I see you. We talk politely.
I can tell that you’re not following the script. That script that is sent to your subconscious at the very moment you see those two little lines on your pregnancy test.
You know, the script that says:
“I’m the luckiest person alive.”
“You must be so happy.”
“This is such a special time, savour every moment.”
That’s okay. I didn’t follow it either.
I was afraid. I was overwhelmed. I was terrified of the irrevocable change that was barrelling my way, and I was anxious that I wasn’t up to the task.
Sometimes my anxiety would manifest in irrational ways. No-one expects a pregnant woman to be rational, which helps, but that doesn’t stop it being a rude shock when our emotions seem to run out of control. There are tears when you tell yourself that there should be joy. Arguments that 10 minutes later seemed like the terrible idea that they were. A rejection of affection and support when you need it most.
Are you stressing about things that seem unimaginably tiny to anyone else?
Are you sometimes paralysed by the fear that you’re going to be a very average mother?
Are you wondering where the hell your pregnancy glow is?
Then there are some things you need to know.
These things are not about how to cure nappy rash, or where to buy the best bottle, or how to wrap your baby so that they sleep through the night.
I have two kids and I don’t know any of those things.
But these are the things that I do know for sure.
However you’re feeling about your pregnancy, you will not be the only one who feels it.
One of the most wonderful things about parenthood is the discovery of the shared experience. You will meet women who will, after trust has been established over tales of sleepless nights and copious amounts of banana bread, tell you that they shared your pregnancy feelings.
But you might meet these women too late, which is why you need to know this right now.
1. It’s okay if your excitement is tinged with fear.
Nothing more significant will ever happen to you than what you’re about to go through. It will redefine your life. Sorry, no pressure. If you were not feeling afraid, you wouldn’t be human, never mind a mother.
2. It’s okay to be scared of change.
Sometimes being pregnant felt to me like driving a train that was veering out of control. There was no sane way of stopping or slowing what was happening to my body, my life – the changes just kept happening, every day, every week. Sometimes I’d want to slow the train down, sometimes I’d want to speed it up. You can do neither. It’s okay to be scared when you’re out of control.