Pregnancy #nofilter

Seeing your family member or bestie prepare for what is undeniably one of the biggest events of their life (and mine when my sister had my sassy niece) is exciting, special, life-changing etc. BUT there are so many questions I have always want to ask, so guess what- I asked.

If you ever wondered if the pregnant girl at work gets secretly pissed off with June from accounts rubbing her stomach in the lunchroom, or if well-meaning advice from every random in the supermarket is welcomed, you are in the right place.

I asked my sister and one of my friends a few crucial questions. My sister has one daughter who is reveling in her terrible two’s whilst my friend has a boy who is the original wild child and a younger sister who is a tad more tranquil.

The Vintage Vik
Q) So, you are carrying a developing human and everybody wants to give you their advice/direction/bs boring story about when they gave birth. Does this annoy you or do you frantically jot it in your baby manual?

Sister
“It depends on who was giving out advice. I didn’t mind advice from professionals (health visitors/ midwifes) but got a bit hacked off having advice from some people. This is because I feel I knew my child better than them and most of the advice was stuff I already knew.”

Friend
“Yes! As with Motherhood the whole world has an opinion! My favourite advice always comes from those who haven’t had children, who I have to say are often pretty clueless (sorry to say). My favourite (yet highly impossible in my experience) piece of advice at the end of pregnancy was, ‘make sure you get plenty of sleep.’ Yep as if I’m sleeping much at all with the biggest watermelon in my stomach!!!

Doctors can also try to push their opinions onto you and they don’t always fit either. If I had listened to them across two pregnancies I’d have been diagnosed with diabetes and hypothyroidism, not to mention induced.

By not listening to them (meaning declining medication and opting for natural treatments which were effective), I’d cause my baby to have; low weight, high weight, developmental issues and an array of other ‘problems’. As it turned out I have two perfectly healthy, average weighted and developmentally above normal babies! It is sometimes important to tune out of all ‘advice’ and stick to your intuition!”

The Vintage Vik
Q) Bump touching – Yey or nay?
I always see people touching bumps, I mean I have done it to others but then started thinking ‘is that not slightly creepy’?

Sister
“I always felt a bit left out because no one really touched my bump except my husband. However one day in the supermarket I bumped into somebody I hadn’t seen in ages.This person didn’t know I was pregnant until they saw me and my bump and then rubbed my bump. It was the most awkward thing ever. This was far too close for comfort considering I hardly knew them.”

Friend
‘The world feels like it suddenly owns your stomach! I had strangers come up to me and touch my bump! This was really irritating and hard to handle. I mean, in what other scenario would it be acceptable to walk up to someone you don’t know and start rubbing their tummy? I just wouldn’t, would you?

On the other hand sharing it with close friends, family and my husband was great. I loved my toddler touching his ‘baby sister’ too. Some very special bump touching moments 🙂

Long and short of it is bloody well ask before you feel you have the right to touch! It’s still MY stomach after all, not public property! I think showing a bit of awareness is always a good thing.”

The Vintage Vik
Q) So, what surprised you the most about the whole being pregnant thing?

Sister
“How tired I felt towards the end and how little I was able to do like tie shoelaces, cut my toenails but overall had a good pregnancy.”

Friend
“How much the hormones affected me! Going from ecstatically happy to feeling sad and crying at the drop of a hat. For example, seeing a dead animal my cat brought home. I cried so hard when they brought home a baby bird. I cried like a baby (ironic but true) for its poor Mother!

I also remember such a marked difference once I’d had the baby. During the end of pregnancy I obsessed over getting the house ‘ready’ (which to my husband’s delight involved spending thousands on getting the whole house painted – inside and out! I mean it did need doing…honest!).

When I arrived home from hospital, I looked at the house and wondered, ‘why did that matter so much?’ I just felt totally different. It was a remarkable and quick change too.”

The Vintage Vik
Q) On a scale of 1-10, how scared are you of literally shitting yourself during the birth? (sorry, but this question is one of those I just need to know)

Sister
“Before being in labour I would have said 10+ but once I was in labour that was the least of my worries plus all dignity is gone due to the amount of people looking down that end!”

Friend
“Zero, during the birth. Nothing matters, everything goes out of the window. So what if I’m naked and the world sees me?! All you focus on is getting that baby out, WHATEVER it takes- poo and all! And if it doesn’t happen, you’ll definitely feel like it will. I nearly had my first baby in the toilet needing a poo. Literally, it was a VERY close call, I was dragged off the toilet and my son was pretty much born.”

The Vintage Vik
Q) Okay, so having a mini you is a blessing, its fun, and full of love, but if we are being realistic, there must be things you miss from your pre-mum days?

