pregnancy

The isolation from being pregnant at Christmas time: "Please be there for me."

It’s a little ironic that I am writing this article while everyone in my office has departed for the annual Christmas drink-a-thon in the City. But before you think I’m wallowing in misery from not being able to slam back four or five sav blancs while chowing down on shrimp twizzlers, hear me out.

I’m not new to this game, I’ve been to this rodeo before. As with most mums, my first pregnancy was full of excitement. I proudly showed off my bump, virtuously turned down offers of champagne, gracefully turned away from the platters of Camembert with will power I never knew I had. That shit was easy because I was determined to be unlike the ‘other’ mum I’d heard of. No complaining here, I was carrying LIFE! I ceased to exist as an ordinary human, I was PREGNANT. God help anyone who assumed I was going to whinge at the heat, the swelling, and the slow but sure decline of invitations to social events.

So maybe it’s the years between pregnancies. Maybe I am a little older, a little more beaten down from life, and likely a little more reliant on wine and food for comfort. But this pregnancy sucks.

Cassandra Thurston with partner Matt. Picture: Supplied. 

With what feels like the entire population of the Universe heading outdoors to celebrate with alcohol and all the delicious, yummy foods that pregnant women are told to avoid like malaria, I am finding myself in a curious position of feeling completely isolated from my friends, family and pretty much the world.

I am tired of saying 'no, I can’t'.  Of turning down invitations to drinks, to go water skiing, to sample cheese and all the goddamn delicious salami and prosciutto that gets wheeled out this time of year. I’m sad at no longer getting an invite to join in because, 'well you know Cass, you’re PREGNANT and you won’t ENJOY IT'.  I’m sad at being left out.

LISTEN: Bec Judd and Monique Bowley deep dive on those final agonising days and hours of pregnancy. Post continues after audio.

'You can’t swim at the beach Cass! You might get dumped by a wave or stung by a jelly fish. Just sit up there on the sand, out of the sun by yourself while everyone else goes and plays. Enjoy the time on your own.'

But that's just it. I don't want to be on my own.

I often wonder how a pregnant person who feels like they are the size of a baby elephant can become invisible. But it's like a David Blaine magic trick. BOOM! Once you announce you are up the duff, you disappear from people's radar. And you enter the world of isolation.

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I’m more than over not being able to be on people’s wave lengths at gatherings. Did you know there’s an unwritten rule that once you are pregnant, you stop being a person? People stop asking about your life other than what you are growing in your womb. Work? Nope. Don’t expect questions on your latest project you have been so excited for months. Your hobbies? Get real. They ceased to exist in other people’s eyes because you should be at home resting. Once that standard ‘so how are you feeling’ question has been asked, you find people turning away onto another conversation that’s, let’s face it, a shit load more interesting than what you’ve got to say. And you’re left standing there, wondering what the frick you are going to do for the next three hours until you can escape home to your PJs and the air con.

I’ve been fortunate enough to see a counsellor the past month about the way I’m feeling. She tells me its part of perinatal depression, which I was relieved to hear – but also a little bit scared at the fact the chemicals in my brain have decided to go AWOL.  Feeling isolated from your family and friends is a dark place to be. It makes you feel horrible about yourself and you wonder how you will get through the nine months feeling so alone.  When you are awake at 12am while your partner, children and even the cat are asleep, you feel like you are literally the only one in the world awake.

Yes, I know readers will be thinking I should feel happy – so many women would kill to be in my shoes. 'It's only nine months, stop complaining!'  And yes, I feel guilty for feeling so down.  But let this tale serve as a friendly reminder – this Christmas, how about throwing us preggos a bone. Try to understand this is a shit time of year to be pregnant and we can't join in the traditional fun, and hey…. Let’s talk about something else other than my cankles and am I having a natural birth or opting for a c-section.  I’ll be back to joining your slightly inebriated conversation post-baby, but for now, please just be there for me okay?

Cassandra Thurston is a communications and marketing professional, living in Brisbane. She has a daughter Zoe who is nearly seven years old, and a baby boy on the way with her partner Matt. She is a passionate supporter of Beyond Blue and donates a percentage of each sale from her online business Seven Days of Love to this worthwhile cause.