Pregnancy is a funny one. Before I got pregnant I, like most people, had an idea about what I thought it involved, had opinions and ideas and would talk about what I thought was right and wrong. I’d say how i’d do things and would happily comment on pregnant women’s choices and was not always nice about it.
Then I got pregnant.
I had no idea about how pregnancy would make ME feel and so I quickly realised that my thoughts, opinions and ideas on other people’s pregnancies had been irrelevant.
Pregnancy is different for everyone. It is a personal journey.
The one thing I had not anticipated was the loneliness. This loneliness was exacerbated by moving to a new location half way through and my husband working away, but before we moved I felt lonely to. Not because I didn’t have people around me, but because I was the one going through the pregnancy and no matter who I spoke to they could never understand exactly how I felt. This was not due to lack of empathy or lack of sympathy or me being unable to communicate, but was simply down to no one else living my life.
Since moving I have suffered extreme bouts of loneliness. On occasions I have wept from sheer frustration at the situations I find myself in. For example: I have cried when the local cat hasn’t popped in to see me on a particular day as he was my constant and then cried harder when I realised how sad and pathetic that was and then worried that this meant I was unwell and hurting the baby. To combat the loneliness I have joined groups, undertaken classes and connected with my neighbours, but doing this has not stopped it. So what was I doing wrong? Was I doing anything wrong?
It took me a while to realise that what I was feeling wasn’t just pain at the lack of contact with people, but was connected to the sheer weight of being alone in making decisions for me and the baby. The burden of being responsible for a life that my husband, friends and family have already invested hope, dreams and plans in.
What do I mean? Well, each day I am faced with a series of decisions to make – like any human going about their day – the difference being that I am deciding what is best for me AND the baby. PLUS the baby is not just mine. Sure, I can ask my husband for his opinions, but he’s 200 miles away and probably doesn’t want to be bombarded with 100 different questions about things that he’s probably not even aware are issues.
Like what? What issues am I referring to? To be honest, it’s mainly small things such as what to eat or how to get from point A to point B. They do not seem like much do they? I know I should eat a healthy balanced diet. I know I should eat smaller meals more often. I know that I need regular exercise. However, after an entire day of making choices (some of which people – total strangers – will comment on verbally or just with a look) I am mentally exhausted.
I also have no real idea if what I am doing is having any effect on the baby and I won’t know until it is born. I can Google as much as I want, but the sheer volume of conflicting information out there is staggering and it makes things far worse as it leads to more decisions.
Pregnancy is hard. It’s not what I thought it would be.
Is it an opportunity to grown and learn and develop? Sure. Is it a chance to empower myself and to stand up for my beliefs? Yes. Is it rewarding, inspiring and everything I thought it would be and more? Honestly? No. It’s rewarding in the sense that feeling the baby kick is comforting, it’s inspiring in the sense that I have met some wonderful women along the way, but it’s nothing like I thought it would be. I am not who I thought I would be.
I may come out the other end a “better” person, more compassionate, stronger, more confident, more educated and more able to cope with pressure. I hope to come out the other end ok, still intact, still me and still the person my husband fell in love with, but pregnancy is changing me as a person, its moulding me, its making me face things I was not expecting.
The last 6 months I have been on a journey and I have 3 more months to go. I know that some journeys are better viewed once they are over so i’ll keep going, keep making decisions and keep trying. I just hope that who comes out the other end is someone that I like.
I’m also going to ask that the next time you see a pregnant women doing something that you disagree with or looking stressed please don’t judge her. I can guarantee that you have no idea how she is feeling as you are not her. I can assure you she doesn’t need your unsolicited points of view added on to her day. I can confirm that she’s already had to make hundreds of choices that day by herself and has hundreds more to go. She’s doing her best. If you want to do anything, if you feel the need to involve yourself in her day, I suggest you ask if she needs help with anything or give her a reassuring smile. Just don’t assume that you know what she’s going through and accept that the journey she is on is one only she can navigate.
Pregnancy is nothing like I thought it would be and is not like anything I have experienced before, but I am doing my best.