The biggest regret about my pregnancyJuly 25, 2016
I fell pregnant by accident just over two years ago. ‘Fell’ pregnant felt so apt – I spiralled, head spinning, and ended up going to counselling to help me deal with this unexpected, life-changing news. Luckily I was in a loving relationship, married (just), and kids were on the cards, but after our big wedding, a wine-tasting/safari honeymoon and some more adventures, just the two of us. As my mum said when I told her “Well, the timing is something…”.
My husband was in a similar headspace; “You look the same, but everything has changed”, I remember him saying, baffled and wide-eyed, in the first few weeks, as I napped again, pale with exhaustion. I read that the drop in energy during the first trimester feels like a cloud passing over the sun, and that’s how I felt. I’d sleep wherever, whenever.
The counsellor is a trusted woman that I have turned to over the years at times of need; when my dad was sick, crises of confidence, when my dad was sick again. She asked me what I would have done, or changed, in order to be ready to have a baby. I’d save more money, I replied, I’d lose weight, get my body ready and fit, read more books, drink more wine, sleep more, travel more. More.
She smiled, and said “The last, and biggest, lesson of being a grown up, and one that serves you well as a parent, is that you’re not in control. You’ll find the money for what you need, and you have months to read books.” So far, the not being in control element of motherhood hasn’t been as difficult as I’d feared, because I was forewarned, and know that no mum is – regardless of how shiny their family life looks on Instagram.
As the months went by, I felt better, a bump appearing, and something of a glow returning to my face, or maybe I just wasn’t so pale. For a while, I actually felt good. Glossy hair, no issues sleeping (that would come later), and enviable energy levels, apart from at the end of the working week, when everyone else was getting ready to go out, all I wanted to do was eat pasta and binge watch TV. Everyone said how much pregnancy suited me, and that I looked great – I was all wrap dresses and wedge heels, working full-time, and while I gained 20kg overall, I was carrying it well.
So why didn’t I take more photos? I so wish I had. Or we had.
Looking back over those nine months there are a handful photos where you can see my bump – one at work, posing with a cover of the magazine I edited, signed by Gary Barlow (result), one of me in front of the Christmas tree, another at a friend’s leaving party, the professional images from our wedding day, a few from my baby shower and then me, huge and goofing around, in a hospital gown the night before I was induced. In this age of endless selfies, that’s not very many.
Towards the end of the pregnancy, I started to regret this. One night, sleeping in the spare room to have more space for me, my bump and the body pillow, I couldn’t sleep, and lay in bed scrolling through (the lack of) photos on my phone crying, convinced that it meant on a subconscious level that my husband didn’t want to remember the pregnancy, that he didn’t love me, and he didn’t want the baby (thank you, hormones, you crazies…).
I asked him why he hadn’t covered Facebook in photos of my bump, with proud captions, like other husbands we know have done, knowing full well that he’s not that guy. “You always said you felt terrible and you thought you looked awful, and I didn’t want to make you feel self-conscious…” he truthfully, carefully, replied. As ever, his heart was in the right place.
So next time, we’ll be getting snap happy. Boring everyone silly. And making sure we have something to show the children when we’re old and grey, that when she was pregnant their mum was pale, and fat, and happy.
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