Health

Judgment Free Pregnancy Discussions

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This week is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. As  someone who has never been pregnant, is not thinking  about getting pregnant but does have some reservations  about becoming pregnant, this is an important week to me  and a week that deserves more attention than it receives.  

While I am not at a place in my life where children are high  up on my priority list, I am at an age where many of my  friends are either already parents or are pregnant or trying.  This means that whether I like it or not thoughts of  pregnancy and parenthood creep into my consciousness  from time to time. I know for certain that I am prepared for  children right now both financially and more importantly  mentally.  

I have unresolved issues with my mental health that I would  prefer to have addressed before I even begin to think about  starting a family. In an ideal world, I would consider myself  fully mentally healthy before embarking on that journey,  although we all know that isn’t very likely.

It’s also something that is not overly realistic, things such as  pregnancy often don’t work to a perfect schedule and  sometimes things happen earlier than expected or take  longer and different issues can pop up. 

As someone who is particularly conscious of mental health  and checking in with those I love, I will always make a point  of asking my pregnant friends how they are doing and how  

they are feeling. Oftentimes they will tell me that they are  feeling bloated, frustrated, in pain. 

It is also common for them to be open about feeling  depressed or suffering from the surfacing of mental health  struggles that they thought they had a handle on. 

This is often followed by the admittance of feeling guilty that  they are not loving every second of pregnancy, feeling guilty  that people might think they don’t love their baby. I cannot  fathom what a horrible, lonely feeling that must be. 

We need to encourage open and honest discussions of  what it is like to experience pregnancy. We need to accept  the gruesome, painful, suck-y parts of pregnancy and know  that it does not detract from the overall experience of  parenthood, it is not an assessment of what kind of parent  you will be.

We should be allowed to talk about the experiences that we  have and help to make sure expectant mothers do not feel  so alone at such a vulnerable time in their lives. The  normalisation of seeing all different types of pregnant bodies  on social media and in film and TV, every person  experiencing pregnancy should be able to see others like  them. 

We need to move away from the idea that only a neat small  bump is an acceptable pregnant body. We should  acknowledge trans pregnant bodies, big pregnant bodies,  stretch-marked bumps, tiny bumps, undefined bumps, and  everything in between.  

 I make it clear to my friends that I have no rose-tinted  glasses when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth, and  parenthood. I do not believe that pregnancy has to be this  beautiful, perfect time in a woman’s life in which she feels  like a fertility goddess.  

I much prefer the idea that it is tough, gruelling, oftentimes  painful and messy especially at the end. That women who  are pregnant are warriors who are enduring pregnancy for  the end goal of loving and raising their child.

We need to collectively support pregnant people, remind  them that they are growing an entirely new person, entirely  new organs, and limbs, all the while keeping their own body  going and holding down jobs and looking after other  children! 

You do not have to feel great every single day, you do not  have to enjoy having your organs squished around, or  having your bones literally change shape. Not enjoying  pregnancy does not equate to not loving your child.  

To any pregnant people reading this, you are doing great!  No matter how you are feeling you are smashing it! Keep on  going, pregnancy is the journey, not the destination! 

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