or will get my pre-pregnancy shape back or whether my child will be bullied in school. I can’t predict whether my husband and I will be able to save enough for our little girl’s education and not a clue what labor will be like. And because these things are so far out of my control, worrying about them won’t do me any good.

But the stroller was different. The stroller was something I could handle, a reminder that even with all the unpredictables, there was something I could ensure would be okay.

In the end, I did find a stroller I loved, and I can’t wait for our future little girl to take her first tour in it. I can also see in retrospect that obsessing about a stroller actually provided a channel for the rest of my nervous energy. Instead of focusing on what I couldn’t control, I focused on what I could, and while that made me look like a kooky stroller fanatic to everyone else, it also helped maintain my sanity.

What are you worried about in pregnancy? Are there ways that you can distract yourself from the worry? What can you control and what is beyond your ability to manage?

I’m delusional. Really, I am. Each day I wake up and try to convince myself that being almost 40 and pregnant isn’t so bad—that I can still rock it like a 20-something preggo mama. After all, I am married to someone 15 years my junior. I have street cred, right?

Screw street cred. Seriously…who am I kidding? This being almost 40 and pregnant “stuff” is like having sex in a 90 degree, non-air-conditioned room. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to be pregnant—very thankful for this little life growing inside of me. I wouldn’t change things for the world! I just wish all the media reports and so-called expert advice told the real story. When you’re almost or over 40, pregnancy does take a toll on your already “aging” body. Take it from me. I’ve been pregnant five times over the span of 23 years. It was MUCH easier when I was in my twenties.

Older and pregnant? Here’s a look at some of the joys that come along with it:

-It’s a well-known fact that as we age, our bladders become weaker. If you’ve already had a baby or two (or four like I have), chances are your bladder is already pretty damn weak. And when you’re pregnant, with the baby and all the gazunk resting squarely on your innards, things are probably as reliable as a swimming pool that has been shot with a nail gun.

-Unless you’re Dolly Parton or blessed with phenomenal genes, everything starts heading south right around age 38. You might be pregnant and filling out in some places, but things are not about to suddenly point north. It’s like holding two water-filled tube socks up to your chest.

-Aches and pains are inevitable as we move toward our twilight years. Add in the cervix kicks, Braxton Hicks, backaches and other reminders that your body is harvesting life and getting ready for labor, and being older and pregnant is about as much fun as being a voodoo doll in a federal prison.

-At 40 we require more sleep than we did when we were 20. Pregnant? Forget it. Aside from the first trimester when you’re practically narcoleptic, sleep is not going to happen. Yes, the second trimester does bring about a sudden rush of energy. But this is the kind that is like adult ADD meets crystal meth. Your body and brain NEVER shut down! The third trimester, you can’t get comfortable. Sleep is still nothing but a memory. Good thing zombies are back in fashion.

-A recent study revealed that pregnancy does indeed cause some memory loss. Great. Old age does, too. Smack ‘em together, and you’re the equivalent of Lucy in 50 First Dates.

-As we get older, hormone levels fluctuate. One day they’re up, the next day they’re down. Throw these fluctuations in with extreme, out-of-control pregnancy hormones, and, holy shoots, you’ve suddenly become a weeping Jack the Ripper.

Okay. Maybe I’m being a little overly dramatic and hyper-sensitive. Blame #6! There are some positives to being an older preggo. For one, you’ve miraculously delayed the onset of menopause for at least another nine months. Woo hoo! And two, that insatiable sexual appetite that many pregnant women experience is still present no matter how “seasoned” and pregnant you are. Hubba bubba mama! Enjoy!

This post was originally published on Crystal’s blog, Mommifried.com.