The day has finally come, my first day of maternity leave. Now I have some time to relax I find myself thinking about how much has changed in such a short period of time. At the beginning of my pregnancy I remember the time before our 12 week scan, the first time we saw Baby G, wondering if I was in fact pregnant. I had only taken one test and we didn’t see a doctor to get the pregnancy verified. The immense relief I felt when we saw Baby G on the screen and being told everything was progressing well was wonderful. I also remember wishing I had a bump straight away, I wanted the world to know I was growing a tiny human being inside my belly because I was so proud.
As time has gone on, it feels like everything has happened so quickly, but the day we found out I was pregnant feels like a distant memory. You spend the early days of your pregnancy wanting to plan, plan how you will decorate the nursery, plan which pram you are going to buy and what are they going to sleep in when they are first born. I spent so much time searching for prams and looking at the pros and cons for each pram I could find, feeling frustrated because all I wanted to do was get out there and test run them and buy one. But deep down I knew it was too soon and we had to wait until I was around 24 weeks pregnant when we were certain Baby G was fit and healthy and the pregnancy was going well.
Now I sit here in our little flat, I am reflecting on how little I could comprehend how simple day to day things would become so difficult, and how much pregnancy would change my life. I don’t think my bump is as big as it could be at 37 weeks pregnant. Many women have told me how they were much bigger when they had their babies. I have been told I have a neat bump and don’t even look pregnant from behind. I do feel very lucky that I haven’t put weight on all over, and my extra weight is my baby bump (and maybe a bit extra on my thighs). However even though I am not as big as I could have been, I have found my bump and also other symptoms of pregnancy have had a huge impact on the simplicities of day to day life:
Getting Dressed and Undressed
This is no longer an elegant activity where I shimmy in and out of my clothes, it is now a thought out industrious process. Trying to get into leggings and trousers means I have to splay my legs at right angles whilst sat down feeling like a frog. I can no longer get into socks without having to attempt some acrobatic move to reach my feet. Luckily it’s now summer (well an English summer, which means its raining all the time) so I don’t need to attempt to put socks on anymore.
Well all I can say is I kind of feel like a whale when lay in bed. As you aren’t able to lay on your back, I have to lay on my side. This tends to cause me quite a bit of discomfort in my hips, mainly caused by the extra weight of my little baby growing away in my belly. Initially turning over in bed was like trying to attempt an assault course, scrabbling around the bed trying to hold the bed post to turn myself. Now I have nailed the easiest way to turn over in bed, and it involves what feels like a 3 point turn. So I have to straighten my legs making sure I keep them together, as this reduces the possibility of my groin cracking (but it always does), I roll on to my back. I then roll again on to my other side, and many times I have to attempt to shuffle backwards to give myself enough room.
Now I am in my final trimester walking is becoming more of a struggle. I have suffered with pain in my pelvis throughout my whole pregnancy. However now Baby G is becoming much heavier I can really feel the weight bearing down in my pelvis when I am walking. I can no longer walk for miles, I am lucky if I can go for a 20 minute walk without having to stop or struggle. However I am lucky I am not in a position some women find themselves in, where they are on crutches, so I just try to rest as much as I can, but also try to potter around as much as I can to try and keep my pelvis mobile to ensure it doesn’t cease up.
A few weeks ago I had a slight melt down because non of my clothes were fitting me properly. The temperatures had rocketed (that week we had our summer), I constantly felt hot, sweaty and overall quite unattractive. This was hard for me as I have always been confident in my own skin, so to feel unattractive and wanting to curl up and hide away was something I had never dealt with. And to add to it my feet and ankles were swollen.
When people tell you at the start of your pregnancy you wont have to buy maternity clothes, just buy stretchy clothes but a size up, don’t listen to them. There is a reason why we have people who design maternity clothes, it is because they fit your new body shape properly. Normal clothes are not designed to sit over a pregnant tummy, even if you buy one or two sizes up. When the warm weather hit, I ordered some dresses online but in a size or two up. When I tried them on I was left feeling so unattractive and dismayed by how I looked. Each dress stretched over my stomach, which made the dresses basically see through, you could see my bra and knickers clearly through them. I had my first pregnant lady cry!! I felt so ridiculous crying. The more angry I became with myself that I was crying the more I cried. Being pregnant is such a privilege, not all women get the opportunity to go through such an ore inspiring experience, where you are actually wowed by science and what your body is capable of. The following day I headed out to the shops and bought myself some maternity wear dresses, which I felt wonderful in. They made my bump look lovely and I felt much more like myself again. Also, take the time to invest in maternity underwear, it is so much more comfortable!
One wonderful thing about pregnancy is how much food you can eat. I have really noticed an increase in my appetite during my third trimester, I can actually eat the same if not more than my husband. At the beginning of my pregnancy I was very focused on making sure I ate plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and staying away from all the junk food. Now I am in my final trimester I have become a lot more relaxed, I still eat my fruit and vegetables, but I don’t shy away from cakes or chocolate. My motto is, if you want it have it! This is the only time in your life where you don’t have to worry about what you eat and how it is going to affect your figure. I have days when I just can’t get enough food, so I have had to make sure I have plenty of snacks at work just in case.
It does seem like I am complaining about pregnancy a bit. I’m not, honestly! I have enjoyed every minute of being pregnant, dreaming of what Baby G is going to look like, what their personality is going to be like and what kind of wonderful person they are going to grow up to be. I just wanted to provide an insight into some of the realities I have faced and that it isn’t always peachy and it can be a struggle.
I constantly feel sorry for my husband as I sometimes think he must look at me and wonder ‘where has my slim, agile wife gone’. At the moment he is left with something that resembles a roly poly. I am starting to look forward to having my body back to myself. I know my body is never going to look or feel the same as it used to, and I really don’t want to focus on the negatives of my postpartum body, I want to be able to admire my body for what it has created and given to my husband and I. I am prepared to be in my maternity clothes for a while and to let my body heal at its own pace. I am going to make a conscious effort to ignore the media, which is filled with women with their perfect airbrushed bikini bodies, enough to make any woman feel down on herself. My plan is to spend my time focused on my gorgeous new baby and be in ore of what a life changing experience I am embarking upon.