I live with my best friend, Roeline, and her husband, Eric. They have been married for a year and 5 months now and before that they dated for 10 years. Roeline has always wanted children and 16 weeks ago, God made it happen. I felt it was the perfect opportunity to do a little interview about the first trimester, from a normal person’s point of view. (She wrote a blog about her feels also… go read it here).
- You’re 16 weeks pregnant at the moment, what is the first thing you did when you found out?
I laughed, and said “well this has never happened before.” Referring to a positive result on the pregnancy test as a few tests have been negative in the past.
- How did you expect Eric to react when you told him?
Teary eyed, overjoyed, dancing together. All round tears of joy. Must have been the pregnancy hormones. I knew he wouldn’t react that way.
- How did he react?
Not as per the above.
- How is he now, and do you think a man only becomes a father when he first holds his chid?
Now that the child has taken on more human like qualities (is no longer looking like an alien) and when we saw the baby move during a sonar, he got a bit more excited and realised that there is a human inside of me. He now enjoys all the weekly updates of what the baby’s development. For instance, during week 15 the baby can suck its thumb, frown, pull funny faces, move their fingers and if you shine a bright light on my stomach the baby can move away from it.
I feel a man can decide when he feels more like a father, or when it’s more real for him. Obviously he’s not experiencing the symptoms of pregnancy but he can still decide how involved he wants to be. I don’t agree with the term mommy-to-be or daddy-to-be, I already have a child that is living and breathing, even if it is only amniotic fluid.
- Did you track your ovulation and menstruation periods to plan your pregnancy?
Yes I did. I had an app on my phone which tracked my period and days of ovulation. I also used an ovulation home test. I eventually deleted the app as I felt it was putting too much pressure on the conception thing. It’s better to just let things happen naturally. Once I realised that it is only God that can decide whether life happens or not, no app or home test was needed. A month after we stopped trying the miracle happened.
- Do you want to know the sex of the baby?
No. We did want to originally, but after some convincing from my VERY convincing husband we realised that there are very few real surprises left in life and this has got to be the most amazing one.
- What do you wish you could say to people when they react negatively towards your choice of not wanting to know?
Knowing or not knowing does not make me love my child any less. The decision isn’t about you or me, it’s about my child and who they already are. No blue or pink strings attached. When did we become so fixated on gender that a sonogram is more about the gender than the health of your child?
- Up until now, how have you changed your lifestyle and what has been the most difficult change?
Obviously being more conscientious about what I eat or drink. Contrary to other pregnant ladies I do not think smoking or drinking whilst being pregnant is ok, luckily that was not a big change for me as I did neither of those things prior to falling pregnant. I do pay very careful attention to any medication, whether it ranges from headaches tablets to anything like flu medication (which btw, does not exist when you are pregnant).
I try to drink my pregnancy vitamins and loads of water daily. I do exercise but not as strenuously, for obvious reasons.
I struggle with taking it easy, which everyone is always reminding me about. How I cannot lift this or do that as much. It is hard to now be the constant centre of attention, everyone is more concerned about the health of your baby than your own health. Ek hou nie daarvan om op gepiep te word nie.
- How is being pregnant different from what you imagined it to be?
For starters I had a really easy 1st trimester as opposed to other pregnant ladies. Easy as in, I had no morning sickness, it was more food aversions than being physically ill.
You don’t realise how lonely you feel sometimes, because even when you are surrounded by a bunch of mothers, no 2 pregnancies have been the same. So you end up feeling sorry for yourself because you think you are the only pregnant female ever to grace the earth.
You notice how quickly your friendships change. I shan’t elaborate.
I didn’t expect that I’d be so bothered with weight gain and clothes not fitting and your face getting rounder. Stretch marks don’t bother me cos I had those to begin with.
I used to always try and make a point to tell other pregnant ladies how beautiful they look, because they are. But now that I am pregnant I don’t believe people when they say I look beautiful, I don’t want these feelings to continue once the child is born. Lastly, I didn’t think that I’d already be so protective of my child, especially with us being so involved in church and a lot of people wanting to be so in the pregnancy and our lives. I am already trying to brace myself for when the baby is here and everyone wants to hold it, or feel like they can lay a claim over the child because they are part of the church family. I also don’t like the thought of people sharing anything regarding my child, even my baby scans, on social media. I am a very private person and posting pictures like that makes me feel like a part of me and my child is being exploited.
- How are the cravings treating you?
Nothing out of the ordinary, I have had more food aversions than cravings. I will say that I have been craving flapjacks (American pancakes) for a long time, which no one seems to want to make for me. That funny joke that people make about pickles and ice cream? Yeah, that applies to me. Obviously not together, that’s just gross.
What food aversions or any aversions? Meat, the smell, the sight, the presence of meat. Some cleaning products (fabric softeners, body wash) and due to my heightened sense of smell, I can very quickly pick up on bad body odour.
- Do you feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster or has it been smooth sailing?
It’s hard to say, as I am already a very emotional person. I tend to feel things thoroughly. I will say I feel more emotional and more easily driven to tears, especially when it comes to children. This is open to interpretation from the people that I live with. I think, I THINK, my road rage is worse. (Yes I know, I need to tone it down, I have a child on board)
- How does it feel to be pregnant, and how are you mentally and emotionally preparing yourself for being a parent?
So far I’ve only have the classic pregnancy symptoms. For me, being pregnant is when you start seeing and feeling the signs. I am only getting to that stage now and I cannot wait. Because I have such a love for biology and I am so intrigued with the baby’s development I find it interesting tracking its growth, but I so badly want to start feeling the life and connecting with it on a more physical level. I don’t think you can ever be fully prepared, but my preparation comes in the form of praying for my child and celebrating their life. I am already working on myself to ensure that I am the mother that they deserve to have. As for being prepared when the baby is here, I believe they come with a manual, it’s called the Bible.
- What has helped you the most thus far that you could recommend to other pregnant ladies?
Choosing to stay positive, reminding yourself that even though you are feeling like crap and there are all these changes, being pregnant is the best thing that can happen to anyone. Spending time with new moms who are eager to help and support you. Choosing to abolish any little speck of fear that you may have, whether it be for the baby’s health or of the days that are yet to come. Whenever fear comes, you nip it in the bud. Spending time with God and in the Bible. Praise and worship has taken on a whole new meaning to me, you realise that this is the only time in life that you are working with God to create a miracle. Jy moet ook jou deel bring.
- What are you most excited about for your baby’s future?
To see what God has planned for them.
- If you could ask God to change one thing regarding pregnancy, what would it be?
*Laughs* Does it have to be only one thing?
I would ask that parents who are not fit to be parents, e.g., people who will abuse, abandon or neglect their child, should not be given the blessing of bringing a child into this world. Also, that all babies are considered as valuable, no matter what their gestational age or the circumstances around their conception are… in other words… PRO LIFE.
Thank you Phoenix for the interview. May your pregnancy be as graceful as you are.