The other day, my husband DG asked me if I was enjoying being pregnant. Without even thinking about it I instantly replied ‘No not atall’.
I always assumed that I would love being pregnant, that I would embrace the changes to my body like an ugly duckling blossoming into a beautiful swan, strutting around, bump out in front almost begging for strangers to ask me when i’m due. Reality = I can’t find the bloody swan!
Pregnancy is incredible. Your body goes through dramatic and speedy changes to ensure your little creation can grow and grow and arrive in this world ready to kick your sleep deprived butt. It intuitively utilises every ounce of energy, nutrients and good stuff that you have to make this tiny embryo into a fully formed human being without you so much as being aware of the mammoth task being undertaken while you’re merrily sat on the sofa munching your way through another box of Pop Tarts. I am nothing but in awe of this process and feel completely blessed to be able to experience it BUT can we all just acknowledge that pregnancy is TOUGH!
I feel terrible even admitting the slightest grumble about my pregnancy because quite honestly I am so very aware of how easy I’ve actually had it. I haven’t suffered from Hyperemisis Grevadia like so many Mums-to-be, extreme sickness that can last to full term, making the entire experience so daunting that some reconsider putting themselves through it again to have another. I’m currently under the care of the community midwives meaning my pregnancy is considered low risk and I can choose where I want to give birth. (I have been under a consultant until recently but thankfully they have assessed and decided I am now low risk). I don’t have any pre-existing conditions or health concerns that could affect the outcome of this pregnancy or my ability to carry babe to full term. I’ve never miscarried, we didn’t struggle to conceive and I don’t even have any other small people running around at home meaning rest is not an option!
So what’s so bloody tough about it then? For me, the battle is in my head.
Between my growing bump (tits, arse and apparently feet!), the sheer fatigue of growing a human and the overwhelming advice and comments from the very second you announce you are expecting, I’m completely exhausted both physically and emotionally.
I actually wrote this all down on a train the other day and promptly lost it all due to a dodgy WiFi connection. This had to be a sign of change because I’m now so glad that I didn’t share that 400 word grumble detailing all of the reasons I’m struggling with pregnancy! After a really good night’s sleep, and some quality time on the sofa with my husband, I realised I was looking at this all wrong.
So I conciously changed my mindset and in the words of the wonderful Anna Mathur, (if you don’t follow her on instagram you must) I realised ‘I don’t HAVE to’ spend the next 20 weeks feeling like crap but actually ‘I GET to!’
That sounds a bit bonkers but hear me out. I am very aware of how lucky I am in lots of ways but sometimes I need to tweak my conscious thoughts to stop the negative nelly version of me taking over when things get a bit tough. Yes, I feel tired but I don’t HAVE to be tired, I GET TO because I’m growing a baby which I am lucky enough to be able to carry myself.
I don’t HAVE to buy new clothes because I’ve outgrown everything, I GET to buy gorgeous new maternity clothes and embrace my growing bump which is just my little one getting a little bit bigger everyday, ready to meet us in a few short months.
I don’t HAVE to give up drinking alcohol and eating smelly cheese (I miss wine!) but I GET to make informed choices about what is right for me and my body and my growing baby! I am fortunate enough to live in a privileged society where I have free healthcare and that education available to me.
I don’t HAVE to listen to all of the overwhelming advice that strangers want to give me (although seriously parents, can we all please stop being patronising with it? *insert eye roll emoji here) but I GET to ask questions from people who have been through motherhood before me. I get to utilise the wonderful support network I have around me in my family, friends, healthcare system and my hot husband. I will never be alone in this.
I don’t HAVE to love every second of being pregnant but I do GET to experience something that so many cannot, I GET to decide how to look after my body and my baby and at the end of these short nine months or so, I GET my baby. Hopefully healthy and happy and ready to completely change my world and of course to spend his or her adult years in therapy because I did it all wrong.
If I sound ungrateful, I promise I’m not. I’ve read so many similar accounts from ladies who have had it far worse than me, who have spent weeks in hospital during pregnancy suffering from extreme sickness or who have had the easiest pregnancy but struggled with the mental shift, the lack of control of over the changes, the sheer overwhelm of what is to come. I’m just being honest. Pregnancy is not easy but it will be absolutely be worth it, of that I have no doubt.
Now could someone please pass the Nutella and a spoon?