A first time mama-to-be has discovered pregnancy is pretty much nothing like what she expected…and that’s OK
Maybe it’s a little taboo but you don’t usually hear someone declaring disdain for her pregnancy while still in the midst of it. Sure, you talk about it amongst your friends, but you don’t say out loud, do you?
You’re supposed to be thankful, you’re supposed to be centred with yourself and your body, and you’re supposed to connect with the child growing inside you.
I suffer from Generalised Anxiety Disorder. It has never been debilitating, it has never resulted in panic attacks, but since I’ve been pregnant, my anxiety has intensified. And while worry is natural when you’re pregnant, excessive worry isn’t. Especially when coupled with disrupted sleep patterns, irrational worry at every twitch my body makes, and in my case, a spike in blood pressure whenever I’m at the doctor’s.
I read an opinion piece by an OB/GYN who never wants to get pregnant, and she said, “Pregnant people gestate for 9 months, during which time they incur body changes and risk diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, and seizures (to name a few).
An interesting set of data from the United Kingdom in 2010 showed that pregnancy is more dangerous (meaning, more likely to kill you) than the following: general anaesthesia, hang gliding, SCUBA diving, rock climbing, canoeing, and air travel. In fact, pregnancy is 14 times more dangerous than the next riskiest activity (hang gliding). And the risk of dying from pregnancy and birth is over 10 times higher than the risk of dying from an abortion.”
Completely reassuring that an OB/GYN thinks this journey is absolutely batshit crazy, too.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m so incredibly grateful for this gift. I’m so incredibly excited to be a mother. My heart leaps whenever he kicks me, I buy him books in anticipation of all the adventures with goblins and wizards we’ll go on together, amongst all the things I daydream of doing with him. It’ll be the hardest thing I do, I’m sure, but it’ll also be the best thing I do.
In the midst of all the excitement, I’ve also been hospitalised twice and I’ve been to the A&E twice in the middle of the night, for everything from catching Influenza A from my husband to painful pelvic pain from walking 20km over the course of two days.
I’m constantly on my toes, I’m constantly anxious, and I’m constantly seeking out prayer and meditative and breathing techniques to make me feel at ease. When we started trying to get pregnant, my idea of pregnancy was balancing a pint of Ben & Jerry’s on my massive belly binging on Netflix.
And it’s nothing like that.
And here’s the thing — I didn’t mind the barfing every morning, the bloating, and I didn’t even mind the fatigue (hello, naps!). I don’t even mind the acid reflux despite my insatiable love for spicy food. I know that it was just my body’s way of making another human being, and it’s all going to be worth it. And the crazy thing is, I’ve learned to be thankful of all the doctor visits I have to do because I know that it’s all for a greater good.
It goes without saying, but putting a halt to Googling will help your anxiety heaps. In a world fuelled by hypochondriacs googling their symptoms and stressing out about their impending death, I reign supreme. It may be one of the reasons I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy since day one, and only stopped since I found out I’m pregnant. Every twitch, every dull ache was a cause for concern until I made it a point to physically stop. I bought a book instead (which is better anyway, because Google is NOT research). Of course, going through the weeks, seeing doctors and getting reassurances that my baby is healthy definitely helps.
And just because I’m not enjoying it doesn’t mean I’m not heart-so-full grateful for this, every single step of the way.
I know that there really are no hard-set templates for how you’ll feel during pregnancy. You shouldn’t be angry at your body, or be disappointed in it. Pregnancy is a crazy smash-up of hormones, body changes, life stressors, and health factors that impact each woman uniquely. Even if you’re not enjoying it in its entirety, you should enjoy the little things — celebrate every week like a victory.
At least that’s what I’m doing.