We nodded our heads in empathy recently, those of us who heard about the woman who stabbed her boyfriend 25 times with a stiletto. Whilst wondering what he’d done. Had he forgotten to put the bin out again or just said something thoughtless like, ‘Pregnancy’s not an illness?’
Jokes aside, whilst pregnancy might not be an illness in the true sense of the word, last time I looked, the following symptoms – nausea, headaches, constipation, piles, backache, indigestion and breathlessness – did not indicate a full picture of health. To get all seven at once would probably see you admitted to hospital with a serious, mystery illness.
Pregnancy takes a massive toll on our bodies, something we completely underestimate because it’s considered to be ‘natural.’ Let’s not forget the preserved, dissected body of that poor, deceased pregnant woman, which showed exactly where all your organs end up. Basically tucked up inside your ribs.
And, personally, I still don’t think there’s anything particularly natural about feeling the equivalent of Sigourney Weaver’s offspring kicking your insides inside out. Or your stomach rippling so much that others are almost as well acquainted with the activities of your baby as you are. Frankly, it’s a bit embarrassing. Becoming that intimate with total strangers. Like all bodily functions you feel you should be able to control it. But you can’t. Because it is indeed an alien of sorts, judging by the surprised expressions of others. To this end, I don’t recommend going on a beach holiday at 28 weeks and wearing a bikini. Just in case you were thinking of it.
STILETTO AT THE READY.
I have googled symptoms and looked for empathy during this pregnancy more than ever before. Not because I’m worried that something is wrong but because third time around I have fallen, even harder, for the myth that this is a natural process and I should just be getting on with it. I’ve needed reasons to contradict this when it’s felt anything but.
The truth is, pregnancy isn’t any easier this time for having done it twice before. It may even be a little harder in some ways. I’m older. There is less novelty to get me through. I already have two kids to look after and a husband who thinks that by now I’m ‘so good at this,’ it’s like shelling peas in his eyes. He’s less likely to nurture me with lemon and ginger teas and foot rubs and more inclined to ask me to grab him a beer, ‘whilst I’m up.’ Don’t worry girls, I have a stiletto at the ready. Just in case.
FULL BLOWN OCD AND TOURETTE’S.
Then there are all the hormone surges that put me and everyone in my wake on an emotional rollercoaster some weeks. God help them. Whilst I’m a million times better than I was in my last pregnancy, I still have days where I develop full blown OCD and go into a full rant about something completely trivial. Like leaving a new pack of baby wipes in a public toilet. Losing a bottle of after sun. Or Tesco being unable to provide a suitable substitution for cheddar cheese. You know, that rare and scarce delicacy. See, there I go again. But these things really matter to me when I’m feeling a bit nuts.
On days like this Daddy Pig is ‘kind’ enough to remind me that this is only my hormones talking. When I’ve calmed down. An observation that once would have left me reaching for that stiletto but now ironically reassures me. Because it reminds me that I’m not losing the plot altogether, that I will be Capable Me (rather than Despicable Me) again one day soon and that he has actually registered something is happening to me and my body. That I am not just shelling peas.
And I think the vulnerable, pregnant versions of ourselves really need this validation from others. We need to feel that it is ok that we’re temporarily unable to fire on all cylinders. That we will forget basic things frequently. And that our Tourette’s might be worse than usual as we (unintentionally) verbally assault our other halves with words like ‘tosser’ and that other word we never say. Just because he expresses a preference to watch the Grand Prix over Made In Chelsea.
PLAY THE PREGNANCY CARD.
In many respects we need to be treated as though pregnancy is an illness. Because some days that’s all it feels like. We should be automatically forgiven for being cranky. Wrapped in cotton wool from time to time. At the very least made a lemon and ginger tea. If we have to play the Pregnancy Card, so be it. Because otherwise we will soldier on with a world of expectations upon our shoulders, without appreciating the magnitude of what is happening to us. Of what we are creating.
It might be considered to be the most natural thing in the world but it’s no small feat making an entire person from scratch.
It’s right up there with shelling peas, I’ve heard.
Going there? Already there? Got the t-shirt (several times over)? Having a rough ride or are you one of the lucky ones, put on a pedestal and worshipped? Leave a comment below. Have a moan. Tell me what gets your goat when you’re pregnant. And come and join us at Surviving Life and Motherhood. We’ll look after you, promise.