The past 5 months have been both a blessing and some miserable horrible curse that is bestowed upon women and called a miracle.
Yes, that is (perhaps a tad over) dramatic – but seriously, no one EVER told me how difficult being pregnant would be.
Lets start at the very beginning: morning sickness.
Which really isn’t limited to the morning. I had this impression that I’d wake up, feel nauseous, possibly throw up (but only if I was of the very unlucky small group of women that this happens to) and then get on with my day as I harboured my secret waiting for the 12 week scan before I made my announcement.
That’s what I expected.
I did NOT expect morning sickness to resemble day 2 of that horrible 2 day hangover from the wedding where you danced all night and had more champagne than you had food. Where you crave ALL the hangover food, but can’t eat any of it. As I lay on my bed announcing to my husband that undeniably ‘I was going to die’ and that ‘this isn’t worth it’ – I tried to remember that I had actually wanted this (husband subtly-perhaps not so subtly- reminded me too) and that I had, in the build up to this surprise, paid a lot of money to get myself into this state.
While keeping my shit fairly together, refraining from falling asleep in traffic, at my desk or in those charming meetings about meetings every corporate suffers from, there were the scans. Which, apparently, don’t always go according to plan. Something I’d never considered either.
All jokes aside, falling pregnant is just the first part – staying pregnant, or in fact, having a healthy baby and pregnancy is a big challenge too.
As a 34 year old, I have heard countless times ‘you’re still young’ when people heard that we hadn’t had children yet and put it down to our careers and travel ambitions (I may have assisted in leading them to believe this was the reason). However turns out, 34 isn’t young. At ALL. And your risk of having an issue with your pregnancy increase exponentially after 30.
Women at 35 have a 1 in 270 chance of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality. That seems pretty high to me.
At the fetal assessment clinic, a place I came to know rather well by no desire of my own but rather the life that was thrown at me, I was told that they will detect a problem with the scan in 1 in 5 of the people they see. And quickly – I went from being an expert in infertility to becoming an (self-taught) expert in chromosomal abnormalities and accompanying procedures in which to detect them.
There are syndromes out there that will make you very grateful you are just you. At your desk job. Sitting in traffic. Buying milk. Be grateful. Every damn day.
Hips, knees, ankles, groins and groans.
I knew that the baby grew inside of me. Obviously. I had just never given it thought about what would happen to the fairly compact frame (and by compact I mean considering my height) the rest of me exists in.
Oh my actual F! I can safely say I have no pain threshold (something I had never really thought of before and no guesses for what type of birth I’m electing for). Between 16 – 20 weeks were some of the most painful nights of my life. Could my bones actually be breaking as I walked? As I lay on my side? As I turned over in bed? Had this happened to ANYONE before? Or does every women just keep it to themselves?
WOMEN! Hear me now. It is our duty to tell each other the truth. Yes, we may cause the extinction of the human race through too much honesty. But really? Save a fellow woman and tell her the truth about the pain.
And while at night, my hip bones shattered in my sleep – by day, my thigh gap ceased to exist. Not that I had a skinny bitch thigh gap to start with but suddenly walking is really awkward. That duck walk pregnant women do? That waddle? That isn’t to do with the baby. That is the attempt to feel normal because walking with one foot in front of the other means a weird rubbing together of thighs.
And then the announcement. The moment you feel risk-free to tell everyone (or you’re showing and don’t want the girls in your hometown to run into you and think you got really fat at Christmas).
Opt for a cheesy Facebook moment? A group whatsapp message. We went for the one-by-one approach and from the reactions of some of our bests – you’d think we were telling them THEY were pregnant. There were tears, there were screams… but my personal favourite was “HOW??”. Well… how do we answer that? Do you really want to know? (After the one-on-one approach became too emotional – to watch others elate in a joy that made our joy look like we’d only found R5 in our jeans pocket, we opted for a facebook photo announcement and let 186 people like our photo instead).
