Blog Motherhood Pregnancy

I’m grateful, but this is hard

I remember the day I found out I was pregnant. The sheer joy that overtook me. The readiness with which I accepted a future of morning sickness, dietary restrictions (I’m looking at you paté, soft cheeses and runny egg yolks – you are missed), heartburn, the excruciating pain of labour, and consequent sleepless nights.

I am so blessed to have this baby growing inside of me.

Right now, there are ten little fingers, and ten little toes inside of me. A baby who, when wriggling to get comfortable and go back to sleep, as we watched in grainy black and white, looked identical to his/her father. A profile like his or her brother. And a personality all of their own.

Inside me are two hearts beating. The second of which I hope, every day, continues to beat.

I have worried more than you could imagine. I know you are in there, baby, but I can’t see if you’re okay. I can’t hold you like your brother. Even though I may question myself at times with him – am I good enough? – I simply don’t know if I’m doing a good job with you.

You remain a secret to me.

I know I already love you. In a different way. Almost like my heart is slowly growing every day and I feel it must be too big for me now, the amount of love it has to hold.

But the truth is, I haven’t enjoyed pregnancy so far. And for that I feel so guilty.

I think, as a mother, you are constantly reminded of the things you should do, think, or feel. The word   ‘grateful’ is mentioned a lot.

But it’s all relative parenting. I do not get as much time with my son, perhaps compared to the average. So for me, time away from him is painful, raw and incomplete. But, for you, maybe a small blessing. A chance to recuperate.

Our experiences are as different as we are people.

And, for me, I am finding this really hard.

I am not used to not being able to devote myself to things. Especially my son. I don’t like that I have to save up my energy, expel it with all of the enthusiasm I can muster, and then the wind is knocked from my sails before he’s even begun to enjoy me.

This weekend I tried really hard. We got out his craft box. He painted – a rather morbid looking cave. I tried to teach him to draw people. He was so nervous that he might get it wrong but giggled as I guided his hand. He’s left-handed, as is Mark, something that always makes me smile.

But it felt like it was over in a heartbeat. And then I was on the sofa, and calmly he understood and said: “Would you like to cuddle me under the blanket, Mama?” And I did very much.

But I felt so guilty. I felt like, already, this little baby was taking me away from my last moments with my big, little baby. I was mad that I had nothing left to give. And I was mad that everyone else could do so much more with him. And I was slipping to the back of the line when it came to the most exciting person in his life.

And it’s not just him. It’s the pressure of wanting to be as good as usual at work. And knowing that I’m not. Knowing that concentrating is harder when I’m willing the nausea to go away. Or feeling bad that I yawn in someone’s face. Again.

The guilt of knowing that I should be eating fruit and vegetables. And drinking lots of water. When all I can stomach are things that would normally be labelled as ‘bad’. Spending time in the kitchen, preparing a stew. Beef, carrots, onions, potatoes, mushrooms and swede. Cooking it for hours. And then throwing it all up hours later, for the first time in weeks. And crying your eyes out because it seems like the only thing to do at the time. Afterwards, sitting shakily at the other end of the sofa, worried that you smell of sick and embarrassed because you probably do.

It’s the emotions that you can’t control. The stress of getting this building work finished – something that shouldn’t bother me so much. The way Elsa (our cat) annoys me when she knocks over my mirror when I’m trying to get ready, because she wants food or affection, or a combination of the two. The panic I feel when I have five minutes to get Bill dressed and in the car, while trying my best to not forget everything he’ll need. The insecurity I feel as I stand next to Mark and feel like he looks as wonderful as always, and I seem so very big now. The isolation I feel because you do feel like you’re going through it alone. Even though millions of women have experienced it before you.

I chose all of this. And I am so lucky that I’m able to be in this position. So to say I’m finding it hard is a difficult thing to admit. Because I’m torn between wanting people to understand, and wanting people to accept me. To approve of me. And to tell me I’m doing a good job. Especially when part of me feels a little like I’m failing.

But then I feel a flutter. Hear a heartbeat. Or look at that scan photograph. Or at the three year-old boy who I endured it all for first, so I could hold him in my arms.

And of course it’s worth every second. It really is the first sacrifice a mother makes for her child. I know every symptom I have, means my baby is growing stronger. And then I want to say: “Take it, take everything you need.”

Can you be grateful for something? But also find it hard?

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  • Reply
    26th October 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Ah Charlotte! Having never been pregnant I can't really understand all the sickness and emotion that comes with it, only imagine, but I would bet a large sum of money that everyone feels the same way, especially when feeling so sick and tired all the time. I have a friend who was ill for the entire 9 months and is seriously thinking that she could never go through it again. My granny often says she would have done childbirth every week as long as she didn't have to do the 9 months of pregnancy as she suffered so badly!