Sister
“Erm where do I start! The main change is you can’t please yourself such as popping to the shops, having a lazy Sunday or just naps in general (TheVintageVik -I just had to insert, my sister LOVES naps). Sometimes it’s the little things like going to the toilet on your own having a nice long shower and having time to do your hair and make-up without your toddler doing her own make up…. on the walls.”

Friend
“Freedom to do as I please! I miss the simple things; shopping (even for food) in peace; going to bed when I want; waking up naturally and not having to jump up at the sound of the unpredictable baby alarm clock! Waking up all hours is tough and not just waking but having to do stuff, like deal with boobs and poop in the middle of the night.”

The Vintage Vik
Q) Is there such a thing as the ‘rush of love’ when you have the baby or were you thinking ‘FUCK! How do I hold the baby properly/please don’t drop it, never mind anything else?’

Sister
“I wouldn’t say there was an instant rush of love for me, I had such a crap labour I didn’t realise what had happened but once u get your head around it and calmed down then there is the realisation that you have given birth to an actual little person!”

Friend
“Every birth is different! With my first, he was born after just 12 minutes in hospital! His birth was a shock. I was handed my baby (still stood up by the toilet, fully dressed in ugg boots and all, at the height of winter fashion) and I gave him back, asking to sit down!!! I couldn’t process what had just happened and needed a minute!!

With my second, we didn’t even make the hospital. My husband and I delivered her on our bedroom floor, unassisted! As soon as I held her, I felt elation and the most amazing sense of love for her. I didn’t hand this one back and the bond was immediate, even though another surprisingly quick arrival. Interestingly, 8 weeks on my connection to her has come much easier too. As I said every baby is different!”

The Vintage Vik
Q) Out of this list, which of these do you think changed the most for you?
Eating, sleeping, mood, body image, relationships.

Sister
“Sleeping was a big change for me for somebody that is used to having a good 10+ hrs sleep each night it was a huge change! But it does gradually get better! And also easier as I struggled to function on little/ broken sleep making good use of grandparents helped!

Relationships change a lot which I didn’t expect it became a competition between us about who had the least sleep and who was the most tired. That leads to stupid arguments over stupid things because we were both tired which made us moody! The dynamic of your relationship changes and you feel very grown up all of a sudden as you are now ‘PARENTS’ and have a very big responsibility!

Body image was a change as well, I had never any issues with weight etc, I was one of the lucky ones that could eat and eat and eat and it wouldn’t make a difference but that has all changed after having a baby. I am left with wider hips and flabby belly!”.

Friend
“Sleep deprivation is a bitch! It literally sent me crazy the first time round. I ended up in hospital with post-natal depression. I couldn’t cope with the consistent lack of sleep, along with daytime demands.

The baby does make all the difference though. My first was constantly unsettled and screamed relentlessly. At night he slept a 4-hour chunk but the rest of the time he often only slept 20 minutes. That was more tiring than I can explain.

With my second she already sleeps 6-7 hours a night and her naps are often 2 hours minimum in the day. It makes a HUGE difference, as does the practical support you put in place. Spend the $$$, hire that nanny/au pair. Make your goals simple: to stay out of the loony bin!.

Don’t get me wrong even with my second, it was tough. I developed adrenal fatigue and was physically ill. My mental health was affected but the support I received kept me afloat. These experiences also propelled me into the deep healing journey that I needed in my life and hadn’t known. This propelled my career to take a twist and work with new mum’s, supporting them with the adjustment and well-being. Fortunately, there have been positive and amazing changes for me too.”

The Vintage Vik
Q) After sacrificing your body, your sanity, and Vino for 9 months, what do you wish that men knew about pregnancy?

Sister
“I wish men knew about labour, and how it isn’t like getting a bad football injury like my husband seems to think it is?!”

Friend
“How bloody tough it is! How we don’t just complain over nothing. If they experienced it they’d know we have every right to every whinge! And the least they can do is listen!”

I want to thank both my sister and my friend for being so honest about their experiences. I also want to take the opportunity to acknowledge those who are raising kids and appreciate the impact this has on the mother.

Generally, through conversations, there is a lack of support for new mums and an unwritten rule that women are expected to endure a life-changing event without any struggle or impact to their mental health.

If you want to learn more about post-natal depression and other supportive information for the majority of mums who cant relate to the impossible standard shown through an Instagram filter, check out the links below.

http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk
www.panda.org.au

If you would like to learn more about my friends healing journey or wish to contact her about coaching and counselling services you can reach her below.

Website: http://www.catemore.com
Insta: http://instagram.com/cat_E_more