Before becoming pregnant I had heard of this amazing thing called the 'pregnancy glow'. From what I imagined, I was going to have this sheen of light on my face at all times, like a real life Instagram filter.
Bluebirds would land on my shoulder, as I bounced through pregnancy in my maternity activewear, with people constantly commenting on my beauty. I was really looking forward to becoming the poster woman for pregnancy.
Turns out that the only thing that ‘glowed’ about me during pregnancy, was the shine from the night sweats that woke me up, as I flopped uncomfortably from one side to the other.
There was nothing luminous about my body during either of my pregnancies. Unless the definition of luminous has changed to mean swollen, gassy, tired and hormonal.
I caught my first glimpse of what would come, at just 6 weeks pregnant with my first child. I was excited about a night out with the girls. That is until I realised, with horror, that my ankles had become so swollen that I could no longer wear my favourite strappy heels. Not without causing permanent scarring. It was all downhill from there.
Every morning I would wake up with new and delightful pregnancy symptoms. Varicose veins, thrush, itchy breasts, vomiting, heartburn, haemorrhoids and diarrhoea. I was far from the picture of vitality that I had thought I would be.
The only thing worse than pregnancy symptoms is the misconception about pregnancy symptoms. Or maybe the carefully styled, carefully edited photos of pregnant women cradling their bumps while wearing flowing dresses in maternity photos. Not a great boost for the self esteem.
My hormones constantly raged from hysterically laughing to hysterically crying. One night I cried because a baby in an ad on TV was crying, and I couldn’t stand it. I wanted to rip the baby from the television and nuzzle him closely to my chest.
Surely there are women out there who do indeed have this mythical pregnancy glow, otherwise it wouldn't be a thing? Or maybe it is just made up, because if we knew the truth before actually becoming pregnant nobody would want to have babies?
Thankfully, even after 9 months of swelling, vomiting, pelvic pain, tears, uncontrollable weight gain and losing my hair, holding my first gorgeous baby made all of this fade from my mind. And of course I went on to have a second equally adorable baby. As women, we must all collectively be masochists. Or babies really are so cute we can conveniently forget how hard it is to make them, when we want another one.