“You never understand life until it grows inside of you.”
― Sandra Chami Kassis
Before I found out I was pregnant I always thought my pregnancy would be associated with three things:
- Eating for two,
- Craving a random and slightly questionable meal at 3am and;
- Asking my husband to prepare me said meal in the middle of the night whilst I relax in our newly refurbished family home.
Spoiler alert. None of those things happened to me. None…
Life has a funny way of doing the complete opposite of what you think it should do, right? After going through one of life’s biggest milestones, I wanted to share with you what that experience was like for me.
But first, how are you? How is life treating you?
Me, I’m doing okay, great actually. After taking some time to organise myself and get back to blogging, I feel like things are finally falling into place. Something I struggled to believe would happen during my pregnancy.
Let me start from the beginning…
I found out I was pregnant at 7 weeks. Yup, that’s right. For 7 weeks I was eating sushi, drinking wine and happily carrying on with life as if life wasn’t growing inside of me. It was until Matthew’s father noticed I hadn’t complained about my period for a while that he suggested we take a test. When the little blue line appeared I could not believe it. I was convinced we’d taken the test wrong so I insisted we book an appointment at the GP to confirm.
“Congratulations, it’s positive”, the nurse said. I just smiled and said thank you but inside I was terrified. At the time I thought I was worried about how my family and friends would react but after telling them and seeing how happy they were for us I soon realised I was terrified because this wasn’t how it was suppose to happen.
I’d always had the idea of getting married first, then the house and THEN the baby. This was all happening backwards and I wasn’t sure if I was happy about it or if I was okay with this new future. Matthew’s father was excited and so was I but I just wasn’t excited that it was happening like this.
During our relationship we had both talked about our ideal future together and how we wanted it to be – a wedding, a house and then kids, you know the usual. We even agreed to save up for it so that we’d be prepared when that time came. Well, the time came and though I was ready to commit to the future we spent many days and nights talking about, for some reason he wasn’t. It soon became clear that the life we had spoken and planned for for the last 2.5 years was more important to me than it was to him.
After 2 weeks of arguing and going back and forth, I ran out of energy trying to understand why our future had to change just because I was pregnant. I was tired of the emotional roller-coaster and I didn’t want to stay in a relationship feeling as though I’d settled for less than what I knew I deserved. So at 10 weeks pregnant during the early hours of the morning, my relationship with Matthew’s father and I ended. Ironically it happened on valentines day. Go figure…
It wasn’t what I wanted but it was definitely what I needed. I went through the rest of my pregnancy without him.
In all my 26 years of living I never thought I’d ever be single and pregnant. Single, maybe but single AND pregnant, never. Yet there I was, single and 10 weeks pregnant wondering how something that should have brought us closer together could bring us so far apart. Although I dealt with it as best as I could and remained as positive as I could, small moments such as feeling the baby kick or people asking me how things are with the father brought the pain back. If it wasn’t for the amazing support of my friends and family I don’t know how I would have coped.
They were always around to remind me that I wasn’t alone. A life was growing inside me that felt everything I was feeling and would make me one of the greatest things in this world – a mother. Knowing this helped me to remain positive and even encouraged me to learn something new to mark this new chapter in my life.
Thanks to my mum, I learned how to knit and was able to knit a blanket for Matthew. My mum used to knit clothes for me and my sisters when we were babies so it was only right I follow suit. I don’t know how she remembered after 26 years but she did. It became our bonding session where she shared stories about her pregnancy and told me how excited she was to become a grandmother for the first time. I loved every minute of it. Plus it served as a distraction from everything that was happening.
Aside for the unexpected break-up, my pregnancy was pretty much uneventful. My morning sickness was very minimal, I had no weird cravings (aside from water and orange juice) and I didn’t gain a lot of weight. My hair grew, my skin glowed and my cleavage looked amazing if I do say so myself. I’d heard so many unpleasant stories about pregnancy so as a first-time mum I expected the worst or at least have crazy hormones that caused me to do crazy things. Or something along those lines. But nope, I got none of that and I am truly grateful for it! Would have been nice to blame something weird on the hormones, though.
As amazing as the majority of my pregnancy was, there were some not so amazing moments. I documented them on an app called Sprout because I wanted to remember as much about my actual pregnancy as possible and not the chaos that surrounded it. It can all become a blur when you have so many changes happening to you at once. Plus the app didn’t always mention the things I was experiencing so as a first-time mum I panicked thinking something must be wrong.
