This is my first post in a long, long while! As those of you who follow me on social media may be aware, I am currently pregnant and have been pretty sick. Now at almost 24 weeks I’m better than I was, but have overall been plagued by fatigue and “morning” sickness which has made it difficult to even get through my day job, much less write.
I’ve felt a bit desolate really. Writing is such a large part of me and I’ve worked on practically nothing – blogs, short stories or on my novels as I am just too queezy a lot of the time. The only real exception being this post on sex during pregnancy for feminist website Zusterschap.
As someone with an anthropology background and an interest in science fiction, despite this being a pretty terrible pregnancy, it’s been absolutely fascinating. From the physical changes to the emotional connection.
Many women, especially those who have had a rough time of it, might agree that the first trimester (at least) can feel like something from Alien. There is essentially a parasite living within you sucking your energy and making you sick. Outwardly there are few signs of the pregnancy and they’re probably trying their best to keep it private for much of the first twelve weeks (because of an earlier traumatic miscarriage, I waited until week 14 to tell people, though I was so sick many had guessed). It’s lonely, only having one or two close people, including your partner, know what’s going on – it can be isolating. If really badly suffering with sickness and other pregnancy nuances, it can verge on the depressing. It can feel like you are being used by this little creature and getting nothing back.
I’m not a bad person or bad mother for thinking this. It’s just a taboo – not all would admit, we talk about it to each other but we don’t make it publicly known how this supposedly wonderful and enlightening experience can actually feel like a scene from a horror movie.
My husband wasn’t really wrong when he posted this video on his social media to share news of my pregnancy –
Two months on from the worst of it, I still feel pretty unwell and there is still that element of feeling a bit used by this little thing inside me. But, as time continues you do start to get something back, the relationship becomes symbiotic in a way, at least on an emotional level. I still feel sick pretty much every day to varying degrees, but now I have something in return – something more tangible than just the sickness letting me know that there was another life inside me.
At around 20 weeks I started to feel the baby move. Some women feel this earlier but my placenta is at the front of the womb and so muffles the feelings, even now he appears to play hide and seek behind it at times. Now every day I feel the comforting movements of him swimming around, making the most of the space he has before it gets smaller and smaller as he grows.
It’s hard to describe how it feels to share your body with another being. There is the practical concern of how much worse things will get – because sharing the same space as your digestive tract with a growing being is really not that much fun. But there is the emotional, perhaps nurturing side of it. Sharing your body means you are making decisions for you both with everything you do from what you eat to crossing the road appropriately. A growing belly and increased movements make that feel even more real every day. We only have plans on having one child but I can understand women who love being pregnant and want to do it over and over. I’ve had a terrible pregnancy so far and dream of the day I will get “the glow” or those apparently happy hormones. Even so, I already know how empty I am going to feel once he is born. I can’t wait till he is here and I can enjoy being a mum and hopefully feel better, but I also know it’s going to be a weird adjustment to no longer be sharing my body. I think it might be a bit lonely not feeling him moving around.
It has made me think a lot about the Trill of Star Trek. Although the connection with my baby is not on an level that includes sharing thoughts, it does come with the same responsibilities of care and safety. It makes the rigorous process of choosing host Trills (despite many people physically capable of the joining) very understandable.
It makes me appreciate on another level how that connection must feel even if sometimes, especially now I can see my belly move when the baby does, it still feels like I’ve been impregnated by an Alien. Let’s hope my labour is less traumatic and John Hurts!