Pregnancy for me was pretty much one of the most confusing periods of my life. Having kids was always something that we knew we always wanted.. but when it actually becomes a reality (even when it's planned).. it's pretty huge.. and pretty overwhelming. It's really interesting, now that Frank is here, now that I'm not pregnant any more, now that I am actually a Mum.. to look back and try and understand how I felt...
Firstly, we decided to not announce it. For someone who is pretty open with most things, who shares a lot of their life online.. when we found out we were pregnant.. I immediately didn't want to tell anyone. I suddenly felt very exposed and very vulnerable. I was trying to navigate how I felt about it all.. so I knew, that if I was having trouble answering my own questions.. it was going to be even tougher when it came to other people's. So we kept it quiet. Close family and a few friends knew but it felt like we created a bit of a safe bubble around us.. a space for us both to work stuff out. And that's what I didn't expect.. to have to work stuff out. I thought it was gonna be pretty straightforward. We've always wanted kids.. so we're now happy to be having a kid. But instead it felt a little uncomfortable. I wasn't over the moon.. I felt awkward about it, unexcited, defensive.. I felt like I was fighting it. I resisted talking about it.. was adamant I wasn't going to fit in to any pregnant/parent stereotype.. and wanted to run in the opposite direction at the hint of a "What you having/When you due/Are you excited?" type question. Mainly because the person asking was always way more excited than I felt and it always felt slightly awkward when my answer was always a bit of an embarassed.. 'Yeah.. crazy innit'.
Reading that all back it sounds overwhelmingly negative.. which I want to point out, these were all feelings that I'm not ashamed to have felt and kinda think that they should be pretty normal feelings considering you're bringing an actual person in to the world. It's a huge decision/change/responsibility so I feel pretty ok that it took me a while to adjust to the enormity of it all. Don't get me wrong.. in our own way, and in our own time.. his first little outfits were bought, names were decided.. all the preparation tasks started to feel enjoyable instead of alien. I began to feel proud of my bump and actually felt more confident in my own skin than I had done in years. I would lay in the bath for hours, eyes closed waiting for a little elbow, a kick or a roll, enjoying our calm, private time.. just me and him.
The more my bump grew the more I was adjusting and feeling comfortable and both me and Pete would talk a lot about what we wanted for our little lad and what we wanted in the future for our little family we were making. And we made peace with our seemingly blasé approach to the whole thing. We both realised that we just weren't very good at getting excited about something until it's actually happening. We just couldn't visualise him.. we couldn't physically feel the feelings we knew we were going to have once he arrived.. there was absolutely no way of truly practicing, preparing, experiencing any of it so anything beyond 'you will give birth to a baby' felt totally alien and totally ungraspable. We were waiting for this huge change with no real idea what this huge change was going to be like. We were doing all the normal 'pregnant' things.. midwife appointments, birth classes, pushchair buying, nursery painting but it still didn't feel totally real.. as if we were frauds and someone was going to pull us up on it any minute. I even remember being in the hospital waiting to be induced and turning to Pete and saying "What the f%*k are we doing?!?!?" It didn't even feel real then.
Having said all that I look back and feel that overall I still enjoyed being pregnant. It may have been not what I expected but at the same time the fact that it is one of life's biggest steps.. I felt totally ok that it was kinda testing me. But aside from the emotional side.. I found a completely new found respect for my body. I enjoyed watching my body change. I marvelled at what it was capable of.. how miraculous it actually is that it has everything it needs to grow an actual human. AN ACTUAL HUMAN. I enjoyed the company of my bump.. of him. I felt empowered and capable and as crazy as it sounds it kind of reminds you of the real, primal reason why we're all here.
So I guess I wanted to share how I felt because the one thing I have definitely noticed so far with the whole 'becoming a parent' journey is just how much guilt there is out there. Guilt for feeling something, for not feeling something, for doing, for not doing.. it's seemingly endless and really sad as ultimately it adds unnecessary trauma that we all don't need. Same with the whole labour and birth thing.. but I'm gonna save that for another post..