The Biggest Mistake I Made when Pregnant
Because we do the best we can
The day I found out I was pregnant, I couldn’t contain my joy. I was only a month into my pregnancy, and I was feeling off, but not completely sick yet.
I had an overseas flight of 24 hours in front of me, where I binged on movies about motherhood, birth, and babies. I was scared as hell, and I wanted to give myself and my baby the opportunity of having the best nine months together, before a lifetime of giggles and love.
I took motherhood for granted; my sister had babies, my mum had two babies, the women of the world had had babies, and no one seemed to complain too much about it.
If they did it, I could certainly do it, maybe even better than them. SO I started studying hard; I inhaled books on pregnancy, hypnobirthing, SIDS, babies, cesarean birth, natural birth, natural pregnancies, and more. I couldn’t get enough of it, as I wanted to have as much knowledge as I could and be prepared for motherhood.
I didn’t read anything on the postpartum phase, as no one mentioned it to me; from my weekly visits with the midwives, I gathered that after having a baby I was going to be left alone, except for a random home visit by a trained nurse. I was ok with that, as I couldn’t wait to start my own little family, with our routine and rules.
The truth is, babies don’t come with instruction, and the fourth trimester is the toughest of them all. Not only I was physically depleted, but there was a lot of pressure coming from society, and two weeks after giving birth I was somewhat expected to be done with the needy behavior, and to start thinking about going out, going back to work, and get my body back.
I completely underestimated the postpartum phase, and I spent too much of my valuable time reading about the different ways of giving birth.
Mind you, it is essential to get educated on the birth you want and to understand our rights as humans and mothers, but the truth is that the birthing process doesn’t last that long, and a life with a baby does.
Hypnobirthing classes or not, it is challenging to have any control over a birthing experience, as the health system will “force” you to make decisions based on the survival of your baby, more than on your birth plan. I met lots of mothers that didn’t want to use medications, and they felt like a failure because they ended up with a C section; a mother even told me that she felt like “she cheated” because she didn’t have a natural birth.
In hindsight, I would like to go back to my pregnant self and ask me to focus on the six months after giving birth, instead of the birthing process in itself (as in my situation lasted only 3 hours and was a total blur).
I wished I had followed all the advice that I now talk about all the time, in the hope of inspiring other women out there.
I wish I had asked for help, and made sure to have as much support as I could
I wish I rested, instead of pushing my pram up the hill under a scorching midday summery sun to please a friend in need
I wish I had prioritised my nourishment, instead of keeping up with what people told me to do
I wish I made my post-pregnant belly a sacred masterpiece, instead of looking at it with disgust
I wish I had spent more time resting and cuddling my daughter, instead of tidying up the house, or writing another piece of content
I wish I had accepted all the help that was offered, before it disappeared completely.
I wished I had asked people to bring me food, instead of getting up to make teas and listen to their problems
I wished I had told my husband I wanted to be held and looked at, as I felt invisible
I wish I had spent more time connecting with my daughter, instead of looking for freedom
I wish I had answered in a truthful way when people asked me, “How are you?”
I wish I had told that sonographer that “mistreated” my two months old daughter to fuck off and change job
I wished I had napped more
I wish I had asked, instead of thinking I knew it all and I could do it all
I wish I had known what the postpartum phase is and feels like, instead of planting my face on the ground
If I could go back, I would tell that new scared mum to ask for help, to rest as much as possible, to eat nourishing foods and drink like a camel; If I could go back, I would tell that new mum that is ok, she is doing the best she can.
But now it is my turn to spread the knowledge and to speak up. If you resonate, please do the same.