First pregnancy challenges I didn’t expect (28 weeks)
After another mid-week evening of clashing moods and misunderstandings at home, I find myself - growing bump and all - wanting to stamp my feet and say ‘why isn’t it all about me?’. I am having a particularly bad day, well month really. But while I am usually known for being positive-minded and inspiring I thought sod it. Rather than only blogging about the good bits, I want to make sure I document what’s happening when things aren't so good. So other first time mums and dads can perhaps feel more prepared for moments like these or less alone when things get tough. So, without further ado, here’s 3 challenges I didn't expect to face in first pregnancy at 28 weeks.
1. Struggling to give a shit about anyone else's problems
Yes, I am more moody. I am demanding and often asking for things, but if I could sum up the general gist of what’s changed for me in this pregnancy - it’s that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to give a shit about anyone else’s problems.
As a writer who creates articles everyday to help inspire and educate people, a friend that is typically always there for a counselling session over a pint and partner who usually offers a lot of emotional support. As someone who typically spends more time worrying about everyone else and trying to help others, this switch has been quite difficult for me. I feel guilty, I know I should make more effort and ask other people about their lives and in the most part, I am doing that. I just keep forgetting at the time. I have brief moments where I think ‘I need to be more understanding and supportive’ but then the time comes I am like ‘get over it I am growing a human’.
Now, I haven’t spent much time with my family or friends recently, which is down to a combination of struggling with strep throat, looking after an ill dog and the snow, so the person feeling most of this will be Josh. While I am definitely not usually perfect, I am not sure he realises how much in the past I have been there for him emotionally. Helping him to evaluate his moods and work out where they come from and now, I just don’t have the want or energy to do that.
2. All my weaknesses and bad traits are heightened
As a 37 year-old women who is perpetually self-aware, I am pretty switched on about what makes me awesome and what makes me a bit of a dick sometimes. Usually, I work a lot on improving those weaknesses and put extra energy into being the best version of myself. Now? Not so much.
All my weaknesses are heightened. Let’s take a dive into those dicky traits shall we:
My tendency to accidentally talk over people
Forgetting to ask how other people are
Being late for every single thing
Staying up late and sleeping in
Over analysing myself and giving myself a hard time
Being over sensitive and taking things personally
Overreacting to pretty much everything
Being impatient and being a little too blunt
I am pretty sure most humans have some, if not all, of these traits too. But when you are heavily pregnant, aching all over and feeling like you have no control over your body or what comes next - they become a lot harder to manage.
Given that Josh struggles with various mental health issues, this is not making for a very harmonious home environment. Except weekends. When we pretend the world doesn’t exist and Netflix binge our way past the ‘elephant in the room’ which is basically me. Growing at the rate of knots with a little baby being that is going to totally change our lives - forever.
3. Loss of identity and feeling like a prisoner in my own body
I managed to get my ass in gear and go along to a self-love pop up event in Brighton recently. I was surrounded by inspiring empowered women who shared their stories and had so much energy and passion for their chosen mission. As I watched I related to them so much. I too feel that way about many things, but while it resonated it was also like I was watching through a fog screen. Like the old version of me was trapped inside and the outer shell was muffling the experience. Uncomfortable in my seat, not able to enjoy the wine on offer, feeling the rumbling kicks and rolls of baby after every applause - that part was cute - but most of all feeling like I’d lost my identity. I was listening to great stories that were heightened by the first signs of snow falling outside by the ocean. And I thought 'Wow. This is amazing'. But it was numbed by an exterior narrative from my body shouting:
“When do I get to eat something? Where’s the toilet? And why is my back hurting again?”
People weren’t asking about what I do, they were commenting on my bump - which was sweet. It's nice to be pregnant and get the attention, but also what about me? In a situation where I would usually get tipsy and enjoy a cigarette outside I was just standing in the cold and viewed as an expectant mother. The walk to the pub after the event was pretty bad too. Sciatica kicked in within five minutes and I was in so much pain I couldn’t speak a word. By the time we got there I just wanted to curl up in a ball. All of these projects I planned to work on, all of these ambitious plans I had suddenly seemed impossible to achieve. My body acting as a heavy-weight anchor that wouldn't let me fly as high as I usually do.
Accepting that being pregnant is nothing like the movies
It’s easy to get a warped view of what pregnancy should be like. I had these ideas that Josh would just instinctively embrace the whole experience and constantly be feeling my belly for kicks or asking how I was. A running slideshow of images in my head of us being this glowing expectant couple. All smiles, bump cuddles and joyful experiences. But that just isn’t sustainable alongside the daily challenges of life. Stuff gets hard, we get tired and we get things wrong.
I am pretty sure we haven’t faced the worst of it yet, but I am also certain we will keep navigating the hurdles together as we go. What I will say though, is that while I am going through some challenges at the moment, there are some beautiful moments when I feel baby roll or kick and realise why all of this is worth it. Moments that Josh hasn’t yet had the chance to experience, which is probably why he is struggling to get on board.
I hope to share more positive experiences soon, but I am not promising anything! The third trimester is going to be one hell of a ride.
For Dad's perspective, head on over to his blog 28 week itch: Preparing to be a dad.