I am a lucky lady. We are a lucky family. I know this. To have fallen pregnant twice with so little trouble I almost wished for a little trouble to give me time to get used to the idea, with two healthy kids (as far as we know), is a blessing. I know plenty of people not blessed in this way. Due to my demographic but also perhaps a run of particularly bad luck amongst the women I know, I have more friends who have miscarried in the last year than had babies. Young, healthy women with young, healthy children. It’s just not bloody fair. So every day I remind myself that we are really, truly, blessed – because this is not something one person deserves and another doesn’t, it’s not something you earn or ensure through actions of your own. It just is.
And yet. I am terrible at being pregnant and I really, really dislike it as a whole. Some women glow and thrive and it’s like they have discovered their sole purpose in life. They truly are a sacred vessel. They revel in the changes, the nourishing of another life, the miracle of it all. They look amazing in whatever they wear and they say they’re sad when it’s over. I was not one of those while I was carrying Emma, and I am still not one of those. There are many reasons it took until Emma was 18 months old for me to even begin contemplating whether I wanted another baby, and the awfulness of pregnancy was definitely one of them.
This pregnancy has been different right away. Last time I remember it went something like this. Felt sick from weeks 6-12. Sinus issues from weeks 13-20. Had to stop wearing my skinny jeans around the same time. Super tired from week 26. Couldn’t exercise much from week 35. Beached whale phased commenced at the same time. But at the same time we travelled to New Zealand for a wedding, I ran my first ever fun run, I swam laps until 39 weeks, I went to prenatal yoga and lifted weights and didn’t even miss drinking that much.
This time it’s gone like this. Started feeling tired and dizzy from week 4. “Morning” sickness that lasted day and night and involved actual vomiting from week 5 until week 14. Wearing maternity pants to work in week 8. Chest infection during week 10. Sinus issues from week 15 and they are still appearing now at week 22. Tired, all the time, not matter how much I sleep or how little I do, just tired. Have been lucky to exercise twice a week and definitely no prenatal yoga, have already frozen my gym membership until August. Definitely don’t walk the dogs because that involves taking a toddler as well and that’s just not going to happen. I want to drink. Every. Single. Day.
I know that all of this still makes me one of the lucky ones. People get morning sickness that’s so awful they end up in hospital. People have all sorts of trouble that lands them on bed rest or having weekly check-ups and all sorts of other worrying things. But really, for a “lucky” one, all of that combined with caring for a toddler at the same time means this is really, truly no fun.
There are two good things about pregnancy as far as I’m concerned. One is that I basically eat whatever I want because I mostly only eat well due to vanity and there’s no such thing while pregnant. Not that I’m poisoning my child with a terrible diet, but morning sickness = only eating carbs and no alcohol = more chocolate. Besides, I feel like my mental health is as important to baby’s wellbeing as salads. So I’m making the most of that, especially once the morning sickness passed and I actually enjoyed eating again.
The other good thing about being pregnant is feeling the baby move. Because it’s super strange, and cool, and really all kinds of amazing. Emma was late – about 23 weeks, late enough that people had started going, “really…?” in that slightly nervous way. This time I got my first kick about 17 weeks and had to get Toby to google that it was possible so early because I’d been half asleep. It was so great to get it after weeks of being miserable and hating the whole process, to get a reminder that there is a real little person in there and that’s what all of this misery is for.
Such different pregnancies led me to believe that I was having a boy this time, and I was really overjoyed when it was confirmed at the 20 week scan. I wouldn’t have been disappointed with a girl – especially for Emma’s sake, as one of three girls I feel like there is something pretty special about sisters – but I was so convinced it was an active, mischievous little boy making all this trouble that it was thrilling to see him for real. Growing just the way he should be.
22 weeks down only 18 to go.