I’m admitting it here- this pregnancy has really sucked. I don’t mean to be ungrateful- the actual pregnancy has been healthy, and uneventful, and I know how lucky that makes me when I am very used to supporting women who are dealing with various complications. I’m not after sympathy. Really, really not. But the experience has been challenging.
I’ve been dealing with pre-existing b12 deficiency and anaemia, battling away for appropriate treatment throughout, finally getting somewhere over the past couple of weeks. It’s left me EXHAUSTED, breathless, dizzy, sickly, with cognitive challenges, mood issues, and at the worst moments, on the verge of passing out at the side of the London Road with a 2 yr old rolling free on his scooter. Scary moments.
I’ve met 6 midwives (and 2 students), never the same face twice at my antenatal appointments.
I’m working extremely hard to grow my business, challenging myself to reach more families, make hypnobirthing more accessible, and continuing all the voluntary elements of support I offer, and this is with just 9 hours of preschool per week- otherwise me and toddles are living in each other’s sticky, crumby pockets.
He likes climbing (on me, around me, on dangerous objects just out of my reach). He likes to “play running”, basically chasing each other round. Hide and seek. Dancing. Riding on my back. It’s physical stuff. I don’t have the stamina.
HE STILL DOESN’T SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT.
There is a point to this “woe is me”, first world problems droning on.
Rewind a few years to my first pregnancy. It was picture perfect. Bathed in the glow of wonderful health, plenty of sleep, surrounded by other adults insisting that I didn’t lift anything, stand up for too long, etc. Early nausea and usual pregnancy tiredness aside, I was blessed with a fuss free, joyful gestation.
I had good continuity of care.
I liked my job, was committed to it, but planned to finish at 34 weeks and was happy to slow down as maternity leave approached. I knew I would take a year off with my baby.
In these circumstances, it was easy, natural really, to confidently adopt the hypnobirthing mantra around pregnancy.
Pregnancy is healthy and wonderful. I nourish my baby easily. I take care of myself, so I can take care of my baby. I love my pregnant body. Etc.
I felt totally wrapped up in this bubble. I relished every second, and focussed on how the hypnobirthing breathing, visualisation and relaxation techniques made me feel even better- happier, calmer, more connected to my baby, totally optimistic, serene. It all clicked beautifully and made absolute sense to me with very little effort.
It turns out it’s harder to commit to this dreamy mindset when you feel crap most of the time. When you feel that your body is struggling, when your toddler is demanding, when rather than slowing down towards the end of the pregnancy you are squeezing more in, determined to pursue your need to support as many bumps as possible, never to let anyone down. On edge about how long to take off, knowing you’ll miss your work tremendously and concerned about losing momentum.
It’s hard to put so much expectation on hubs too. He is super busy working, and the time he used to spend stroking my back and bringing me dinner is now time to play with toddles and put him to bed.
So what of all this, is it just a good whinge on my part? A bit. But I’d like to share how I’m making it work for me, in the hope that other mamas finding it hard to enter permanent euphoria will be reassured and supported…
- A challenging pregnancy is a good induction to motherhood. I feel I was lulled into a false sense of security first time round. Difficult choices, feeling less than fabulous, were unexpected. I was foolish.
- Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean you can’t do it- you are doing it. You’re growing and nourishing an entire person, a whole new life. Take this into birth and motherhood- you’ve earnt your stripes, you’ve got this covered, you can do this.
- I’m really appreciating the moments of peace and wellness, much more than last time. Almost every night I’ve had a candlelit bath. I’ve bought A LOT of new candles in this pregnancy. They bring me peace, the dim light is calming, the scents are soothing. I’m seriously enjoying my Eucalyptus soy candle from forget-me-not in Leigh right now. I’m treating myself REGULARLY. Little pick me ups whenever I can fit them in. Reflexology with Louise at www.body-n-sole.com every month. CANNOT GET ENOUGH. Always recommend her to my clients, with rave reviews. And Indian Head Massages. You know when you’re so tired your head feels clogged up? I’ve developed a habit at Peaches and Cream Urban Day Spa. So good. Because I’m struggling, it’s easier to accept that I deserve all of this.
- I’m also appreciating my hypnobirthing techniques much more. Where I easily embraced the philosophy last time because it mirrored much of what I already felt, this time it’s really making a difference to me when I spend time practising the techniques and using positive affirmations. I feel noticeably shifted in mood, better able to cope. In all honesty, I’m not in any way nervous about the birth itself. I know I have everything I need well embedded and am really looking forward to it. But keeping up with the practice as best I can is supporting me through this pregnancy. Bringing me comfort and invigoration that I really need.
- I’m keeping firmly in mind- it’s not forever. It’s felt longer and slower this time. There’s no clear cut off when a period of rest and focussed preparation begins. I’ve literally prepared/ bought nothing, so better crack on with that. But one day my baby will arrive, and never again will I feel the sensations of new life growing in my tum. (2 kiddies is quite enough for me). Everything else aside, it’s worth relishing the uniqueness of this connection, being one with your child, being their universe, growing and shaping them.
- I’ve let go of the guilt. The guilt of being less enthused about the experience. The sense that I am short changing this second baby in comparison with the first. That’s thanks to Gemma at Hidden Gem. Tapped it right out. If you haven’t heard of EFT, give it a Google.
So that’s my lengthy confession and coping strategy. I hope you are really enjoying your pregnancy, is really fantastic if you are. But if not, don’t worry. It doesn’t make you a terrible mother, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a positive birth, or a wonderful start to motherhood.
It means you need to be taken care of, nurtured and supported, and consider what an amazing achievement you are undertaking. And be assured, you’re not alone.