Guilt. Bloody guilt!
Because we don’t already have to deal with this as mothers, as wives, as friends. And now I’ve discovered a whole new field; pregnancy guilt. FFS!
Those of you that follow my blog (and thank you if you do) you’ll know I haven’t had particularly the easiest start to the pregnancy. The sickness and tiredness that so many of us experience can be so deliberating. And when you have a little boy who is expecting your full and undivided attention, it’s not always easy.
I am sick most days and sometimes it comes out of nowhere meaning I have seconds to hot foot it to the loo, sometimes with Josh in pursuit thinking it’s a fun game of chase! I feel so guilty when I turn around and he’s looking at me as if to say “what’s going on Mama”. I can’t exactly explain it to him.
And then there has been days when I’ve felt so exhausted that I’ve literally had to let cBeebies take over and baby sit whilst I lay on the sofa. And of course as soon as I do this, I feel guilty cause I should be out and about with him or playing or anything that doesn’t make me feel like a lazy cow!
For the most part I try to cut myself some slack; we go out most days, we’re always doing something, so I don’t think a rare afternoon in front of the TV with Josh is going to do any horrendous harm. But one thing I’ve learnt throughout motherhood is that there is that constant little bitch on your shoulder whispering the things you’re trying to ignore and overcome; “I bet no one else makes this much fuss about being pregnant”! I hate that voice of guilt as I like to call it.
And it’s not just Josh. Poor Sam! The mood swings, the sickness, the sudden desperate need for chocolate cake that I need him to go and get. He has been pretty patient to be fair – in fact last night he made two entirely different dinners so I’d at least have something to eat that I’d enjoy. One area, that is often not spoken about, is sex. I’ve always been very comfortable when it comes to discussing sex and I’ve always felt so comfortable and confident with my husband. In fact there was once upon a time I’d be nagging him for sex! So when I found out I was pregnant and my sex drive literally disappeared I was baffled.
I’ve heard women often go off sex particularly in the first trimester; it’s not surprising considering the vomiting, the tiredness, and the fact that your hormones are going crazy, often resulting in the fact that you just want to throw things at your other half. But I hadn’t been prepared for how much I went off it. To the point where the thought of sex literally made me feel sick. I couldn’t stand the thought of it. With my history, I knew it was beneficial to abstain in the first trimester and I was more than happy to do so. The thought of being touched in any way, shape or form made me feel disgusting. I did speak to Sam about it because I was mortified; I had never felt this aversion to sex before and I didn’t know how to handle it. It was important to me to talk to Sam and explain to him that it was nothing he had done wrong or to put me off; I still fancied the pants off him. But the thought of getting physical just wasn’t going to happen.
Looking back, I know hormones would have had a part to play in the debacle. But I also wonder if it was some weird instinct in me. I was, as you all already know, petrified during my first trimester. There were days I’d cry and have to pull myself together because I was so frightened of anything going wrong. I just had to do everything I could to prevent anything going wrong and I do wonder if that played a part in my refusal to do anything sexual (and I mean anything – I wouldn’t do or even consider the slightest of fumbles to relieve my poor man). It was like a survival instinct in me. I was doing everything I could to keep my baby safe in pregnancy – the thought of even having a cup or regular tea filled me with fear.
The reason I know that my fear played a massive part in my suddenly absent sex drive; once I had my 12 week scan, spoke to the midwife and knew everything was going well and baby was growing and safely in there, I think I made Sam wait all of three hours before I had my wicked way with him! Hooray – my inner minx was back. It was a relief and also lovely to feel that close again and in turn, not feel that guilt I’d harboured for 3 months whilst I wouldn’t allow the poor bloke near me. We have always had a really healthy sex life and have never had this sort of situation, not even when I was pregnant with Josh. I did get told no sex during the second half of my pregnancy with Josh as my placenta was low but we found other ways to get through, however this time round that wasn’t something I’d even entertain. It didn’t help that Sam seems to fancy even more when I am pregnant (the fantastic tits that come part and parcel of pregnancy certainly help too)! This is a subject so many don’t discuss; we’re still so “British” in many ways when it comes to talking about sex, ironic considering that half the shows on TV revolve around encouraging youngsters to get it on with each other on national television for entertainment purposes! When I was going through this I only spoke to one friend about how I was feeling; the guilt at not putting out and having no desire to do anything to be close to my husband. Fortunately she got it, she understood, and it was a relief to speak to someone who didn’t judge me for this.
It’s just another example of why us women need to speak up and to each other about these things. To reassure each other. The pregnancy guilt will continue through pregnancy no doubt. I feel bad when every night I get to about 8.45 and say I have to go to bed; Sam doesn’t moan (obviously – because he then gets the TV to himself all night and can watch utter shit such as GOT without me mocking him) as he knows I’m shattered, but I feel bad because I know it’s so important for us to spend time together. I feel bad that I let him cook every evening when I shouldn’t because he loves cooking (weirdo) and never complains about it.
A lot of guilt, be it pregnancy, motherhood, wifing, we tend to build up and up in our heads. Sometimes we need to cut ourselves a bit of slack; we’re growing a human for gods sake. And in some cases, with a mini me in tow, with no idea that the thought of playing at the park is going to push Mummy over the edge… either that or result in Mummy throwing up behind the swings (… just me?). In hindsight, despite the constant sickness, which does of course alter our plans sometimes, the mood swings, the fact you just want to sleep some weekends and not visit family and friends, I am actually doing a good job. A good job as a Mum and as a Mum to be. And as a wife. I am so lucky I have a patient and understanding husband. Sometimes it isn’t until someone else points it out to you that you realise you’re actually doing a damn good job.
So I’ve decided if I need a lazy day, if I need a day of not being touched, if I need to eat an entire Cadbury Flake Cake (GO TO TESCO – THEY ARE ON OFFER AND THEY ARE EPIC) then so be it. As with everything in life, it’s everything in moderation. It doesn’t take away from me as a Mother and given that I’m soon going to have two little people relying on me for everything, I am going to indulge in some of these things from time to time.
Oh and a massive thank you to Hey Duggee – there has literally been days when that dog has saved my sanity!
Don’t feel guilty Mamas. You are amazing.