16 October 2017

The Perfect Pregnancy?

*Please note, this was written a good two months ago. At least, I started it then in one of my rare productive periods. I am now no longer pregnant, and am now the proud owner of a beautiful baby boy! Expect a blog post about that in the next year. I mean, I'll aim for sooner, be we all know my limitations.*

When I was younger I used to put a pillow up my t-shirt and waddle around and pretend to be pregnant. Not because I had an overwhelming desire to be pregnant at eight, but because I thought that pregnant women were the most beautiful, fascinating creatures. To me, they were magical. Now that I am actually one of those pregnant creatures, I don't feel beautiful, or fascinating, or even magical. I think my body is doing something miraculous, sometimes I'll just stare down at my stomach in utter disbelief that there is a tiny human being growing in there, but I don't feel particularly miraculous. I feel tired. So tired. 

It's my own fault for falling into the social media trap, I spend half my life on Instagram and Facebook, so it was very easy for me to fall for the image of social media perfection. It was even easier to make myself feel bad for not being the same as the pictures of perfection that these accounts portray. I have not spent my pregnancy dressed as though I've waltzed off the pages of Vogue; I've spent my pregnancy mildly sweaty, living in leggings, and looking kind of homeless. I have not been an avid yoga attendee; I've been an avid attendee of my bed. I spent the first five months of my pregnancy trying not to throw up and failing miserably, I had a brief month where I felt vaguely energetic, and now I'm just utterly exhausted. My back aches, and my adorable child is definitely sitting on a nerve somewhere because I can't walk for longer than ten minutes without a shooting pain travelling down my right leg. I wanted so, so badly to be one of those pregnant women who just smiles and glides their way through pregnancy; who eats all the right food, does all the right exercise and who doesn't dress like they've just rolled in their closet and thrown on whatever shit actually fits. I, however, have not eaten the right food. I have spent the first five months eating barely anything, and then the rest eating food that I spent the last two years avoiding. The changing body image has been a very difficult thing for me to wrap my head around. I spent over a year and a half losing five stone, which was really fricking hard. Like, really hard. Now, when I look in the mirror, I see my face as it was, my ankles are swollen and I feel desperately unfit because my lungs are being crushed. It's been hard, I won't lie, and it's been a massive adjustment because I had gotten used to liking the way I looked, then slowly, I've watched my body slowly morph back into the body I desperately wanted rid of. It's been a bit of a strain on my confidence and my mental state, but at the same time, I'm utterly, utterly obsessed with my bump. I can't go a day without stroking it, or holding it; hell, I can't even go an hour without touching it. I always hated my stomach, and now it's my favourite thing to hold, it's incredibly odd. It's a bit of a catch-22 situation; as much as I'm a bit devastated that the body I worked so hard for has changed completely, I don't regret the events that have made it change. I think it's important to say; regardless of any negative feelings I might have felt during my pregnancy, I know how lucky I am to have been able to get pregnant and have a safe pregnancy. I might have thrown up a lot, but apart from that, I was pretty blessed.
See what I mean? Belly cupper.  

The main advice I'd give to  anyone expecting is this; don't put pressure on yourself to be like anyone else. You do whatever you want, or need to do. If that means getting up for sunrise yoga classes, fair play to you, you mad woman; if it means eating an entire tub of ice-cream, more power to you. You are the one who is pregnant, you look after yourself however you see fit. Obviously, some semblance of a healthy approach is ideal and you should look after yourself the best you can, but don't put pressure on yourself to live off kale salad and smoothies, mostly because kale is horrific. I read so many pregnancy books and had such high expectations for how I wanted my pregnancy to go, but you really can't micro-manage your body, whatever your body wants to do, it will do. You can make life easier for yourself, but you aren't going to be able to completely change how your body reacts. I spent the first five months trying everything to get rid of my sickness, and while some things helped, the nausea was not to be defeated. I desperately wanted to be more like the women on Instagram who seemed to flourish and thrive in pregnancy, and look completely fabulous, but I have slowly come to terms that I just don't have that in me. And that's fine, it might not be what I wanted initially, but once I realised that it's not reasonable to expect to be like that all the time, I was happier for it. If you spend 95% of your time looking like leggings are the only thing you have in your wardrobe, and the other 5% looking put together, then you're doing well. Every time I actually manage to make an effort I feel like I deserve a medal, which just makes it more special. 
Besides, we may as well all get used to never looking put together again, babies have zero tolerance for nice outfits. All it means to them is they have a better looking target to spit and poo on!

I'll leave it there, and I'll hopefully chat to you soon. If you fancy keeping up with my craic, I'm on Instagram forever, which you can find the link for on the side or here, or on Facebook, which is linked here. I imagine they'll soon be filled with baby pictures because that's just the kind of person I am.
Hope you're all well,

Becca xo

UPDATE: since writing this post, I have had a lil baby boy, spoiler alert, he's perfect.
The best thing that's ever happened to me. Or Elijah for short.

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