This is for all the Mama’s
Have you ever asked a pregnant woman, or a mother with a newborn how her pregnancy and/or delivery was? Did she respond with “Fine!”, or “Good!”? Perhaps something along those lines? How many Mamas have responded to that question with complete honesty?
In my personal experience, almost none. Nearly every single Mama has told me that their pregnancy was great, or had a great labour and delivery; when in fact, their pregnancy was tough and experienced an even more difficult labour.
I asked a bunch of my friends if they know anyone who is truly honest about their pregnancy and/or delivery. They couldn’t think of a single person (except for myself because I am the kind of person who speaks my mind probably more than I should).
When a woman is pregnant, there is an immediate expectation put on her to have no discomfort during those 40 weeks of housing a growing human life. After all, as women, our bodies are created to be able to possibly house a growing baby someday. So since its “what we do” it shouldn’t be a problem! Right?! Aches? Pains? Varicose veins? Hemorroids? Sickness? Gestational Diabetes? Sciatica? Swelling? Low iron? Unable to sleep? On bed rest? And everything else that we as women experience in pregnancy? Just shrug it off! We hardly feel a thing!
Oh, and when we give birth, its a couple little cramps, a sneeze, and then BAM! Baby is out!
So really, why on earth would you every complain about your pregnancy or delivery!?
The real issue is why on earth don’t we “complain” about what our bodies are experiencing? Why do we place such high expectations on pregnant Mothers to be silent in their discomfort for 40 weeks? What does that accomplish? The only thing that being judgemental of expectant Mamas does is stab our emotions (which are already crazy due to hormones) so we now have to deal with both physical, and emotional pain; when originally, dealing with just the physical was almost too much to handle on its own.
The two main comments that I have heard over my “pregnancy of honesty” in response to the question of how I am doing is “Well billions and billions of women have done it before!”, and also “Well if it was really that bad, there wouldn’t be any people because women wouldn’t have kids!” I’m not oblivious! I know that billions and billions of women before me have carried and birthed children. Obviously. I also know that most women have had more than one child! Don’t get me wrong, I know most of the people who have made those comments aren’t doing it to be rude. However there is an underlying taste of judgement placed on me for “complaining”. P.S., it is that bad, but we women are very tough so we keep having babies regardless of what it does to our bodies. I have learned to respond to these comments, and all the others, with diplomacy and maturity.
Yes, billions and billions of women have had children. Multiple children. But just because they hid every ache and pain they experienced doesn’t mean that I have to. If they chose to keep that constant discomfort a secret from the world it doesn’t mean that they didn’t, and that I don’t, experience them. Also, did you (the one who is being judgemental) get the chance to talk to those billions and billions of women and ask them how they are actually doing? Didn’t think so.
Why must there be a constant expectation placed on mothers to have no pain or discomfort in pregnancy? Do you really think its all that easy to house a growing life? Because if you do, either you have not had children, or you are ignorant of the fact that every woman carries her beautiful child in a unique way, completely different from all others. Or perhaps you dwell in an unconfident state and find your own sense of empowerment by tearing others down.
At the end of the day, I have had a good pregnancy.
But that version of “good” is on an entirely different scale than your normal, every day, “good”. I haven’t been comfortable for 34 weeks. I have very low iron where supplementing isn’t even enough and it prevents me from doing lots of things I enjoy. My sciatic nerves are either constantly heavy, or are being pushed on causing extreme amounts of pain where I can’t even get out of bed most mornings without help. I can’t sleep at night. Everything from the top of my knees and down are swollen so doing anything active causes a great amount of discomfort. I have had heart burn. Loss of bladder control. My body is constantly cracking out of proper alignment which I have to get fixed regularly. I have a body that is aching nonstop to extreme levels. And honestly there are even more discomforts that I have been living with for nearly 8 months because I am housing growing life. Still, after all of that, I have had a good pregnancy in comparison to friends, or friends of friends who have experienced truly terrifying and tough pregnancies.
Does my list of aches and pains sound “good”? If I wasn’t pregnant, people would be more sympathetic towards my body falling apart. Yet because i’m pregnant, it should be a breeze.
Why are we so quick to empower women who aren’t pregnant, and then judge expectant Mamas who have the guts to be honest about their aches and pains?
