After the initial shock that I was going to be 44 years old and a mum for the first time, I just had to get on with it. After all it’s not like we weren’t trying! For some months we, well I, didn’t want to tell anyone we were having a baby, I thought the less people knew the easier it would be to get my own head around it but with the wedding approaching we figured we should announce it with all our friends and families under one roof, it would also explain why I wasn’t drinking. Typical my wedding day and I couldn’t drink!
My body was changing, this was only happening to me. Mr S kept paying me compliments about my boobs or tummy but I just couldn’t see it. It was a hinderance. I could only wear my wedding dress during the day, by night I was bursting at the seams. One benefit was I needed to buy a second dress – oh I found a positive about being pregnant! I could feel my tummy and boobs getting bigger but I didn’t ever feel the kicks and sensations that everyone tells you about. I knew there was something growing inside me but I didn’t feel the ‘connection’ or the ‘being at one with my body’ emotion. I kept hearing my friends that had kids say ‘oh I loved being pregnant, that first kick is such a great feeling’. When I first felt a movement in my tummy it made me feel strange, alien like and really bloody scared.
I was lucky I didn’t get any sickness, my body didn’t balloon and although a little tired some evenings overall I felt fine. I was working the same hours at work and was wearing the same clothes just larger size so I didn’t really get those ‘ oh your pregnant, when’s it due?’ questions at work. I was glad.
Was I in denial? I should say so!
I wasn’t embracing the adventure, it would be safe to say I was in denial. Looking back now, I wonder whether I was just ‘getting on with it’. I was extremely busy at work, I am super organised so the fact a baby was coming in to our lives didn’t throw me in to a spin to buy loads of stuff right away, I just didn’t feel the connection. However, I was highly emotional over ridiculous things and I did have some breakdowns at home – who knew I could flip out over how Mr S cooked sausages and how he filled the dishwasher! I got angry that this was toying with my emotions, I seemed to cry a lot.
I used the excuse of being too busy at work to go to any anti-natal classes, just because I was pregnant didn’t mean I wanted to sit in a room with other women and talk about how I was going to feed my baby or talk about baby names. I also knew I would be the oldest in the room. I didn’t need the questions of why had I left it so long etc. Plus I didn’t need new friends. I had a great circle of friends who quickly understood that I didn’t want to talk about being pregnant, I was very flippant about it all. This wasn’t a big deal. They knew I wasn’t enjoying the process, it was just a means to an end.
I didn’t even ‘milk it’ when I got home to ensure Mr S make the supper or fill the washing machine, I just carried on as I was. The only time I acknowledged I was pregnant was when we talked about baby names and the day Mr S had to drag me to Mothercare to buy maternity jeans.
My denial got pretty bad and started to make me feel pretty low with guilt – more guilt for Mr S and the baby really. I have a history of hiding my feelings but knew I needed to talk these through. Mr S was good enough to listen but I knew it hurt him to hear me say I wasn’t enjoying this, I wasn’t sure it was the right thing for us or that I might be a crap mum. After all, I was so selfish, independent and loved my life. Bit late now love!
Anti Natal Depression
I had an appointment with doctor as my blood pressure was high so I used it as an opportunity to talk through my feelings. I was diagnosed with anti-natal depression. Who knew there was such a thing? I had heard of post natal but not pre natal. The doctor advised my feelings were normal but not many women talked about it as carrying a baby is such a gift and women feel they shouldn’t be negative about it. I did feel sad I felt like this but it did make me feel slightly more normal and I started to look on the brighter side.
I was planning on working as long as I could and return reasonably quickly, although again everyone kept telling me “that’ll change when the baby arrives” I don’t think it will. I love work, I’ll love my baby but I knew I needed to get back to being me. I learnt to ignore the comments when I was asked the ‘return to work’ question and understand that everyone is so very different and just because I thought it was right for me, it wasn’t for everyone.
Embracing my feelings
My regular appointments with the doctor and the midwife to keep an eye on my blood pressure where a chance to have a quick chat about my feelings, it really did help. Mr S and I talked a lot, I cried a lot but it really did help. Around the 6 month mark I had accepted this is how I was going to feel whilst pregnant. It didn’t mean I would have post- natal depression, that I wasn’t going to love this baby or be a great mum and once I had got that in my head the next few months were a lot easier.
To a point…