People are weirdly fascinated by pregnancy. As soon as you start to show, people you’ve never met will stare wilfully at your stomach and grin at you inanely on the street. Vague acquaintances will feel they’re suddenly your best friend, interrupting you at work to creepily proclaim ‘Ooh, I love a baby bump’ or lean in to your torso shout messages to your unborn child.
They may have good intentions, but I hate it! I like my personal space and (much as blogging about my day to day life may suggest otherwise) I like my privacy.
In many ways, I would like the vast majority of the world – anyone who is not family or a good friend – to ignore my pregnant state and let me get on with it in peace. Yet, as nature is determined not to give me any peace at all, I have also become acutely aware of the need for niceness. A moment of rudeness or thoughtlessness by a passer-by at an inopportune moment can send my day spiralling into disaster, and ultimately, while I don’t need the freaky attempts by strangers to touch my stomach, we pregnant women do need just a little bit of extra kindness.
Here are just a few reasons why:
- We‘ve already had to suffer the worst of it before anyone even knows
It’s a cruelty of nature that, for many, the worst of the pregnancy symptoms come in those first few months when no one even knows you’re expecting. Pregnant women become masters of deceit, making never ending excuses to leave the room so they can throw up/sit down/lean against the wall/attempt to prise their eyes open with matchsticks while they figure out if they can pass their state off as a hangover, even though no one has seen a drop of alcohol pass their lips in weeks. By the time people are excited and desperately offering to help carry anything bigger than a piece of paper, you’ve already been through an ordeal and come out the other side.
- We’re so uncomfortable: constantly, unpredictably, painfully uncomfortable
Heartburn, back ache, indigestion, cramp. Pregnancy is basically one long list of side effects, not helped by the fact that as time goes on, you are gradually being beaten up from the inside. Those first few movements are lovely, but nothing is liable to distract you more form an important work task than someone practicing a karate routine on your ribs, and commuting is made infinitely more unpredictable when the baby could at any moment decide to lodge itself on top of your bladder, turning a normal train ride into a lottery of whether or not you’ll make it off without embarrassing yourself. Oh, and yes, I would like a seat. I know I haven’t for the last five days because it was more hard work getting up than standing, but today I’m knackered, uncomfortable and on the edge. Seriously commuters: get off your bloody phones and notice me – I’m about to fall over and I need a seat!
- We’re already in the throes of sleep deprivation
It’s either nature’s way of preparing us, or its biggest cruelty, that in the last few months before the baby arrives, pregnant bodies get you ready for those sleepless nights by…not letting you sleep. It’s like a dress rehearsal, but with no baby and nothing but crappy breakfast TV to keep you entertained at 5.30am on a weekend.
- The unpredictable whirl of hormones
Never, ever say to a women in the throes of a meltdown, ‘it’s probably just your hormones’, even though it probably is. While one day we can manage: full time work, other children, household chores, unexpected dramas and anything else your throw at us with calm and ease, the next day we’ll drop a piece of cheese on the floor and the whole world will come tumbling down. Seriously, I was going to eat that cheese…and now I can’t…and it doesn’t matter that there’s more cheese in the fridge…I wanted that piece of cheese…but it’s dirty…because the floor is dirty…oh god, I can’t bring a baby into a house with a dirty floor, I need to clean the floor…but I’m tired…and hungry… but I’ve just dropped my cheese!!!!!
- The foolish and unfounded belief that things are about to get better!
In these tougher moments of pregnancy, there is only one thing to do: reassure yourself that you won’t be pregnant for much longer and that you’ll have a lovely baby at the end of it to cuddle and enjoy.
Pity those foolish, optimistic pregnant ladies. Pregnancy is just the warm up. They’ve no idea that the worst is still to come…