Being pregnant does not mean that you have to follow society’s prescribed ideas of how to be a perfect pregnant woman. After all, we are human too!
I may be stamped as a ‘badass selfish woman’ for writing this, but who cares! It won’t be the first time and that doesn’t stop me from speaking out the truth. I am 20 weeks pregnant today, yes, half way through the journey and I thought this would be the right time for me to share with you my experience so far.
Why now and not at the end of it – because today when I will be writing this, I may still be able to write things as it is, without being biased as a mother. They say motherhood changes everything and probably it may, as you would have something so delicate and beautiful that you created on your own in your hands!
So I’m a woman in my late twenties, an independent thinker and extremely career oriented. I won’t say that I’ve been crazy about babies or about having one of my own, but in all practicality, decided to have a baby when my husband and I were convinced that the time was right. So my pregnancy was not a big shock or surprise to me, as it was kind of planned and I was mature enough to handle that.
Now the tricky part or as I prefer to call it –’Reality’. In most Indian movies and from the narrations of other women, I always thought that the moment you get to know you are pregnant, you would burst out with tears of joy and would have an out of the world feeling of exhilaration of walking into motherhood. But surprisingly, I did not have any of these.
Of course, I was happy and thanked God for the enormous blessing. But a thousand thoughts rushed into my mind that day. “Okay… Now what? What am I supposed to do and not do for my baby to be happy healthy and safe inside. How is life going to change now? Will I be able to handle the responsibility of raising another human being? Am I competent enough for that?”
And so on and so forth. That day marked the first of many of the days of my guilt trip in this journey. With shock and regret, I realized that I did not respond to the news in the typical way and that I was not having those gentle motherly feelings as they call it. “What a woman I am!” I thought.
Then came the next phase of telling close family and friends about the big news. People were more excited than I was, adding to my guilt. Advice started pouring in on what I must eat for the baby to have this and that, what all I shouldn’t, how miscarriages can happen and how to avoid them, how should I sleep, sit, stand, walk!
I completely appreciate the intentions of all those who gave me bits and pieces of advice, and love them for being there for me during those tough times. But believe me, it was too much for me at that time. I had almost all the symptoms that generally pregnant women get during the first and second trimesters in their worst forms.
In the first 4 months of my pregnancy I did nothing but vomit. When you are vomiting 24*7, even normal water, how can you drink a litre of milk every day or include leafy vegetables in your diet, how can you make sure that you move around a lot when all you want to do is to have at least an hour of continuous rest without vomiting, and on top of all this how can you keep yourself ‘happy’!
If I get started about the crazy hormones, I can write a whole another post. I just felt like crying out of nowhere and for no reason and that too not sobs or mood swings, I really had many instances of screaming & crying out aloud. But then again you hear from around you. “Stop crying, it’s not good for your baby!” As if I enjoy crying and the crazy state of mind I was in. For gad sake, if only I could figure out why on earth was I crying! All this added up to the pile of guilt that I’m not able to take care of my baby properly and do justice to it.
Now comes the next interesting day, your first ultrasound – the day when you see your baby for the first time. So after I came back from hospital that day, I got a number of questions like how did I feel like, did I burst out into happy tears seeing the baby, was it a defining moment for you as a mother… to write down a few.
Again, I stood there perplexed! Neither did I have happy tears nor was it a “defining” moment of motherhood. On the other hand, the actual feeling I had was that of relief to know that everything with my baby so far was okay and it is growing properly despite me not being able to do any of the “Do’s” of the first trimester of pregnancy.
By that time, I was almost into my 3rd month of pregnancy and I still did not have those strong motherly feelings and was not fitting into society’s norms of an expecting mother. To make matters worse, I had a couple of friends around me who were pregnant around the same time, who by and large had different experiences from what I was having and were enjoying their pregnancies. Some of them even told me that pregnancy was the best time of their lives.
Again, when I tried to get some help from those social media groups, the only posts that I could see most frequently were about how new mothers missed their period of pregnancy and wanted to relive the experience again. And there I was, standing in the middle of all these, stunned and lost.
I can’t tell you how pathetic and depressed I felt those days thinking how bad a mother I was or was going to be and that I’m failing terribly in this. It in turn badly affected my health, making things worse. I was slowly turning into a fat piece of remorse and guilt. It was then the defining moment happened in my pregnant life.
Tired of the constant physical stress and mental trauma, one fine day, I gathered up all the courage and told myself that it was high time for me to take charge of my life, not just for me but for the sake of my baby too. I decided to ignore most of the things what ‘society’ told me and to stop my endless struggle to do things which I was ‘supposed to do’, but could not.
I told myself that this is my first journey with my baby and I would definitely make it special for both us, but in our own way. And yes, it made a huge difference. Not that my physical symptoms stopped, but it has given me a whole lot of positive energy to take us through the coming months.
Pregnancy may be the best time of their lives for a lot of women, but not for a few souls like me. There may be a lot of women similar to me who would harbour similar feelings and my post is for them. It is okay if things are different for you. You are unique and so is your baby and your relationship with him/her. Don’t try to feel any less of yourself for not having those typical feelings or experiences. For some people, things will happen slowly.
You may not be able to do everything what others are doing for their baby inside. All you need to focus is on doing whatever you can in the best way possible and not what you have been told to by others. (Of course, you need to listen to your doctor.) I’m not ashamed to admit openly that this has been one of the toughest periods of my life physically and mentally and right now, I don’t think I’m going to miss being pregnant or would want to relive these moments.
And I definitely don’t think I should feel guilty for feeling like this. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love my baby or that I’ll be any less of a mother. There may be many women who have felt like this, but only very few would have taken the courage to admit this for the fear of being categorized as one of those, who don’t fit into the frame work of a woman or mother as defined by the society (read patriarchal)! Yeah, the angelic figure!
Come On, I’m not an angel. I’m every bit of a human, yes, even while I’m pregnant and also when I would be a mother soon.
To my mother, who has openly admitted to me that she almost hated me for what I did to her when she was pregnant with me, but has given me every single breath of her life for each and every second I’ve been alive.
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