profile picture of Elena Donovan Mauer
Elena Donovan Mauer

The Bump Editor Reveals Her Pregnancy Challenges, Choices

Julia, site director of The Bump and mom of two, shares her pregnancy revelations.

Julia Wang, Queens, New York

I wish I knew…about all the dizzying plans and decisions you have to make.

During my first pregnancy, I quickly learned that the amount of decision-making and planning during pregnancy is mind-boggling, and you have to do it in such a short period of time. One of the most challenging things for me was navigating maternity leave—my benefits and rights—and how much time I could take off to spend with my son before having to go back to work. It was stressful planning maternity leave and child care almost back-to-back.

I wish I knew…how much I’d need my husband’s support even before baby arrived.

My husband was very supportive, and we talked a lot about what our options were. Knowing I had a partner to lean on emotionally and in this decision-making eased a lot of the stress. I also talked to mom friends who’ve been through it. I can’t emphasize how important that was for me.

I wish I knew…how unpredictable giving birth really is.

I’d been set on having a natural delivery, but pretty far into the third trimester, I started to freak out a little. I said to my OB, “Um, is it too late to change my mind about natural delivery?” He reassured me that everything would be fine—as long as I didn't give birth in the middle of December, when he was going on vacation. Of course, that’s when I went into labor! Everything turned out fine, and I delivered a healthy baby boy, thanks to the attending doctors on call that night.

I wish I knew…that it can get a little gross.

One morning toward the end of pregnancy, my mucus plug came out. I told my husband I thought my water broke. He said he thought it was the mucus plug. There we were, looking down into the toilet bowl, arguing! We found the booklet we got at our birthing class, and my husband was right.

I wish I knew…how much we could have spent on baby supplies.

I didn’t have a huge baby registry because we didn’t have a huge home. At the time, we lived in a small Manhattan one-bedroom apartment. We were lucky enough to be able to borrow some of the big-ticket items—bassinet, car seat, stroller—which helped us save quite a bit of money. We registered for smaller items, like crib sheets, bottles, clothes and swaddle blankets. I relied mostly on mom friends for advice on what to buy and what to skip. They told me what the really great gear was.

I wish I knew…that the cravings are for real.

I craved sour and citrus like nobody’s business. I made my poor husband buy hot-and-sour soup constantly and I would guzzle Tropicana orange juice day and night. I never drink orange juice! I would also eat giant pomelos with the plate resting on my belly. I think this may have frightened my husband, but he was always supportive.

I wish I knew…that there’s really a glow.

Before getting pregnant, I was worried about how I would deal with all the physical and emotional changes of pregnancy, so I was really pleasantly surprised that I felt this overall pregnancy “glow.” Every day, I was blown away by the magnitude of what my body was doing: growing a human being. I felt really good and healthy throughout most of my pregnancy.

The Bump and Allstate Insurance Company teamed up to bring you Take It From Me—a series of personal stories (and real-world advice!) from couples and experts who’ve been there. To find a local Allstate agent who can advise you as you make big life changes, visit Allstate.com.