status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage
Pregnancy, as I am finding out, is a lucky dip.
There are those who glide through it like swans on a particularly serene lake.
And then come the rest: struggling against the waves; flailing, coughing and spluttering as we frequently lose the battle to keep heads above turbulent waters.
I never imagined growing another person would be a stroll on the beach but if I’m honest, I did think I would be able to ride out the misery by stroking my tummy and telling myself it was all worth it just to be able to meet the little life within.
Except that it’s very difficult to do that when, other than the ten minutes a month I spend being reassured by a doctor, I am not 100% convinced there is anything in there at all.
I just don’t feel pregnant.
I simply feel fat, knackered and debilitatingly under the weather.
Why was I never told?
Why was I never told that you often feel so rough that being reminded you will be rewarded with a screaming infant at the end of it feels more like a punishment than a prize?
Why was I never told that once you pass the peeing on a stick elation, and before you get to the kicking, you can spend hours, days and weeks at a time convinced that the vulnerable little being cradled in your innards has ceased to exist?
Why was I never warned that I could suddenly spend weeks 6 to 12 wishing my pregnancy gone, wishing my partner gone, and feeling as if my life had been consumed by a fearsome black cloud?
Why was I never told that I would stop being able to sleep properly many many moons before I was the size of an elephant?
Why was I never told that the sitting position would become increasingly uncomfortable many many moons before I was the size of an elephant?
Why was I never told that my libido would become but a distant memory, rendering the idea of sexual contact about as alluring as unblocking an overflowing lavatory?
Why was I never told that my already problematic sinuses would rebel violently against the maelstrom of hormones, and land me with 9 months of sneezing, snot, inflammation and excruciating headaches?
Why was I never told that I would spend the majority of my waking hours so bone-shatteringly exhausted, that sitting on the sofa crying feels like the only thing left to do?
Why on earth was I never told?
I think the reasons are twofold:
Firstly, it is undoubtedly a given that many women forget all about a difficult pregnancy as soon as their arms are filled with screaming infant – reassuringly proving the oft-repeated assertion that it really is all worthwhile.
Secondly and rather more complicated; complaining about pregnancy is simply not the done thing.
Discovering that one is to become a mother is supposed to be the happiest and most fulfilling moment of a woman’s life, and nobody really wants to hear any differently:
“You’re going to get a baby at the end of it, so start being smug and beatific and stop your moaning.”
is implied, if not directly verbalised.
But for many, pregnancy is a terribly difficult time, riddled with endless and debilitating ill-health, stress, confusion and gnawing worry; and as I am not convinced that the straggling strugglers amongst us are fully and accurately represented out there, I just want to say:
You are not abnormal !
You are no less of a woman !
You will be no less of a mother !
YOU ARE NOT ALONE !!!
This is Status Viatoris, 19 weeks and counting, in Italy.
Tags: difficult pregnancy