Pregnancy is a taboo topic in many societies, especially in the South Asian culture. But let’s break barriers and speak about the one thing that everyone should openly talk about. After all, it is something that humankind has known about and experienced since the beginning of time!
Fair enough, some people do talk about conception and pregnancy… but not in the context that the discussion should be led. I am not sure if you have ever had the distinct displeasure of being acquainted with one of those annoying ‘aunties’ who blatantly ask for a ‘good news’ (very) shortly after someone gets married? Yeah… that is not cool!
Folks take it for granted and assume it is so easy to conceive, or that people want to start a family straight after their marriage. They are happy to ask you about your ‘good news’ yet expect you to hide your bump and don’t want you to speak about your pregnancy openly.
So why is it that women are made to cover their gorgeous blooming bumps? Why is it that women can’t and don’t openly discuss the little things that change from the very moment you conceive?
Some of you may not be able to resonate with my experiences, but I wanted to write and share my pregnancy experiences as it may help someone feel like they were or aren’t in it alone.
It is okay to speak about it and it is okay to be negative.
You are not an awful mother or human to have YOUR feelings. Own it girls!
I am writing this at 22 weeks pregnant. I feel like right now I am in a frame of mind where I can write about my first and second trimester. All these hurdles and changes that you experience can take over your life.
I intend on giving you a brief snapshot of how pregnancy has been for me and what I learnt from it.
Everyone talking about pregnancy only tells you about how amazing it is. Is it really amazing? Well, yes of course, it’s the most beautiful process a woman can go through, SubhanAllah; BUT it doesn’t come without the compromises, sacrifices, emotions and the biggest changes physically. So yes, I am going to share my experiences and they are not necessarily very positive. They will be raw and they might be ‘TMI’ (Too much information) for some. But thats okay. As long as someone, even one person gets to read the post and is able to relate to my words or even better, in some way is able to prepare for what is to come, the blogspot will be worth sharing.
Another thing, pregnancies don’t just happen. Not everyone can conceive easily so please, don’t give people a hard time. Don’t interfere and ask them about their family planning.
It has nothing to do with you.
LET PEOPLE BE AND LEAVE THEM ALONE!!!!
So, all pregnancies consist of ‘Three Trimesters’. I will go through each trimester and list the things that impacted me the most on a daily basis.
Trimester one: 0-12 weeks
I was always told that the first trimester was the hardest. And boy oh boy was it hard. I could start feeling the changes in my body and mind from the word go.
Nausea – HATE THE TERM MORNING SICKNESS.
It is far from reality. In fact I find it extremely offensive when people refer to pregnancy nausea and sickness as ‘morning sickness’ because let me tell you one thing, it does NOT just happen on a morning. For me it happened all day, every day. Anything and everything could trigger it. People advised that I try different things: sucking on ice cubes, eating biscuits first thing in the morning, drinking peppermint tea and so many others recommendations.
It is safe to say that none of these things worked. It was something that I just needed to get on with. So yes, don’t be fooled when people tell you that you might go through ‘morning sickness’. I recall having to pull over the car to be sick, I even had to ask to use people’s toilets because I needed to be sick, I was sick in the middle of the night a couple of times too.
My advice would be to just take your time. Take however long it is that you need to throw up and don’t feel embarrassed. It is not ugly. It is your body doing amazing things and creating something so beautiful. Do try the things that people advise as theres nothing wrong with that but if it gets too much like it did for me, go and speak to your GP who can prescribe some anti-sickness medication.
Remember to stay hydrated. That is the most important thing for you at the time. Drink plenty of fluids even if you can’t hack it. Oh and if you can, try to sit down and be sick in a bucket or some sort of sick bowl as you can really hurt your back bending over the loo. I learnt this the hard way as I had a sore back for weeks.
Who do I tell?
This was a tricky one. Although I had always believed and been told that I shouldn’t tell anyone before the first 12 week scan, I didn’t quite follow the advice. I told my parents, my husbands parents and some friends pretty much straight away. At a time like this, you want to be able to share and talk to your nearest and dearest about the biggest changes happening in your life. God forbid, if something was to go wrong, they would already be aware and be able to support you.
My advice would be to listen to your heart. Follow your instinct and do what makes you happy and feels right. Don’t let others dictate who to tell and who not to.
