We all know this scene: a pregnant woman crying over an advert on TV or threatening murder because she has run out of her favourite pickle and jelly flavoured ice cream. Every media outlet we come across shows a scenario in which the pregnant woman behaves in a ‘crazy’ and unstable way due to the hormones raging through her body and we all laugh because it’s just a small snippet in a woman’s life where she can truly become unhinged and no one will say anything.
Everyone but me. Having gone through hormonal imbalances in the past that ended with me taking an overdose, I was terrified of being pregnant. If women with no history of anxiety and depression went ‘nuts’ during pregnancy, what hope was there for me?
Lying in a hospital bed with a drip attached to my arm, I looked down at the fresh cuts all over my limbs. I was 21, a final year law student with a bright future ahead of me, and yet here I was at the lowest point of my life having taken an overdose.
The year leading up this point had been a mishmash of extreme emotional lows to the point I was convinced I was suffering from a serious mental illness. An attempt on my life felt like the only way out of being continuously sucked in to a blackhole of hopelessness.
Years later I discovered that I wasn’t suffering with bipolar disorder or something even more serious such as schizophrenia, both illnesses that are apparently often miss-diagnosed. I had been suffering from premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD.
But what caused it and how sure are we that a lack of acceptance over hormonal imbalances in the medical profession can actually be linked to mental illnesses among women? And why had it suddenly taken such hold of me?
And would it reemerge with my pregnancy or could exercise be the key to my mental wellbeing?
Today has been a day of headaches, dizziness and sickness. I’m not complaining. I feel incredibly lucky to have, what I consider, an easy and straightforward pregnancy so far. If anything the bad days just remind me of the miracle happening inside me and the amazing job my body is doing in growing a human!
I didn’t know about headaches. Certainly not ones that are so strong they wake you up multiple times during the night. But having read countless of other pregnant women’s accounts, I have found that I’m not alone with this. In fact some women have such chronic headaches that they can’t get out of bed for the duration of the pregnancy!
Of course everyone knows about the morning sickness, the stretch marks and the mood swings. These are things we are shown regularly in the media, in movies. But there are a multitude of things they don’t tell you to expect when you’re expecting!
Every pregnancy is different and women rarely experience the same symptoms. But here are some of my more baffling and crazy ones!
Burping becomes an embarrassing every-day occurrence
You can be sitting there having a nice conversation to your friend or colleague (or god forbid your boss) and out of nowhere this heinous noise comes out of your mouth. There’s now warning, there’s no trying to gulp it down last-minute. It’s out there and you look like a totally uncivilised and vulgar cretin.
Your dreams become a plethora of ecstasy, tragedy and fear
Apparently due to the hormones, you are especially prone to vivid dreams. These can range from someone chasing you to try to kill you, something horrible happening to you and your unborn child or wild sex scenes which you aren’t even sure would be practical (some involving women – this apparently means your psyche is appreciating the female form as it’s going through these incredible changes. Or it means your having a boy. Or it just means you’re not afraid to be a little kinky in your dreams 😉 ) Last night I even dreamt my husband told me he was leaving me and had got me a room in a friend’s house!
Sex becomes a hazard
You might feel like an emotional teenager pining over film stars, but as mother nature appears to have a cruel sense of irony, sex can sometimes result in cystitis, thrush or for some just be excruciatingly painful. I’ve been lucky with regards to the latter two, but I have suffered severe cystitis – 3 times in one month!
So you’re horny as hell because of your awesome dreams of having sex with your husband in a public pool on holiday (now that was fun!), but terrified of the consequences of being sat on the loo for another 3 hours feeling like your bladder is on fire (this happened to me 🙁 ) Again this is apparently due to hormones and increase blood flow but it gets to a point where you don’t care why, you just want it to go away!
You cry at everything and to anyone
I once cried down the phone to a complete stranger at sky because our internet wasn’t working and they told me they couldn’t send anyone out for a week. I cried in the middle of the road in my car because I thought I annoyed the driver next to me…And then all of a sudden you are happy and excited about everything and the magical journey you’re on! And then you want to kill anyone and everyone who tries to tell you all about this magical journey you are on…ah hormones…
Sleepless nights start now!
They tell you to enjoy the sleep while you can before the new-born bundle of screaming joy comes along, but what they don’t tell you is you’ll be lucky to get a good night’s sleep during your pregnancy. If it’s not the crazy dreams, or needing to pee multiple times during the night, or a horrid headache, you just randomly wake up at 4 or 5 am. On top of that you’re knackered anyway (apparently the tiredness is meant to go away after the 1st trimester but as I and these women have found out, that’s not happened! Maybe at the end of the fourth month when placenta has fully formed?)
So there you have it. Ultimately being pregnant is a glorious, incredible and wonderful time of your life. But it isn’t without it’s surprises! I wonder what the next few weeks bring!
Over to you! What strange and wonderful pregnancy symptoms did you have?