Image: Instagram (@theyoungmummy).
Attention: If you’re male (even female) and are going to be offended by the reality of pregnancy, or the words vagina, sweat and/or hairy make you squirm, please look away now.
“Pregnancy is when you feel most beautiful!”
“Don’t worry sweetie, the sickness will pass after the first trimester!”
“How many kg have you put on?”
“Oh… that’s odd, that never happened to me?”
“You’re hair and skin will glow!”
“Don’t eat for two. you’ll pay for it later!”
“Have you hit your crazy-horny-pregnant-lady stage yet?”
How many fucking times have I heard these lines?
I’ve continually heard of these marvellous pregnancy stories. Ladies have said being pregnant made them feel more beautiful than ever. They ‘glowed’ and had amazing sex. They found this inner-energy and empowerment as their little growing bubba prepared them to tackle the world. (WATCH: The truth about baby bladder. Post continues after video.)
This, my friends, was and is so not me.
Welcome to my blog post – The Beautiful Side To Pregnancy – where I will be discussing the not-so-beautiful parts of pregnancy that not many women are often prepared to share. The ‘no one ever told me that’ parts. The ugly parts that I am not ashamed of, nor afraid to share.
The first insight I can give to you (and I touch on this in a later point) is that not one pregnancy journey is the same. Everyone is different. Every individual BODY is different and it will change and adapt in it’s own way. Hormones are a crazy part of a woman’s life already, and being pregnant allows you to see and experience them like never before.
I currently have seven friends or family members that are pregnant too – and from what I’ve seen & heard, no journey is the same. One of my first struggles I had in my early stages was that I was reading too many stories, asking for too much advice, way too many opinions were being listened to.
Ladies – never compare yourself. Your body is developing it’s own way and you need to be prepared to adapt to that. I’ll touch on this again later. (Post continues after gallery.)
I need to highlight here that I am very envious of those who indeed shared a wonderful smooth adventure with their partner. One with very few speed bumps, as I’m sure it does happen. And can I also say that my ‘beautiful’ facts I am about to share with you do not happen to everyone.
They happened to me. This is my story I’m sharing. One that I’m not ashamed or afraid to, because I would have LOVED to know that they were possibly coming when I first found out I was pregnant. I don’t want to seem like I’m after sympathy, nor that I have hated this experience…again this is simply me inviting you to jump on my miracle ride the best I know how – open and honestly.
As I stood in my bathroom one night post-netball, and whipped off my three sports bras I was wearing to support my already 12G cup, I noticed how tender and sore my boobs were. ‘Did I cop a knock in that game I don’t remember?’ Surely not that big I thought, as my lady friends were quite swollen.
Upon entering the shower, I yelped out in pain as the water trickling over my nipples felt as if I was undergoing some sicko tittie-piercing. It felt as if mini needles were being injected into my nipples from every angle. It was excruciating! Even towel-drying was difficult in this much pain. I told mum after leaving the bathroom and as mothers do know all she immediately asked ‘are you pregnant?’
The next day I was to wear my ‘comfy’ bra – having such large breasts already is was hard to ever find one that fit me on a normal day. Yet I actually had one that was too big, so I called him my comfy bra. Comfy bra was not so comfy anymore. Not only did my nipples feel sunburned and rubbed on the inside, my big bra was now the opposite – it was way too small. I was busting out everywhere. If I was a member of the big tittie committee before, I was now elevated to Vice President.
Now 26 ½ weeks pregnant, my lovely assets have reached a size I cannot comprehend. I continually receive ‘OMG how big have your boobs got?!’ (Thankyou for pointing it out, I never fucking realised!) I try to hide them as best as I can but it’s really hard. I’m embarrassed of them and being 23 years old I don’t want ‘ugly’ boobs.
I’m petrified of how big they will get when my milk comes in once bub is born. No bra – new or old – fits me now, let alone when they will double post-birth. So for those who think you can talk to me like it’s some joke (although there are some people who I can have a laugh about it with and I’m sure you know who you are) it is a really sensitive issue and one that not only has caused me emotional, but severe physical pain.
