23 Weeks: Surprises

Things that have surprised me about being pregnant:

1) That you spend over half of your pregnancy without a bump.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it was really so unexpected. I never really given much thought to the process of pregnancy. I knew ~9+ months and 40 weeks, but if you had said “I’m 16 weeks” to me, it wouldn’t have meant much back then. I thought bumps showed up early in the second trimester and most of pregnancy was spent waddling around huge. I’m now 2.5 months into the second trimester and juuuuuuust now looking pregnant. I know every woman shows differently, but I’m also surprised that someone with such short stature would take so long to look pregnant. Or that I would even care! But surprisingly, I do. And I’m glad the little guy is taking up more space.

2) That morning sickness was even worse than I was prepared for.

Most people know that morning sickness = nausea and sometimes vomiting. But the thought of those two things just isn’t that bad. It’s like you don’t remember how bad nausea is until you HAVE IT! I figured I might wake up feeling a little off and have some toast and feel great. But I was surprised at how hard it hit me all.day.long. Again, this doesn’t happen to all women, but I think over 75% experience some form of morning sickness, and even a little nausea is pretty awful to live with. This makes me wonder if labor is also going to be much worse than I think it is….oh dear.

3) That the baby moving really does feel weird!

As much as I love connecting with him through movements, sometimes, in certain positions, it kind of freaks me out that there’s something alliiiiiivvveee in me. People always say “I think it would feel like an alien!” but I never really thought it would. Until I really did feel the movements. And they do feel like an alien!! But at the same time, so cute!! The more I feel them, the more baby-like they get and the more fun they are to experience.

13 weeks (4)

4) That I really don’t miss alcohol, runny eggs, cold smoked salmon and the like.

Well I do miss the act of swirling a glass of red around during cocktail hour with friends, but it’s hard to believe I haven’t had a buzz (or hangover!) in 6 months. If you asked me “Do you want a glass of wine” I’d say that yes, I do want one and am sad I can’t partake in the in the social aspect or the fun to tasting different flavors and varieties. But I don’t really miss any of the effects of alcohol.  Makes me really wish there were more alcohol-free drinks that tasted as delicious and complex as the real deal out there!  It’s more the culinary aspect of it that I miss. Perhaps all the creative mocktails I’ve had in restaurants and things have helped fill the need for a social drink. And I hope that once I am able to partake in tasting again, I can do more sipping and tasting and  guzzling. I have the same sentiments toward runny eggs – as much as I like them, I really don’t miss them. Fully cooked eggs taste just as good to me. If anything, it’s just the fun of seeing where the yolk will run that I miss! And finally, as much as vegetables made me gag from weeks 6 to 15, I really DID miss vegetables in the first trimester. I’m glad they are back. They don’t taste as delicious as they used to, but they taste good again.

5) That I’d make so many good mom friends before becoming one myself.

I am so thankful for all of my mom friends! They are a wealth of advice and experience! I’d encourage any pregnant woman to seek out a mother’s group that welcomes you or have your friends with kids introduce you to other women and schedule a lunch date. Even though I have had lots of babysitting experience in my life, being around these new babies has just been a nice way to ease into having my own.


6) That I would be so excited and not nervous at all.

Before I was married, when I imagined my wedding day and walking down the aisle, I would get so nervous. Even during the rehearsal, I was a ball of nerves about that walk. But on my actual wedding day, I was so EXCITED to walk down the aisle that all nervousness was overpowered with joy. I’m guessing something similar is going on now. The excitement overpowers the nervousness. That’s not to say I’m not a little unsure about what’s to come but just that I’m really looking forward to the whole experience and that eases my fears.

7) That I’m having a boy.

For some reason I had always pictured myself the mom of daughters. Probably because I am a daughter and a sister. But this guy is no gal!! And the more I think about him as a he, the more I can just tell it was meant to be (and I don’t really believe in things being meant to be). I’m so excited to be this boy’s mom, and I can’t wait to meet him! Maybe the fact that we have three boy bears was foreshadowing : )


What parts of pregnancy took you by surprise?



