As life would have it, a man will NEVER experience how tough pregnancy can be and so a man can NEVER fully understand exactly what it is we go through. I for one feel an injustice has been done to us women because if men will NEVER know the feeling of pregnancy then they can NEVER give us the full credit we deserve. But it’s not their fault; that is down to a higher power.
A first pregnancy can be tough because you go from knowing yourself inside and out, body and mind (after all those confusing teenage and twenty-something years) to having an alien invasion take over and turn you into an emotionally challenged misery guts. I can say this because right now I’m one of four girls in my close group of friends who’s pregnant and we’re all feeling similar things.
One minute you’re up, the next minute you’re down, the next you’re asleep on the toilet at four o’clock in the morning because your bladder is finally officially useless, and then you’re crying to your husband because all of a sudden your favourite jeans no longer even go up over your knees and you just can’t find a way out of the sumo wrestling suit you now keep seeing yourself in when you glance in the mirror!
I went through a lot of emotions with my first pregnancy with Cadence. We miscarried before we conceived her. I was 11 weeks along and, until I lost the baby, kind of took the pregnancy for granted. I went through all the emotions expected: heartache, sorrow, blame and then I came to the conclusion I’d only get over it once I became pregnant again.
It was also at this point I realised, ‘‘I’ve all of a sudden become very broody’’. Mother Nature took over and I really REALLY wanted a baby. We’ve been lucky; becoming pregnant for us has been quick each time.
Anyway, with my pregnancies came many insecurities, fears, mood swings, and suddenly I went from wanting to party every weekend to putting everything on lockdown, making excuses for every dinner or event we were invited to. I still don’t know if it’s genuinely the tiredness that does that or the ‘‘oh my God, I can’t deal with all the skinny girls while I look like a pig in a wetsuit’’ feeling.
Then there are the fears, huge fears! You think, maybe I’ll lose another baby, maybe I’ll fail as a mother and maybe my husband runs away and leaves me for someone who’s not as swollen, not as cranky and not as . . . gassy as me! Oh the fears!
Well when I did finally get over all these silly but very normal and natural hang-ups I then thought, all right, let’s do this; head down, feet up and let’s get through the next nine months.
I believe my husband has the patience of a saint. I find myself staring at him occasionally, thinking, ‘‘God must have made you especially for me because no one else would ever put up with me or my mood swings right now.” (In my eyes, he’s the greatest husband in the world, truly!)
Then 10 minutes after staring at him, thinking, ‘‘Oh he’s so lovely and wonderful and marshmellowy’’, you look again and you’re thinking, ‘‘Look at him, all comfortable on his chair, no bump making him feel like the hunchback of Hippo Town. He’s able to drink as much alcohol as he likes and he has the energy of a 14-year-old boy. I sooo want to chuck this cup of full-fat mint, mmm mint, hot chocolate at him.”
But you don’t! Because you’re not fully mental, yet, thank goodness! So you move on with a million hormones darting around your body causing mayhem and stare at your calendar again, counting how many weeks and days you have left to go. (My What to Expect when You’re Expecting app is literally looked at EVERY six hours of EVERY day!)
With my husband, I wanted him to be a mind reader all of the time. I would ask him questions knowing only one answer was the correct one and he’d probably not say that, and then Satan would come up through the floors and cast him into the depths of hell for all eternity! Ok, ok, an exaggeration but I’m sure on occasion there were comparisons drawn between me and Satan around a bar table somewhere with his mates. It isn’t fair on men; we should just tell them exactly what it is we want to do and exactly what it is we want them to do. It could all be so simple.
As I learnt, getting annoyed over something when they don’t even know there’s a problem, is a pretty pointless exercise. With this pregnancy I chose the straightforward path. If there’s an issue, we address it, come up with a solution and get over it.
Carrying a baby is an absolute blessing! The result is the greatest thing God gave us the gift of experiencing. I look at my daughter every day, see her daddy’s eyes look back at me and think, “I would go through pregnancy one hundred times for you.”
I guess I’m just trying to say pregnancy is hard, scary and testing for any relationship and yes, we all feel it from time to time but when you hold that little angel in your arms it really does make everything seem like a walk in the park.
I still have a few weeks ? six, yippee! ? to go with this pregnancy. It’s been rough at times, like it is for most women, but I’m excited. I can’t believe I lasted through two pregnancies without a single nervous breakdown! WOOHOO!
It’s not easy being a woman but we have an inner strength that can get us through anything. We’re natural survivors. We are!
- Morgan Deane Smith
* Morgan Deane Smith is the wife of cricket star Graeme Smith
Read Morgan Deane Smith's first blog, here.