This probably won’t be the cheeriest post you’ve read today, but for some people pregnancy isn’t all that cheerful. It’s ‘supposed’ to be, which I think can be unhelpful, unsupportive and dismissive of people’s very real physical ailments. One of my least favourite phrases is ‘you’re not ill, you’re pregnant’. Ok, that can be true but pregnancy can make you very ill indeed with complications and conditions that make my experience look like a walk in the park. To deny that fact is belittling to all pregnant women.
I have now experienced two first trimesters and they have both been unmitigatedly awful. The first was perhaps the worst of the two, but to be honest the jury’s out. The first was defined by constant, all-day, unrelenting nausea and frightening patches where I couldn’t stop being sick. It puttered along with anti-sickness medication and bed rest and was wholly miserable.
The second I am just emerging from. I think my body and I had an exchange (that I wasn’t party to): less actual sickness (although more than enough) in exchange for more nausea, more aches, shortness of breath, crippling exhaustion and a daily flu-like feeling that rendered me useless from mid-afternoon.
In a bid to purge myself of the memories of all these things and also in an attempt to add one more voice to those that are saying ‘you may have chosen this, but you don’t have to enjoy it’, I have decided to reflect on the lows and (almost) highs of this period. I am talking to myself in this post but perhaps I’m talking to you too, I really hope not for your sake but if I am, hello, I’m sorry – but at least you’re not alone!
Waking up each day to the sad mental body scan that confirms you haven’t magically improved overnight
Taking your bullet sized pregnancy vitamin and pulling a muscle in your neck from the ensuing gagging
Worrying about losing all your friends as you make up another flimsy excuse for missing the long (and getting longer) overdue catch ups
Having to have a daily think about food you can stomach and mentally ‘testing’ it for vomit-inducing properties
Having to parent a toddler and hold it together (barely)
Thrusting a dry, plain pitta and an Ella’s kitchen vegetable pouch to said toddler and calling this offering ‘lunch’
Having your toddler ask ‘why are you coughing mummy?’ at the bathroom door and you responding perhaps a little unnecessarily truthfully (and shoutily): ‘I’m not bloody coughing I’m being sick!’
Telling a lot more people than you would like to before 12 weeks because you are no longer a human-being, just a blob of exhaustion, sickness, aches and depression and you need help
Thinking that everyone understands how bad it can be and then trawling through internet pages of ‘advice for morning sickness’ and realising that they don’t. Exercise? Ginger? Peppermint tea? Distract yourself? Is this a joke?
Knowing other people who are clearly also in the early pregnancy stage and feeling both resentful and ashamed that you must not be ‘not coping’ as well as they are
Trying to do something about the feeling of inadequacy so walk/stumble 100 yards down the road before submitting to tears of exhaustion, sure that the moment to meet your maker has arrived
Feeling nauseous throughout your entire body, from your legs up to your head, and, when are you are physically sick, have the fleeting thought that you might be about to vomit up the new life inside you…and then worrying that you can’t be sure that this isn’t actually a thing
Reaching the first signs of what must be the holy grail of ‘improvement’ and feeling so excited that you bounce off the walls, do too much and spend the next four days veering between the bed and the toilet.
And then there are some moments that can’t quite be classed as high points but are not as low as the lows…
Reacquainting yourself with the healing powers of ice lollies
Sending a hormonal, ranty, unreasonable text message about everything that annoys you about life to your overseas husband and him starting his response with those three powerful little words that, in that moment, make everything alright: ‘I completely agree’
Seeing a gorgeous side to your toddler when he brings toys and books to the bathroom to keep you company when you’re being sick; when you crawl from the toilet into bed and he runs to get his duvet to cover you; when, in response to the frequent explanations of ‘mummy’s not feeling too well’, he strokes your cheek and says ‘don’t worry mummy, my here with you. I’ll keep you safe’
Getting an unexpected tiny flutter of relative excitement because you did hope and choose for this pregnancy to happen and there’s a tiny person actually inside you
Eventually finding articles like this amazing one from Eat the Damn Cake that give you the confidence to know you are coping as well as you can with the hand you’ve been dealt. To assume people are feeling the same things but coping better is ridiculous and a lie. The simple truth is that the people who look like they are sailing through it are feeling different things and this doesn’t make you a lesser person, just maybe a bit more unlucky in that moment
And finally remembering how inexplicably awful it was with pregnancy number one, and then remembering how you went on and completely rocked the next three years.
And, while I wait for this to completely pass, I’ll be continuing to manage my life according to my Lessons in Lazy Parenting!
I’ve decided to go with the flow and enter into the BiBs and MAD blog awards. It’s a lovely opportunity for people to show pride in their own blogs and adimiration for others they like. You can read my arguments for and against nominating my blog here.
This post is linked with Momsterslink