165 days until due date
Bubba and I are at the sixteen week mark – and boy oh boy have there been some noticeable changes. This last fortnight has probably been the most dramatic by way of both physical and emotional changes.
Physically, I am huge. Whenever I tell people how far along I am, more often than not they respond with, “REALLY?.. You look SO much further along than that!” Like, alright Carol, calm down. I don’t know whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, though. Am I abnormally large? Am I going to give birth to the world’s most gigantic baby? Am I putting or more weight than necessary? Don’t get me wrong, I am at the stage where I look pregnant, and I freaking love it. I have this sweet little soccer ball belly that juts out further than my chest (which, trust me, is no easy feat), I can easily rest my hands on my stomach and not have it look like I am trying to show the world that, YES, I AM PREGNANT, and people have started coming up to outstretched arms and eager hands.
On the flip-side though, just these last few days I have felt really self-conscious – and I mean, really self-conscious. I have been told that I have barely put on weight anywhere else besides my belly, but I can tell you right now that that is not what I feel, believe or see. I feel like a bloody blue whale that is posing as a human. I don’t feel sexy or attractive, and I certainly don’t feel that I am a ‘yummy-mummy’, nor that the pregnancy glow has reached me yet (or that it ever will) and I just feel a little bit frumpy.
There is a girl from my high school who is also pregnant – she is about a month ahead of me. She posted a photo to instagram last night and she looks absolutely unreal. She looks like a pregnant-goddess. She looks how I always prayed and hoped that I would look pregnant. I felt completely gross when I saw how utterly stunning she looks. I immediately launched into, “Pete, I really need to eat better and I need to do all the exercise and I don’t feel like and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T LOOK AT ME SHIELD YOUR EYES!” in my head, of course.
It took a lot of positive self-talk and reminding myself that every single woman and every single pregnancy is different. And surprisingly, it often takes me a lot of effort to remind myself just how much is happening inside of me, and to really remind myself of the fact that I am pregnant. Pete often says to me, “Leah, you are pregnant. Things are going to change..”
So instead of wallowing in the illusion that I am gross, fat, ugly, unattractive, not at all sexy, etc. (because I am hoping that that is just all in my head and people aren’t staring at the hideousness of my person as I walk down the street), I am doing the following:
- writing positive affirmations every morning (LAUGH IF YOU WILL, and about five weeks ago I would have laughed with you, but this has proved life-changing)
- getting my clothes ready for work the night before so that I am not scrambling around naked and in the dark of a morning and end up just wearing whatever is on the top of the washing pile and walking out looking like I just emerged from an op-shop bin
- when I can, replacing pasta and rice with cooked greens (cooked with butter.. because #healthy), for instance, we had stir fry last night but instead of white rice, I had my chicken on a bed of peas, beans and broccoli and it was bloody delicious
- being more prepared with snacks because I really do feel better in my brain when I eat all the good food (avocado on corn thins, carrots and hommus, popcorn instead of chips, pink lady apples, sultanas.. you get the idea)
- walking every morning before work and every lunchtime which works out to be just over 3km
- taking the time to really look at myself (like, really look) at my body in the mirror and appreciating what my body is capable of
- stop comparing myself to other pregnant women (especially mega hot goddess ones)
- getting a wax as soon as possible (tomorrow during my lunch break)
- seriously.. getting a wax as soon as possible (seriously, tomorrow during my lunch break)
Now, the other very strange but completely life-changing thing that has happened over the past few days is the state of my mind. I have long battled seriously, crippling anxiety on top of some incredibly tough bouts of depression. For as long as I can remember I have been paranoid, and stressed and worried about absolutely everything. Last week, as soon as the night stretched beyond 7pm I turned into some maniacal she-devil. I was not a nice person to be around. I was moody and riddled with anxiety, I made up completely invalid truths in my mind and believed them, and I was just a bit of a bitch. It started to affect the relationship between Pete and I, not in a serious way, and he and I are yet to have a fight, but I was just injecting so much unnecessary stress and awfulness into our evenings. It was feral.
Since Thursday last week, this has all changed. THE SHE-DEVIL HAS BEEN EXORCISED.
Not only that, but I genuinely feel as though I have never been sad before. I feel so fucking positive. I feel neither stressed nor worried, anxious or paranoid. I feel bloody brilliant. Seriously, I cannot put words just how content and happy and unfazed I am. It is as if my entire mental health history has been completely wiped clean.