Pumping (And I Don’t Mean My Breasts)

Baby You’re A Firework

Pregnant In America

The Magic Inside


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22 weeks

75 thoughts on “23 Weeks: Surprises”

  1. How fast it goes by! Those first 20 weeks drug on and on, but once I got to where you are, it flew by. Before I knew it, my water was breaking and my little girl was here. I also thought I’d miss being pregnant a lot, but I guess I haven’t had much time to miss it now that she’s here :).

  2. I have some similar ones as you..I thought I would miss drinking more and while I miss having a glass of wine or 2 for the social/enjoyment part of it I also do not miss hangovers or the effects of alcohol.
    I am surprised by how normal I feel. I guess I thought pregnancy would also be this waddling/sick/feeling pregnant event and it’s not….yet anyways lol I’m sure I will waddle at the end.
    Also, that I’m having a boy. For as long as I can remember I used to always say I was only having girls, I only wanted girls. But now I’m so excited that baby is a boy!!
    I’m also more excited than nervous too and I thought I would be anxious and dreading the birth but I kind of can’t wait!

  3. That I still looked 6 months pregnant after I had that baby! I was the first of all my friend and no one prepared me for that. Luckily, it went way fast!

    1. Yes I agree! Ha ha. Note – take your maternity jeans/clothes to the hospital/birthing center etc. You will most likely not be wearing home your pre pregnancy jeans! 🙂 It also surprised me how squishy my tummy was right after delivery. NO more rock hard tummy you felt right before delivery. It will be deflated some but just so squishy feeling. 🙂 So don’t expect to see your abs right away.

        1. And my weight seemed to shift. My maternity jeans were tighter after than they were before I gave birth!

          1. Same happened to me! A week after delivery, I tried pulling on my maternity jeans and started get frustrated because they were not going up– my mom came in my bedroom thinking something was wrong and I said, ‘Mom! I can’t get my maternity jeans past my hips!!!’ She looked at me like I was silly and seemed shocked that I didn’t know that ‘your hips widen after you give birth’. Whhaatt?! That very day we went and bought a generic belly bandit! It ended up truly making my hips even smaller than pre-pregnancy!

  4. I just gave birth 9 days ago so ALL of this is fresh on my mind. I was also not phased my all the foods I “wasn’t allowed to eat.” It’s like something just takes over and it doesn’t matter b/c you want to do what is safest for your little one. I agree that it is wise to seek AS MUCH support from other moms prior to having your baby. I sought out multiple friends to get their feedback on all issues such as infant sleeping, breastfeeding, what to really expect after delivery, etc etc. SO helpful. Of course everyones story is different but pregnancy + delivery brings us all together on the same playing field so seeking counsel is important!!

  5. I think all these things are surprising when you become pregnant. I hear people talk about them, but then when it happens to me it’s surprising and new. You are finally getting to experience it for yourself. So, it’s special. And, speaking of babies, my SIL had her first yesterday. So exciting!

    1. That’s a good point – even though you hear about these things, when they actually happen the are still somewhat unexpected!

  6. What a sweet post, Kath. I think it important for parents to express to themselves and others how transformative the experience of becoming Moms and Dads is. It is the most drastic change in your life because you will never be responsible only for yourself anymore, and that state of being is literally indescribable to someone who hasn’t experienced it. The little examples you give here of things that surprised you is just the start of that realization. Welcome to parenthood! It is great having thoughtful and self-reflective people like you and Matt here with us.

  7. I agree about the alcohol. I miss the social aspect and the idea of relaxing on my deck at night with a nice glass of red and a fire. But I don’t miss the effects of alcohol at all.

    I was surprised at how much I really LIKE being pregnant.
    Maybe it was horror stories from other women, or the thought that you spend most of the 9 months waddling around. But I was under the impression that being pregnant is uncomfortable and not enjoyable.
    Thankfully I have had a pretty uneventful pregnancy, and I have loved almost every minute of growing my little one! It is truly an amazing experience.