This ‘beautiful’ time can actually be really embarrassing, and no matter how many times my BD tells me I’m sexy and he loves the way I look, gravity is a natural and unfortunately very ugly part of this universe, regardless of your age.
Lets just say it’s a tad depressing when you can’t see your baby kicking in your tummy cause your boobs are in the way, and no squishing, shoving or moving makes this possible.
From recently being elevated to Vice President of the Big Tittie Committee, come May 6th I’ll own the entire fucking company.
Mind your own business. Now that’s one tip I have for everyone out there.
This topic isn’t anything to do with the not-so-beautiful side of yourself when pregnant, it’s the ugly sides of everyone else you see along the way.
I really wish someone had warned me that once I was pregnant 1) people – and I mean not only friends and family, but strangers as well – felt that they had the right to ask you extremely personal questions 2) your every move, idea and decision would be judged and 3) that people will continually give you their opinions whether you’ve asked for them or not.
One of the first things I learnt is that human beings can be so damn intrusive. Both my partner and I pride ourselves on not getting involved in other peoples private business, I’m not too fazed about someone else’s life unless I am invited in by them to share something.
Knowing what other people are wearing, who is doing this and going where have never been on the top of my priority list. So having people with different morals and beliefs into what is appropriate and not appropriate to ask, as well as everyone wanting to know your business all the time is something that is quite hard to get used to.
At 9 weeks pregnant, we had someone else share our joyful news on our behalf. A horrible act that is still so raw and one that I don’t think will ever be fully forgotten nor forgiven. With BD being a member of a football club, news travels very fast and before I had even told grandparents that they were going to be great grandparents, I had a football club of over 44 players and their partners knowing our news. So wrong.
At 12 weeks pregnant whilst at work I had a girl I had attended high school with, yet one I wasn’t friends with, come into my work and congratulate me on the news, which I thought was lovely. It was just us in the shop and after a few silent moments, she continued to ask: “…so, was it planned or an accident?”
What. The. Fuck?
I’m not a shy person and not a lot throws me off, but this lack of respect and intrusion of my private life threw me.
“Um…I…don’t really think I have to answer that.” I responded.
Who the hell was she – a girl I hardly knew in the first place let alone a girl I had not seen in person for over 5 years – to ask me such a personal question? And more so, who was she to think I was going to share that with her, on that very day? It’s just hard to get used to the questions people throw at you, that you yourself would never think to ask someone else in the same position.
I later thought, well, both of my answers would have been wrong. If I had told her that yes it was planned, she would have silently judged me for being an irresponsible 23 year old who isn’t married and with no career set has decided to get knocked up.
On the other side of things, if I had said no it wasn’t planned, she would have judged my lack of responsibility when it came to using protection. Either way I knew I would have been judged by someone who was virtually a stranger, because if it didn’t matter what my answer was, she would never have asked in the first place.
3. Welcome to the Jungle
Shaving my legs is harder than climbing Mt. Everest, I have more of a snail-trail than my Baby Daddy (BD) and about 10 weeks in I noticed I was growing a beard.
Welcome to the Jungle everyone! Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Hair growth normally works in a pattern – 90% growing and 10% resting. Individual hairs grow, they stop growing, and then they fall out. The cycle then starts again. Until you’re pregnant that is!
Hormones contribute to your rapid hair growth – there is now no ‘resting’ stage, and with me there now seems to be no ‘falling out’ stage either. The hair just keeps growing. And growing. And appearing. And then growing some more.
Thick, luscious hair is one ‘beautiful’ symptom that many ladies yearn for during pregnancy… until it’s covering your entire stomach that is. Also ladies – if you’re planning on having Laser Hair Removal downstairs – don’t! Pregnancy makes it return with a vengeance.
I have to admit that hair on my head (and no not my moustache, my actual head of hair) is bouncy, thick and constantly getting longer. It’s the other parts making me Hairy Maclary that I have to get used to. Doctors and skin therapists have told me not to touch these unwanted bushy regions, as like most body parts post-baby, they will again return to normal.
