Hey baby

I had ideas about the kind of pregnant person I was going to be. I was going to be effortless and energetic and lithe. I was going to do yoga every day, and fill my baby with positive energy, and never eat sugar or refined carbs.

All I eat is refined carbs. Right now, I’m sitting in Nando’s eating chips.

Pregnancy is rough, folks. It’s hard to talk about, because it’s exciting but also utterly terrifying, and you’re happy and grateful but also everything in your body has gone completely insane, and all the parts of your brain that aren’t occupied with throwing up or staying awake or acting like you’re still human at work are running a constant, anxious loop of “what if, what if, what if”.

In that first 12 weeks, I wanted to be excited. I wanted to talk to my baby and fill him or her with good thoughts and make all sorts of plans for our exciting life together… but it felt like any of that might jinx it, or like it was too scary to let it feel real when it all seemed so fragile.

So every week I looked up “fetal development at x weeks”, and then directly afterwards I looked up “miscarriage at x weeks”, and spent hours reading harrowing first-hand accounts of everything that’s ever gone wrong for anyone. With every pain or ache, I found someone, somewhere in the internet, who’d had that pain or ache before they lost a baby.

I called this strategy “being informed”. Brazil called it “insanity” and begged me to stop.

In between, I felt constantly ill and dragged myself around the house with the energy of a listless sloth. I thought about eating vegetables and whole grains, and instead ate bags of lollies and my body weight in buttered bagels. Everything I ate made me feel sick, but whenever I wasn’t eating I felt sicker. It was like having a round-the-clock hangover for three months — with a side of narcolepsy, since I’d frequently find myself accidentally asleep at all hours of the day. One afternoon I woke up on the floor beside my desk, curled around the heater like a puppy with a toy.

I did yoga twice, though. So there’s that.

Whenever I’ve tried to go on the pill, I’ve become anxious and depressed, losing interest in almost everything except crying and worrying. I’d forgotten until recently that the pill produces hormones that convince your body you’re a little bit pregnant. No wonder the first trimester went badly for me — progesterone and I just aren’t friends.

So I think my hormones went a bit loopy, but I also think this shit is just hard. You’re sick, and tired, and your body is doing all sorts of things it’s never done before. It’s hard not to lose yourself when nothing feels like you anymore — even without worrying about what’s happening with the baby and what life will be like once it’s born. It’s heavy stuff, made heavier because you’re not supposed to tell anyone it’s happening, and even if you do, it’s kind of not socially okay to express any feelings that aren’t 100% positive.

These two posts made everything better — I highly recommend them to pregnant ladies, mums and humans in general:

We’re midway through week 14 now, and the light, as everyone kept promising me, is at the end of the tunnel. I didn’t manage to even make that connection about progesterone and my feelings until the fog started to lift a couple of weeks ago — one morning I went outside and stood in the sun, and realised in feeling delighted by this that I hadn’t felt delight in anything for months. It feels like I spent some time trapped in a sleepy, dazed, directionless fog — not all bad, but just missing all the usual good bits.

It’s nice to have those back — the joys of food, of friends, of sunshine and gardens and cats and finding hedgehogs on the path in the night. Of having a lovely beardy gentleman to share a life and a family with. And now we have a baby to be excited about too. (All going well. Everything is looking fine so far, and without my hormones convincing me that the whole world is fundamentally terrible, it’s much easier to be reasonable about the odds of that continuing to be true.)

So my new aims for pregnant me are fewer, and kinder. I want to be gentle with myself, and remember to go outside, and spend time with the people and things that bring me joy. I want to let myself be excited about our future, and accept that I have little to no control over whatever’s going to happen. And maybe I’ll also cut down on the carbs.