Pregnant women deserve more credit.
Okay, yes. Millions of billions of trillions of women have been knocked up before us. They’ve all been there, through easy pregnancy or difficult. Many of their pregnancies even ended along with their lives, back in the days of old. A very crappy situation, particularly if the pregnancy she endured had been extra arduous. As we all know though, the birthing end of the experience is not nearly as risky in a first world country, with comfort options everywhere we look and perpetually advancing western medicine.
However, let us just take a moment to acknowledge something. BEING PREGNANT IS HARD WORK.
To begin, many of us spend an illogical amount of time trying to become pregnant in the first place. If it doesn’t happen naturally and quickly, we question our biological ability to procreate. It goes from something that will hopefully happen, to a conscious thought-consuming burden, weighing all the other ceilings on top of us already, down.
When we finally fall, using whatever method that may be, life throws the very next step at us, challenging us to jump an unsettling hurdle, for which we have absolutely zero experience. Make it to twelve weeks. God, if only we knew whether there was something we could do to make certain we would get there. In the time between peeing on a stick and seeing two lines up until the birth announcement (many of us decide not to spread the news until we’re certain a baby is going to be the end point of this experience, and not a D&C) an unfathomable amount of women endure what we all refer to as “morning sickness,” that which often lasts all day. Some very unfortunate women are forced to tolerate this horror for their ENTIRE PREGNANCY. That is basically ten months of feeling nauseous ALL OF THE TIME, and following that horrendous feeling up with actual vomiting. WHAT. JOY.
And, my god we are gracious during this period. We diplomatically accept all of the unsolicited information donated to us by every person in sight, detailing anything from how to be pregnant, to the gender of the infant, to how to raise it, to how much time we are going to NOT have, so make the most of what you have right now.
Also, there are the many, many dramas that ensue, beginning with the absolute thrill of being pregnant, but not looking pregnant, thus needing to explain food and drink related choices. The sacrifice of small pleasures, like a nice glass of red
at any time of year or a very cold pint, also at any time of year.
There is the anxiety that comes with worrying about not getting enough nutrients in our diet to produce a smart and happy child, or doing enough exercise for our bodies to manufacture a person with a stable metabolism. we’re told to make sure stress is kept under wraps, so that our offspring does not grow into an anxiety-ridden mess. We question ourselves constantly – am I doing this right? Even consecutive pregnancies cannot guarantee a safety net from these menacing injections on our every day life.
It does not stop there. Once we have bypassed the first and second trimester respectively and our clothes no longer fit our lumpy bodies, we begin to feel impeded by an enormous basketball in the stomach region. We endure all sorts of
little bodily pains which come naturally with undergoing a magnificent task, but which can be extremely uncomfortable and taxing, making each simple movement a test. And the questions begin again. Can I stand up from sitting without help? Can I balance this beverage on my tummy? And, the hindrances! Cannot stand up fast, must wait for blood to resettle after sleeping in the same position all night – cannot lay on back or will not be able to breathe, cannot lay on right side for fear of cutting off oxygen supply to baby, cannot sit with legs crossed due to onset of intense pins and needles, cannot sit upright as lungs are obstructed by giant uterus-containing baby. And, don’t even get me started on all the extra, potentially embarrassing and surprising symptoms of pregnancy…see here, here and here for more details. There are too many to go into here.
Grunting with motion becomes a part of our every day lives. If we already have children, we spend an unprecedented amount of time bending to clean up after them. It seems that somehow, they’ve made it their single point of focus to erase all traces of tidiness in our home just because we are struggling to shift from vertical to horizontal.
Pregnancy is hard. We want to be that woman on Instagram that makes it look easy and glamorous. We want to be that woman whose hair grows thick and glossy, whose skin is radiant. We want to just grow a tummy, and stay otherwise in shape. We want to be able to move with ease, because despite the enormous and wonderful task that we are performing, we still have to go to work, look after our families, take care of our pets and our home, and be emotionally stable. But above all of this, we want a healthy, stress-free pregnancy and a beautiful, happy baby at the end of it. And then, we want to recover properly and well from the mighty, mighty job we have done…so please, let us.
We women are lucky to be able to produce humans inside our sublime and lovely bodies. No man will ever be granted such an honourable assignment, and some women either choose not to, or cannot. It is for this reason, that perhaps those who do not partake, will never truly understand the gravity of such a duty. My message is this. Let us pull up a chair for the pregnant mother. Let us not skip her when buying a round of drinks, but instead order and bring her a sparkling water, with ice and lime please. Let us offer to load her shopping into the car, or carry that cumbersome item inside. Let us massage her feet and her back; let us encourage her to sit down and rest. Let us simply give her a break every now and then, and when she has finally given birth, let us focus on her, acknowledging what it is that she has just accomplished.
"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."