The hair apparently just disappears once you’re no longer carrying. Falls out before your eyes. Boy I do feel sorry for who ever sweeps up that mess behind me!
How are you supposed to feel ‘beautiful’ when you developed a warm winter coat in the middle of summer? When you cave in to waxing your chin and upper neck, only to have them sprout back literally overnight and you can tell everybody you talk to is looking straight at them?
When people (everyone!) goes ‘ooooooh show my your belly’ and your just too embarrassed. When as a young vibrant 23-year-old female, you can relate to the words of Dale Doback, “I’m looking good, got a luscious V of hair going through my chest pubes down to my ball fro.” (Watch: The truth about a ‘normal’ vagina. Post continues after video.)
4. So let’s not do it like they do it on the discovery channel.
“So are you doing it all the time? Are you guys having that crazy pregnant sex that everyone keeps talking about? Is Soph like super mad-horny?”
These are the questions that BD amd I like to avoid. Because the look on people’s face when we both simply say ‘no’ is quite disappointing. As much as we would have thoroughly liked it to, the amazing sex that everyone talks about when you’re pregnant…well, it just didn’t happen. We still have hope! But I don’t see it happening anytime soon. Let me set the scene for you.
BD and I had planned a month holiday in America before finding out we were expecting. We were to visit LA, Vegas and then spend 12 nights relaxing and spoiling ourselves in Hawaii.
Upon finding out about our little surprise, we saw our trip as even more of a blessing as it was going to be our last big holiday for quite a while – our life was about to dramatically change and we would never travel again ‘just us’. We couldn’t wait…especially for romantic Hawaii where we envisaged candlelit dinners on Waikiki Beach, and peaceful Maui nights together. Just us.
Well it seemed our third guest had other plans. Plans to make mummy one very horribly, disgustingly sick person. Any form of romance was quickly diminished.
We were seriously asked multiple times if my horny pregnancy hormones kicked in whilst away and what our sex life was like (again I will visit this topic of how intrusive people can be later on).
At the start we would laugh, brush it off, politely ignore the questions. But it wasn’t long before I – the obviously very open person – started telling the truth. If people were going to ask, I was going to answer.
“Sex was actually really hard between the 10-12 vomits I would do a day. That and the constipation I suffered. Oh, and the times I was vomiting so much and so hard on all fours that I shit myself.”
As I said, people would ask so I would gladly answer.
Truth is – sex is hard when you’re pregnant! (Post continues after gallery.)
Those women who suffered severe ‘morning sickness’ like me will understand. And I said it like that as you soon learn that it most certainly just isn’t mornings.
My average day for at least the first 18 weeks saw me wake at 3.30am and vomit, again at 5am, the next time I opened my eyes would be because I was heaving and dry retching so much my BD was trying to wake me or shove a towel under my head.
My day would then continue with a possible vomit or two in the shower (this is all before eating mind you, so the ‘vomit’ was in fact extremely thick, bright yellow bile that would burn my entire oesophagus and mouth and put my in tears). I’d try and eat breakfast and lunch which was trial-and-error every single day as I could be starving yet one smell or taste could set me well off again.
I’d normally nap during the afternoon and by dinnertime I was up to about 8-9 spews for the day leaving my absolute least favourite part of the day to come. Dinner. I could happily eat something one night, the next day hate it. I could be craving a specific meal; order it at a restaurant, and once it’s put in front of me I could vomit into my napkin there and then at the table.
My BD quickly learnt my ‘Fuck I’m about to spew’ face – which could and did come at any time. Most nights my dinner was thrown back up in a toilet and so getting into bed on our lovely romantic Hawaiian holiday and even thinking about sex was so far off my radar it wasn’t funny.
Which part of me would he find attractive anyway? The fact my breath probably constantly smelt like a dead person’s rotten insides? That when it was bedtime I usually sat crying in pain on the toilet for 40 minutes because all of my pregnancy vitamins made me so constipated that my bum would pour out blood?
