A pregnancy chat…
I asked on Instagram recently what you wanted to see more of and I was quite surprised to see so many of you say you were hoping for pregnancy posts! I didn’t really expect that because I know how little I cared about being pregnant until I was pregnant. Saying that, as soon as I found out I was expecting I leaned in to everyone’s bump content. Anything to calm those nerves early on, eh!
So here’s a little bump update! I’m at the end of my second trimester which feels so surreal. In the first half of this pregnancy my focus was simply on taking care of my bump and praying that everything would be okay. I never really thought about what came next – prepping for labour, the information I’d need to absorb, and the actual delivery itself. I didn’t factor this in somehow, I could only think about making it through to my 20 week scan. So the last few weeks have been a mix of emotions; mostly I feel so grateful that I’ve been feeling so good. I haven’t been overly tired or sick, my hormones have settled and for the most part I feel like I did pre-pregnancy.
But there’s also the anxiety. Waking up at night worrying about everything, hearing about traumatic experiences and generally just fearing the worst. It can be so exhausting, and likely something that will just be part of life now.
There’s been quite a few surprises about pregnancy – so many things that I wasn’t prepared for, or had never heard anyone talk about. I thought I’d type up a little something in the hopes of getting some thoughts and feelings down. Please understand that some of this might be sensitive so feel free to click away if you don’t feel up to reading this right now. It’s also just my own experiences and in no way does it make your journey or experience any less valid or real.
A few things that have surprised me about pregnancy…
01. You literally have no idea how you’ll feel. I felt this more in my first trimester, it’s SUCH a big life change and if, like me, you weren’t at all emotionally prepared for it, it’s even more of a shock to the system.
I’ve never spent any real time around someone who is pregnant, I never really knew the ins and outs of it and so I didn’t expect it to take up so much space in my life. I won’t lie, I did think the process was slightly more streamlined. I didn’t realise you had to avoid so many products/foods/sports. I couldn’t have predicted I’d feel the way I do – mentally and physically. I didn’t expect to have so many symptoms I’ve never associated with pregnancy, and to not have so many of the classic signs I’d thought were guaranteed with it too (where you at, thicker hair!)
I thought I’d have a bump almost straight away, and I didn’t expect to feel self-conscious that my bump was on the small side or not high enough. I thought I’d feel embarrassed or put off by my body but instead I feel better and more confident than I have in a long time. I thought life would be a bit of a write-off – no energy for plans, no motivation to work, but mostly (so far!) I feel only slightly different to how I did before.
02. The first few weeks are just bizarre. Straight up bizarre. Having never been pregnant before, I had no idea what to do with this new information! So naturally I did what I’d seen them do on TV and phoned my doctor… who essentially said it was nothing to do with them and to get in touch with the midwife. My first appointment wasn’t until 5 weeks later. Five entire weeks*.
Honestly, this process BLEW MY MIND. I peed on a stick (two actually!) and suddenly had to adapt my life as if I was growing a baby without any real confirmation from a medical professional? How reliable are those things anyway? What if I was wasting the midwife’s time and the stick was inaccurate? It was a lot to unpack for an over-thinker like me. Anyway, obviously everything happened as it should but I was not prepared for the positive test to first appointment pipeline.
*This is absolutely no shade to the NHS by the way, I’m just clueless.
03. Feeling guilty a lot. As someone who has had a lot of issues with irregular periods/abnormal smears/PMDD/PCOS over the years, I am somewhat aware of the worries that come with conceiving. Even without the added medical issues, I think we can all relate to the pressures of knowing when/if it’s the right time to start trying.
I was extremely fortunate to get pregnant without issue, something I never expected to happen – I wasn’t prepared for a positive test at all. I just thought that perhaps it wasn’t on the cards for me, especially after my PCOS diagnosis late last year (and a rather disheartening conversation with my doctor)
What I also wasn’t prepared for was the guilt you feel once you’re pregnant. I’m not sure if I feel this more because I have an audience who will share their story with me, but I really didn’t realise just how many people have a difficult time conceiving until I got pregnant and the world of conceiving/pregnancy/babies opened up to me. On top of this, it can sometimes feel impossible to appreciate your own pregnancy because, well, it can be really fucking tough.
I’ve been so up and down about sharing anything about my pregnancy because it feels insensitive – even in person, you just have no idea who might be struggling. I mostly just want to keep it to myself to avoid upsetting anyone, but it’s also such a big part of my life. I chose to share the updates on here rather than Instagram because I feel like this is more of a private part of the internet – it’s easier to avoid for those who find these posts difficult to read.
I’m not really sure what the conclusion is here, I just wanted something down in writing about how pregnancy can be bittersweet and tricky to navigate.
04. It does kinda consume you. The pregnancy apps, the symptoms, the changes in your body, the kicks and movements, the appointments and scans and endless books on babies. It takes up so much space in your life, but in a good way. I feel so excited about what’s to come! I get this strange feeling whenever I read my pregnancy books, like I can’t wait any longer and I wish I was days away from labour just so we could soon meet our baby. It’s just so surreal and exciting and terrifying all at once.
05. It takes a while to let yourself get excited. Maybe this is unique to me, but I felt so cautious at first – we didn’t tell anyone for so long and even then, we made sure to get a private scan for extra reassurance. I’m so glad everyone knows now, but I definitely think I could have happily kept my entire pregnancy a secret!
But once you allow yourself to feel hopeful, it’s such a wonderful feeling. The first thing we bought for the baby was immediately after my 20 week scan – although we were still super nervous, it was such a lovely moment that I know we’ll remember forever.
Pregnancy is such a rollercoaster of emotions, it feels so unfamiliar to want something so badly – something you’ve never had before. I am slowly learning to allow myself to enjoy being pregnant, and I hope any fellow anxious mamas to be are doing the same!
06. You don’t need a full bladder for an ultrasound. So I read this in a baby book recently (Midwife Marley’s Guide For Everyone, FYI) and it has floored me. I have had perhaps six ultrasounds in the last 6 months and for every single one of them I was positively overflowing with urine. Like, my bladder was so full I struggled to walk.
It does make sense that the ultrasound techs have all made comments about how full my bladder was and told me to go use the bathroom, but it also says at the bottom of every NHS letter I’ve received that you will likely be sent away without a full bladder. Anyway, according to the book I’m reading, technology has improved a lot and you’re no longer required to be on the verge of wetting yourself before each scan.
07. Reading pregnancy books is enjoyable. You’ll know by now that I have always been a big reader, usually making my way through several books a month or even a week. But since finding out I was pregnant last year, I just haven’t had the focus. I’ve read probably five fiction books this year, which is so unlike me!
I recently got a few baby books and I’ve been on a reading spree! I did not see this for myself, I’m usually all about a good story rather than actually like, learning stuff. I feel genuinely fascinated by anything to do with pregnancy and babies. It’s been a huge help for this anxious gal!
What can I say, pregnancy is a trip! Hopefully some of these resonated with you too, and if not… well, it was fun to write them down! I always think of how lovely it’ll be to read these pregnancy posts back one day. We’ll see.
What surprised you the most about pregnancy?