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Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of women give birth every year, there’s a whole lot that first time moms don’t know before they make the decision to get pregnant and have children.

I’m really not sure why we don’t talk about the entire scope of what it takes to gestate and birth a baby more, but these 12 women aren’t keeping quiet.

If you’re curious what it’s really like, or what they wish someone had told them ahead of time, dive in!

12. But baby is fed, so all is well.

“I wish someone told me it was possible my milk wouldn’t come in. I’d pump and get half an ounce…all day. Thankfully, the lactation consultant set me up with formula until my milk came in, but it just never happened.

I never went through any of the pre- or post-breastfeeding symptoms. At the time I was grateful and still am, but I also feel like I missed out on a motherhood experience.”

—alylynn

11. It really can take you by surprise.

“I wish someone had warned me that I wouldn’t be able to control my bladder after birth!!!

I knew sneezing/laughing could be an issue, but for about four days after labor, I’d wake up in the morning and think, I have to pee! and I’d be walking to the bathroom and it would just run out.”

—boomcginty

10. It can be flat-out scary.

“Everything they show about preeclampsia in TV shows and movies is wrong. It can take weeks to slowly develop (for me, I had symptoms as early as 4 months), and it takes weeks to recover.

You will still have swelling, high blood pressure, etc., for weeks after giving birth and need to be monitored by your doctor until your body starts to normalize.”

—beaglerock

9. It stops right before you think you’re going to end up bald.

“Postpartum hair loss 😭. I just had my first baby, and the hair loss is horrible!

That, and I have horrible allergies now.”

—tawanab

8. Welcome to the club.

 “Acid reflux does not go away after giving birth.

Before I was pregnant, I never had acid reflux.

My daughter is a year and a half, and I still have to take a few antacid tablets before bed.”

—dellarock

7. It’s a bit unnerving.

“The swelling in your legs after you give birth.

Your legs get soooo big, you can barely move them at first, even after the epidural is out of your system.”

—karlac47ac0fc34

6. A real tragedy.

“I can’t eat spicy foods anymore after giving birth to my baby.”

—CrystalsandFlowers

5. You’re never quit ready for it.

“The post-birth blood clots that feel like you are delivering more babies.

They literally PLOP, they are so big.”

—kcordry76

4. Well that’s horrifying.

“I started experiencing chest tightness and had difficulty catching my breath after the smallest of activities. I thought I could put it off until my six-week checkup, but by week two of coming home from the hospital, I’d wake up feeling like I was drowning.

Turns out I WAS DROWNING in my own amniotic fluid that my body continued to produce. But with there no longer being a fetus to surround, it started to surround my lungs, suffocating me from the inside.”

—daleahandy99

3. The contractions just keep coming.

“Breastfeeding immediately postpartum and for a few days after will make your uterus cramp and cause pain that will be worse than the incision itself.”

—mirasha

2. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor.

“Everybody talks about postpartum depression, but I didn’t realize perinatal depression was just as common until I was in the thick of it. The hormones really messed with me, and that combined with the fact that I felt like garbage.

Constantly nauseous, more tired than I have ever been, and I felt like my body wasn’t mine anymore. I’m fortunate that I was able to manage okay with therapy.”

—kelzbelz313

1. It really seems like it shouldn’t be that way.

“How painful your nipples can be from breastfeeding.

I had two C-sections and I took the recovery in stride, but holy shit. My nipples are what broke me.

They were cracked, bruised, and bleeding.”

—katrinas4ee250778

All of this is true, and also, there’s so much more.

What do you wish someone would have told you beforehand?

If it’s not on this list, share it with us in the comments!