That those very few times I did think I was ready to satisfy my BD only to have him kiss me and I’d gag in his mouth and nearly vomit all over his face (boy there were some close calls there!). Lets not forget to mention the times we had success on one of my ‘good’ days, only for me to literally get motion sickness and have to stop after 5 minutes. It’s just such a fun time!
Now approaching my third trimester, things have progressed. But it’s still hard. Your body is tired, and not just oh I’m a bit sleepy. I like to call it my ‘little-kid-tired’ stage where I have a window when I SHOULD go to bed, otherwise I turn into an emotional sooky over-tired child who then can’t sleep for hours and is awake at 6am the next morning.
You’re body physically hurts. You’ve gained weight, you’re heavier, you suddenly have a big stomach that seems like an obstacle course to work with. You’re uncomfortable. Finding a position to sleep in is hard enough and currently causing me to get up 4-5 times a night, let alone finding a sex position that works.
I’m not going to sit here and say it doesn’t ever happen; it does, I’m just not going to pretend that my pregnancy sex life is as glamorous and exciting as some myths and other personal stories make you believe it should be.
We know we love each other; it’s nothing like that. If the ‘crazy-horny-pregnant-lady’ stage would like to kick in now, that would be greatly appreciated.
With pregnancy, you will also find you get inundated with advice from all kinds of people. From mothers to mother-in-laws, friends to strangers on the street, everyone who has ever given birth and experienced motherhood will jump at the chance to offer their stories; what you should and shouldn’t do, what worked and didn’t work for them, what is right amd what is wrong.
I like to call this the ‘expert advice’ – well warranted as these ladies have all experienced it and know a hell of a lot more about what I’m going through/what I’m about to go through more than me.
But – and a big but – I also strongly believe that pregnancy is a time where you develop the ability to understand your body speaking to you like never before. You learn what is right and wrong for you. You learn what works & what doesn’t work for you.
You learn what is ultimately the best for you. You have chosen to be responsible for someone else for the rest of your life; you have made that commitment to put this little ball of magic before yourself forever – and how to do that exactly, is in my opinion only up to you to learn.
You need to be prepared to ask for help when you really need it, but not constantly expect it. You must also need to be able to say no, thanks but no thanks, to the many offers of advice being thrown your way. How else do you raise a mini-version of yourself and your partner?
You need to instil the qualities and morals you so passionately believe in into your child; it’s no one else’s, and therefore it doesn’t need to be raised the way someone else would like it to be.
These darling supporters around you – the ones who I don’t want to seem like I am criticising because I’m not – need to allow you to go ahead on this journey together as a new family. You’re going to make a million mistakes along the way. They need to sit back and watch you.
So far, I’ve been both politely criticised and not-so-subtly given advice (with good intentions I’m sure) on things from hospitals, to what pram I’m to get, what names are ‘ugly’, to whether or not I should get an epidural. Many areas that are for myself and my BD to decide and unfortunately no one else.
Speaking of asking for advice, I literally just asked my mum for her input on this post as I can’t stress enough that I’m not attacking those who offer their ideas and knowledge. She quoted: “you need to learn how to explore the joys and challenges of raising a child together as a couple,” and I couldn’t have put it anymore simply. See, sometimes you do need mummy’s help!
The same mummy is the first person I hysterically called at 9 weeks pregnant at 2am when I discovered bleeding downstairs and immediately assumed the worst. It’s the same mummy that calmed me and assured me it was normal and I’d be fine, and the same mummy that will I’m sure be receiving many phone calls from me for lets say…the next 20 years.
My darling Nan on the other hand recently quoted to me: “If you have a girl you must get her christened one day…she won’t find a man to love her when she’s older if you don’t, no man will go near her.”
Cheers for the advice Nan, god love you.
The article originally appeared on The Young Mummy. Sophie has since given birth to a gorgeous baby boy, Bobby. Read the original article here. You can read more about The Young Mummy on her blog, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.