So, 16 weeks… announcement over, first trimester done. Nausea?.. oh wait – not so fast…
Apparently pregnancy will just play tricks on you, like when you’re about to order sushi and then you remember you can can’t and your friend sniggers in your face because you sniggered in hers as you crammed your mouth full of salmon rainbow rolls a few years ago. Yes, just when you’re think you’re fine you’ll find yourself bent over a toilet bowl in the Waterfront Ladies thinking ‘who can I phone to come fetch me and save me from this agony’. That is.. before you find old jellytots in your bag and you weigh up your options of ‘die in the Waterfront toilet cubicle’ vs ‘die from eating old jellytots’. I took my chances.
Never say you’re fine, or that the nausea is gone. It is never gone.
Week 11’s bumpie (because a bumpie is a thing in the world of being pregnant) is all about ‘OMG! I’m so showing already’. No 11-week pregnant self. You are not showing. You had a toasted cheese samie for supper because that is all you could eat because you were suffering the longest hangover of your life. Your 23-week pregnant looks at you and says ‘wow, I really was thin. Why did I complain so much about being ‘fat’ before (pregnancy)’. And suddenly it dawns on you. Your body will never be the same again. It is fucked.
You start following Kayla’s movement and her army of #bbgmums and swear to yourself that you’ll be one of those mums from June. But lets be honest, I barely managed Kayla before I had a child and with enough sleep. How the hell will I #sweatwithKayla post-partum. So fucked.
You cry. Because you’re starting to not be able to put your takkies on anymore. Because your hips hurt when you sleep. Because you wanted this and now you’re being an ungrateful cow and you’re moaning more than necessary to people who really don’t care.
But mostly because everyone else is so good at being pregnant, and you seriously kak at it.
Apparently these are pregnancy hormones. Its hard to tell really between the sobs and the Kit Kat.
Retail therapy MUST be the way to fix things. It fixes everything.
This is the worst idea that ever happened to a pregnant person. NOTHING fits. Nothing. Your bra doesn’t even fit. Everything looks like crap. And your feet hurt from walking around the never ending Waterfront.
The solution – shop for the baby. We need a pram, so lets start there.
Suddenly I’m looking at offroad trail running 15kg heavy prams because… you know, after I have the baby and join Kayla’s army, I’m going to go on 10km trail runs. In the middle of winter. (When my baby is due). Even though I’ve never done a trail run before in my life.
Stupid idea buying a pram first. Stupid.
Pre-natal yoga will help calm all this shit down and also help with the pain. Pre-natal yoga will also make you giggle as 17 pregnant women caress their bellies and do hip rolls. (Why is noone else finding this even a little bit funny?). I’ll just keep my hands on my hips thanks. I think they’re safest here. I’m not so good with the caressing my belly thing. (Officially I am not the hippy type. I’m not sure what breathing in to the centre of my baby is. But I’ll keep doing the yoga just for the stretching).
And so here I am. 24 weeks along and lying on my bed in fat pants, looking down over my belly that contains a baby human that is already 30cm long. My stomach has already stretched so far that for the first time in my life I can actually see the bottom of my belly button and I wonder how those girls from high school that I’m friends with on Facebook could look so damn glamorous and stylish when they were pregnant. I work at a fashion retailer. Surely, I too – should look glamourous. Instead I’m bursting out of a bra that I promise fit me 4 months ago and had to take my (maternity) jeans off as soon as I got home to change into these (even) fat(ter) pants.
Then it moves. The baby moves so much that I can actually see its bum/head/elbow/knee make a lump through my stretched skin. Its not the first time it moves. It happens all the time really (the worst being mid conversation – because no one else wants to be told the baby just moved. And I certainly don’t want to become that woman who tells people it did). In fact, I liken all this tossing and turning around my stomach that the baby Human does to motion sickness.
I’ve learnt so much about being pregnant, while being pregnant. I can hardly say I recommend it because it is really hard. The stretching, the aches, the crying at an answer given to a Quora question. Through the gritted teeth of ‘advice’ you didn’t ask for about drug-free child birth (that you won’t be doing), the endless hours researching prams, and the evening oilyness after drenching myself in bio oil in an attempt to save my skin from the doom of stretch marks (that are apparently 70% hereditary anyway – mom, please tell me you didn’t get them!).
Being pregnant is really the least amount of fun I’ve had since the day I was retrenched. Actually that was more fun as we had champagne.
But when it moves. And when it kicks, as its just done now. That kinda makes it cool to think that baby H(uman) will be with us in 4 months time.