2. I Don't Feel Like Me
Mum-to-be Rosalind Sack is finding the physical changes pregnancy brings can be hard to accept.
It wasn't my finest moment. I can admit that now in the more measured reality of daylight, when issues shift firmly back into perspective and being pregnant seems, well, actually pretty flipping extraordinary again.
But I had a bit of a freak out before going to bed one evening earlier this week; a tearful, snotty, rather petulant freak out. Well, if I'm going to have them, I might as well do it while I'm childless and still have the chance, before I'm duty-bound to set a good example.
“I don't feel like me any more, everything's changing,” I sobbed to my partner Ed as he patiently lay beside me in bed, probably quietly smirking at my ridiculous level of self-pity.
These feelings had been quietly building over the past three months of my pregnancy and everything came out in one, ungracious moment of short-lived despair.
I'm not sure exactly what I'd expected pregnancy to be like – because it had taken us so long to get here, I hadn't wanted to tempt fate by daring to imagine it. But I’d read stories from women who gushed about how much they loved and embraced the whole journey, how they felt pregnancy gave them purpose and direction. I, on the other hand, wasn't loving 'the journey' and, frankly, found these women to be infuriatingly smug – that or somewhat economical with the truth.
I think it was the boobs first. My perfectly satisfactory not-too-big, not-too-small pair have grown into big, hard, painful things with little white deposits on the nipples that struggle to stay put in my usual bras.
Then it was the spots. I've always needed a liberal dose of powder to blot the shine, but now I’m suffering the kind of breakouts I thought I'd left safely behind in my teens.
Oh, and then there’s the tummy. I've always been quite proud of my flat tummy – I'd even had a hint of a four-pack a couple of months ago. Now I look like I’m smuggling a 24-pack down there, especially by the end of the day when I’m so bloated and uncomfortable it feels like my only hope of relief would be to pop it with a pin.
The now all-too regular sensations of nausea, exhaustion and feeling faint only compounded matters. Pre-pregnancy, my typical week consisted of yoga, netball, gardening (my new-found middle-aged hobby), sometimes going for a run… I'd even joined a touch rugby team. Now, after a day at work, I can barely drag myself off the sofa, and battle to keep my eyes open past 9pm.
At weekends I’m enjoying epic lie-ins and afternoon naps and am perfectly content snuggled up on the sofa in between. Not only have I been feeling shattered, the constant feelings of nausea have sucked every last morsel of energy and oomph out of my body and I've become, well, thoroughly boring actually.
In my tearful meltdown, I was convinced that this sedentary lifestyle had left its cruel mark, and every inch of me was chunkier than ever and thoroughly unattractive.
The ridiculous thing is that I’ve been pretty lucky. I haven't been physically sick once and, knowing friends who were dreadfully sick all the way through, I really have very little reason to complain.
Perhaps I'm just a massive control freak and that's only just dawning on me. I've always tried to look after my body with regular exercise to keep fit and strong. Don't get me wrong, I've long had a raging sweet tooth and a habit of getting carried away with the wine when out (or in, for that matter) with friends, but I've always enjoyed being active.
I don't just value the physical effects of exercise either, the mental benefits for me are just as important – lifting my mood, calming my anxiety and helping me to switch off and de-stress. Without that extra boost it's little wonder I'd been finding things a bit of a struggle.
Yet, as I lay there in bed the other evening, feeling thoroughly miserable about the downsides of pregnancy, I was forgetting one thing, one blindingly obvious, glaringly indisputable thing. I'd got what I'd always wanted, what we'd struggled to achieve for the past two years. Something not everyone is fortunate enough to experience. And because of that I needed to quite simply just (wo)man up and get on with it.
Pregnancy isn't easy and I know this is just the edge of the precipice; all the changes that are yet to come will almost certainly freak me out to new, unprecedented levels. But, right now, I wouldn't trade it in for anything... not even slightly less painful boobs!