You’re probably in your third trimester, impatiently awaiting the big day. You’re satisfied that you’ve packed everything you need in your hospital bag, the baby’s nursery is all but complete, and you’ll be attending the last session of your birthing class this weekend. Or maybe you’re a newlywed, eagerly trying to conceive. You can’t wait for the day to come when you’ll hold your “Mini Me” in the crook of your arm, when you’ll dress your whole family up in matching outfits, and when you’ll plan his or her first birthday party. But don’t bask in these dreamy scenarios just yet. Sure, motherhood is wonderful, miraculous, and positively life-changing. But it’s also tiring, stressful, and can turn your whole life upside down. As the gals in GirlTalk will tell you, once you've plunged into motherhood, you'll realize there are a few things you'll wish you'd known back when that baby was still a bump. Already know that? Join the discussion at the GirlTalk forums and share your knowledge! But just in case you're new to the business of motherhood, here are a few things you should know before you have your first baby—things they don’t talk about (too much) in baby magazines or websites: Giving birth is like joining the Olympics—you need to train for it If you are aiming for normal childbirth (as opposed to a cesarean section), you need to have the energy and stamina to push and bear down for hours. Imagine holding your breath, then trying to push as if you have been constipated for months, all the while in the midst of the worst dysmenorrhea of your life (which is what a contraction feels like). Not to scare you or anything, but yes, it’s that tough. So while it’s true that you should not overexert yourself during pregnancy, you also need to start preparing for labor. Simple stretching exercises (Kegel exercises included), and frequently walking around (even in the mall) can go a long way when D-Day comes. Inquire about prenatal yoga classes. Also, birthing classes are a great way to learn how to properly stretch and squat; or ask your OB-GYN to show you a few moves.