Loss of appetite
Uh Oh. This one killed me. I love my food. I mean those who know me know that I absolutely love my food. I genuinely wasn’t aware that it was a thing to lose your entire appetite. I couldn’t even look at food on some days. I had completely gone off meat and spices which was a real struggle and I even cried at times because I wanted to eat but I couldn’t. So mum’s handmade curries and chicken burgers were out of the equation for the foreseeable future. THAT WAS HARD.
My advice would be to eat little and often if that is the case. It doesn’t matter what you eat at the time, as long as you eat something. Again, don’t be listening to people telling you you’re causing harm to your body/baby because you’re not. Of course it’s better and more nutritious to eat healthy, but if you’re physically unable to eat and mentally exhausted then do what is best for your mental health at the time.
Sensitivity to smell
Oh yes! This was something else. I felt that all of a sudden I was given some incredible powers to be able to smell anything and everything. There was a particular smell in our new flat (we moved into our new flat when I was only 4 weeks pregnant!!). But the smell was so horrendous for me that every time I entered the house it made me vomit. My first reaction was to always run to the loo. So be prepared and aware that this is something that could also happen to you.
I don’t have any advice for this I’m afraid. This is something ya’ll are going to have to deal with and maybe let me know what worked for you?
THE FIRST SCAN!
YES! inshAllah if all goes well during the first trimester and you get to your 12th week of pregnancy, it means that you have your very first baby scan. You can pay privately and get one before that. But we didn’t as we wanted to cross this big bench mark and do it through the NHS in case God forbid something was wrong.
Now in this scan you get to see your baby for real. The feature are somewhat prominent, you get to hear baby’s heart beating. It is truly emotional, or at least it was for me!
My advice would always be that your partner is there with you to witness this amazing moment. I feel that sometimes fathers can be a little left out and can’t quite grasp how much your body is changing on a daily basis. So this is the first time they get to see it for real.
Trimester two: 13-28 weeks
Many will tell you ‘oh it will go away once you enter the second trimester’. WRONG. It will go away when it will. Not one person has the same experience when it comes to sickness. Some people don’t go through it at all and some poor sods experience it for the entire 9 months. I am the kind of in-between type. I was sick non stop from 0-18 weeks, however, every now and then I was still sick. So don’t assume it will definitely happen or finish after the first trimester or worry yourself sick by waiting for it to happen. People will also tell you all sorts of things like ‘its a boy if you’re being sick so much…’ I don’t think any of that is true!
EUGH. This. If you haven’t experienced heartburn before, then this is something, another thing that may or may not happen. Heart burn can and does happen. It can happen at any time or a particular time, especially if you’re eating fried foods, fatty foods, spicy foods. Basically my entire diet.
I would say try to eat a healthy diet, although I struggled with that. Apparently eating salads, fruits and veg doesn’t give you heartburn as much. So I’d suggest eating better. Or if you’re like me and would rather eat what you fancy, then always, ALWAYS carry water and Rennies with you.
Also I bought soo many bottles of Gaviscon and it wasn’t until the end of my pregnancy that someone told me I could have got it from the doctors on prescription. So mention it to your midwife and try to get free prescriptions for it!
Awkward/odd stomach pains
Your baby is growing and therefore your stomach is making room for baby’s growth and development. So all the little aches, pains and feelings are completely normal, don’t panic. Although if the pains are excruciating, then seek medical assistance ASAP. But there is always is constant sense of something in the lower area of your stomach that feels kind of tight at times.
Yep. Second trimester means that your leg might go into a spasm and cause horrible cramps. But the only thing you can do is try to move your foot around to ease the pain. It hurts, God it hurts, but it does get better.
My absolutely one and only favourite thing about being pregnant so far. The flutters what felt like wind to begin with. This started to happen when the sickness subsided and I was around 18 weeks. I remember being sat in some very boring training and feeling this odd sensation in my stomach. ‘Is it wind I wonder?’. It wasn’t. As days went on, the feeling got stronger and more regular. As time goes on, the feeling becomes very familiar and gives you lots of reassurance that your little baby is growing and moving. Alhamdulillah.
Finding out the gender
Another gorgeous experience in the second trimester and you don’t have to wait as long as 12 weeks! At 20 weeks, you get to go for another scan to make sure that your baby is okay. They carry out lots of measurements for the baby to ensure that your baby’s growth and development is okay. This is also your time to find out if you’re having a male or female child!
