When I thought of what pregnancy would be for me before I became pregnant I imagined the moment me and my husband held hands as we saw our baby on the scan for the first time, I imagined breaking the news to my family over a big family dinner. I imagined baby shopping trips with my mum, celebratory lunches with my friends, squeezing in a few last holidays with my husband. What the pandemic has meant is that the reality has been quite different. I’ve attended my appointments alone; I didn’t get to share those moments. I told my family over a facetime with bad signal, I didn’t get to give my mum a hug until I was about 5 months pregnant.
It’s been tough. I’ve struggled with prenatal anxiety. The isolation, uncertainty and fear of a pandemic has definitely added to that. So many women are in the same boat. Antenatal classes aren’t running, and you don’t make friends as easily through Facebook groups. I always wanted my mum with me at the birth which won’t be possible and even my husband may only be able to join me later on in labour. It’s not just me this is hard on, it’s them too.
You get it, me and other pregnant women haven’t had it easy this year. But we’ve done it! In 2020, where it’s been hard to achieve much at all, we have done the hardest most rewarding work, we’ve grown a human inside of us. And I personally think that can be seen as a big, fat silver lining.
To look at this from another angle, there’s so much that the pandemic has saved us from. For example, in those first few months where we’ve got to keep this a secret and we feel like utter shite, we’ve not had to make excuses why we’re not drinking on a night out or why we’re running to vomit in the loo whenever a work colleague makes coffee. Working from home has meant more accessible naps! Zoom meetings mean you can mute and turn your camera off while you cry for no reason or nod off slightly with your head in your hands. I’ve worn joggers or pyjamas for 99% of the year. We’ve had the chance to get to know good local walks for when the baby’s here and not felt obliged to continue going at 100 miles per hour with life whilst growing another life.
There have been some pros to this unique pregnancy experience. But the biggest one for me has to be, no bloody baby shower. I don’t have to stand in a room surrounded by pale blue balloons and fake flowers and pretend I can be arsed to talk to some distant relative about how my fanny will never be the same again after labour. I’m so glad I don’t have to try and look like some glowing goddess whilst feeling like a fat drowning rat, every one telling me how well I look as I try to ignore my swollen feet spilling out of my shoes. And let’s thank the lord I don’t have to pretend to enjoy ‘fun games’ like licking chocolate of a nappy whilst all my friends enjoy it way more because they’ve had a bottle of prosecco. Whilst I get increasingly gassier and my indigestion flares up because of the copious amounts of non-alcoholic soft drinks I’m consuming. I’d enjoy the cake, but I can get one of them and eat it at home, to myself.
Pregnant friends, you are doing something amazing in the most challenging of times. Give yourselves credit, think of the story we’ll be telling our kids and remember, at least your auntie Margret hasn’t cornered you in a pastel coloured room telling you about her old, ruined, cavernous vagina.