I expected to have a rally of support behind me. In reality I felt more isolated and alone that ever.
I was the first of my close friendship group to do the whole making-a-human thing. I was excited. I’d always been the ‘motherly’ type. So I don’t think it was a massive surprise when I announced my pregnancy. I was excited to share my journey with some of the people I loved the most. I envisioned always having someone to talk to, and offers to help that I would turn down (because I was going to breeze through pregnancy y’know. Pfffft). The reality was very different to this. I felt isolated and at times, friendless*.
*note, this was not the case. My friends are amazing, this is rather an account of how I felt at times. Antenatal anxiety is a bitch and made me view the world all wrong for quite a while.
Pregnancy is supposed to be this glorious, wondrous thing. Women are told to enjoy their pregnancy because it is ‘such a special time’. Ha. Yeah right.
Pregnancy was not wondrous for me at all. Sure there was the whole ‘Holy crap I am building a life inside me right now.’ thing. That was pretty cool, I’ll admit. But pregnancy was genuinely the most horrible thing I have ever endured. I have never felt less like myself and more useless any other time in my 24 years. Let me tell you a little bit about why I feel this way:
Morning sickness hit me like a truck around 6 weeks, and continued until I was 22 weeks pregnant, at which point it started to slowly ease up. When I say it hit me like a truck, I mean the spew came out of me like I’d been hit by a truck in the stomach. Everything I ate came back up. There are still foods I can’t look in the face without nausea stirring in my gut. Never have so many foods been ruined as in those hellish 16 weeks. Now, most women get some degree of morning sickness. I on the other hand, had hyperemesis. I lost 9kg I was that unwell (whilst putting on weight in baby, so really, it was more than this). I was lucky that I was able to keep down fluids, so did not have to be hospitalised. I did not hit my pre-pregnancy weight again until I was 35 weeks pregnant.
“It takes a village to raise a child” goes the saying. But what happens in the modern world? Where is the ‘village’?
You see articles everywhere touting the fact that it takes a village to raise a child, and that modern Mums are struggling, because they try to do it all alone without a village to support them. The concept of the ‘village’ is essentially extinct for many new mothers.
While it may be true that women no longer have as much access to hands on support, a new type of village has taken over. Forums and online support groups have become an essential tool for the modern Mum. It only takes a few clicks of the keyboard to find a thread, or a group of people experiencing the same thing as you. The overwhelming majority of these virtual space are a fantastically positive place. Women jump to share their experiences and offer their advice, or just their sympathies if they cannot assist. Solidarity sisters, solidarity.