Sharon Jaynes once wrote in her book that there are four inborn dreams in the hearts of a woman. The desires have been there for as long as we can remember: to have a wonderful father; to have a best friend; to be a bride and; to be a mum. Any of these are debatable to any modern woman, and it’s true we are free to debate. I only want to concentrate on one part towards one of these dreams; the initial journeys towards being a mum…
There are many hormones that act on a woman, but two major hormones affect us behaviourally. The affect how nice and great we can be and also how moody and grumpy. Other factors may contribute, but for now I concentrate on the hormones. These hormones are estrogen or the happy hormone and progesterone or the grumpy hormone. They mainly regulate the menstrual cycle of a woman. When a woman gets pregnant, the functioning of estrogen is suppressed by the Progesterone- [pro- gestation] hormone which from the layman point of view supports the pregnancy among very many other hormones. Yes, for 9 months a woman is high on the grumpy hormone. Many times, many of them learn to suppress the degree of moodiness brought about by being high on this hormone. And for the record, those on hormonal pills for contraception, the functioning is the same. Hormonal pills suppress the happy hormone (story for another day). Anyhow being crappy means there is a 9-1 chance she will be rude to you. I overheard a conversation in an elevator. A lady salutes another, looks at her belly then with a smile she tells her “Now I understand why you were rude to me the other day when I visited you at your office”. The other puzzled asks her when that was and the story unfolds. It also means she may look at you blankly and not answer whatever query you have, or she will sit silently in a party at corner or at her without talking, or she will yell at you for no apparent reason or for the slightest of reasons like a missing pen that was on her desk two minutes ago. If you have been friends forever and she doesn’t want to talk to you, or conversation does not flow any more, don’t be mad. Whatever manifestation of this crappy mama you encounter, please understand.
There are also a lot changes and worries that accompany those changes. She is wakes up everyday wondering what kind of mother she will be to this child, what if she falls, what if her baby dies when and if she falls down or trips on the stair… There are growth spurts for new born babies all the way to 1 year old and pregnancy comes with that share too. I may not be sure if the same word applies to this sudden growth but Friday all your work clothes fit and suddenly they don’t on Monday because you have outgrown all of them. Public transport is a nightmare because in your “big” status you can only fit in some specific seats and not everyone seems to understand. Sometimes even the bus isle is not big enough for the two of you and the only available seat is at the back. In her new weight too, standing, bending and sitting become a task and even just the thought of standing for five minutes freaks her out. What if she faints? Will anyone help? Will people be kind enough to understand all this? Is she walking funny? Please do not laugh at her, her centre of gravity is shifted off the centre of her body, and maybe baby just decided to take a rest on her pelvis. Quite painful and uncomfortable, I tell you. Her baby has not kicked that day, is the baby alright? Should she go see a doctor? Is she overworking herself? Is it good for the baby? Well dear reader, if she ever skips the line in a bank without asking for permission, or requests you to give her your seat, or asks for a seat where getting one seems to be a privilege, or he comes home without groceries and requests you, her spouse or sister, to go and get them for her, does her mind seem far and she absent minded? Please be kind to her. All she needs is a little kindness. Trust me she will appreciate and will sing praises and wish you blessings in her heart forever. She won’t forget a kind face or a kind deed.
Eating habits changes for most women, and what used to be great is not so great and what used to be your grossest becomes your favourite. Her appetite may soar or go down the drain. Then there are cravings. Researchers say the cravings are demands by the body for what it lacks, if it craves those pregnancy rocks she needs iron, fish she needs omega 3, milk or avocado she needs calcium. Either way, some cravings will leave your eyebrows raised. For instance why would one type of avocado be great while another be gross, or why would a red apple be so delicious but a green one be nauseous? Well don’t even try to rationalize. Just get her what her body wants unless it is harmful to the either of them. Retching may also become inevitable and she may opt to have a bag by her desk at work. Is it gross to you as a colleague, please understand.
There are some gross things too that come with time. One of the other hormones that become very active during the course of a pregnancy is relaxin. All muscles in the body tend to relax; gastric, abdominal, pelvic, bowel etc. I once saw a lady pee by the side of the road without caring who the hell saw. It’s not her fault. She will pass wind in the oddest of places, including that executive meeting; don’t judge her. She will belch, please understand that her digestion is on relax mode. Did I say her brain also takes a break? She had an appointment and she forgot until the last meeting, she was supposed to call you and she did not? Forget it, she wont have a rational explanation so just try to understand when she says she forgot.Spitting, am yet to understand, but either way please still understand, something is happening in her body that makes it very hard for her to swallow the sputum.
These are just a few, but there are many more. However, in as much as I appeal for understanding and people to be kind to belly mamas, it is not your right to be understood. If you experience any kindness, be thankful that you met one kind person in this world. If they do not understand and they look at you with a weird expression on their face, please smile. If you are abused, this is the time to live Christ’s word of “If they slap you on one cheek offer the other”, either way there is inside of you a joy worth bearing all that which comes with negative energy from without. You are participating in a noble and marvellous act of Co-creation. Inside of you is an angel worth giving you a smile against all the odds. Just one rule, understand yourself, even when everything defies all the odds and like a good friend of mine told me recently, “Have a positive attitude, a great mindset and be grateful for everything”… After all it is only for some time. Until another experience, that might be as different from the past one as any two people can be different, please understand. Smile and enjoy being a belly mama.
A well thought article representing fully the cycle of expectant mothers