Young mum at 20, Sarah, shares her experience of the external pressures that many women go through during pregnancy.
My name is Sarah I’m 26 and a mother to a little boy called Leo who is six-years-old. I had Leo when I was 20 and fell pregnant at 19 with him. I’m currently 28 weeks pregnant with my second baby, which is a little girl due in June 2021 and I’ll be 26 when I have her. I found out I was pregnant with my second baby just a couple of weeks before my 26th birthday and it came as a bit of a shock as I’d had a miscarriage just six months earlier on in the year.
Being pregnant during the lockdown hasn’t been the easiest time due to not having as much support as you normally may have around you. Not being able to see friends or family during the lockdown meant that I felt quite isolated and alone a lot of the time and I felt like I wasn’t enjoying my pregnancy as much as I wasn’t able to share it the same as I normally would have.
In the early stages of the pregnancy, I was quite nervous as well due to having a miscarriage not long before and I was quite anxious that something may go wrong again, which started to affect my mental health and make me feel slightly depressed.
I was quite poorly and suffering with a lot of morning sickness, which would happen throughout the day and I was unable to eat or drink a lot of the time which nearly resulted in me being hospitalised for a short period of time. The longer I went on not been able to eat or drink very much the more poorly I was feeling and I knew that I needed to do something ASAP stop myself from going into hospital as this was not going to help Leo and hospitals make my anxiety ten times worse.
I spoke to my midwife and a doctor in regards to how unwell I was feeling and had checks done, which all came back as fine but they still wanted to address the sickness and tiredness. I was prescribed anti-sickness tablets, which worked and stopped me from being sick but they cause drowsiness so I could only really take them when I needed them.
I questioned myself as to whether I could do the pregnancy and even though I wanted and I do want this baby I still had those thoughts that I couldn’t do it.
Throughout this time my partner was really good and listen to me and to how I felt. He didn’t judge me, he reassured me, did whatever he could to make me feel better and was so supportive, which meant an awful lot. I had regular chats with my mum on the phone where I would talk about how I was feeling and what I was doing to try and help myself feel better, which was a great help also.
Even though I had the support from my partner and my mum I still felt like I needed more and I need to talk to somebody that would understand how I was feeling and possibly going through the same thing.
I came across an app called Peanut and had a little nosy through and I felt it helped by knowing I wasn’t alone and others were going through the same things that I was going through. It gave me the chance to talk to other mums and be supported by them as well as giving them my support whether that be advice on things to try, where to get extra advice from, or just to be there to listen.
As a woman I think a lot of us feel that being pregnant we have a lot of expectations that we need to keep up with and that is not the case. We read so much about how our bodies are doing amazing things and that we should be grateful that we are able to carry a baby and bring a life into this world not to mention how we should get this pregnancy glow. Throughout my pregnancy so far, I do not feel like I’ve hit the pregnancy glow and I don’t feel like I will. I’ve lived in my pyjamas or loungewear; my hair has just been shoved up in a bun and certainly not felt like putting my make-up on.
Every woman is different and every pregnancy is different and I think it’s really important that we don’t put too much pressure on ourselves to love the pregnancy and feel great in ourselves.
A lot of what we read and a lot of what we see in the media is expectations but we live in the reality of it. If you feel rubbish that’s OK, if you’re enjoying your pregnancy and you feel great that is also OK!
There are bits of this pregnancy that I have enjoyed such as going for my scan, feeling my baby girl kick and sharing the experience with family, my partner and her big brother Leo. It doesn’t make me a bad person or a bad mum, and it’s completely normal to feel this way. For anyone that is supporting somebody that’s pregnant whether that be their partner or their friend, it’s important that they know that just because you’re feeling this way, you still have a massive amount of love for your baby – you’re just having a bit of a tough time.
If I had any advice for any mums-to-be whether we are in lockdown or not, it would be to not be so hard on yourself. Do not feel ashamed to express how you’re feeling and to feel like you’re not enjoying your pregnancy.Talk to somebody about how you’re feeling every day as this can really help just by being able to express yourself. Try and find groups that will help you where you can speak to other mums, share your experiences, and your concerns.
If you found it helpful reading about Sarah’s pregnancy experience so far, you can read more personal experiences from other young mums here.
Would you like to share your experience and advise others in a similar situation? Then we’d love to hear from you!