We are taught to believe that pregnancy is a magical time in our life. Hollywood films showcase pregnancy with women glowing, wandering round in high heels, with perfect hair and makeup. These images put added pressure on women to have the ideal pregnancy. But for me pregnancy sucks. I will explain why I didn’t enjoy pregnancy.
Why I didn’t enjoy pregnancy
I suffered a multitude of symptoms during both my pregnancies. These all took away a lot of the joy that pregnancy does bring to many.
With both of my pregnancies I suffered severe ‘morning sickness’ for the first 16 weeks. The first 12 weeks were the worst, as it was too early for me to tell everyone but it was hard to hide when you need to throw up once an hour. After 12 weeks the sickness softened to a nausea, which continued for a further four weeks.
Travelling on the tube to work was a nightmare as your trapped inside for long periods at a time. None of the traditional remedies such as ginger tea or sea-sick bands worked for me, so I was very happy when these symptoms eventually passed. If your interested in trying the sickness bands for yourself they can be found here Sea-Band Mama Acupressure Wristband (this is an affiliates link).
As you get bigger you generally start to feel more uncomfortable. Sleeping with a bowling ball in front of you becomes tricky. I used a pregnancy pillow to help me feel more comfortable, like this one on Amazon Orthopaedic V-Shaped Pillow Nursing Pregnancy Back Support Pillow (this is an affiliates link). A pillow like this can used in pregnancy and then during feeding sessions with the new baby.
An important note about sleeping during pregnancy is that Tommy’s (the pregnancy/baby charity) launched a campaign in Nov 2017 called #sleeponside. The campaign is trying to drive awareness of the benefits of sleeping on your side in pregnancy to reduce the chance of a stillbirth.
I also suffered from leg cramps, sometimes known as a Charley horse. These results extremely uncomfortable as your whole calf muscle in your leg seizes up and shooting pain travels up your body. Parents.com recommend standing with each feet on the ground to stretch the muscle and relieve some pain.
Buying maternity clothing on the UK high street is not easy, there are still limited shops where they sell a maternity range. Online there are a few shops that offer a better choice, but there are improvements that could be made.
Towards the end of pregnancy I would occasionally suffer with tension headaches. I tried to avoid painkillers so the best thing I could use to help was 4head Headache & Migraine Relief Stick – 3.6g (this is an affiliates link). 4head is a cooling stick that you rub on your head to ease the headache.
The midwives looking after me weren’t concerned with my headaches as my blood pressure stayed normal. If you do suffer with them whilst pregnant do make sure you also mention them to your midwife as it can be a symptom of Pre-eclampsia.
During my first and third trimesters I suffered from extreme exhaustion. I love sleep anyway and could quite happily sleep 9 hours a night (if I wasn’t awaken continuously). However during pregnancy some days my body would want 10+ hours.
During my first pregnancy I would just sleep after work and rest was easier. During my second pregnancy this was trickier as I had a 1-year-old to contend with. Often my husband would take over looking after the toddler so I could sneak in 30 minutes when coming home from work.
After morning sickness diminished I started out feel hungry. I craved everything and anything that is bad for you. So inevitably I had weight gain in both my pregnancies.
I was able to control myself slightly better second time round. But even now 10 months on from birth I still find myself needing to lose weight.
Needing the bathroom
As your baby grows so does the pressure on your bladder. Having to pee continuously is ok in the day (if your near a bathroom) but ends up being a major problem when it starts disrupting your already broken sleep.
Towards the end of both of my pregnancies I would suffer extreme night sweats. Going to sleep and waking up drenched meant several changes each night. This is a hidden symptom of pregnancy you don’t hear a lot about before it happens.
What I did love about pregnancy
Now this is magic, feeling those wonderful small little kicks and movements. I started to feel movements around 18 weeks with both of mine. Those kicks helped build connection with the baby, as they helped build a realisation my baby was well and truly on the way to join the world.
Seeing my precious daughters on the monitor was one for the most magical experiences of my life. Looking at their tiny bodies and hearing the heart beating, really brought home for me the miracle of the human body and pregnancy.
For me both of my experiences with pregnancy were challenging at times, but overall a blessing. I am thankful ever day when I look at my daughters, for what my body achieved. I’m just sure that twice was blessing enough for me!
Self care for mums is a post I wrote about mums taking ownership of their own mental and physical health. This is particularly importantly during pregnancy, so if you suffer from any of these symptoms ensure you raise it with your health care professionals.
Please note that this article includes affiliate links.