Not everyone loves being pregnant
Please don't waste any more of your time feeling bad for not loving every second of your pregnancy. You didn’t love your bump. There. It’s been said so let’s move on. The important thing is that you cared for what was behind your bump. I say "cared for" in favour of "loved" intentionally, you understand. At that time, you could only imagine the love you would come to feel (thank God) for the baby inside of you, but you deserve my complete and total honesty so each and every word you read here is carefully considered with the wonderful gift of hindsight.
There are simply some wonderful things you experience when being pregnant so next time try to enjoy them every time they happen;
-The baby moving
It took you at least a couple of months to really embrace and enjoy this feeling instead of worrying about whether every movement had somehow tightened the umbilical cord around your baby's neck. I really think now that the baby moving was the start of your relationship with your daughter. You felt in some way that she was talking to you. Of course she wasn’t and she didn't have any control over her limbs but in your mind whilst experiencing each movement, it became a little secret conversation between you and your daughter. You deserve these little secret conversations. Don’t feel you have to tell your partner or mother or work colleague every time your baby moves. Some of them can just be for you. There should be some perks of being pregnant after all!
- The baby NOT moving
Towards the end of your pregnancy this became a massive source of anxiety for you but early on it was occasionally nice to forget you were pregnant! You managed to get some work done and feel like yourself for a few hours before something pregnancy related reminded you there was another human being growing inside of you! So at the beginning of your next pregnancy, even though part of you will just be willing for the day you will first feel your baby kick, try and remember just how painful those kicks are at the end and enjoy the moment of not having an arm jabbed in your rib, or a bottom pushing on your bladder!
- Buying stuff
I have come to learn that It is completely normal to want to have purchased every possible item you think you will ever need until the baby is 5. And you know what? Who cares if onlookers smirked and thought "neurotic mother". It definitely gave you a sense of control, so it was the right thing to do. You had no idea what was going on inside of you and as there was a limited number of things you could do to increase the likelihood of a smooth pregnancy, you tried to ensure everything was ready and perfect for when the baby was no longer inside of you! And you know what - I think on the whole, having most of the things ready did help you. Yes you bought a couple of things that were a complete waste of your money (7 different types of bottle teat being just one example), but you also bought some things that have been a godsend (Thank You Sangenic nappy bin!) Don’t forget how much fun it was as well!
- The Scans
For most mums to be these scans are few and far between. You felt nervous when it was your first one and that’s understandable. You just wanted to be told everything was on track and everything looked normal. You were lucky enough to be told that everything looked great. Well done for embracing that moment and managing to enjoy your scans from that moment onwards. They were such special moments. You didn’t give work a second thought and made damn well sure that Andy got the time off to join you and well done for doing this. Seeing your baby for the first time on screen with your husband was such a special moment for you. Remember how much you enjoyed it with the next pregnancy and try to prioritise them over less important things going on in your life. For you, they really did act as milestones through your pregnancy.
It wouldn’t be right for me not to remind you of the things you found difficult about your pregnancy though, especially as I said I would be completely honest with you.
-The Baby NOT moving
I spoke to you earlier briefly about how your baby not moving became a massive source of anxiety for you, towards the end of your pregnancy. I now know that you weren’t crazy for feeling so anxious. It was perfectly ok for you to ring the midwife team when you hadn’t felt a kick for a day. I know you felt stupid and didn’t want them to think you were a total nut job but they weren’t mad at all and they reassured you that they would rather you be over cautious than flippant and nonchalant about it. My advice for next time would be to act exactly the same! Ring if you’re feeling worried but know that sometimes there will be times when you forget whether the baby has kicked. Don’t feel guilty! We can’t be expected to remember and register every single kick, especially if we are at work undertaking some busy task. Do you remember the week you tried to record on your phone every movement and where you felt it? Well that didn’t work for you. It stressed you out and added to your already growing anxiety.
You always worried how you would look pregnant, what with being so short. Your worries were to some extent valid. You did look quite large in photos towards the end of your pregnancy! I’m so proud that you managed to embrace it in the last couple of months though. The tight tops that you started to wear showed others that you weren’t trying to hide your shape. I know there are some mums out there who love being pregnant, and who truly look and feel beautiful. Just because you didn’t look or feel truly beautiful does not mean that you “failed” at being pregnant. Remember there were lots of pregnant mums around you that were also feeling just as haggard, fat and exhausted as you. It was ok that you didn’t always wear makeup, and that you practically lived in your maternity jogging pants towards the end. You did what was right for you. I have come to learn that there are no right or wrong answers about body image during pregnancy. If you feel amazing then that is fantastic, but don’t beat yourself up if you feel awful.
You worried your body would be forever ruined after pregnancy. So your hips are a little wider, and you put on some weight but you needn’t have worried. 18 months later and you feel like you are in your own skin once again. Being pregnant did not ruin your body! You did lose the weight! Pregnancy changed your body shape slightly but you are happy with yourself once again and that is a lovely feeling.
-Not being able to get comfortable
You weren’t expecting this one. Do you remember how this really started getting you down towards the last couple of months? It took you ages to walk anywhere, your feet wouldn’t fit into anything but flip flops, you could only sleep on your left hand side in bed and you couldn’t sit on the sofa for any length of time. You found ways around it that weren’t perfect but got you through it. Keep that pregnancy ball somewhere safe for next time as it was your bum and back’s best friend during those last few weeks! Getting up a few times a night to go to the loo was (in the end) brilliant practise for those first few weeks where your daughter needed feeding every few hours.
I have written to you today because I know you still occasionally think about how you weren’t the best at being pregnant, and that it worries you for when you next decide to have a baby. You don’t have to be the best at everything. Sometimes you just have to get through things the best you can.
What I hope for most when I think about your next pregnancy, is that you enjoy it so much more. You already know you won’t love the way you look. You already know the parts that will be difficult and exhausting. So just try to focus on the things that were amazing about it. The bottom line is not everyone loves being pregnant. I realise now that how you felt during your pregnancy bares no relation to how you now feel as a mother.
Be kinder to yourself.