I have to say, men are always portrayed as the ones who judge pregnant women and make fun of them because “It can’t be that bad.”. And then we post videos online that involve men getting shocks that resemble contractions, or going the whole day wearing a 40lb sack, and we laugh at them and find humour in their small bit of suffering. Its always men in those videos and stories. In my experience, its women who are far more judgemental of expectant Mamas, not men.
Talk to most men, and they will explain to you how thankful they are to not be women because then they would have to go through pregnancy, labour and delivery. Because they know. They don’t judge women for being honest about their pregnancy. Instead most of them actually encourage women and tell us how amazing we are; that we’re crazy strong troopers. My husband has never once made fun of, or caused me to feel small or guilty because I needed his help to get out of bed and to the toilet in the middle of the night to go pee for the hundredth time. He’s smart. Never has he doubted my aches and pains. He has never accused me of overreacting or being a weakling. Because he sees how pregnancy affects my body and knows how strong I truly am, reminding me of that strength on a regular basis.
Try being honest with women. They judge, make you feel small, or compare you to an “actually hard pregnancy.”. I didn’t say my pregnancy was hard. You asked how I’m doing and I responded with an honest “My body is falling apart! Haha!” and then you judge me because you think I’m overreacting. Then you ask “Are you excited for labour?” And again I respond with an honest “Not at all! Yes I am very excited to meet this beautiful baby who I love so much, but pain for hours and hours as well as any other problem that may possibly come up during that time and then pushing a semi out of a compact parking spot does not sound fun to me.” Yet again, you judge me and tell me “Well billions and billions of women have done it before you and had even more children after, so i’m sure you’ll be fine!”.
Congratulations to the billions and billions of women. I am not billions and billions of women. Im Rachel. I am purely my own person. Created to be uniquely me. I have fears, my own feelings, and my own excitements. My body carries babies differently than any other woman who has ever been pregnant and does so like a boss. I have had a good pregnancy, taking into account every single ache, pain, sleepless night, electrocuting shock of my nerves, inability to walk, lack of iron, et cetera. Im tough. I can do this. I’ve done it for 34 weeks and I will continue to do it till this baby comes out. And while in labour I will rock it. I will deal with every contraction as it comes, and every problem as it arises. For Pete’s sake, I have had the blessing of housing life being created and formed inside me by God for this long and I have treasured each ache for what it represents. So if you think I’m weak for being honest, you are mistaken. I am anything but.
I A M S T R O N G
This needs to be vocalized. Expectant Mamas should have the support and ability to be honest about how they are really doing. If they don’t want to because that is their personality, then they don’t have to be. Yet we should not have to feel small because it’s been a hard journey. There needs to be empowerment for pregnant women. We need to stand up for them and talk about how boss they are, regardless of if they have aches and pains or if they pee a little bit every time they cough or sneeze.
To every Mama,
You are strong. Capable. Tough. Perseverant. You have, and will, experience your own version of pregnancy. It will be unlike any other. There will be aches. Pains. Sleepless nights. Discomforts. Maybe a complication or two. Just because you are the only one who vocalizes it to the world, it doesn’t mean you are alone. It doesn’t mean you are weak. Standing up for yourself and your capable body shows the utmost strength. Don’t give others the power to doubt you or belittle you. A door mat is the last thing you are so do not let people walk all over you. Your baby thinks you’re a rockstar. You are his/her hero. People are going to try to tear you down out of either ignorance, or lack of confidence. Let them look back on their comments and regret them. Just don’t be the silent one and regret it later. Learn to accept compliments from the people who want to empower you. Believe that you are a sexy beast; varicose veins and all. Yes, every single one of us has days where we are SO DONE being pregnant. We all break down. All of us feel hopeless at one point or another. It’s normal to feel this way. But don’t you let it get to you to the point where you think of yourself as a weak failure. You are strong. Capable. Tough. Perseverant. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
Y O U A R E S T R O N G
Whew! Long time no blogpost!
If you follow me on Instagram you would have hopefully seen that the past month has been a whirlwind! My husband and I just moved from our suite into my parents house (only for two weeks) till our next home is finished renovations! My parents are pretty darn rocking awesome so staying with them is going to be a hoot!
I had to take time off of blogging for the past month so that I could focus on getting ready for the move and take care of myself. Doesn’t sound like too much to do, but how my family moves is a full time job.
Well I am back in the saddle now with plenty of sweet posts coming your way!
Thanks for all your patience!