  8. I also thought I’d be a mom to daughters, and the first was, in fact, a girl. But then….a boy! And another! There are people now who only know me through my sons (daughter older and in the Peace Corps) who are surprised to find out I have a girl! They tell me I’m such a “mom to boys”! Very blessed to have both, and I wish that for anyone who wants both.

    As someone who gave up drinking almost 21 years ago, (after my youngest was almost 3) I can assure you that not only are there delicious beverages out there, but also that life is sweeter, richer, truer, and more authentic without alcohol. IMHO 🙂

  9. I always thought I’d be a mom of boys (I have 4 brothers! I’m a mans girl). I was pretty shocked to be having a girl but now that I have her I couldn’t imagine having a boy! I want all girls now haha.

    the thing I was suprised the most by pregnancy was that I felt great until the last week! I kept waiting to feel “done” and I really only felt that way for like 3 days before going into labor bc for the 2 days before labor I was having constant braxton hicks and I had never ever felt them before! I thought I’d be miserable the whole last trimester. I also had a small bump which suprised me, I’m so glad I never got huge but I had imagined I would be. Parents at the school I work at and the nurses when I first got to the hospital thought I was in preterm labor bc I didn’t look big enough at the end haha.

  10. I really thought I’d show sooner, too! I’m finally at that point where strangers can tell, lol. Also, some days I look more pregnant than others- I suppose it depends on what I’m wearing.

    I have the same issues with veggies- I didn’t like them at all in the first trimester, then I had to douse them with creamy dressing. While now I can eat everything just fine, I still have moments where I’d rather eat chips. Eating all the junk I normally don’t eat has been hard mentally because I worry that I’m going to pack on all those pounds I lost prior to getting pregnant. I don’t mind baby weight, but I want to make sure the weight I gain is healthy.

  11. I’m surprised at how CHILL I have been…sure I have had some crazy moments (was that cheese pasteurized? did I have too much caffeine????) but for a Type A person, I have surprised myself with my ability to sit back and enjoy. So far, anyway 🙂

  12. I have to agree with surprise number one. I’m in my 25th week and still am not showing very much. But apparently we aren’t the only ones surprised by this. I constantly get questions/ comments from people, “Are you sure you’re pregnant?!?” or “That must be an awfully small baby….” I agree with your number four, too. My husband opened a nice bottle of wine to have with dinner last night. The thought just repulsed me and I had the nerve to ask, “Why in the world are you drinking that?!” Silly question.

  13. I had the same bump surprise you did. I didn’t even have any real bump til 20 weeks and I didn’t really look very pregnant until the 8th and 9th months. It was odd–I wasn’t in discomfort or anything, and could touch my toes until the morning I delivered. (I gained 25 lbs — but my bump was never huge). That surprised me most of all.

    Also, the instant love and connection we felt from the moment we knew she was in there. I felt like I knew her from the get-go … and our bond ever since has been incredible.

    I loved pregnancy–so many of my friends hated it; hated being big and uncomfortable … but I would have kept her cooking in there for even longer. 😉 (Though I wanted to meet her!)

    And you can bet I felt phantom kicks once she was born. It’s BIZARRE. THAT was a huge postpartum surprise.

      1. Shoulders? Wow! Yea, it’s weird–baby is out of belly and you still feel kicks. It only lasted a few weeks on occasion but it weirded me out! Pregnancy is truly fascinating!

      2. SHUT UP, I do too! It is the weirdest thing. I totally agree with the “alien baby movements” – craziest thing in my opinion is seeing your entire belly move as the baby moves!

    1. I think the “phantom kicks” is actually your uterus retracting back down to size… it’s such a weird feeling 🙂

      1. I always thought the risk was very remote, like 1 in 30,000 eggs, and then even so, if you happened to contract salmonella it would give you symptoms of food poisoning, but otherwise not affect the baby. I even think more people get food poisoning from leafy greens than eggs.

        But we all calculate our own risks every day…we get in cars and we live our lives. I personally feel comfortable with the risk of eating runny eggs, blue cheese, hot dogs, even sushi, but I won’t drink alcohol and some people do that pregnant…we all make our own best decisions. Just wanted to throw another perspective out.

