there is unbelievable loneliness during the first three months of pregnancy.
there’s the hormones running rampant through your body. there’s you trying to comprehend the enormity of the situation. you’re recognising the sudden changes in you because you’ve read about them – there’s Google, and your friends, and the mountain of literature your doctor just gave you.
but its not until you’re in the depth of it, do you realise how horrendous it actually is.
the loneliness doesn’t stem from the sudden lack of control over your body. although *huge side note* for people who are OCD like me – who needs to feel in total control of everything all the time – pregnancy is inconceivably jarring. it leaves you feeling completely helpless about all the things that’s happening to you, and everything you once knew so well about your physical self is flipped on its head.
so that has a part to play in the loneliness. the other huge part is the fact that women, in their first trimester, succumb to the suffocating silence of absolute secrecy.
here is the landscape:
firstly, there is monstrous, crazy stuff happening in your head – the sheer thought of you being a mother. not small. the fact that (especially if you’ve been trying to conceive for a while), its actually finally happening and you want to jump up and down and shout it from the rooftops but you can’t (but also no, because at this stage that sounds completely fucking exhausting). the sudden change in your daily habits and shifting of all your future plans. the majestic leap of faith and trust you’re having to take not just within yourself but also with your partner. the overnight enormous and ridiculously uncomfortable boobs. the cramps, the constipation, the pimples, the debilitating nausea and acid reflux. the heavy, heavy lethargy that wraps around you every single day like a wet woollen blanket.
all of this, and so much more, you’re forced to experience in absolute silence because society tells you that it’s not entirely acceptable to announce that you’re expecting until you’re 100% past the ‘safe zone’.
are you politely shielding your friends and family from the burden of having to uncomfortably comfort you when you don’t get past the first trimester? is it removing all the future public drama if you don’t? telling your family or friends that you’re only 4, 6, 10 weeks is almost embarrassing – like celebrating winning the lottery when you’ve only just bought the ticket. announcing you’re expecting at the early stages is very often followed with, “oh but it’s very early, i don’t want to get too excited.” with a wave of a hand. all nonchalant. like, whatever.
and right there, my friends, that is where the core of the loneliness lies.
who told women that they should hold back their excitement because there’s a 1 in 4 chance of it not continuing full term? isn’t that more of a reason to celebrate? especially if you’ve been trying for a baby for so long, the moment you get those two lines on the stick, isn’t that more of a reason to tell your close friends and family that you’ve finally succeeded?
instead, the first three months are clouded with oppressive fear and anticipation. if you’re sharing that fear with the ones closest to you, wouldn’t that make this excruciatingly slow feels-like-ten-years journey to the second trimester a little better for you? knowing your very loved ones have your back if it goes this way, or goes that way? especially if your friends have children, wouldn’t it nice to ask for their wisdom and not turn to Google and give yourself anxiety with assumptions?
even the average days during the first three months, i know it would be nice to not lie to colleagues why you’re feeling really inexplicably tired at 9.15 am, or hiding the fact you’ve just spent 30 minutes in the bathroom trying to hold back your breakfast. it would be nice to text a close friend to say nothing, just that you literally bawled your eyes out because you saw the Westpac ad about that bakery in Budapest, or you haven’t taken a shit in four days.
all incredibly petty for some, im sure. but when you’re doing all this in the silence of your own company – you’re wanting to share, complain, ask, or just silently lean on someone because deep down, this can all get pretty scary but then realise you can’t – you feel immobilised, isolated, and very, very sad.
the stigma of having to be silent in what many say is the hardest few months of pregnancy is a lot of bullshit. it builds enormous pressure on top of an already highly emotional time in your life. society shrinks from people showing vulnerabilities and this makes me sad(der).
i was going to write a poem. it was going to be cryptic, and strong and short, but instead i found myself typing out all of this in the quiet of my living room. one of my bestfriends is celebrating her birthday tonight, at a cool restaurant with lots of wine with cool people and cool skinny pants. im usually the first to order a crispy pinot grigio, sneak out with a girlfriend for a cheeky cigarette after a meal of sushi, be one of the last ones standing in some bar at 3am with a Manhattan in my hand.
but tonight i had to say i wasn’t feeling well – not a full lie – its a stomach bug, so weird, it just came on. but really i couldn’t front my beautiful friends and evade the questions why im not drinking, why are you leaving so early etc etc. its a seesaw of confiding in people you confide everything about, and retreating because you can’t. not yet, anyhow.
which brings me to the other point of this toxic societal attitude of keeping quiet. what happens if it doesn’t happen? you suffer a loss, and again you’ll suffer in silence. the time when you need your close ones really close to you, you were told to hold them back all this time. so through this grief, they remain unreachable.
how can that be right?
they say it takes a village to raise a child. it should also take a village of support when you’ve just found out you’re growing one inside you.
. aug 19