Bye Bye Pregnancy, Hello Baby
Here it is Part Two of my Pregnancy Wrap Up which has taken longer to publish than Part One! Now would be a good time to read Part One if you haven’t already. Part two is slightly different as I’m going to spill the beans on some of the other highs and lows I experienced while Lucille called my body home. Keep in mind this is my experience of pregnancy; I’m well aware others may have different views and different experiences but I think it’s important to share all the same.
I’m going to put it out there straight away; I did not enjoy being pregnant. It was bloody hard work! Between the never-ending sickness, the loss of control of my body and the constant worry and fear I did not find it a ‘magical’ experience as it is often described. The next thing I will say is that even though I did not enjoy being pregnant, it did not take away from how grateful I was for the fact that I was growing a human or for the love I felt for this unknown creature. However I noticed how often people presumed that because I was pregnant that I must be feeling absolutely wonderful and overjoyed one hundred percent of the time. As a result I found it hard to be able to voice how difficult I found being pregnant for much of the time. With all the retching, bloating and exhaustion I ended up smiling and agreeing when asked by people that, yes, it was an amazing experience.
My next comment won’t come as a surprise but for some reason when pregnant your body becomes a topic for public discussion. Never in my life have I experienced such public scrutiny on every lump and bump that came with growing a baby. I can now look back and laugh at comments made to me during those months mostly because they were so outrageous. Comments like ‘Oh I knew you were pregnant as you had put on so much weight’, ‘that outfit is not working if you wanted to hide the fact you are pregnant’, ‘oh you’re huge!’, one I heard almost daily and ‘you must be having twins’. The list goes on but you get my drift. All seem relatively harmless but at the time though I was far from laughing. Comments about my physical appearance I felt were so inappropriate and displayed a complete lack of awareness by those making them. And please don’t ever mistake a pregnant woman’s response to such a situation for hormones. You may lose your waist when pregnant, not the ability to spot rudeness.
As with the endless commentary on my physical appearance I was warned by many women about the inappropriate touching of your bump. This horrified me no end and I think I heard so many horror stories I spent the entire nine months with my hands either on my bump as some kind of barrier or just above ready to warn off any potential contact. That and the ‘don’t even think about coming near me’ look I got in my eyes when there was a hint of someone approaching. Both were good strategies and they worked! In spite of the unwanted attention it was people’s kindness during my pregnancy that stood out far more than any comment about how much weight I had put on. Like the surprise lunch my friends and family organised for me, the love letters written to myself and Lucille by the very same people, the maternity clothes that were lent and given to me, the gifts given to Lucille before she was even born, the strangers who offered a seat on public transport, Mr B for putting on my shoes when I could no longer see or reach my feet and the overwhelming happiness I saw in people’s eyes with the thought of a new life entering the world. Those moments will definitely not be forgotten!
This leads to the next thing and possibly the most important; your support network. It doesn’t matter how big it is or who is in it, make sure you have one! You’ll need different things from different people so go seek them out. You may find that people will be more than happy to offer ‘advice’, all in good faith of course but if there is something you need to know, go and ask it and more importantly, ask the right person. Whether it’s baby related questions or questions about some of the weird things that happens to your body during pregnancy, ask. I bombarded my family and friends with specific questions (I had a long list of them) and it was reassuring to be able to absorb their knowledge and wisdom. This has continued by the way, even more so now that Lucille is here!
Another area which consumed a lot of my pregnancy was my involvement in the medical system. I spoke about this on social media at various times but from the word go, I wanted nothing to do with hospitals. In my mind I was pregnant, not ill and the medical backdrop didn’t fit into how I viewed my pregnancy. I was fortunate enough to have my maternity care through the Domino Scheme which is a midwife/community led program. It was a good alternative to having to visit the hospital for every appointment and overall the care I received was very good. It could have been excellent though with one small, simple improvement. It astonished me how often the doctors and midwives I encountered did not introduce themselves. A simple thing indeed and you may think this is rather a silly thing to have focused on but to have a professional who you are trusting with not only your body, but your baby, to not take a few seconds to introduce themselves, offer a handshake, look you in the eye and acknowledge the person in front of them sets for a very cold, impersonal approach to what at times were anxiety driven appointments. Instead I was often greeted with a hurried, under pressure professional faced with yet another worried woman sitting in front of them. The reason this consumed me so much is because the few times a doctor or midwife did introduce themselves made for very different appointment. Immediately I felt more relaxed and at ease and when you are constantly told throughout pregnancy about the impact stress can have on you and your baby’s health you can see why this was so important. Amazing how one simple act can change an entire experience. It got me thinking about others managing their way through the medical system in times of serious illness and how many of them are greeted with a handshake, eye contact and the name of the person looking after their life? My involvement with the medical system increased the closer it got to Lucille arriving and if you want to hear about my birth story, let me know, as you can imagine I have even more to say about that!
For something I didn’t particularly enjoy I could talk about it for years but it seems a good time to put a full stop to this adventure. Thank you for sharing it with me; the fashion, the nausea, the excitement and now my time with baby Lucille.