There’s one time in a woman’s life when every other woman friend or foe is genuinely happy for her. It wasn’t at your wedding and definitely not when you got the big pay rise; hello didn’t you see the green eyed monster snarling with clenched teeth! It’s when you are carrying your bump (pregnant). A bump has a way of uniting women: whether you are a first time mum or an experienced mum, a woman who wants or doesn’t want to have kids, a career mum or stay at home mum. The idea of birthing something new, which to a large extent we have no control over marvels us and makes us want to be a part of that experience.
From being flat chested teenager to having menstrual cramps, mood swings and pimples the size of an egg our lives seem like thrill rides at an amusement park. One minute we find ourselves laughing, next second our mood takes a horrifying speedy plunge. Pregnancy heightens these emotions and adds a side order of different physical changes. Every pregnancy is different; every woman’s experience through pregnancy is different. Some people never experience a day of morning sickness; others have bizarre cravings whilst others have to be on bed rest for most of it.
Being pregnant so far away from home was a bittersweet experience. Bitter because I missed the support system that family could offer. Most times a young relative would move in or come to visit occasionally to help with the house chores. Your mum and aunties suddenly have so many reasons to check on you with gifts of food and various treats. They also take the time to fill you in on the myths and tales of childbirth. Unconsciously they take up the job of ensuring you remain healthy throughout your pregnancy.
Sweet as I felt the love of total strangers from all works of life. My most cherished experience would be the little old lady at Liverpool Lime Street station, “relax and enjoy your pregnancy when baby arrives you would need every break you can get” were her words. Looking back on that day makes me smile as I remember her excitement and interest in a total strangers pregnancy. With every gesture, a colourful stroke of love was painted across the canvas of my first pregnancy.
When you come across another *bumping *mum do smile with her, it might just be that little glimmer of hope that she’s not alone, the sort of reassurance that only a fellow woman can give. If you have the time to chat with her
1. Reassure her that no experience is unique to her alone and if others survived so will she.
2. Remind her that it will soon be over and her bundle of joy will here.
3. Encourage her to ask any questions no matter how silly it seems.
4. Offer to help with any chores
1. Fill her head with the horrors of childbirth e.g. long painful labours, forceps deliveries, stitches etc.
2. Lie to her or exaggerate the stress of handling a new born.
3. Force your own ideas on her
Through pregnancy we all need an experienced shoulder or ear we can rely on; take the time to love another mum today.