THE ability to carry and nurture a life inside you is a great privilege — a beautiful experience if you were to go by the many books written about pregnancy, and the movies glorifying the experience. But mothers know that it's no bed of roses when your body is invaded by another life. In fact, the 40-week experience for some was the worst of their lives, made bearable only by the reward of a healthy bundle of joy in the end.
Below, some moms relate their experiences.
Patricia, 48, small business owner:
Pregnancy carries many feelings — the terrible drowning feeling of nausea, and feeling like you are losing your world, to the joys of seeing your baby on an ultrasound machine, and then feeling the baby kick. It was a long nine months and I was anxious, very anxious at first. Apart from the sickness, I can say that pregnancy is a joyful experience, especially if the foods that you crave are in season.
Shanella, 22, unemployed:
I think that from the moment the sperm reached the egg I was sick. Yes, it was that bad, and when it first happened I had honestly thought that they had set a duppy on me. I was losing weight, I was throwing up, I constantly felt like I was going to fall over — it was rough. I was happy that I would have a beautiful human being at the end of the process, but sometimes I honestly regretted it. These feelings lasted all of my pregnancy, and even though the delivery was long and painful and difficult, it was the biggest blessing of my entire pregnancy.
Kaite, 34, legal assistant:
For my entire pregnancy, every single day I felt like it was the day of labour. I had allowed all the horrible things people said about pregnancy to infiltrate my mind and I was becoming all that they were saying. It was only in my sixth month of pregnancy, with the help of a psychotherapist, that I finally started to feel better. I was sick less, the nightmares about labour weren't so much, and I started gaining healthy weight. The health of my foetus also improved and I had a good delivery. So I always try to tell mothers to smile and block people out, as sometimes hearing all these things can cause unintentional harm.
Jane, 28, teacher:
What surprised me was the stuff no one tells you about — the embarrassing stuff. I was prepared for the morning sickness and so forth, but no one told me about the copious secretions from my nether regions, or the fact that my stomach would turn black and look like a deflated balloon after the birth. And speaking of after the birth — the episiotomy, the salt water sitz baths for days, and just that yucky feeling like your body doesn't belong to you anymore.
Tanesha, 32, accountant:
It's the prodding and poking for the entire nine months that got to me. I'm an extremely private person, so it was a surprise to me when I realised that this invasion started in the first few weeks. The transvaginal ultrasounds were the worst, so too were the blood tests, and that glucose tolerance test was the devil. Imagine fasting all night with an already upset stomach, then being given a sweet liquid to drink as your first 'meal' of the day. Then there was the delivery — having student doctors all coming in to check on me. There was a different examination every few hours, a different doctor's fingers would be probing inside me. Then being stitched up after the birth because you got a tear? I tell you, childbearing and childbirth are not for the faint of heart.
Sheree, 28, vendor:
With all three of my children I didn't know I was pregnant until I was like four and a half or five months pregnant. Around that time I would have blood pressure issues and for two of my three pregnancies I had gestational diabetes, so that meant that I was high risk and they gave me a special diet and I had to be in the hospital a lot. With all three pregnancies the labour had to be induced and I had Caesarian sections. I am done with that road for sure, because every time I went to death's door and back with all the complications.
Claudette, 42, store manager:
I was 36 when I had my child. I just did as I was told and I was fine. I can't say that I had many challenges – my pregnancy was complication-free. I took my vitamins, I ate right and exercised, and I didn't really experience any morning or night sickness. If you ask my family, they will tell you that if anything, my skin cleaned up and I glowed. The only downside, I would say, is that I always wanted to sleep. My delivery lasted about two and a half hours, and to be honest, I just did my breathing and followed the instructions of my doctors, and I was fine.