Most women have an idea or a gut feeling that they are pregnant around day 5 or 7 of a missed period. In some cases, once a positive pregnancy test has been revealed, you can almost feel relieved, like “oh! So that’s where my period disappeared to” or “shit, I am actually pregnant”. This is usually followed by a whole whirlwind of emotions.
For me, finding out I was pregnant went a little something like this… “Oh… my period is late!” Then in flew the anxieties, along with the “hold on, am I actually pregnant? Do the dates add up? What if I’m I not actually pregnant? Maybe it’s just gas…” I had many questions, many, many questions.
My partner and I had discussed the possibility of trying for a baby around the Christmas of 2017 and by January 2018, I was preggo! Yes, we were very blessed and fortunate for it to all happen so quickly, however that didn’t stop the feelings of worry and dread. This was a huge and life changing decision.
I remember speaking to my mum and telling her my period was late and she advised me to do a home pregnancy test. To be honest, at the time of taking the test, I thought nothing of it. I hadn’t been on any contraception since 2011… (we had been extremely careful during that time, as you can imagine). So, when the test did come back as positive, I remember screaming and running into the bedroom to tell my partner. He took the news way better than I did!
I remember calling my mum in tears when telling her the news. I had just been offered a new job, that I worked very hard to get, we were living in a one bedroom flat and I couldn’t help feeling that the timing was just off. However, at the same time, I was still super stoked that we were going to be having a baby (remember what I said about the whirlwind of emotions?).
It’s very normal to feel mixed emotions when you find out you’re pregnant. It’s important to remember that these emotions are nothing to be ashamed of, whether you decide to progress with the pregnancy or not. Everyone’s situations and lifestyle are completely different. It may not be the right time for you, or you may feel that having a baby is not something that you want and that’s ok. It’s your decision. You should always listen to your gut and do what ever it is that makes you feel happy.
For me, the whole “being pregnant” thing, felt exciting. I didn’t actually feel any difference within my body until I had reached about 7 weeks. It was at that moment that I was hit by the nausea bus, hard. During the grey months of January and February 2018, my sickness and exhaustion had reached an all time high. I felt so tired and drained within myself. I was not motivated to do anything! However, by around the 12-week period, this had passed.
Generally speaking, for most women, menstrual symptoms are pretty similar across the board. However, for pregnancy, each and every symptom can feel very different for every woman. The way that you feel physically and emotionally, when pregnant, may feel completely and utterly different to another pregnant woman. I had always suffered with hormonal issues, since I was a teenager. One minute I could be as happy as Larry, the next I could be a raging, teary, force to be reckoned with. During pregnancy, this felt super heightened. Sometimes all I wanted to do was lock myself away in the bathroom and cry. I accepted that this was ok and felt much better, once I had gotten it out of my system.
Some people say that when you’re sad, the baby feels it too. This can have a negative impact on baby’s development. However, sometimes this can’t be helped. You’re human. Always speak to someone if you’re struggling or feel that you aren’t coping well with all of the chemical changes happening within your body. Pregnancy can be a very confusing time. But having a support system, or somebody that you can talk to can really help to bring clarity to the whole experience.
I’m certainly not writing this column to keep on banging on about “how beautiful pregnancy is” or “how amazing you’re going to feel” or “how you’re skin is going to glow”, if you experience all of these things, great! Every pregnancy is beautiful, but it does come with its own individual trials and tribulations that can be brutal on your mental health, body and wellbeing. I had constant fear and anxiety when I found out I was pregnant, thinking “is everything okay?”, “is the baby okay?”, “am I okay?”, “will I be a good mother?”, “can I do this?”, “am I ready?”, “will everything work out?” See, many questions, many, many questions!
There might even be added financial, relationship and household strains added to the mix. These are stresses that can cause early maternity leave. Your libido might decrease, it may even increase! You may not have saved up enough money or maybe it’s not the right time in your career. But just know, if you do decide to go through with it, you’re going to be alright! These anxieties and worries are completely normal. If anything, it’s preparing you to be an awesome parent!
You may even have fears around your body and your appearance, questioning whether or not your partner will still find you attractive (normal). You may question if your friends will make time for you with a baby or whether they’ll want to still hang out(normal). These are all normal thoughts! To be honest, these thoughts will probably still be around long after you’ve had your baby. It’s important to make sure that you have a strong circle around you, friends and family. If your friends are really your friends, they will understand that you might not be able to attend every social event (especially ones that involve drinking or staying out until early hours) or that you might not be always be able to afford to socialise on some occasions as your priorities have now changed.
I had a large group of friends before I found out I was pregnant. We would be out most weekends, drinking, going out for dinner, shopping, etc. I also worked for a company that had a huge social scene. Everyone would go to the pub on a Friday and carry on until the early hours of the morning. All of a sudden, once I had the baby, after expressing that I couldn’t attend a few social events (due to not being able to drink or stay out late, etc.), I noticed that I wasn’t really being invited out as much. I eventually stopped speaking to a few people.
At first, I would get really upset about it and think “what a cheek!” But I eventually got that we were just on different pages now and that’s was ok. I just wanted people to understand that my priorities were different now. Some of my friends were truly amazing. They never made me feel different or as if anything had changed. They would be more considerate when coming to visit me and the baby or invite me out for dinner during reasonable times. If I couldn’t make it out, they’d never make me feel bad or pressured me. I really valued this.
When I really thought about it, I didn’t just have a baby to leave it and my partner, so that I could then go out and party all the time. That just wasn’t a lifestyle that I wanted to pursue anymore and had outgrown. I still love to go out for dinner, have fun with my friends, have a cheeky drink, etc. And that’s totally still do-able when you’re a mum, but once you have a child, you just have to be sensible. Everything in moderation – that’s just the way it is, and I like it this way!
This blog was contributed by fellow Sis, Tan, a mummy and friend to the We Do Wellness Group. You can find Tan at @tanxsinghx on Instagram.