        1. Sure, I understand that. But since I like them fine cooked, I don’t care about not having them runny

  14. You can have a glass of wine with dinner. Savor it with food. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to scare you.

  15. I’m at 12 weeks & the most surprising thing so far is how well I feel. I just always assumed I would have really bad nausea & feel like crap. At 6 weeks, I felt off in the mornings before I ate & sometimes throughout the day if I was getting hungry. My doctor & I figured it was most likely blood sugar related so now I eat smaller meals more frequently & that has made a big difference. I have noticed that I can’t stand vegetables at home, though. I can eat salads & veggies when we go out to eat, but I just don’t want anything to do with them at home. Must be the preparation part!
    It was great meeting you at Caitlin’s baby shower! I’ve had a lot of fun catching up on your posts 🙂

  16. I have been shocked at how slow the time goes- and how fast the time goes…. all at the same time!
    I do miss my wine and a good margarita A LOT, I can’t lie. But, it is worth it when I get to feel the little one kick me in the mornings and let me know that he/she is awake for the day!…. I have also been surprised at how much brain space the baby and all things baby takes up. Learning about it is a new hobby that is a must so that I’m prepared!

  17. I would have to say that I am one of those people that showed really early on! I am 23 weeks today and have had a bump since month 3! I started wearing maternity pants after 8 weeks and shirts after three months! I haven’t gained a lot of weight (just the normal recommended amount) and I wasn’t overweight to begin with – my stomach just stuck straight out! It’s crazy – people keep saying I’m gonna have a big baby – which isn’t the most pleasant thing to hear (or even true). I think maybe it’s because i have such a small torso – there was nowhere for the baby to go but out. Who knows.

    I think was surprised me the most was how worried I’d be about everything and relaxed at the same time. I worried when my nausea took a short two day hiatus or when the baby didn’t kick for a long time, but then I am not reading every baby book I come across (which I thought I’d do – I’m a huge researcher). I thought I’d be on top of my birth plan and crazy-organized but I am super relaxed about pregnancy and birth, etc. However, I’m freaked about childcare and taking off work and worried that I’m not eating enough or I’m eating too much. It’s weird!

  18. I agree with a lot of what you posted, including the aversion to some of my favorite foods which lasted for most of my pregnancy- including pb, bananas, tofu and edamame- so sad! Additionally, I think people’s excitement about my pregnancy surprised me. Once it was clear I was pregnant, most people I talked to had questions for me and were sincerely interested in how it was going. That really touched me!

    1. I agree that I was a little surprised about how sincerely people kept in touch about the pregnancy and how we were doing, but much appreciated for sure!

      One other “surprise” for me was that pregnancy is 10 months. I guess I let the well known 9 months of pregnancy / 3 trimesters override my math skills even though the goal is to get to 40 weeks. haha I guess that is a good start to get over though because I feel like I’m trying to overcome a lot of other pregnancy/motherhood misconceptions as well.

      Back to the books!

      1. AGREED! I am well aware of 40 weeks and “more than 9 months” but today when I turned 6 months, I thought “3 to go” and then I had to remember it’s really FOUR to go!

  19. I was surprised how fast my belly showed! I had a legit bump at 14 weeks, and “popped” at 18 weeks! I always got “are you sure it’s not twins?” The women in my family just get big 🙂

    I also got waves of annoying symptoms. 2 months of all-over itchiness, then gone. 1 month of heartburn, then gone. Last month swelling. Sweaty palms for the last month too! I hated that one.

    Now that my son is here, I’m surprised at how big my boobs have gotten! I’ve gone up 2 full cup sizes! My chest stayed basically the same during pregnancy, but now with breastfeeding they’ve just blown up!

  20. I’m surprised that carpal tunnel is a pregnancy symptom… and I still have it 3weeks later! arrrgghh!

    I really wanted to ‘look’ pregnant the whole time too! I kept waiting and waiting for this big ole bump to appear, and I woke up one day it was there! Big, round, and beautiful!

