i’ve met many women on their journey into motherhood now and it’s very clear that every single woman’s experience of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and mothering in general is as unique as she is.
in my blog, I’ve shared with you my birth story which was a relatively positive and empowering experience despite it being challenging. I was also fortunate to have no real issues when it came to breastfeeding and my postnatal recovery was smooth, which if I were to leave it there would paint a rather rosie picture. All great testament to the effective powers of yoga in pregnancy.
however it’s not the whole picture. Truth be told, I had a really rough pregnancy. No yoga would help me with my pregnancy. I am grateful and happy to say there were no serious complications and my baby was healthy but I felt like absolute crap the whole time. So for the sake of perspective, here I’d like to share with you some of the details of how I was more like a seasick walrus rather than the epitome of the blooming pregnant goddess.
I was so keen to be pregnant and always in my imaginations of it, I would be a real earth mother, I would nourish my baby with eating the best wholefoods, I would sit serenely in meditation, dress in beautiful cute floaty outfits and generally walk around blissed out and glowing. But it wasn’t to be. This was so far from the reality of it…
from 4 weeks onwards I got what they call morning sickness but ALL DAY LONG and all through the night too. I would wake at 4am most days to puke. My senses started to go haywire, my sense of smell became superhuman, it would freak me out how I could smell the rancid stench of stale oil from the cheap chicken shops mixed with the smell of the heat rising up from the concrete as I walked along the street. I’d feel so queasy and overwhelmed by the bombardment of smells that I’d have to avoid certain streets.
my taste buds went into malfunction mode, usual meals lost all appeal, I would look at a plate of food as it were made of foreign inedible objects. I wouldn’t feel hungry. Nothing looked or tasted recognisable or familiar let alone appetising. One time my husband put some cheese on my pasta and it made me burst into tears. If I even uttered the word ‘beetroot’ or ‘spinach’ inside my own head it would cause me to wretch. I don’t know why but my taste buds reverted back to being a 5 year old in the 1980’s I craved chewits, alaphabites, neoplitana ice cream, monster munch. In the last trimester I would eat 5 or so lemons all in a row every day.
I didn’t just feel nauseous, I would actually often vomit. Every time I put a toothbrush in my mouth i’d either wretch or throw up. I’d throw up before meals, after meals, in the morning and during the night. There was no logic or order to it. There was nothing that would soothe or help with it. If one more person suggested drinking ginger tea I would want to give them a slap.
this was all accompanied by the most excruciating levels of exhaustion I had ever experienced. I couldn’t lift my limbs I was so tired all of the time. I would nap for hours every day and if I wasn’t napping, I was wanting to nap or I was laying horizontal in front of the TV in a catatonic state. I would describe how I felt as being seasick with a major hangover after being up for 3 nights straight.
for most of my pregnancy I couldn’t function properly. I would’t be able to hold conversations or hold trains of thought. I had no energy or head space to even consider work, which soon slid to the very bottom of my list of priorities. Luckily being freelance I had the flexibility to mong out in the days. I couldn’t fathom how pregnant women go to proper work and act like nothing was up, how the hell would they hide their pregnancy in the first 12 weeks was beyond me.
my ‘morning sickness’ and exhaustion went on like this not just 12 weeks but for 6 months. It became debilitating, depressing, isolating and so confusing! I would desperately research why it was happening to me and what could I do about it, to no avail! There are plenty of possible explanations but there aren’t any proven reasons for why some women get it and others don’t.
the 6-7th month of pregnancy became tolerable whereby I felt a bit more energetically stable and my stomach on the whole settled but very soon on I started to experience Braxton-Hicks. These ‘tightenings’ or practice contractions are described as natural and nothing to worry about. I got them to the point where I wouldn’t be able to walk. Any time I tried to walk more than about twenty steps I would be stopped in my tracks whilst I’d get shooting rushes of painful muscle spasms. It wouldn’t be a case of waiting for it to pass because they would just keep happening again and again. I remember taking several hours to shuffle along like a penguin in what would usually be just a 20 minutes walk. I recall one time sitting in a cafe and sobbing hysterically into a chai latte whilst onlookers watched with concern. From just 7 months pregnant it was a regular occurrence for strangers in the street stop to check if I was OK and needed any help.
pregnancy wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be for me. I couldn’t wait to get it over and done with.
no matter however it may appear, none of us are perfect and no one has or can guarantee the perfect pregnancy labour or life! we may all strive for high ideals but it’s also important to remember to count our blessings, think of all the positives we have, to never compare our lot with anyone elses’, to be realistic and to be open to adapt to whatever circumstances come our way.