You put up with some weird body changes 鈥 like loose joints, drooling, and a stuffy nose, to name a few 鈥 when you鈥檙e pregnant. All this pregnancy stuff happens for a reason (a baby!), and while there are some parts of it that no one misses, there are a ton of pretty useful lessons you can learn over those nine months鈥 maybe even a few that prepare you for what happens after the baby is born. Read on for the six ways pregnancy helps prepare you for the next stage of your life: parenthood.

1. You鈥檙e always thinking about someone else. Until now, it was all about you (maybe your S.O. too). Before, you really didn鈥檛 have to think much past your own needs and wants. Now that you鈥檙e preggo, that鈥檚 all changed. You can鈥檛 do whatever you want anymore. That glass of Pinot will have to wait. You need to think about that baby growing inside of you. The same goes for parenting (although you can have that glass of Pinot). You鈥檒l spend a lot of time putting your kiddo鈥檚 needs in front of your own.

2. You have to deal with exhaustion. Those sleepless nights you鈥檝e heard so much about start well before the baby arrives. Sorry, but that鈥檚 how it goes. Your growing baby is putting all kinds of odd-feeling pressure on your body. You curl up with your pregnancy pillow and try to get some rest鈥 and then the baby starts kicking. Between the aches and pains, you also have to pee every five minutes. Running (or waddling) to the bathroom constantly throughout the night will get you ready for your not-so-sleepy baby.

3. Someone is always with you. Even though that baby of yours is still on the inside, you aren鈥檛 exactly alone. You feel her kick. You talk to her and gently rub her head through your belly (or maybe that鈥檚 her knee, you really aren鈥檛 sure). Get used to not being alone, because it鈥檚 rare for mamas. Whether you鈥檙e trying to pee in peace, attempting to answer emails, or just trying to stop and think for two seconds, your kiddo is always there.

4. You track milestones. As each week of your pregnancy passes by, you鈥檙e looking for those tell-tale signs that everything鈥檚 a-okay. Your belly鈥檚 growing, and you鈥檝e got all kinds of other symptoms going on. You take it week by week, waiting to meet some of the more major milestones. You鈥檒l keep right on doing the same thing when the baby gets here. With each week, month, and year, you鈥檙e looking forward to watching your baby develop and grow.

5. Your confidence sways. You can do this whole pregnancy thing 鈥 and the parenting part too. But there will be times when your self-confidence dips. It鈥檒l start during pregnancy and keep right on going through the next, um, 18 years. You鈥檒l second-guess yourself, think you鈥檙e doing it all wrong, and feel like a failure. Every mama does at some time or another. Whether you鈥檙e pregnant or parenting, you鈥檙e doing the best you can 鈥 and that鈥檚 all your kiddo expects of you.

6. You work through the fog. It鈥檚 the 17th time you鈥檝e locked yourself out of your car. In one week. That鈥檚 pregnancy brain at work. It feels like you鈥檙e in a fog, and you can鈥檛 concentrate on anything other than your growing bump. Get used to it. After the baby comes out, you鈥檒l progress into the mommy brain stage. Much like pregnancy brain, you鈥檒l feel kind of foggy, forgetful, and wonder, 鈥淲ill I ever fell normal again?鈥 Well, yes. At some point, the fog will lift and your memory will be back intact.

How did pregnancy prepare you for parenting? Tweet us @BritandCo!

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