My advice would again be to do what you feel is right about finding the gender. Don’t be pressurised by friends or family whether or not to find out. It is something between you and your partner, so you do what makes you happy.
As a couple we decided to find out the gender but agreed not to disclose it to anyone. So we stuck to that and enjoyed spending quality time discussing names, clothes and nursery decor. Not disclosing the gender was exactly what we wanted. Alhamdulillah.
So yeah. You do you. If you want to go ALL OUT and have a big gender reveal party then go for it. There isn’t really a right or wrong. And if you don’t want to find out the gender. Then wow, you’re strong willed. But that in itself must be truly amazing too!
Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) – What it does to you
I remember asking a couple of friends if it hurt in the lower abdomen when they walked, climbed stairs or even got changed. They both said they encountered difficulties and pain but they didn’t ask for medical advice. But for me, the pain was too excruciating. Yes I have a low pain threshold, yes I am a drama queen, but this was impacting me on a daily basis. So I didn’t want to take any chances and spoke to my midwife about it. She advised wearing a support belt to take the weight off my pelvis and if that didn’t work they would refer me to see a physiotherapist or recommend going for acupunture.
Trimester three: week 29-40
I made it. I made it to the third trimester. I don’t know how, but I’m here now. The most excruciating few months of my life… emotionally & physically.
The last few weeks were just about survival. I had to make lots of changes to my lifestyle to suit my needs. I stopped going out very much and tried to walk a lot less. Darn it, I even started to pay £3.50 per day for a car park space at work as I couldn’t walk too far due to the pains.
I spent the majority of time in the last trimester preparing for the baby’s arrival. This included packing the hospital bag, and drafting a birth plan, the details of which I will be sharing in a separate blog post.
Also, I will be sharing the essentials for the baby (including nursery furniture, pram and car seat) in a separate blog post.
Little did I know that my friends had arranged a surprise baby shower and invited my nearest and dearest. Even though I was impartial and not decided on whether I would have wanted to have a baby shower, it was a very pleasant surprise and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
As I had decided to go back up North for childbirth, I had planned the logistics of it over and over again in my head.
Having a maternity shoot was never on my radar and not something I had ever considered. But when a friend insisted on me having a maternity shoot as a present, I ended up researching it and falling in love with Mini Bee Photography
Though sharing my own experience of pregnancy, I wanted to emphasise on not letting anyone else interfere in this special time. But also to highlight that it is okay to feel a bit shit and a bit fed up; pregnancy is not all rainbows and roses as it might be depicted.
Mental health is your priority and if you are not feeling okay, just know that it is complete alright to not be okay!
My email and DM (on Instagram) are always open for anyone who wants to have a private conversation on pregnancy.
This week’s guest post comes from Natasha, travel blogger behind Tasha’s Tales. She explains ‘I’m an only child to two most incredible parents and a wife to an extremely supportive husband. Say Alhamdulillah! I am also a Social Worker by profession and a wanderlust at heart. A dreamer with an endless bucket list of things I have done and things I wish to do. I have lived and moved around in three countries so far; Azad Kashmir, England and Qatar and have loved every second of all three experiences. I’m not quite sure what the blog will look like as it goes on, but what I do know is that it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while. So here I am. As you can tell, I love travelling so the main focus of the blog will be travel. But I will also do lifestyle, food and random rants and observations of the world as I travel through it, slowly but surely!”
1. What is your name and where do you come from?
I answer to pretty much anything, including, Nat, Tash, Tasha, Natty, but the name that is on the Birth Certificate is Natasha! But yes, you can call me anything you like – within reason of course.
‘Where are you from?’
The most dreaded question! So, here it goes. I was born in England and at the tender age of 3 months I moved to Azad Kashmir with my parents (google it if you don’t know where that is- or even better, message me and I will tell you all about it)!
I then spent 13 wonderful years in Azad Kashmir, until my parents decided enough was enough and moved to the UK. Coming from a third world country meant that my options and independence was somewhat limited, so my parents decided to make some sacrifices in order for me to have as many opportunities as possible.
In my early 20’s, I crossed paths with my better half, my husband, Ahmed who was living in Qatar at the time. After getting married, I joined him in Qatar and spent 12 months of luxury and paradise!
