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  • Writer's pictureTo Become A Mother

“I’ve found that carrying a baby can feel infantilising”

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

Maz, civil servant, is fortunate to have a smooth pregnancy with few physical ailments. But she finds it difficult to adjust to the loss of independence and the restrictions placed on her as pregnant. Here she shares her frustration of not being able to do everything she wants, how she has adapted her skin care routine and why she has chosen a birth doula to support her in labour.

How would you describe your pregnancy?

I couldn’t have asked for a smoother pregnancy in terms of my physical and mental health. I pushed through the first trimester of mild but constant nausea and was looking forward to the promised land of the second trimester. Unfortunately, there were a lot of challenging life events in those months, which led to me feeling quite overwhelmed and stressed out. It sounds obvious, but life doesn’t stop happening just because you’re pregnant.

What have you missed the most in pregnancy?

I thought I would miss eating whatever I wanted when pregnant, but what I’ve actually found the most difficult to let go of is the autonomy to make my own decisions. I realised that pregnancy brings both privileges and restrictions when we went on a babymoon to a spa resort, where I couldn’t use most of the spa facilities or treatments because of my pregnancy. I was so early in my pregnancy that no one could even see, but once I had uttered the words the door shut in my face and I felt like I was really missing out. I’ve found that carrying a baby can feel infantilising, making it all the more important for me to speak up when I felt strongly about something.

Have your skincare routine changed in pregnancy?

I developed adult acne in my mid-20s so I was a bit concerned that not being able to use the same skincare treatments would cause my skin to go haywire. Luckily the spots haven’t returned! I stopped using certain products like high strength acids and retinoid as soon as I suspected I could be pregnant, and looked online for recommendations from dermatologists about replacing those products with alternatives that would still target my skin concerns.

Has your diet changed?

As someone who is lactose intolerant and not a great lover of meat, I’ve been careful about getting all the nutrition that I need. I looked for good protein-packed beans and legumes, as well as vegetables with iron.

In the first trimester, I barely wanted to eat a thing and the challenge was making sure that I did eat in the hours when I felt less nauseous and for me that was the morning time. By the second trimester I could eat fairly normally and found that I naturally had so much energy that I didn’t need to increase my calorie intake. In the third trimester I’ve wanted to eat almost non-stop so I have bought healthier snacks like fruit (which I never usually eat) and low sugar alternatives (like kombucha) to avoid the temptation of too many junk food treats.

How have you prepared for birth?

As soon as we found out we were having a baby, my husband bought books about pregnancy and birth, while I started to worry that he would miss the birth because he works overseas. Like many we read Expecting Better and I was struck by the book’s recommendation to consider having a birth doula on hand. The process of choosing a doula helped me to slowly work through my birth preferences and having her on board allayed my fears about not having a birth partner stand-in for my husband. We also had an incredible NCT teacher and group, where no one type of birth was either encouraged or vilified. I tried not to be too swayed by the birth experiences of friends and family, but asked lots of questions all the same just to arm myself with as much knowledge as possible. For anyone who has access to BBC iPlayer I would really recommend the show Yorkshire Midwives on Call as a non-dramatic but realistic representation of birth!


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