Now I don’t want to be too negative, but goodness, I really didn’t enjoy the early stages of pregnancy. There was the exhaustion that hit almost as soon as we got a positive test. The worry that things would go wrong to this tiny little thing no bigger than a seed, but that we had already invested a lot of our hopes and plans in (although we said we wouldn’t get too excited). The fact that we had a huge burst of excitement when we found out – telling parents and a few very close friends – but then it all went quiet.
There was also the ‘morning’ sickness, which started off with feeling ill whenever I was getting hungry and tired, but then turned into constant nausea which never really went away, only lessened at some points in the day. Everything I ate made me feel ill. Some days I would wake up, start to try and eat breakfast and then be sick, and usually that would then be it for the day, if I even tried to turn over in bed too fast I would be rushing to the bathroom again. It was like being seasick but without ever being able to get off the boat. I even went off tea and cake which are two of my very favourite things in the world. It was fairly miserable as I never knew when one of these bad days would hit, and because it wasn’t everyday I was loathe to go on pills to try and control the sickness – especially as I was able to stay hydrated so I wasn’t harming myself or the baby physically.
I did struggle with feeling so pathetic though, other people seemed to sail through their pregnancies or would be sick and carry on. I feel like I’m whinging but I think it’s quite important to share how bad I felt, mainly because if someone else is going through the same thing it might make them feel better that someone else found early pregnancy very tough too. I certainly trawled the Internet for people who seemed to be struggling as much as me. I felt there was a bit an of expectation women should be able to carry on in exactly the same way, I had people mentioning how Paula Radcliffe ran marathons and how I should be eating healthily for baby when all I could manage was a weird mixture of sprite and crisps. I’m all for women not having to wrap themselves in cotton wool if they’re feeling good in pregnancy, but when you’re feeling rotten this kind of attitude is just as unhelpful as people being overprotective. Then there was the knowledge that I was incredibly lucky to be pregnant and staying pregnant, so I felt weirdly guilty that I was so disliking the sensation so much, even though I don’t think anyone really likes feeling tired and horribly sick for long periods.
I also had a massive expectation that my sickness would go away when I hit the magic twelve week, end of the first trimester, landmark. This is when we got our first scan and saw our little one moving about for the first time, the sense of relief that everything was OK was so much I was sure I’d start to feel better immediately. I didn’t though, if anything, it got worse. After comparing notes with some other pregnant ladies up to about 16-19 weeks seems to be the magic feel better stage, and it was at this point I actually began to feel human again.
I honestly don’t know how I would have got through it all if it hadn’t been for Will, total kudos to women doing it on their own or with less supportive partners, I have no idea how you would cope. All the cleaning was done for me. Random bits from the shops were purchased every day in case I’d fancy something different. There were trips home at lunchtime to make sure I had everything I needed in reach of the bed. Meals cooked every night to the specific order of things I thought I’d be able to keep down, even though the food was often greeted by me turning green and running to the bathroom. Breakfast in bed every morning. Lots of reassurance and hugs that I was doing OK. Stupid jokes to try and bring me out of myself a bit.
All of this going on when he was having to make frequent trips away for work (my parents were also amazing at stepping in during these periods!), and taking on more responsibility professionally as well. Two holidays had to be cancelled without a peep of complaint from him. Essentially he was a legend, which wasn’t really a surprise but made me even happier we are having a baby together, and that it would be together in the shared parenting best feminist sense of that word.
That turned out to be a pretty epic post. I will get back to general ramblings about nonsense again soon I promise!