Every photo that I’ve shared of my pregnancy has brought in plenty of lovely comments and messages filled with wonderful words; telling me I’m glowing, that I look beautiful, that pregnancy suits me, and to cherish it because it’s the best part. Of course, I really enjoy receiving such messages, and it definitely makes me feel good… but as wonderful as all the love and positivity is, I’d like to just let you all know that although the sweet and happy photos are what I tend to share, they’re often quite far from how I’ve actually felt (or looked) throughout my pregnancy.
A few days ago, I released my first pregnancy-related video on my YouTube channel, where I spoke about the symptoms that I’ve had; The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. I was in fairly good spirits when I filmed it and although I’d prepared the content in advance, I knew there were quite a few things I’d missed.
I mentioned a few times throughout the video that although pregnancy is a beautiful and miraculous thing, it doesn’t mean that it’s all wonderful and easy. Much like with everything else, the majority of the photos that we see (and share) are very often just little snippets of real life – or hardly real at all… such is social media, isn’t it? But as always, I want to talk a bit about the reality of it – the side that I wouldn’t particularly want to take or share photos of.
Side note: quite a lot of what is written here is also included in my video, but there’s some further insight and a slightly different tone to this blog post, perhaps.
While I can say that I’ve been truly blessed with a healthy baby and no medical issues throughout, I can’t say that my pregnancy has been an easy one. I’ve been suffering with severe back pain, headaches, and acid reflux from very early on, and the bigger baby & I get, the worse all of this gets too.
There were days when I needed my husband to physically maneuver me around because the back pain was so severe that I couldn’t stand up or move my legs. Sleeping is nearly impossible because I have to find the perfect reclined position that caters for both the back pain and heartburn (literally coughing up vomit), and then sometimes when I wake up to pee, I don’t manage to sleep for about 2 hours. And the headaches… Let’s just say that paracetamol has been one of my best friends these past months.
Aside from this, there’s exhaustion. Making a baby is hard work, guys, and I don’t even know what’s going on most of the time. It’s the most amazing and incredible thing to know what a woman’s body is capable of. But as wonderful as it truly is, let’s not make it seem like it’s all butterflies and rainbows. At least in my case, it surely hasn’t been.
Coping with all of the above plus a full time job, taking care of our dog, maintaining a healthy relationship, a healthy(ish) diet, and a clean and happy home, planning for the future, preparing for the birth and the very big changes that will follow, experiencing all the physical changes, not to mention the hormones – and add a bloody pandemic on top of all of that… It’s a lot of pressure and it is both mentally and physically exhausting.
And speaking of the physical changes, this is going to sound very petty and shallow but I know I’m not the only pregnant woman to find it hard to see everything that’s going on. Yes, it’s beautiful and miraculous, but I hardly recognise myself, and while on most days I cope pretty well with it, there are some days when it hits me really hard. I have cellulite in places I didn’t even know it could store, nothing fits me (not even my underwear), I don’t really feel good in most of the few outfits I actually do fit into, and admittedly sometimes I look in the mirror and cry. In fact, literally hours after filming that somewhat cheery video, I discovered some stretch marks and I cried myself to sleep that night. And it’s okay for all of this to happen because yes, it’s part of the reality and my body is literally making another human being and doing whatever it needs to do, which is beyond phenomenal. But it’s also okay for me to feel miserable at times and say so, because that’s also a part of the reality. Doesn’t make me any less grateful or excited to be pregnant. It just makes me human.
Chris has been such an incredible support system and I’m so blessed to have him by my side.
Of course, I’m thrilled to be pregnant and am super excited to meet our baby boy soon. And don’t get me wrong – it’s not all bad. I love my bump, I love feeling my baby moving and kicking (even though sometimes it’s uncomfortable, painful, or makes me feel sick). I love taking progress photos and reaching new milestones. I love that pregnancy has, at least for now, eliminated my acne and given my hair and nails a boost. And sometimes, I genuinely feel great and beautiful. I love my body for everything it’s doing to make this baby and keep him healthy. And I know that if I had to go through it all again, I would do it in a heartbeat. There’s no doubt about that. 🥰
My main point is, it’s so easy to look at social media and see all the beautiful photos and smiles and think “wow what a life” or “I wish I were like that”, but remember that people only share what they choose to. I try to be as real and honest as possible; although I prefer to share more of the good things, I make it a point to also share other, less happy, parts of my life too. I doubt I’ll be posting a photo of myself mid-meltdown anytime soon, or even just of how I actually look most of the time (greasy hair, no makeup, with half my belly hanging out under a tank top, and my husband’s pyjama trousers – it ain’t pretty! :P) – but that’s what the situation is a good portion of the time.
Aside from the beautiful memories that they give us, beautiful photos are exactly that – beautiful photos. Photos that sometimes take a lot of time to prepare for. Sometimes even a meltdown or two along the way. Which was the case when planning the outfits for our pregnancy shoot, only for me to then change everything again on the morning of because I couldn’t look at my legs, let alone feel comfortable with them showing on camera. (Which worked out well cause I’m so happy with how they turned out!)
I know this sounds like a lot of complaining, and maybe it is, I suppose. But as I said before, it doesn’t make me any less grateful or excited. I just think that it’s important to accept the harder side of things and to also talk about them, because there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
One of my best friends reminded me something lovely while chatting about this. She told me: “being vulnerable is the strongest thing you can be.”
So here’s me, being vulnerable. Being strong. Wearing my heart on my sleeve and pouring out thoughts I never imagined I would have after having spent my whole life dreaming and fantasising about being pregnant. And while I can’t wait to meet our little baby, I’m terrified. I’m excited, nervous, anxious, and every possible emotion that you can imagine. And that’s okay. 🙂
Shoutout to the wonderful Clive Xuereb for these beautiful photos!
Until next time,