Many things change when you fall pregnant and its known that the first and final trimesters are the hardest for most women. However I’m sad to say that I’ve found some individuals are being rather rude towards me. I am in my first trimester, and have decided to write about my experiences in the hope to relate to others but also to tell these people to think twice about what they say!
I cant deny I am over the moon to be 9 weeks pregnant at this stage. True I feel terrible, the sickness is awful, the tiredness is worse and I spent most of last week laid up at home (and struggling around work) with an agonisingly bad back. Too early you say? Yes I heard people say that too but according to my doctor sciatica pain and back problems are common in early pregnancy as they are in late pregnancy. Just because there isn’t much weight there doesn’t mean we cant get them. In fact early pregnancy back pain is caused by the horrible effects of our pregnancy hormones. They are encouraging your muscles to relax all over your body to allow for your expanding uterus to grow and to prepare for the changes ahead. This is another reason why constipation occurs…lovely I know, trust me its worse living with it.
The surprising and often shocking thing that I am finding is that most people seem to be very unsympathetic at this stage. True I’m barely showing (but trust me I actually am showing a bit at this stage) but the symptoms in the first and last trimesters are known to be the worst in pregnancy! We feel sick constantly, sometimes are sick (and its projectile to the point where it comes out of your nose) headaches, bloated, such low energy we can barely drag ourselves out of bed and ache all over, hormonal, back pain in my case, constant needs to pee which would rival the frequency of a water infection for me at this point. Yes it all happens this early too! Its called HORMONES people! Just because we arn’t showing heavily doesn’t mean its not difficult for us at times. What gets me is if you wern’t pregnant it feels exactly like an awful bug and you wouldn’t be expected to do the things you would normally do when you are “healthy”. If you felt like this normally you would be tucked up in bed and sleeping it off. So why are pregnant women treated any differently? Why are we expected just to get on with it and not talk about it. True we are delighted and excited, but it isn’t easy. And on top of all the side effects we have the worry that at this stage we are in the higher risks of miscarriage, before that 12 week mark where the chances of miscarriage falls dramatically.
I spoke to my midwife about it yesterday during our visit, and got a tad upset. She was surprised I was even working full time still and said many people reduce their hours in the first trimester as they find it difficult to cope. I guess that’s part of the problem but what am I supposed to do? In my line of work we don’t work, we don’t get paid, and my maternity pay is ridiculously bad, so we need every penny we can get. So what do we do, people in this situation? We muddle through and carry on. At the moment my life is consisting of working, coming home and resting so that I can have the energy to go to work the next day. I’m hoping after 12 weeks it gets easier, or at least when pregnancy becomes more obvious people will be more sympathetic towards me, rather than critical. Particularly at work. Some people are being really supportive, others are not and I feel are expecting rather a lot. I am trying my best, I guess that’s all anyone can do, but it does get to me. It makes me feel like a failure and guilty. This is a bit unfair really, why should I be made to feel this way?
Also another thing that I am finding is when people compare your pregnancy story to theirs. I think an important point here is to remember that everyone is different. Some people go through the entire pregnancy with no issues at all and next to no symptoms. Others struggle from day 1 and need hospital admissions. Some of us (myself included) find that previous injuries cause them problems (my back is an old injury that was made worse due to the hormones relaxing my tendons and them trapping the nerves). I think the most helpful thing we can all do is remember that we are all different. The worst thing to say to a pregnant woman, or to do, is imply that there is no need for them to be having the symptoms that they are having, or to feel the way that they feel. Why do this? We are emotional wreaks at the best of times, so being criticised on how we are feeling and our experiences makes us feel worse. For me it makes me feel like a bad mom already! Like I cant cope now so I wont cope when the baby is here. I’ve had so many rude people. One person even told me that I shouldn’t be going to the toilet to urinate so frequently as its the size of a bean…well thankyou, shall I just pee myself instead then? Again its called hormones, blood rushes into the pelvis, your blood is increasing and your water content in your body is also increasing. We are going to therefore pee more often, don’t make us feel bad! Its embarrassing enough tbh!
Its quite simple really, just treat us with respect. Pregnancy is hard for some people, if we want to talk about it or are struggling just be there to listen and offer sympathy if needed. Just respect us when we say we cant do something or are struggling without making us feel like a failure. It doesn’t matter if the baby is a bean size or if the baby is almost full grown. We are growing a tiny person and that takes its toll, I mean it would on anyone wouldn’t it? Yes we are happy and overjoyed but we are also scared, worried and struggling and theres really no harm in admitting that to people. Sometimes its just good to get things off your chest and then you feel better. None of us are saying we are ungrateful for this miracle. In my case I would just like to enjoy eating a meal and it gets to me that I cant.
I hope that not everyone has been treated to or spoken to in this way. I also hope that in my third trimester when baby bump is more visible people are nicer towards me and kinder about it. But at this early stage which is apparently one of the hardest it isn’t that way. It just doesn’t seem right somehow. Pregnancy at any stage is a major body and emotional change (planned or not) that is different for everyone and this needs to be something that’s respected by all. We don’t care if your second cousin 3 times removed managed to run 6 marathons a day and ate nothing but organic vegetables and nuts until the point where she gave birth whilst swimming the channel. We don’t need to hear that shit. What we need is just a bit of respect and understanding. Is that so much to ask?
Struggling does not mean we are “playing on it” or a “bad mum” its just part of being individual.