2. What sort of traveller are you? Full time / part time / business / backpacker etc?
I am an annual leave/weekend traveller – if such a thing exists? I aim to plan my 21 days of annual leave according to my plans and I plan holidays around weekends.
As much as I would love to travel on a full-time basis, this is completely not possible as I love my luxuries too much and wouldn’t be able to do a backpacking holiday! Snob traveller is the term perhaps?
3. How do you fund your travelling?
I work, I save hard and I travel harder!
I have only recently – well for just over a year been working full time, so travel is a bit more affordable. Before I started working full time, travelling was impossible on my part-time wages! But right now, most of mine and my husband’s travels come from our wages and we tend to split the costs between us.
Although I once sold tonnes of items on eBay for my trip to Florida and managed to make £1000! woohoo!
4. Where is the best place you have ever been and why?
This question is SO hard! It’s like asking who your favourite child is, no? Maybe not. How would I know anyway, I am not even a mom, YET!
Okay, so my personal favourite country that I have ever been to has got to be Sri Lanka. Oh my, what a pleasant surprise Sri Lanka was. Sri Lanka is a country that I never had the desire to visit until my husband mentioned it one day in passing. After doing some research, I got myself majorly excited and asked my husband whether we could spend our first wedding anniversary there. After some contemplation and persuading, my husband decided to book Sri Lanka and off we went. Sri Lanka gave off the most relaxed and positive vibes, similar to Ubud, but even better! My husband laughs at me, but the train journey in Sri Lanka alone made the trip worth while. I had only ever imagined and dreamt of riding on a romantic/therapeutic/scenic train journey. Our train from Nuwara Eliya to Ella consisted of all things beautiful, including the landscapes and the authenticity of the country. I genuinely feel that Sri Lanka is under rated and has the potential to be so much greater than what it is! Oh, and the tea was the tastiest tea EVER!
5. Where is the worst place you have ever been and why?
Erm, dare I say Belgium?
I spent less than 24 hours in Belgium, where i manage to squeeze in some sleep, took a tour bus ride, devoured many waffles and even got the infamous picture with Mr Pis. But I dunno, I wasn’t captivated by Brussels charm. Within my brief visit, I even experienced a stranger groping my butt as well as being chatted up by a stranger who I tried to tell that I was already taken.
so yeah, not my fav, although I would like to return to visit some other cities.
6. Do you have a Bucket List? If so where are the 3 top places on it?
Oh yes, I do have a bucket list, a very long, never ending bucket list.
The top three places that I would like to visit – in a chronological order:
7. What 3 things (apart from the essentials – food/water etc) do you always travel with?
8. What makes you happy and why?
Man, I am so easily pleased that everything makes me happy. But food, food always makes me happy!
But more than anything, travelling, planning to travel, reading travel blogs and hearing about peoples travels makes me really, genuinely happy. It’s almost like watching a film. It transports you to another dimension. You know what I mean?
9. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I have been blogging since… May 2017. I am still a newbie, trying to figure it all out.
So what led to the craze of blogging?
Prior to meeting my husband, I really had not travelled much at all. But since our marriage, we have both had the luxury to really make the most of our time (long-distance issues, but that’s a topic for another time).
so anyways, as we travelled around 10 countries together, we noticed that there was a re-emerging pattern. There were absolutely no other Muslim travellers that we came across during all our travels and adventure. It made me feel somewhat empty. A little raged and mostly confused.
So one thought led to another and I decided to start a blog, mostly to encourage other Muslims to travel more. Now you must be thinking, EXTREMIST! but no, it’s really quite the opposite. I want Muslims to travel more. To integrate more in order to diminish and end the negativity around the word ‘Muslim’. I want to be able to introduce myself to people as being a ‘Muslim’ without the fear of being judged. Y’know? I just want to spread positivity.
10. What makes your blog unique and why should people read it?
My blog is unique because I genuinely believe that I am the combination of east meets west and I feel that I am extremely lucky to have the best of both worlds. I have some interesting tales to share and some amazing photos to show off. I absolutely love interacting with other readers and bloggers so they will no doubt be able to approach me at any time.
This blog was first posted by ’Eat Sleep Love Travel’ dated 18 September 2017.