During both my pregnancies I would often have people ask me how things were going. They’d always be ready to share their sympathies and advice, expecting me to complain about every aspect of of pregnancy; and they always seemed disappointed by my response. As if it were impossible for someone to not have a single gripe. But the truth is I didn’t experience any of the classic symptoms of pregnancy.
No Morning Sickness
When people think pregnancy they tend to think of Morning Sickness. Everyone assumes you’re suffering from it and want to commiserate with you over it. Admittedly I did have some dizziness and spells of feeling nauseous, but no actually sickness. A lot of people found this hard to believe; “Just wait”, they would say. And I didn’t experience it a single time during either of my pregnancies.
I Didn’t Eat For Two
It seemed like every time I sat down to eat someone would comment on how much was on my plate and then wistfully say “well, you are eating for two”. Being pregnant suddenly gives everyone the right to log every morsel you consume, even if you aren’t actually eating any more than normal. In fact, during both my pregnancies I ate less than normal. Between month 4 and the end of month 7 I experienced a serious dip in my appetite. Not only was there a drop in the amount of food I could eat, there was a change in the variety; I was going off food left, right and centre. When I was pregnant with Luna I went off all meat except chicken, this time I really only had eyes for beef (which is weird as I’m not a lover of beef).
For me it’s only been in the final month where I experience the need to gorge myself on everything in sight; and after that I just want to nap.
Most People Thought I Was Just Getting Fat
Those who knew I was pregnant would of comment of how big I was getting because they were aware of it. Others genuinely thought I was just getting fat until the bump became more prominent, which for me was around month 7. I work as waitress and sometimes boundaries get blurred. People think because they see you almost everyday that you won’t be offended when they turn round and say “I thought you were just fat, I didn’t realise you were pregnant” and then they laugh like it’s the most hilarious thing they’ve said all year. And all I can do is smile and ask them if they’d like any sauce.
I Wasn’t Big Enough For Maternity Clothes
With those in the know commenting regularly on how big/massive/huge I was getting, you’d be surprised to hear I wasn’t actually all that big. In fact, my midwives have mentioned how neat my bumps have been (and they see them all day, every day). When, at around 4 months, I couldn’t button up my regular work trousers I went looking for maternity trousers. First off, they cost three times as much as a regular pair; but they’re also massive. I tried on a few and they were just ridiculous; I wouldn’t have been able to fill them out until my final month.
I ended up adopting a uniform of leggings and t-shirts in a men’s large. It actually worked out more cost effective. The leggings fit me perfectly as my body grew and as it shrank again. I don’t think you can get away with maternity trousers for long afterwards.
What I Had Was Not Heartburn
Every time I took a Rennie or said I felt sick, it would be attributed to heartburn. “Most women get heartburn during pregnancy” chimed the voices of wisdom. I’m sure they do, but I didn’t have heartburn; I had excess stomach acid. With excess stomach acid you don’t have the burning or the pain that comes with heartburn; it’s more the taste of bile at the back of your throat and feeling like you’re going to be sick. It’s actually a problem I have anyway, it was worse when I was a child and being pregnant just exacerbated it. It’s nothing a Rennie or a glass of milk can’t fix.
People Don’t Care For Long
I don’t want this one to sound like a pity party, but it’s something that irks me a bit. When people first find out you’re pregnant there’s a bit of buzz. Everyone asks if you’re ok, if they can do things for you, lift things for you; even though you’re capable of doing it yourself. It’s nice that their being so thoughtful, but it wears off quickly. So when you get further along, and simple things like getting up off the floor become a struggle, you’re in that awkward position of trying to ask for help without making it look like you’re guilting them into it because you’re pregnant. I did my own heavy lifting until I psychically couldn’t because I felt so self conscious asking for help. If others thought I needed help they’d offer, right? Yeah, not so much.
Everyone’s experience through pregnancy is different. I was lucky and had very uneventful pregnancies; and this makes me feel awkward talking about it. Often people will share their experience with me looking for someone to sympathise with; and when I tell them I had no issues during my pregnancy it feels like they think I’m lying or trying to make them feel bad. Or I’m made to feel like I didn’t do it properly or something.
I know there are many women who have a terrible time during pregnancy, whether it’s medical issues or their body just isn’t coping well with the process. I would never make anyone feel inferior for anything they had to endure. Growing another human is an incredible strain on the body. So I don’t think it’s fair to make people feel bad or try to invalidate their experience because their pregnancy was healthy and straightforward. It’s not a competition.