There are a few factors at play here that I think led to such a huge, life-changing, life-affirming, complete and utter overhaul of my mental state, and really, of my life.
I am in the middle of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (which, for those of you who aren’t familiar with is a twelve week coursebook that helps writers/artists/creatives unlock their creativity), which I will also be writing a separate post on. Part of the coursework is The Morning Pages where, every morning, you write three pages by hand. You can write anything and they often work as a stream of consciousness. On the days where you feel like you have nothing to write, you simply write, “I have nothing to write” over and over again until the words come, or don’t! I was sceptical, and even more so when it was requested of me that I write affirmations (something my mother has been trying to get me to do for years), but completely unconsciously, my mood brightened, I felt a happiness I never knew existed and I completely shed the darkness from my past. And then, slowly but surely, my creativity started to re-emerge.
On Thursday morning when I put pen to paper for my morning pages, I found myself writing, “Writing when you are happy seems so much more challenging than when you are sad. Sad words flow from the tip of the pen with such ease, completely void of resilience. It is almost as if conjuring up words and phrases and things to say that are filled with joy takes effort!” And it was true. No truer words have I ever written. As soon as I stopped complaining and worrying and whingeing and writing down every single trigger of stress in my life, I found that I had filled up barely any of my pages. Focusing on the negative is so much easier than voicing the positive. During the depths of my depression, I had people telling me to, “not focus on everything that is wrong.” If you have ever said this to someone who is feeling really fucking shit, please stop. In those dark moments there was no way I was ever going to be able to pick out the good and high points in my life because as far as I was concerned, they didn’t exist. Now, in my own time, I am able to do that.
I have also heard that the second trimester is the happy trimester. You have more energy, your hormones start to level out somewhat and you feel a lot more yourself. I am a huge advocate of the second trimester. HUGE. This shit is awesome. As I was typing the last paragraph, I felt our bubba roll over for the first time. It was surreal and amazing and oh-so-cute and quite possibly one of the most incredible moments of my life.
Moving house and being with Pete have been the two major contributors to this change over the last few days. I have lived in the same suburb pretty much all my life. Now, although where Pete and I moved is the next suburb over it still feels like we are away from everything I have grown up knowing. I have never been able to go to the shops without running into someone I know, or a customer from the cafe, or someone who knows my mum and then interrupts me and my shopping for a rundown on her life. I was over it. I have realised that all I want is a quiet, simple, happy little life. Constantly having to play nice with acquaintances sounds like it isn’t a big deal, but living in the same area for almost thirty years kind of catches up with you. Moving just that little bit further away has had somewhat of a placebo affect on me; I feel far enough away from my family and the cafe and the rest of my childhood landmarks that it feels as though we are creating a whole new life for our new little family. On Saturday night, our first night in the new place, we really did feel so removed from the rest of the world. Home is now our little oasis, and that feeling is something that I have always yearned for.
Pete is just everything. He really is. He is patient and kind, loving and thoughtful. He is generous with his time and always puts his family first. He puts my mind, my heart and everything else around me at ease. He has taught me so much about myself and for the first time in a long time, I feel like I have grown as a person.. and for the very first time, as a mother. Each and every day he gives me a new reason to fall in love with him; I guess it’s no wonder why I am so freaking happy, right? Who doesn’t want to fall in love every day?
It truly has been a remarkable few days. Pete has a few bucks’ weekends coming up which normally I would be freaking out about – not because I don’t trust him or anything like that, but purely because it is the unknown. That was, and always has been my trigger, fear of the unknown. Last night while we were cooking dinner he asked me, “You going to be alright here next weekend while I am away?” Honestly? I could not fathom why he was asking me. “OF COURSE I WILL BE FINE!!” I beamed back at him. And I meant it. I cannot – not even now – think of any reason to be stressed, concerned or to even give a second thought to the fact that he is going away for the weekend. Couldn’t give a toss! Instead I find myself celebrating it! GO AND HAVE FUN AND BE WITH MEN AND I AM GOING TO DRINK COFFEE IN BED AND WATCH GOSSIP GIRL! Seriously.
It is 165 days until my due date and bubba rolled over and over and over again today and the weather is dark and grim and my favourite. More importantly though, and what I didn’t realise this post was actually about, is that if you find yourself completely unable to see the light, or the happy, or the positive – whether you are pregnant or not – reach out. Please, please I implore you to reach out. I have been there and somehow I got myself all the way out, which is something that I never thought I would ever be able to say. I’ve got you and I am here.