When I was younger, I had this romanticised version of pregnancy. I wanted at least four children, whom I’d birth naturally, of course, because why else would God have given me these hips? My mother popped out four kids, even giving an aerobics class while in labour with one of my brothers. So how hard could pregnancy and childbirth actually be?
Boy, was I in for a surprise.
My first discovery was that “morning” sickness was not limited to vomiting once in the mornings. With Angie, I was nauseous all day until the end of the first trimester. With Emmy, I was nauseous all day, and there was occasional vomiting. Once, while shopping with Angie, I abandoned my trolley in the middle of the aisle, grabbed her, and had to run for the nearest bathroom.
You can see where this is going, right? With Peanut, I wanted to die. (And I’m not exaggerating. When you’re vomiting nothing but bile and it feels like your insides are about to tear open, and it’s only the sixth week of pregnancy so you can’t see how this will ever end – well, it’s not a whole lot of fun.)
Fortunately, the first trimester ends. Eventually.
I never got that promised burst of energy that is supposed to come with the second trimester. And after Angie was born, I learned that I’d developed a thyroid condition which explained why breastfeeding didn’t deliver the expected weightloss results and why I wanted to sleep all the time.
I commented to one of my friends that the first trimester feels like forever, the second trimester is over in the blink of an eye, and the third trimester is about twice as long as the first. I had a pinched nerve with all three, which was uncomfortable but manageable. This time, I’ve been experiencing almost constant ligament pain which means I can’t walk properly by the middle of the day. Angie has had to help me take off my boots and pants a few times, a job she takes very seriously. “I’m going to take care of you, Mommy,” she told me the first time, rubbing my leg. “It’s my responsibility because I’m the firstborn.”
Oh, and did I mention the heartburn? I don’t go anywhere without a pack of Rennies. (Both girls were born with a lot of hair. We’ll see if the old wives’ tale holds true for Peanut as well.)
I wasn’t sure whether I should post this. I don’t want to sound like I’m ungrateful, because I know there are so many women who would do anything to experience pregnancy, and here I am complaining about it. But then I thought, this is my experience of it. None of my pregnancies have been easy, and I can’t pretend that I enjoy being pregnant. But I know that the pain and discomfort is worth it in the end.
In the context of a lifetime, nine months is nothing. (Someone pointed out the other day that I will have been pregnant for a total of 27 months. Yikes!)
I’m reminded of this verse – “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10) There is pain in the process, but the end result is something beautiful. In my case, three somethings. And what a privilege to be part of the miracle of creation!
Was pregnancy what you expected?