    I would imagine it's all 100% normal and going through the heads of pregnant ladies everywhere, everyday! And having honest posts like this help others to see that too. Sending un-nauceous vibes your way!! xx

  • Reply
    26th October 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Ahhh what a lovely, honest post. You must have so much going on right now as well as the tiredness! Although we waited years to get pregnant through IVF I was still nervous and anxious and having so many thoughts throughout. Keep well rested and don't worry – you'll be amazing 🙂 Jess xx

  • Reply
    Ria from 'Maria Noell'
    26th October 2015 at 4:18 pm

    I just want you to know… You are 'good enough'… You are perfectly normal for feeling the way that you do… You and your body are doing amazing things and you deserve to feel exactly as you need to…. Nobody in their right mind would ever be able to question your love… You have a beautiful growing family which you thoroughly deserve and everything is quite simply going to be okay. As long as there is love, nothing else matters. Don't beat yourself up sweetpea…never lose sight of all of the wonderful things to come to fit in to a vision of 'perfect' and don't doubt yourself…look at the sweet, loving boy that you have raised. x mwah x

  • Reply
    New Mum Online
    26th October 2015 at 11:10 pm

    The 1st trimester is incredibly tough. I found the tiredness nearly impossible. And the morning sickness was SUCH a shock having had NONE with Aaron. Couldn't go online as Wifi made the nausea worse. I didn't blog any of those things, as I knew I'd appear ungrateful for being pregnant and after wishing this baby into existence for over 2 decades, I never ever wanted to appear ungrateful, for my biggest blessing, so I totally relate to everything you say here. Aaron was very understanding when I was tired, so I can relate too to your little man agreeing to cuddle under the blanket. This is such a beautiful candid post. Wishing you well. Love, Liska x

  • Reply
    lucy at dear beautiful
    27th October 2015 at 6:42 am

    Oh Charlotte.. been there, oh-so-very recently. And it feels like the ultimate contradiction to be feeling so utterly miserable and so utterly blessed at the same time. I found it beyond hard in both my second and third pregnancies, that in becoming mummy to a new life I seemed to be doing a crapper and crapper job of being mummy to the babies I already had. That bit royally sucks! But honestly, just know that Bill won't remember the days when you were too under the weather to play… because in a few months time he won't remember what life was like before he had a brother or a sister in it. And for you too… while the feeling rubbish feels like forever right now, it's so so fleeting, and will feel like a hazy memory in no time at all! Big hugs lovely. You are being the best mummy ever to your two kiddos! x

  • Reply
    Frøken Mor
    27th October 2015 at 8:32 am

    This is the most beautiful, giving and liberating piece of text i have ever read. You are so strong to be able to feel, recognize AND put the feelings into words like this.
    All the best to William, baby, Mark and you from me in Denmark

  • Reply
    julia Pa
    27th October 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Aw Charlotte. Yes you definitely can be grateful but finding it hard. I think life is often hardest when you're feeling two strong emotions at the same time. It messes with our heads! Fingers crossed you'll enter the happy hormone glow stage soon! x

  • Reply
    27th October 2015 at 2:52 pm


    Probably not what I was supposed to take away from this post, but OMG your son is so empathetic! He seems to understand feelings more than a lot of adults!

  • Reply
    28th October 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Such a beautiful, honest post. I've really taken a lot from reading this, it's nice to know we're not alone when trying to handle such strong mixed emotions. We can do this 🙂 X

  • Reply
    I'm Every Mum
    23rd January 2016 at 7:48 am

    Gosh this is exactly how I felt. I had severe hyperemesis my entire pregnancy, Judah was only 7 months when I became pregnant. I had to stop breastfeeding him at 10 months as I had nothing left to give him, I was refusing to go in hospital and go on a drip because I didn't want to be separated from him. In the end he spent most of my pregnancy with his dad. I was bed bound, thank goodness he was small enough that he could come and have cuddles in bed with me and he wasn't too bored, but for the majority of my pregnancy he barely knew who I was. I'd gone from Mum to the lady stuck in the bed upstairs. It was horrible and also why we won't be having any more. I hated every moment of pregnancy but was still so grateful for this little life inside of me. Earlier than we would've planned but so meant to be and so loved. This is a beautiful, honest piece of writing and Bill will appreciate it when he's older. As soon as baby girl is here he won't remember these days. Xxx

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