We all experience pregnancy in different ways, with different feelings and emotions. We will be featuring a range of pregnancy stories through our blog over the next few months. Our first is from Emma Cottam, founder of Isabella and Us.
Now, this may seem like a very negative viewpoint but each and every one of our pregnancies is different, and those experiences, those feelings are valid. Each and every one of those experiences and feelings is valid.
Four years ago in April 2017 I fell pregnant with our daughter. We had longed for a baby and my exceptions where of a wonderful pregnancy, with a wonderful bump and a lovely glow. But that was not the reality.
From what others had told me, from what I’d read, Pregnancy was something you ‘should’ enjoy. It ‘should’ be the most wonderful experience of your entire life and you ‘should’ cherish each moment. This was going to be the best nine months of our lives and it was going to be perfect!
From about six weeks in I started being sick, every day, two or three times a day. From being so excited we were pregnant, I began to resent every minute. I hadn’t planned for this, I wanted the perfect bump, the glow, the wonderful pregnancy photos (In fact hardly any photos of me whilst pregnant exist).
We couldn’t leave the house till I’d been sick at least once, I threw up everything. I was working full time as a teacher, every morning I would travel to and from work with a washing up bowl in case I was sick. I was told this was normal, it would go within so many weeks, so many weeks came and I was still being sick. I spent our entire pregnancy being sick. There was no pregnancy glow, just a blood shot very pale face.
I struggled during our pregnancy, the sickness made it difficult for me to enjoy most days and I think what made it harder was I was so exhausted, I just didn’t have the energy to do very much at all. The expectation that these nine months would be filled with so many exciting things, didn’t happen. We could barely plan things, because we just didn’t know how I would feel.
But through those tough days, through those moments of being scared, those kicks, feeling her move, those little moments of pure amazement helped me make it through those nine months. I know people say, you will forget it as soon as your baby is placed on your chest, but I’m not sure you do, it just becomes part of the memory, a little blurry, especially when the sleep deprivation sets in.
I feel so lucky that I had such a good support network, people who just listened, who knew the days I was really struggling. People who would climb the three flights of stairs at work to get me something and a husband who was okay living off takeaway.
Looking back I had huge expectations of what pregnancy ‘should’ look like, in reality, pregnancy is different for every single one of us. And if I could share one piece of advice, trust your instincts and take one day at a time. Know that how you feel during this moment is valid, look for those who will support you, who will cheer you on and those who will sit and listen to how you are feeling. Do what you need to do, focus on your needs and what you (and other’s) can do to support yourself during these nine months.
Emma Cottam, is the founder and owner of Isabella and Us., editor of the Positive Wellbeing Zine for Mums and host of the Positive Wellbeing Podcast for Mums. After having her daughter Isabella, Emma suffered from Post-natal Depression and since has been passionate about helping to raise awareness of maternal mental health, through her #winningasamummy® campaign and through promoting positive wellbeing in mums.