10 Things Pregnancy Taught me

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So yes. Apparently I was only under the impression that I know most things about pregnancy and kids et al. The first thing I learned was a lesson in humility. If you’ve never been pregnant. You don’t know ANYTHING.
The next thing I found out was the lessons it taught me for my non pregnant life.

1. Body is Boss.
No matter how gung – ho we are, must never ever ignore our health and well being. Our body is the most patient person we will ever learn to love. It’s also the most unforgiving once it gets its way.

2. More Pillows needed. Always
So before I got pregnant, sometimes I would even do away with the single pillow I’d use. Not any more. The world of pillow love was unleashed on me. My most comfortable position is with a pillow tucked behind me at my lower back and another one between my legs. These things should be made public. Happiness and comfort hit an all time high when my friend who threw me an absolutely heavenly baby shower topped it off with a pregnancy pillow. I don’t think I’ve ever loved any inanimate object as much as I do that pillow. It is the best thing in the history of sleep facilitation and comfort. Non pregnant people are just kept out of this all pregnant zone of comfortable life. So mean.

3. The gorgeous XL
so all through my pregnancy I kept chanting to myself inwardly. I will lose all this weight. I will lose all of this weight. I will…you get the drift. I usually never would wear tight fitted clothes but pregnancy opened my eyes to the gorgeousness of XL sized T shirts. They’re just wide enough to cover the ginger root of a body you are and will be flaunting through and post pregnancy for a while. Long enough to make your legs look dainty even if you’ve graduated to a size three times your original in tights/ jeans and won’t break the bank. I don’t think I’m ever parting with my XL stash.

4. Maternity Jeans and Boxer Shorts
Hello, this jeans expands with you. Enough said. Where was this all of my life while I was carrying my pizza de babies post every lunch hour? The world needs to retire conventional jeans and adopt maternity jeans as the mainstream thing. I don’t think I’m ever going back to zipper. Non pregnant people seem so deprived.
Through my pregnancy I whisked a few boxer shorts from my husband’s stash when he bought a new batch last year in England. Eye. Effing. Opener. No wonder men are less complicated. They have breathing space the size of the Sahara desert. I think regular panties are patriarchal. Itching and digging into folds and crevices. Boxer shorts are non discriminatory. They don’t care about your curves or lack thereof. They embrace you. The whole of you without any consideration if you’re bursting out the seams or emaciated. Boxer shorts are the true epitome of equality and love for all. Everyone should wear them. Only them.

5. Love thy hormones.
Okay maybe not love them because they do tend to violate and abuse their powers over you, making you go through all them highs and lows but perhaps embrace them wholeheartedly as they support the growth of your baby and ensure you have everything to facilitate that? From relaxing your ligaments to producing extra blood to ensuring you get enough rest to make up for all the internal growth activity you’re carrying out while even resting, these hormones are straight from up above. Value them. Love them. Especially when they make sure your “stuff” shrinks back to their place post partum.

6. Self image.
Have you ever seen a thirty something girl, far far from her size 8 or 10 (that’s UK size) yet still walk around strutting herself as if nothing’s up despite sporting a big belly? Yep. That’s the confidence pregnancy gives you. At least it gave me that. All our lives we have been socially conditioned to look perfect, be the right size in the name of health or vanity but yes. Weight management has always been in the core of our being. All of that stuff? Out the window. Where a strict check on eating healthy needs to be around, always (covered in 7.) the shame that comes with being a few pounds overweight or more than your stick thin peers, is officially out the window. Take that, world!

7. Healthy me
In my 34 years of life I had never ever consumed a full bottle of multivitamins. Ever. Chucking out expired multivits would be a norm. Pregnancy was the only time in life that I actually saw what an empty pack / bottle of multivitamins looks like. My (superhero of a) doctor told me to keep sharing an update on what my blood work looks like and kept tweaking my iron intake through the nine months but right from the get go I was on pregnancy multivitamins, Calcium and Vitamin D and Ferrous Sulphate. I am still on them through breastfeeding barring the Ferrous Sulphate only because following some unexpected blood loss at my C- section I was pumped with blood as well as iron injections which took care of the dip. You learn to take care of yourself inadvertently while caring for your unborn child (who will, by the way, suck their needed stuff out of your bones, quite literally if need be and the vits are only to ensure there’s plenty for both of you to go around without one turning into Mr. Bones).

8. There’s a contortionist hidden inside you.
In the quest for a comfortable position whether you are (trying to be) sleeping at night or sitting comfortably on that couch or your beloved work place chair of yours through the day. You will successfully turn into a contortionist trying to achieve a pose that hurts least or better still, stretches the right bits for that sigh of relief through the awkward aches and pains that come with pregnancy, the first telltale signs and ones that only leave once the bubble is out of you!

9. No horror film is scary enough.
Not much scares you any more because you’ve pretty much seen it all. Blood going down the sink at every brushing of teeth, a love affair with the pot when you’re hugging it and throwing up in the earlier part of your pregnancy wondering whether the tired, perspiration post every retching session has been mistaken for the pregnancy glow over the years, an alien bubbling around inside you and in good time literally kicking your stomach and guts to the crevices of your abdomen and your ribs till it aches like hell. Your own body seems to have come alive and pretty much taken over your life. Starting from the initial aches and pain with the HcG surge, right up to Braxton Hicks. Your body rules you like the invisible force of nature. What could be scarier than intangible dictatorship?

10. Selflessness
Motherhood didn’t come to me naturally, dawning on me the moment I saw that little blip on the scan, with tears gushing. Nope. I thought it was a video of the woman who was in before I was at the ultrasound booth and I only had a bad case of flu.
I had worn flat shoes (kohlapuri open shoes/ chappals) ever since I left middle school over 20 years ago (perhaps earlier) never to have worn anything else. I’ve also been known to be very fall prone. I’d fall everywhere, all the time since I was in school and that’s alright. Never changed my shoes or thought about doing anything to prevent the falls. It was a part of who I was. Until I fell while I was 4-5 weeks pregnant. Really badly. At the bank with the freshly polished floors and my flat shoes that were used and had their soles smoothed out over the years providing least resistance to a swish and a fall. I packed them away immediately, banishing myself to hush puppies foot gripping sandals for the rest of my pregnancy irrespective of what I wore and where I went. My baby’s safety came first.
I was convinced that between my hectic and demanding senior position (literally raising 20 young men to be successful professionals), my consultancies, mentoring and my voluntary undertakings my life did not have any space for a child. And then the plus sign appeared. Priorities changed. I moved back to a city I thought I had left to never return to, I expedited setting up of a business I had been dilly dallying with the idea of for a couple of years, the yearning to have something of my own, for decades now. Everything took a completely different turn and not just with my consent, I made it all happen. All of it. Only to suit and fit this new bubba into my already brimming life. You chuck things out. You chuck everything out only to reintroduce the ones that fit around tiny. I will talk about how and when motherhood hit me on an emotional level in another post but it hits you on a mechanical level the second you see that line appear. It does. At least it did for me. I turned into this ciborg that just had to have everything in place and all the running arounds done by the time it was ETA. Just because you have an innate feeling that you are such an integral part of this penultimate activity of creation, you are quite literally growing a person that you will be raising and ensuring its survival. This shit is far more real than just feeding the tamagotchi on time.

*photo credits: Farah Ahed| Photographer

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