  21. The morning sickness and how profound, life-taking-over, life-altering, and severe it could be (and was). I had no idea. I thought you were a little queasy, threw up a couple times for a week or two, and that was that. Not for me. It was most of the pregnancy and severe. I’ll spare you, but…severe. I shudder at the memories! I was so sick that the thought of alcohol was a foreign concept; clearly didn’t miss drinking at all!

  22. The baby moving really is weird! I was super weirded out (but LOVED IT) when you would see her arms/legs/butt go across my stomach.

  23. I was surprised that I got morning sickness too. I thought for sure I wouldn’t be the type but I got it BAD. I also am a daughter and have four sisters (two brothers too) and just sort of assumed I’d have a daughter. Really big mental adjustment for me when I found out it was a boy haha.

  24. The nausea!! I threw up every day from 10 weeks until the day that I gave birth. I did not enjoy pregnancy. I do love being a mom though.

    Labor was way worse than I thought it would be. My son was “sunny side up” meaning that he was facing the wrong way and caused major back pain. Even with an epidural it was painful. That being said, I could totally do it all over again. I’m not sure that I want more kids but if I had to do it all over again I could.

    ps. Boys are awesome! 🙂

  25. I was surprised I kept getting bigger in the last 4-6 weeks. I thought I was growing at a steady rate, and then I had some huge growth spurts! I was very uncomfortable at the end.
    I was surprised I rebounded pretty well, still have pounds to go, but it seemed to go fast in the begining.
    I was surprised at the recovery pain from delivery! No one told me about that!
    I was surprised at having a boy–we were literally surprised because we didn’t find out! Now it’s definitely the best and cutest and we couldn’t imagine it any other way!

  26. Very honest post ! It’s right that compared to other pregnant women around me, you’re not showing a lot, but it will come fast when it will !

  27. I was also surprised at how intense morning sickness was. well the word “morning” should really be dropped from that phrase. I had migraines along with my sickness and really bad charlie horses in my calves in the middle of the night. I only get both of those while pregnant. And don’t worry, I actually found labor to be easier than expected (well the one without pitocin, but even still that one wasnt as bad as i thought). I just expected the worst and figured I could only be pleasantly surprised if it was easier!

  28. The nausea this time around took me by surprise, because I was not nauseas with our first child. I was only sick once or twice with our first child.

    I am so glad to be having a boy, even though I would have been happy with a girl, because now we have one of each 🙂 It is funny how we had a girl first and then a boy only because all of our really good friends had a girl first and then a boy. It must have rubbed off on us 🙂


  29. I guess from your morning sickness posts I never got the picture that you suffered too badly beyond a week or so; I would say you were quite lucky in that respect! I definitely relate…I too was surprised by the intensity of the nausea. I really thought I would be strong like bull and just maintain my healthy eating habits. I can’t even look at salad, eggs, meat…blech. As someone who has always been so irritated by finicky eaters I’m dismayed to find myself joining that club! Unfortunately for me taking Unisom during the day would definitely be a recipe for sleeping on the job. I can’t believe you were able to function! Also, I’m a few weeks behind you and a very similar height and build, so I’m curious to see if I “pop” on a similar schedule.

    1. It was really, really bad for a week and then just switched to bad. I was able to eat again, but I was still nauseous a lot of the time 🙁

  30. I have no plans to have a baby soon, and don’t know if I ever want to have kids, but I am totally loving baby kerf. Even when I disagree with the things you say, or know I may do it differently, I appreciate your complete honesty and how you reflect on your choices- especially the understanding that plans may change! This will be such a wonderful “journal” for you to look back on once your boy arrives, and I know it must be so helpful to other soon-to-be moms out there reading.

  31. I was surprised at just how awful the 24/7 nausea was as well and just how strong my aversions to healthy foods were! I thought I would be mind over matter….so far from the truth. I was also surprised at how quickly I forgot that terrible feeling until I got pregnant again. And again. Now as I am just getting over the feeling for the third time, I think I will NOT forget it….especially trying to chase two kids under 3 and work full time!
    I was surprised I had two girls because it was my dream to have sisters close in age, but I thought for sure I would have had boys.
    I was surprised about the bump too- in my first pregnancy that is. It took until the fifth/ sixth month to really show up. Now on #3 and it shows a lot sooner.
    I was surprised how much I enjoyed the hospital experience! The nurses, the visitors who brought me meals from my favorite places and just being there with my husband and baby not caring about anything else outside that room for a few days.

