Pregnancy and childbirth are two major topics that have been explored greatly by different forms of media. Magazines, Newspapers and Television constantly bombard the public with headlines like ’10 positions to increase your chances of getting pregnant’, ‘ how to get your body back after having a baby?’ These are great for curiosity sake but do not even begin to scrape the surface of the pregnancy and childbirth experience. With regards to these giants, one size does NOT fit all.
Last year around the end of July (or the beginning of August) I found out I was pregnant. I had been feeling strange and decided to take a pregnancy test as a joke. My period was only a day late, and I had already told my husband that I was feeling pregnant. My husband constantly assured me I was paranoid but I decided to take a pregnancy test, to prove him wrong. To my surprise the test was positive and I overtly freaked out! I cried my eyes out that night and my husband was equally nervous. During the night, after multiple meltdowns in the shower, I went to the kitchen and made a cup of tea. I sat down around my dining table and said a prayer to God. I can’t remember what I said but I know after that I felt completely calm and ready. I told myself this is a good thing, even though it might not feel like it at this moment but this is all part of the divine plan.
Fast forward to my first trimester. Everything was going well at the beginning; the baby was doing well and growing normally. My body was healthy and my skin was glowing. Then the morning sickness kicked in. I really don’t know why it’s called morning sickness because I felt sick the whole day and not just in the mornings. I puked multiple times a day. It did not matter if I had eaten something or not when it was time to throw up I couldn’t hold it in and I didn’t dare to try. I was weak and losing weight. My husband likes to cook for me and during my pregnancy, he did his best to continue the tradition. He tried his best to find a meal that I would not be repulsed by and could enjoy to the end. I remember one time he boiled sweet potatoes which I normally enjoyed. Things were different that night; I gaged at the smell of bouillon chicken cubes and threw up all over my toilet seat. I was hungry and I settled for fruits that night because I could not go to sleep on an empty stomach. Physically things started to look up at the end of my first trimester. By the second trimester, I started eating and enjoying food again, maybe a little too much if I’m being honest.
Now let us talk about the parts your favorite celebrity will not tell you about on an Instagram caption. I was extremely happy and extremely depressed at the same time. I know that does not make sense but it’s the best way I can describe how I felt during my pregnancy and after childbirth. I was happy because I was carrying the love of my life. I felt a connection I never thought was possible. I call her my ocean because she keeps me calm and literally humbles me. I knew it was no longer only about my husband and me. She became my world before she was even on this earth. My husband was just as happy. He was by my side the whole time, didn’t miss a single doctor’s visit. We would drive to the doctor’s office and he would wait outside with the nurse as I was peeing in a cup (did a lot of that) and we would walk together to the room. We would listen to her heartbeat and watch her movements to make sure all was well. My husband would drop me off at home and make his way to work. Not once did I doubt him or his support. I knew he would do everything it takes to make sure I was comfortable and healthy. I knew this intellectually and felt it emotionally but I still struggle.
There were moments where I felt completely isolated and alone. I would go outside and stare at the trees for ours with tears down my cheeks. Sometimes I would wake up and leave our bedroom to go to our guest bathroom and cry my eyes out. I did all of this without my husband’s knowledge. I did not call any of my friends and definitely did not cry out to my mother. I was honestly confused for the most part. How could I be this happy and said at the same time? I thought if I communicated this to my loving husband I would sound ungrateful and he would think I was asking for too much. There were days where I could not get out of bed and I would just play it off and call myself lazy just so I didn’t have to call myself depressed. I became sensitive and took everything to heart while making sure not to complain, because well I shouldn’t complain! How could I when I was living a perfect life? I was not working and that made it worse. I felt trapped by my house and felt like I could not breathe, or move around without being a burden to my husband. This continued even after childbirth. Although I was absolutely in love with my newborn and my husband I felt overwhelmed. I constantly felt guilty that I was not doing enough for my child and for my husband.
I am not an expert in pregnancy, nor am I equipped to talk about life after childbirth, but I know my story! I am sharing it to show someone out there that it is not always perfect but it is all worth it. Pregnancy is not all glamorous as it is usually made up to be. I want new moms to know it is okay to struggle; it is okay to feel a little lonely even with the best support system. I want you to know that bringing life is absolutely beautiful and complex. You can read as much as you would like about what to expect but some things cannot be explained. During this time you will feel delicate and fragile but I want you to remember you were made for this. You are exactly what your child needs. That means you need to take care of yourself to make sure you are sane and healthy for your baby.
With all of this, I want to summarize everything by adding a couple of things that helped me during those dark times. Today I am happily raising my soon to be 5 months baby girl and it took some work on my part but its happening. The first thing I had to do was open up. This is extremely important! Open up to your partner about what you are going through and it will give you the relief that you have been longing for. When I started talking to my husband about my challenges I realized I was not alone, he too was going through some difficulties. I needed him and he needed me and there is nothing more beautiful. The second most important thing to do for yourself is believe that you are in control. I had to tell myself to woman up! For me, that meant dragging myself to doing something enjoyable once in a while, even if it was taking a stroll with an infant. The last thing you need to do is enjoy every moment because it won’t last forever. Meditate on the last part because it is probably the only thing that should be said.