Today, within social media, there is a large community of expectant mothers. While I think this is great in the way of promoting healthy pregnancy, showing mums to be, that we can both be beautiful and hardworking while making a new life, as well as new mum approaches and techniques with your newborn, it is also giving out a very obscured view on what pregnancy and being a new mother is actually like. I am not the only one to feel this way (former big brother contender Skye Wheatley broke down in an Instagram live video, complaining about how social media makes motherhood look so amazing when her own newborn won’t stop screaming and crying 24/7).
“After four months of trying, I (finally) fell pregnant. And I say finally because after seeing so many peoples testimonies of having gotten pregnant on the first try, I honestly was starting to think I was barren.”
When my partner and I decided to try for a baby, social media was my best friend. I couldn’t get enough of these youtube videos, “how I got pregnant on the first try”, and Instagram posts of stunning influences titled “I feel most beautiful when I’m pregnant”; These combined with the Hembrow sisters, glowing and showing the world how perfect their pregnancies were and how they didn’t need to wear maternity clothes because they magically fit everything “just in a bigger size”; had me thinking how wonderful pregnancy would be. Call me naive, but this social media community just does not portray what the experience is actually like for 99% of people.
After four months of trying, I (finally) fell pregnant. And I say finally because after seeing so many peoples testimonies of having gotten pregnant on the first try, I honestly was starting to think I was barren. My pregnancy started out great- symptom-free, apart from slight bloating, (which made my skinny jeans not fit so well). I was feeling great and felt like I was truly now, part of the ‘yummy mummy’ community. I was running my own magazine, acing it at uni (I would finish my course before bub was due), I was writing my second novel, and my relationship was great. I was crushing it in all aspects of life. The plan was to work during pregnancy, finish uni and get a job a few months after bub was born in my dream career.
Fast forward six weeks, and I was 10 weeks pregnant. I had my first scan a few weeks prior and I couldn’t believe that I had a little heart beating away inside of me. I was on cloud nine.
Until a few fateful days later, I was getting up in the morning to my usual morning routine, when I was hit with sudden nausea. The nausea was followed by vomiting; Vomiting that had me hugging the toilet bowl all day and night. After a visit to the doctor, I was placed on some anti-nausea tablets, the relief was instant. Thinking I had found the cure to this nightmare, I went about my normal routine; Only to find out a week later, that I had become immune to the miracle tablet and was right back where I started; throwing up in the sink of a shopping center bathroom (no one seemed to care enough to let me have a toilet), the harsh reality of our society.
After another visit to the doctor, I was on something else. Something I am sorry to say I was still on, at 17 weeks pregnant. The fear of my past struggle with depression had me in a constant panic that it would return, with the recurring nightmare that now seemed to be my life. And while one may look at vomiting as some kind of relief from all-day nausea, to me it was a dark place, in which my depression did return. I felt as though I had nowhere to turn, no one to talk to that was going through the same thing as me. My partner was working long hours, and my friends all seemed to be busy with work and life, and I was really struggling to keep up with the flooding emails that were coming through for the magazine, entailing articles I needed to edit, the release date of the next issue, brand deals etc. I was just beginning to feel helpless, in that I couldn’t work on anything, that I was bedridden and slipping deeper into sadness.
I couldn’t keep any food down and was losing weight (a bad sign in pregnancy). While my new tablets were working, they couldn’t stop every bout of nausea, and coming to Christmas, I had big holiday plans, booked and paid for. We had a trip to Queensland planned, as well as a trip to New Zealand, and both I attended, sick as a dog. Adding to the stress of this, I had people left right and centre telling me what I could and couldn’t eat, that I was eating too little or too much, that I should suck it up because everyone goes through this…
Thankfully the second trimester rolled around, and though I couldn’t see it in the first few weeks, relief did come. It is a common belief that the second trimester is the time you should go on your babymoon or start to feel amazing and glowy, preparing you for the backaches and struggles that come with the third trimester. While second did come with its struggles at first, it did ease up about 17 weeks and now I am happy to say that I am on cloud nine, once again.
Feeling your babies kicks, knowing you are not alone and that you have a little human that is half you, listening to your voice and rolling around in your stomach, it really does make it all worth it. While I do struggle with a new set of symptoms such as heartburn, backaches and sore pelvis; Children are a blessing and giving our body a break from criticism is the best thing we could do, after all, you are making a human, that is possibly the biggest job of all.
I have since had to take a step back from the magazine due to my mental health, though at first, I saw this as letting myself down and being a disappointment, I now see it as putting something that I love aside for a short time to make way for something I love even more. I understand now that life after birth may not be a walk in the park either, yet I am optimistic at a life with the new love of my life and can’t wait to see what the future holds.