Veteran Advice Before You Conceive

Bits of Wisdom

It starts innocently enough: your first baby doll, your first babysitting job. The instinct to be a mother is a powerful drive. By the time you are in your 20s, the desire to procreate might be the first thing on your mind each morning and the stuff that dreams are made of each night.

Deciding to conceive can be as difficult as plotting and planning for years or as simple as throwing your birth control out the window. But before you take action, diary writers from Parentingzilla have a few bits of wisdom to share. Chances are, you’ll learn a thing or two you never even dreamed about.


Getting pregnant isn’t always easy. Not every couple conceives on the first try. Many people find themselves months behind schedule, far from the ideal, wondering if infertility might be an issue. If you think your worry stops once the test reads positive, think again.

“I thought miscarriage only happened to someone who wasn’t healthy or was kind of frail,” says Parentingzilla diary writer Kathy Woltman. She learned the hard way that miscarriage can happen to anyone and for no apparent reason. While having this information shouldn’t turn you away from trying to conceive, it should begin to prepare you for the possibility that conception is unpredictable. That’s a head-start Woltman wish she could have had.

“I wish I had known that miscarriage happens to a lot of women, and it is a fact of pregnancy,” she says.

Unfortunately, not all pregnancies are picturesque. There are moments of heavy stress and inner turmoil. But all women should be aware that modern medicine can contribute to the worry.

Rena Tassinari, a Parentingzilla diary writer, had two Alpha Fetal Protein (AFP) tests that indicate an increased risk for Down syndrome. “… The doctors scared me to death about there possibly being something wrong with my baby,” she says.

Tassinari opted for an amniocentesis with her first pregnancy. Still, when an AFP yielded similar results with her second pregnancy, she was much better educated about the high rate of false positives. Instead of accepting another stressful and possibly dangerous amniocentesis, Tassinari felt comfortable with an ultrasound that showed no “soft signs” of Down syndrome.

Before you conceive, it is time to read and research so that when and if something abnormal occurs, your tendency toward emotional decision-making is backed by rational thought and information, not just the doctor’s or nurse’s word and opinion.

As time progresses and the baby grows, the symptoms of pregnancy grow, too.

“I really am too tired to do much of anything these last few weeks,” says Nicole Ticknor, a Parentingzilla diary writer. “If [my husband and I] knew ahead of time, we certainly would have traveled a lot more right before conceiving.”

That’s right; before you think about packing a bag for the hospital, why not decide if there is a little bit of adventure left inside of you. A growing baby will crowd out that wandering spirit in no time at all.


“I’m quite sure that if I’d known how bad [childbirth] was going to be, I would not have gotten pregnant,” says Parentingzilla diary writer Sheila Schmidt. “I would have at least scheduled a Cesarean section.”

Face it: Childbirth can be painful. You may plan to have an epidural. You may intend to meditate your way through labor. But in the end, birth is unpredictable. If you think for a moment that you can chart a course for childbirth, you’d better wake up fast.

It sounds harsh, but it is the reality. Some women have had failed epidurals. Some have Cesarean sections without being fully anesthetized. And then there are women like Parentingzilla diary writer Peggy Chang.

“I guess I had so much fear about childbirth and parenting that I didn’t try to become pregnant sooner,” she says. “Now I’ve tasted the joy of pregnancy and parenting. I don’t regret being pregnant at all and can’t wait for the next time to come.”

Some women enjoy labor. That’s just another piece of the unpredictable childbirth pie.


And just when you think that the hard part is over — your egg managed to be infiltrated by one lowly sperm, you managed to make it through the first trimester without miscarrying, and you somehow passed a watermelon through an orange-sized hole — you are now a parent.

“I had no idea how difficult and exhausting having a newborn can be,” says Beth Skarupa, a Parentingzilla diary writer. “But I don’t think anyone can really know this until they experience it themselves.”

“Exhausted” might be an understatement. For some new parents, “incoherent” is a better word. If you are a person who wants or needs a large amount of sleep to function exactly before you conceive is time to figure out how you will handle this joy of parenting.

“For years I had yearned for a baby, took care of relatives’ children and thought I’d be a great mom,” says Parentingzilla diary writer Megan Byers. ” … But it is so different when it is 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Crazy. Parenting is the only job on this planet that requires total self-sacrifice without so much as one measly sick day in return. And to think that after experiencing all of this, someone, like Parentingzilla diary writer June would say, “I never thought I would have loved someone enough to give up my life for them.”

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