In the initial few months of pregnancy I struggled to cope with what was happening to my body. One minute I’d be feeling just fine and the next I’d be gagging and reaching for the food cupboard. It was an endless cycle; a rollercoaster of emotions that eventually began to take its toll. I so desperately wanted to take back control of my eating, but I was only just managing to survive the onslaught of wave after wave of nausea. It would surge from my stomach, right up to my throat and every single time I would rush to the nearest loo, utterly convinced that I would vomit – but the release never came. Not once did I ever puke during my pregnancy. Boy, did I want to at times though! Instead of vomiting – I ate. Eating was the only way I could endure that awful nauseating feeing. I never really wanted to eat. I was never actually hungry enough to eat. I was only eating to try and reduce the nausea. The more I ate, the more I physically felt better. However, the more I ate, the more I mentally felt worse. Pregnancy was becoming a battle – a fight between my physical body and my mental state.
As the weeks turned into months, I inevitably began to get bigger. I had gained a noticeable bump by around 8 weeks. Every time I went out I was terrified of meeting anyone I knew – I couldn’t bear the thought of people thinking I’d 'let myself go' and started putting on weight. I hate myself even writing that! How completely stupid! But, I have to be honest with you … this is exactly how I felt. If I’d met someone, I would have immediately wanted to tell them ‘I’m pregnant!’ just so they would know I had a reason for the belly! I was actually glad that my belly continued to grow, then, at least it was obvious that I was pregnant. Unfortunately, my belly continued to grow, and grow, and grow until I thought that there was NO WAY it could grow any more. Yet, it did!
As Summer 2014 approached I began to panic; I had several weddings to attend and absolutely nothing to wear! The first wedding was of an old school friend. I was around 3 months pregnant and none of my dresses fitted. On the morning of the wedding, (YES I KNOW!!) I arrived at my local Next store at 9am (hoping and praying) to find something (anything!) to wear. I lifted anything that vaguely looked like wedding attire and tore into the changing rooms. Several dresses just didn’t hang right and made me look more ‘fat’ than ‘pregnant.’ I never really realised just how complicated dressing a body with a bump would be. It’s a tricky business! I pulled on a stretchy, lace, backless navy dress, looked in the mirror and thought ‘that’ll do.’ I wasn’t bulging in the 'wrong' places yet so it skimmed over my curves without being tight. It was a ‘dressy’ dress and teamed with my own neutral sandals and navy fascinator, I was sorted. I drove like a maniac to my mums to get the seal of approval and felt good in my body for the first time in weeks.
The weather grew warmer and I continued to swell. My wedding and engagement rings seemed to be getting tighter by the minute and I couldn’t bear not wearing them at the remaining weddings. It got to a stage when I simply HAD to take off my engagement ring – otherwise I wouldn’t have got it off at all. My next wedding was a scorching day in July. I decided to get the use out of my lucky navy Next dress and spent the day sweating the bit out in it! The lace was comfy yes, but talk about trapping the heat … I don’t think I have EVER sweated so much in my whole life! Because the wedding coincided with our wedding anniversary, my hubby and I stayed the night at the reception venue. For those who have never been, Ballymagarvey Village is gorgeous. Having a room close by was a God-send that day; I could nip in and out to the toilet when I needed, whip off the dress for 10 minutes to air myself and take a wee sneaky lie down to re-coup. I was glad to survive the day and thankfully the next wedding wasn't until September.
In July we jetted off on a beautiful Baby-moon to Sicily and enjoyed a wonderful weeks holiday together. We lazed by the pool, explored the cobbled streets of the quaint and quirky nearby towns and ate way too many custard filled pastries! There was something so special about that holiday, something I can't quite put into words. There was just a sense that things would never be quite the same again. Never again would it just be us two. We savoured each quiet moment - relishing our last holiday of freedom and flexibility. I was 4 months pregnant on our Sicily adventure and looked 'obviously' pregnant so felt mostly ok with that. I certainly didn't have my size 8 'bikini bod' though and I couldn't help but sneakily glance at 'perfect' women on the beach and feel a sting of jealousy. Terrible. Just terrible. I should have been thankful I was pregnant. I didn't know who may have been looking at me - wishing, hoping and praying that they could experience pregnancy. How could I be so selfish? The battle in my mind raged on as I struggled to focus on the blessing of pregnancy and not my diminishing self esteem.
As July turned to August, I felt like I was turning into a beached whale. I was feeling continually more unattractive and hideous, and the tension was beginning to strain my relationship with my husband Matt. He was doing nothing wrong. Neither was I, I think? It's just ... we sort of didn't really talk. I was having major mental issues and I never felt I could share them with Matt, partly because I guess I felt stupid. I was the one who wanted to get pregnant so what right did I have to complain about my body? I put myself in this position so surely I had to deal with the consequences? In hindsight, of course I should have communicated my issues. That's what marriage is all about! I just felt like a complete failure during pregnancy and always felt like I was moaning about endless things that were wrong with me to him. From high blood pressure, to swollen feet to aches and pains ... I couldn't add just feeling unattractive? Surely that was obvious to him? But I don't think it was. Like a lot of Daddy's-to-be, he was having his own struggles...