  32. Kath – I don’t know if you are planning on it, but would you be willing to do a slideshow of how your belly has grown over 40 weeks once you approach your due date? I have been taking pictures sporadically (I am 16 weeks) and I am kicking myself for not doing it more regularly. Just a thought, but I would love to see the progression!

      1. Just like that – I guess what I meant to say is that I am looking forward to seeing 36 picsc in a row of these (assuming you go to 40 weeks)!

  33. Definitely the nausea! The alllll day, make you depressed, make you hate veggies, nausea. I love this second trimester and the joys of kale again. Goodness me!

  34. I was surprised how quickly I started showing the second time around! With our first child i wasn’t in maternity clothes until after 20 weeks, this time it is much earlier. Loved this post. I agree on the morning sickness…you can’t really imagine how awful it feels until you have experienced it.

  35. Great post! But honestly, pregnancy is the easy part of motherhood. Labor is worse than you think and actually caring for a newborn is even harder than that. One thing that I wish I had known during pregnancy was just how much life was about to change and how very difficult the first few weeks would be. But as a mom to a 4 week old I can tell you it does get easier and from what I hear will only get better and better over time.

    1. I agree although I’m sure those with particularly risky pregnancies would disagree. But a normal pregnancy, sure.. I mean, there’s not much you can do, lol. Once the baby comes out, it’s not so… “automatic” (for lack of a better word). I always remind myself and my friends with kids to just trust their instincts. You’ll know better than anyone what your baby needs and while I wouldn’t say anything gets easier (I’m the mom to a 3 year old who thinks she’s 16), you do get the hang of things and can relax more knowing you’re doing the best you can.

  36. 1. I was surprised (disappointed) that I didn’t look like I was that pregnant–I am 6 feet tall and all torso, the baby had a lot of room to spread out.

    2. I was also suprised how active I remained. I ran up until 32 weeks and hill walked and used the ARC trainer until the day I delivered.

    3. I was surprised I had a girl–when the dr said it was a girl I said ‘are you sure?!’ I even had a blue outfit for the baby to come home in;-) I have no idea why I didn’t consider it could be a girl!

  37. This is such a sweet post Kath! I am not a mother but I love reading about your pregnancy and it is really interesting to hear a pregnant woman’s perspective.

  38. Youre cute. Does anyone think theyre suppose to be a boy Mom? I didnt but it feels groovy once it happens.

  39. As the mother of two boys, I never saw you as the mother of girls! You are the perfect boy’s mom! Girls have so much clutter (think accessories & bowes everywhere).
    You like to exercise, engage in physical activities, and are a minimalist. That is the recipe for a mother of a son!

  40. This isn’t related to the current post, and I haven’t read BERF in awhile – but I just noticed how cute your heading on the page is! I love it! The baby mushroom, with the “momma” mushroom, and the little and big spoon. I also love the grapefruit, and kumquat, etc – which I imagine signifies the various stages of the fetus (?). Very cute, and very clever! Happy Mother’s day, too!

  41. Aww sweet post <3 I really thought you had remarked about having an easier time with nausea than you expected, but I must be mistaken!

  42. So funny, I’m 9 weeks into #2, and I couldn’t eat vegetables with either during the first trimester. SOOO weird for a veghead like me! My poor garden…

    And I was terrified of having a boy. Just never pictured it, and couldn’t imagine myself as a boy mommy. Now, I can’t imagine myself as anything else 🙂

  43. I’m not sure you’ll read this, but it’s just so wild to be reading this! I read this blog from “conception” onwards when it was first published! It would’ve been hard to imagine I’d be reading every post again a bit more than two years later, pregnant with my own little one (13 weeks!) thanks for the wealth of knowledge, info and insights, both on KERF and BERF! ~Kat, long time reader first time commenter.

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