It’s been a hot minute since i’ve posted on my blog, so welcome back!
If you follow me on Instagram you will know that my incredible partner Tony and I not only got engaged this year but we are also expecting our first child together in August. We were blessed enough to fall pregnant super quickly, and despite experiencing my first pregnancy during a world wide pandemic and as a result of that, then spending most of my pregnancy in quarantine…. so far I have had a very positive experience with only a few shitty moments along the way. But mostly its been great and rather than shy away from that fact, or keep quiet about it, I wanted to share it with you and speak openly about my positive pregnancy for the following reason…
Its funny, as soon as you tell people that you are pregnant, their first reaction is always surprise and excitement, however what I wasn’t prepared for was that within 5 minutes of the buzz and excitement dying down, “it” begins!
What is the “it” I hear you ask?
Well here “it” is…. I noticed quite quickly that despite their good intentions, people have a strange habit of projecting their own experiences of pregnancy and birth onto you and your partner even if its super negative! It is often unsolicited advice, inappropriate comments or detailed story telling, and i’ve got to be honest, in my experience so far, more often than not, it isn’t the positive kind of story telling, comments or advice that you would hope for from people who are supposed to be happy for you. Where is the positive energy guys???
Tony and I heard everything from… Tony should “Move out for the next 9 months, as with all the hormones I would be a nightmare to live with”, to people describing how “awful” their birth stories were; sharing gory details and displaying their trauma for us to see in plain sight. People were even telling me that my pregnancy was going to be this miserable experience that I needed to strap myself in for, oh and then there is the insensitive “your gonna get fat” jokes! I mean really guys? How is this helpful?
Overall people tend to be pretty negative, however, they don’t actually realise they are doing it because everything is said as some sort of joke or in jest which is the worst part about it I think. They don’t even realise how insensitive they are being, or that what they are saying could negatively impact our experience and conjure up anxiety and fear at a time where it is vital to be calm and relaxed!
So with that said, VERY quickly Tony and I decided, that we needed a plan to protect ourselves from anything that might cast fear or uncertainty over our journey to becoming parents.
Step number one in our quest to have a positive experience was, we were going to have to get comfortable with being blunt and perhaps at times even quite rude to people who try to protect their negative experiences onto us! We made a pact that from now on neither he nor I would not be allowing anyone to get past the first sentence of any story or comments that might make us feel worried or fearful of the journey ahead. We would literally shut down the conversation with “i’m sorry, but we aren’t open to hearing anything that isn’t 100% positive at this time, so we are going to have to stop you there”.
Next we booked a consultation with a holistic pregnancy coach (@Lacinne & @CoupeDC). I got to know them when they featured on episode 12 of my podcast ‘Influence Me’ CLICK HERE TO LISTEN. They themselves had a holistic pregnancy, followed by a free birth (aka unassisted birth) and they have raised their daughter exclusively on breast milk and a plant based diet. They seemed like our sort of people, and “parent goals” so we decided to book an appointment and they didn’t disappoint. They were super positive yet honest about their pregnancy, birth and parenting experience and gave us lots of confidence that we too could have an enjoyable journey and birth. This was the kind of people and energy we wanted to be influenced by, so we sat down with them before we even saw a midwife to establish the balance between the holistic approach and the medical led approach to pregnancy and birth.
Shanie with Lacienne & Coupe
We also did some research and put together a reading list; One of my favourite books that both Tony and I listened to on Audiable was ‘The Positive Birth Book’ by Milli Hill. After reading this book I felt instantly empowered, educated in both pregnancy and child birth. I felt in control of my journey to becoming a parent and confident that I could have a positive birth regardless of how it played out. Tony also read this one with me and now feels confident that he will know what is happening during every phase of labour and he knows how best to support me when the time comes.
My final step was to follow some positive birth accounts on Instagram such as @ThePositiveBirthCompany @Birth_ed @BadAssMotherBirther , you would be surprised how powerful it is the randomly take in incredible birth photos, videos and positive stories every day whilst scrolling. Even on a subconscious level it helps eradicate fear and fill you with excitement at meeting your newborn baby when the time comes.
It is such a shame that so many women and men automatically pull for the negative pregnancy and birth stories, and i’ve actually found that the women with the positive experiences are the quietest in the group and the least likely to share and speak up. I’m sure a lot of it comes down to people not having dealt with the trauma of their own experience properly so therefore they project it onto others whenever they get the chance because it is their truth, even if it is a case of the “wrong audience”. Then the people who had a great experience end up feeling guilty or uncomfortable sharing a positive version of events as they don’t want to boast and brag so instead they keep quiet.
However, as a first time mum to be, it can be pretty toxic to be hearing awful stories, especially when you are feeling so vulnerable already. So I wanted to write about my experience so far by adding some pregnancy focused blog posts into the mix that are still super honest about the tough parts of pregnancy, but that have a little more balance between the tough moments and the positive magical experience of growing a human being. Over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing my personal experiences of the first, second and third trimester, exercise in pregnancy, the truth about expecting during a pandemic, as well as sharing lots of useful and practical information from writing my birth plan, packing my hospital bag and what was on my new baby shopping list!
Overall, my pregnancy has been awesome, i’ve loved feeling my baby grow, wriggle and kick over the past few months. I have loved this new developing bond between Tony and I as we get closer to becoming “Mum & Dad”, and i’ve even loved the experience of watching my body change (which honestly I thought I would hate! I’ve genuinely surprised myself there). Pregnancy does not need to be a list of crappy things you go through, or that happen to you. Yes some of it is bloody hard, and I know plenty of women have it really tough and don’t enjoy it at all and I honestly don’t envy them whatsoever. But some women have a beautiful experience, enjoy pregnancy and that should be allowed to be spoken about and celebrated openly too, so here I am saying its not been easy at all, but i’m pregnant and i’m loving it! (most of the time).
Check back soon for my first trimester post!
Shanie & Bump Xx