It seems appropriate that I start my journey as a freelance writer for Boss Mama with the beginning of my journey into motherhood – pregnancy.
The miracle of creating a life inside you is a journey like no other. It’s a milestone moment in many women’s lives, celebrated with much joy by everyone. It’s so celebrated, in fact, that no one ever seems to talk about the harsh realities of pregnancy. Morning sickness, swollen feet and the constant need to pee are just the tip of the iceberg.
Let me preface this by saying that every pregnancy is different. Not every woman will have the same pregnancy journey, and not every woman will experience the same pregnancy twice. Some women absolutely love their journey, and others… not so much. I fall into the latter category.
Trying For A Baby
I would say that as far as pregnancies go, I was lucky enough to have a fairly uneventful one. I got pregnant after half a year of trying. Every month I tracked my cycle, taking a pregnancy test on the first day of my next period and feeling that slight sinking feeling when it returned a negative result – even knowing that it takes time, and that the average woman is likely to get pregnant between 6 months to a year of trying. Some even longer.
I went to my GP to make sure I was doing everything I could. I took folic acid and other multivitamins. I exercised around 4 hours every week – although that was mostly due to lockdowns and not having much else to do at home. I read everything I could on trying for a baby and, well, did the deed as much as I could ‘cause we all know how babies are made, and the more you do it, the higher your chances of getting pregnant!
I was late for my period one cycle, and got my hopes up, but when I took a test it was still negative. I had a bleed a week later, which I thought was odd because I’m not usually that late and it lasted a much shorter time. Never mind, I thought. Probably my mind starting to affect my body with how much I’m wanting it to happen. I pushed away the disappointment and carried on trying.
I was at work on a Saturday a month later, when this slow, persistent feeling of nausea started creeping up on me. It wasn’t like in the movies where you suddenly had to run to the toilet and start puking your guts out. I remember thinking that it must be the lychee drink I’d found in the old store at work. Probably expired, I thought. I went home that day, drank lots of water, and got into bed. For most of the next week, I stayed in bed feeling sorry for myself and getting my shifts at work covered as the nausea grew worse. “Food poisoning sucks,” I told my husband miserably as I nursed a bowl of porridge. He regarded me thoughtfully.
“Maybe you’re pregnant,” he suggested.
“Maybe,” I shrugged. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. My period was meant to start soon, so I decided to take a test on the Monday it was due. On Sunday night, I dreamt that I had a positive pregnancy test. It felt so real I woke up convinced I already knew, only to realise I still had to actually take the test. I did. It was positive.
From there I went to my GP to confirm it with a blood test and found out I’d been pregnant for almost two months. The odd bleeding I’d had was actually an implantation bleed, not my period. Not every woman will get it, but an implantation bleed can happen when the fertilised egg implants itself in the uterus, usually around two weeks after conception.
First Trimester: All Day Every Day Sickness
Truth be told, as happy as I was to get the news, I spent my first trimester completely miserable. Whoever named it morning sickness clearly had no clue. It was all day every day sickness for me, a constant niggling nausea that would occasionally crescendo into puking the remains of whatever I managed to get down that day. I kept a plastic bag in my car just in case, and I had to use it a couple of times after a hard shift at work trying to ignore the assault on my nose. Hard to do when you’re managing a busy restaurant pumping out delicious and strong-smelling food. I completely went off meat and became vegetarian for a while. Coffee, which once filled my soul with happiness and the promise of potential, now made me want to hurl. Every morning I’d gag on my toothbrush and spit out a mixture of blood, bile and toothpaste. Oh yeah, your gums get extra sensitive and bleed easily during pregnancy.
We had a lot of fun creating our pregnancy announcement with the help of our good friend Mahlon Rhoades, who captured and edited this photo for our poster.
Second Trimester: A Bottomless Pit Of Hunger
I was so grateful when the nausea began to recede a couple of weeks into my second trimester. Smells still occasionally made me queasy, but my appetite was back, with a vengeance. I became obsessed with crumpets, and scoffed down bowls of cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and then some. I had more bubble tea and McDonald’s double cheeseburgers during my second trimester than I’d had in my whole life up to that point. I was a bottomless pit of hunger, all good intentions of eating healthy for the pregnancy crushed under the weight of my cravings. I was also starting to find it difficult to get comfortable in bed, especially since I could no longer lie on my back. Breathing began to feel like a chore and my heart rate would go through the roof doing even simple tasks like making the bed. I felt so weak, as carrying out daily tasks felt like it took up most of my energy, yet simultaneously so strong as my body worked its magic to create the life inside of me.
Balancing act – one of the few pregnancy perks!
Third Trimester: The Itch That Wouldn’t Stop
Third trimester rolled around and any hopes I had of ever finding a comfortable spot in bed were dashed. Mountains of pillows did not help. I was always hungry, but every time I ate I couldn’t breathe properly because I was getting so big, it felt like there wasn’t enough space in my lungs for air. I cried because I was hungry. I cried because I ate too much. I cried because I felt like I was overheating all the time. I cried because I felt a piece of gum flap growing in my mouth, which Google told me can be a totally normal pregnancy symptom – I know, weird right?! I cried because I was so. Damn. Itchy. Seriously, the last month of my pregnancy made me want to tear my skin off. I had expected itching around my stretching belly, but the itch was everywhere else too. My scalp itched, my back itched, my arms, butt and legs itched. I had to make sure my nails were cut and filed short so that I was only scratching with the tips of my fingers. I tried aloe vera, oatmeal, kept my skin hydrated, and all the usual anti itch solutions, but none of them worked. I also had severe reflux, was swollen all over and had to pee every half an hour.
They say a baby can get in the way of a relationship… now we know what they mean!
I couldn’t wait for my pregnancy to be over; I was so done. By Week 37 I was scheduled for a C Section due to my baby being breech. I scheduled it a week earlier than my original due date because I was so ready for her to vacate the premises.
Don’t get me wrong, I was and still am so grateful that I got to experience pregnancy, without any major complications. It wasn’t all bad either. The first time I saw my baby’s fully formed shape during the Week 13 scan had me crying tears of joy and disbelief. The first time I felt her wriggle inside me made me giggle. I spent hours tapping rhythms to her and feeling her respond like it was our own secret code. My skin was amazing the whole of my pregnancy and I loved the way my pregnant body looked. I’m just saying that I wish I had been better prepared for the grueling reality of pregnancy, and that women are able to be more open in sharing their disenchantment without being made to feel like terrible mothers. After all, it doesn’t mean that our babies are any less wanted or loved.
What about all you other Boss Mamas out there, what was your pregnancy journey like? What were the weirdest pregnancy symptoms you experienced?
Let’s share our stories so that we can normalise all the different journeys and emotions that come with them, both positive and negative. Come and share your story in our 24/7 Mommy Hotline group on Telegram today!