Social media always made things sound either worse than they really were or more perfect than they should be so I wanted to share my journey to let you know that although it may not be perfect, it’s not so bad either.
Between week 12 and week 18 my boobs didn’t just get bigger, they also got darker, itchier and looked slightly bruised. Lovely! I was a lot more tired than usual and I had a lot more headaches than normal so paracetamol was my bestfriend for a while. Unfortunately my dreams of eating for two hadn’t came to fruition yet. In fact I lost my appetite and spent most of the time force feeding myself by eating little and often.
As my stomach started to become noticeable at week 16 my choice of jeans to wear soon decreased and I had to find some maternity jeans. However, the struggle for said jeans was real. Not only were the jeans expensive, it was difficult to find some that didn’t look so maternity. Annoyingly enough I was in that awkward stage where my stomach was too small to fit into maternity jeans and too big to fasten my existing jeans so I used a belt and rubber bands to hold my existing jeans together until I could fit into the maternity ones properly. This wasn’t the most comfortable solution but it worked. Once I was big enough I found that New Look and H&M had the best and most affordable maternity jeans.
By week 19 my appetite was back to normal-ish but I still didn’t have the urge to eat for two (which sadly is a myth by the way!). On the other hand I did feel like I was being stretched by two people. My boobs were still growing, my stomach was still growing and I just felt round. To distract myself I started thinking about baby names and redecorating the house in preparation for the baby shower and the baby of course. This was another much needed distraction!
The Sprout app I was using said I should have felt the baby kick before week 19 so I began to feel a little anxious and worried, as you do, but then one night as I was lying in bed I felt the baby kick. At first I thought it was a muscle twitch in my stomach or something but it happened again so I pressed against it and guess what? It was a kick! I literally leaped out of my bed to tell my family but they were all asleep and probably wouldn’t have been as excited as I was. It was moments like this that reminded me of Matthew’s father and how much he was missing out on.
As the pregnancy continued, I only experienced a few more symptoms such as swollen feet, blood when blowing my nose and hearing a heart beat sound in my ears which according to Google and my midwife was the sound of the extra blood flowing through me. Nice! I also had a strange numb-like feeling in my legs at night which again according to Google and my midwife was restless leg syndrome. Where would I have been without Google when my midwife wasn’t available?
And that was it I think.
I stopped documenting my pregnancy at 26 weeks because nothing eventful happened after that. My stomach just got bigger and bigger and I got more nervous at the thought that soon I’d be meeting the little human bouncing around inside of me.
My pregnancy was going so well I managed to work up until I was 38 weeks. I should have used the remaining 2 weeks before my due date to rest but oh no, not me. I went into nesting overdrive. I was cleaning walls, doors, floors, ceilings, and finding every reason to pop down the high street and stock up on baby clothes and nursery decor. I’m not sure if it was a coping mechanism for the sheer shock of everything that happened or my need to remain strong and positive throughout the process but I used every opportunity I had to keep myself busy.
Apart from no longer fitting into most of my clothes I never once felt like I was pregnant . If you were to ask me now what did pregnancy feel like I honestly couldn’t tell you. Is that a good thing? I don’t know.
What I do know is that after 41 weeks and 5 days I welcomed my first baby, an adorable little boy named Matthew. The delivery wasn’t as smooth or easy as the pregnancy but it was worth it.
I tried to keep this post as light-hearted as possible because that’s the place I’m in right now. 4 months after giving birth to my amazing son, I’m happier, lighter and brighter than ever before. During my pregnancy I wasn’t sure if I’d ever truly reach this place but I’m so glad I can honestly say that I have.
My pregnancy taught me a lot about myself, my values and my body and showed me what it means to be loved in the most unexpected way. It also taught me that you never know what you will really do in a situation until you are in it and this experience has shown me I’m a woman of my word.
Although I would have loved Matthew to be born in a two parent home, sometimes in life you have to choose yourselves over your children because ultimately that is the best decision for them too. I never wanted the relationship between Matthew’s father and I to end but it did and I was able to move on from it.
Looking back I enjoyed my pregnancy and I hope all my future pregnancies go as smooth and easy as this one – minus the break-up of course. It may not have been perfect but it was definitely worth it.
In the words of Lauryn Hill “I had always made decisions for other people, making everybody else happy. It was one that was based on my happiness and not what other people wanted for me or for themselves. . . . And I’m so happy that I made the choice that I did.”
Everything happens for a reason and I know I made the right choice.
Till next time.
What did your pregnancy experience teach you? Let me know in the comments below.