Tuesday, April 16, 2013

28 weeks later

Are women who say they love being pregnant, that it is a 'lovely', 'special' time, to be believed?

I suspect these sentiments are uttered because 1) they are easy to say in hindsight and make one sound positive and healthy 2) society pressurises women to believe being pregnant is some sort of natural state in which to languish.

But, then, I tend to assume that everybody must, at some level, be just like me... and often I'm wrong. Perhaps I am more of a grumbling old softie than the average gal. Perhaps some women really enjoy the whole physical process.

Having had a remarkably straightforward twin pregnancy thus far (28.5 weeks - it can only get worse!!) I have not enjoyed any of it. I am grateful and happy we have twins on the way. I enjoy the thought of them growing. Most of the time, I am very excited about their arrival in our lives. I am glad that I am pregnant. But do I enjoy the sensations and symptoms of pregnancy? No, no, no! How could I?!

Minor complaints: One gets fat and heavy - this is a novelty and source of amusement. One can't eat and drink certain pleasant things - this is easier than I expected. One is more tired - but only a little. One is continually anxious about the wellbeing of the passengers - I have managed to keep that fairly under control.

Common, relatively insignificant but nonetheless 'Aaaaaaargh' complaints:

At 6 weeks came the sickness. I barely suffered in comparison to some of my friends - only actually vomiting twice and with only a fortnight or so of severe dietary constraint - but I hated it.

Nausea was more or less gone by 14 weeks, with one exception: I can no longer tolerate mint. Tooth brushing is a daily bind.

I have had a blocked nose for the duration and it often bleeds.

Around week 22, I developed unbearably itchy skin on my tummy, breasts, upper legs and upper arms. Possibly PUPP. Mercifully and unexpectedly, this faded after a fortnight. I had tried to steel myself to cope with it until the birth (which seemed likely, given its usual pattern) but admit the prospect of rising to slather on steroid cream / calomile lotion / aloe vera 6 times a night for four months was making me nervous.

Aches and pains in the back, torso and legs multiplied steadily as the weeks went by and now standing, sitting and lying down are all problematic. Putting on socks or getting off the sofa require assistance or incur discomfort. These developments have irritated me since around week 18, when I found I could no longer jog. (Walking for anything up to an hour and swimming remain quite comfortable. Hurrah!)

Today, I am kept entertained by a tummy that feels like a sack of rocks, a crushing sensation on my lungs that (combined with the blocked nose) makes breathing hard, a bladder so squished I wee about 10 times a night, an ongoing battle with constipation, veiny boobs and swollen fingers.

Oh, and there are the non-physical things as well. Most notable, the constant comments about my condition from strangers. I don't want to be uncharitable: it's nice to be talked to. But it can also be intrusive and is extremely repetitive. I could write a week-by-week guide to the things said to you daily at each stage of your pregnancy. One example - at around week 20, the question of the moment is "Can you feel them (it) moving 'yet?". Which, like many of these 'Yet' questions, is pointless and angst-inducing for the woman who must answer 'no'.

The physical symptoms of pregnancy are so all-encompassing that the last thing I want is for every person who speaks to me to reinforce the message that my existence can now be summed up in one word: PREGNANT.

In summary: hats off to all those of you out there who enjoy this time of your lives. Really. If you feel that way, I am full of admiration. I can't wait for it to be over!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's refreshing to have someone talking honestly about pregnancy, without this 'earth mother' rubbish about how wonderful and beautiful it is. Amazing it may be, fun it's not. Why is it so unusual for people to be realistic about it?
Thank you!