I spent a lot of the first three months of my pregnancy hating what was growing inside me. There, I said it. I hated it. I hated that it was changing my life. Stopping all the plans I had made and essentially fucking everything I had wanted to do in 2017 (some of which was already booked and paid for). I thought I was a nasty cow for hating it. After all, I was told at the age of 26 that having kids was going to get reeallllly hard due to the PCOS. I assumed I’d feel grateful for getting pregnant at the age of 34. Relieved even. Like it was a gift and all that bollocks that gets spouted by people at pregnant women, but I didn’t. I hated it.
I’m here to tell you that the first three months of pregnancy are shit and they are shit for a whole host of reasons which people paint in terms of “but it’ll be worth it in the end” or “think of the special bond you and the baby will have” or “gift from god” or “blessing” and all that bollocks. Sorry, but since when was feeling sick, vomiting, finding normal smells intolerable, being so tired that you fall asleep in meetings, dizziness, peeing constantly, peeing 4 times in the night and all the other stuff become a blessing? That’s a lie people tell pregnant women. Being pregnant is NOT a joyful experience and we need to stop painting pregnancy as wonderful experience and start telling women the truth so that they can deal with it.
When you find out you are pregnant you immediately get handed a virtual list of things you can no longer do (even if that’s not actually true). There’s the obvious stuff like drinking alcohol, sky diving and smoking, but there’s the “grey areas” of sports, some foods and tattoos. Then there are the things which people, quite frankly, make the fuck up. You also get told that you need to cut out caffeine or you may cause a miscarriage! You must cut out too much fish or you may cause your baby to get sick and die inside you! You must buy vitamins and take them every day or your baby will be born with deformations! You must exercise so that you do not put on weight and cause your baby to have a bad start in life! But you mustn’t exercise too much or you will starve your baby of oxygen! Remember, it’s not just you anymore. You must do what is best for the baby. A phrase I am already well and truly sick of hearing. It’s a catch all term people use to justify their opinion on your pregnancy and to make themselves feel better for inflicting their unsolicited and often ill-informed opinion on you.
Like, WTAF?! Are you fucking well kidding me!? In the blink of an eye you will go from Rae to person carrying baby.
You will also suddenly apparently become stupid, a risk taker (see previous rant) and have so many conflicting bits of information forced on you that even for the most confident and self-assured person you start to doubt yourself.
Sorry to break it to you, but the medical professionals aren’t always your ally either. I’ve stopped answering the “soooo, how do you feel?” questions from the midwife and other with “shit, like my life is over” as you then get told that you need to stay positive, probed on your previous mental health and told that if you need support for depression to just ask. Like, how do I say “No, I’m not depressed, I’m just being honest” to people? Why does me grieving for my old life which has very suddenly and unexpectedly been whipped away from me indicate that I am depressed? It’s seems a bit of black and white way to be looking at things. Clearly, I want the baby as I have not had an abortion so why can I not also be honest and say “you know what, it’s not fun feeling so ill and not being able to do the things I used to do. I feel like my identity is now mother and we’ve not even had the first scan”. Apparently, you are either a sunny, happy mother from the moment you find out you are pregnant or you need help for a mental health condition………………. Why can we not accept, as a society, that women don’t always enjoy pregnancy? Why can we not accept that for some women being pregnant is not fun? Why imply these women are mentally unbalanced for just stating how they feel?
I’ve also stopped telling my two friends who know about the foetus that I feel like my life is over as that resulted in a weird conversation about abortions.
Pregnancy is hard. Women need support, but they also need facts. They do not need to be told that thinking “hey, this is a bit rubbish” is a sign of being mentally unwell. They do not need to be told bits of half information such as exercising “too much” can harm your baby. What is “too much” and where does that come from? Why not say instead: we used to think that if your heart rate consistently went above 140 beats per minute then the oxygen supply to your baby may be compromised. However, now there is a new recommendation and here is one example (http://www.livestrong.com/article/322176-max-heart-rate-while-pregnant/) go and make an informed choice about YOUR body and YOUR pregnancy.
Don’t scare women. Don’t bind them in false information or half information. Tell them they have choices. Make them go and research what is best for them. Don’t let them think that there is only one way to give birth either.
Like the conversation I had with a midwife (forget seeing the same midwife twice BTW) where she told me that around my due date I needed to come in for a “sweep” to help things move along and that if I went over 12 days of my due date i’d be induced. First off, no one told me what a sweep was. It sounds friendly doesn’t it? A bit like a loving stroke – well it’s not. It’s an invasive and sometimes painful process done to a pregnant person to try and get them into labour. It should separate the membranes of the amniotic sac surrounding your baby from your cervix. It’s also NOT mandatory. Do you know how your due date is calculated? Do you know that it is actually guess work (yes, the best guess work we have, but still guess work) and that the 12 days overdue leading to being induced is not mandatory? No? well I only know that because I have researched it. When my midwife went down the route of “so this will happen followed by this” I stated that we wanted as little intervention as possible and pointed out that I thought both were a choice. She quickly agreed with me and stated that yes, they were both a choice, but had I not commented on it it would have been assumed I would have gone along with it all.
Here’s another fun fact for you – do you know that giving birth on your back apparently started as a trend because Henry the 8th wanted to see his kids being born and it was easier for him that way? Do you know it’s actually one of the hardest positions to birth in? No, I didn’t either. Do you know that all the films and TV programs out there showing a sweating women screaming while clutching her knees and sitting up is just a movie representation of birth? No, I didn’t either. Have a look at this (no blood or gore involved): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/this-moms-incredibly-peaceful-birth-video-went-viral-on-facebook_us_57d2f86ae4b00642712d5d81
I have come to realise that I hated pregnancy and hated the idea of birth and the whole thing due to the constant stream of images and bad stories I had heard. The lack of positive information about is shocking, so I have been researching. Have a look at this site! http://www.positivebirthstories.com/ as just one example!
In an ideal world we want a home birth, in water, with as little intervention as possible. I strongly recommend you and your partner read: The Expectant Dad’s Handbook: All You Need to Know about Pregnancy, Book by Dean Beaumont. It’s eye opening.
So, please, please go and get informed. Please understand that this is still your body and this is 100% YOUR pregnancy. Please don’t be scared into doing things you do not want to do. Please try and make this a process you enjoy and remember that this is coming form someone who hates being pregnant! 🙂