Pregnancy is an absolutely extraordinary thing. It really is a magnificent miracle to grow a new human being and bring them into the world. There is excellent information about pregnancy and birth in the area of nutrition, exercise, and wellbeing, which is really fortunate compared to times gone by.
What sometimes slips under the radar however, are discussions around some of the less socially sanctioned topics of conversation around pregnancy and birth. For many, pregnancy brings absolute joy and pleasure from day dot. On social media, we can see highly filtered images of glowing and radiant pregnant women, with perfectly sized bumps (not too small, not too large — just right), strolling along in fields of bright yellow sunflowers swaying in the wind. A lot of Women could feel at odds with these picture-perfect images. Their reality might be vomiting around the clock, painful haemorrhoids and swollen feet that make it hard to walk. Her clothes don’t fit, and she is pale and exhausted from lack of sleep. The field of sunflowers feels so far away for her.
For some women, for all sorts of reasons (often beyond their control) the pregnancy they imagined or dreamt of does not match the reality of the pregnancy they are having. They might be chronically fatigued, carrying more weight than expected, struggling with gestational diabetes, and finding it tough to nurture themselves. Their inner world might be at odds with what they feel society expects of them.
It can also be a very confusing and difficult time for women who are struggling with body image issues, relationship issues, family conflicts, past traumas or ambivalence about having a baby. Some women have had repeated miscarriages or multiple IVF failures, and for them pregnancy can be a time of heightened anxiety. There may be some women who (either through no choice of their own or, by their own choice) are having a baby alone. For some, this can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. There may be worries about self-identity or concerns about the transition from their regular employment to be a stay at home mum (or a transition to a single income family).
Some women absolutely love being pregnant and some do not. To admit to not enjoying pregnancy can feel like a betrayal to others and a failure to self. (Which by the way is neither of those things). I do not write any of this to be negative or in any way diminish the millions of wondrous and beautiful aspects of pregnancy. Rather, it is to let those who are not having an easy time know that this is normal, you are not alone. If you can reach out and talk with someone about your experience, please do. Sometimes just an ear to listen, and a hand to hold can make the world of difference.