You're only pregnant, not disabled. Right?

Saturday, 24 May 2014

It would seem there is very little gray area in how pregnant woman are treated, the pregnancy is either totally ignored with no extra regard to how the woman is treated or else they're treated as if utterly fragile and incapable of ordinary life, both of which can be equally frustrating for the woman in question.  Sometimes you do need special consideration, like being offered a seat on the bus or having someone offer to carry something that's especially heavy for you or even just understanding, for the exhaustion or mayhaps the extreme nausea.  Other times, you just need people to back the fuck off with their misplaced 'Are you sure you should be doing that?' or '[so and so] can't do that, she's pregnant'

Granted, the majority of woman can cope with pregnancy pretty damn efficiently as can their bodies.  Sure they may get the nausea and the bum grapes but other than that you see them still whizzing round, wearing heels at 37+ weeks, successfully doing every day life with activity filled days with barely a laboured breath right up until the first contraction.

We're not all that lucky though.

You should never judge a pregnant woman based on your own experience or perceptions of how you assume pregnancy should be.

Just because a woman appears to be coping fine, still show some consideration.  If another woman appears to be significantly suffering, don't dismiss it.  Every woman and every pregnancy is different.

Some woman have nausea so severe, they're hospitalised.  They risk dehydration and their bodies become exhausted and weak to the point where they find it difficult to function.

Others suffer with the invisible, battles against mental health issues that they may decide to stop medication  due to pregnancy.  Mental health issues plus pregnancy can be a toxic and dark journey that many can find utterly harrowing, it can steal the journey that is pregnancy, it bleeds dry the joy and the wonder.  Mental health impacts on every part of your life and on those around you.

Then there's SPD (Symphisis Pubic Dysfunction).  This is a little understood term that is bandied about readily.  Most woman get pregnancy niggles, you know a bit of back ache or leg ache maybe even a achey foof.  Want to know what SPD feels like?  Imagine someone taking a baseball bat and smashing your pelvis with it, several times.  Imagine being dropped from a great height, onto a stone horse saddle, repeatedly.  It hurts to stand up, it hurts to sit down.  You spend ages working up to turning over in bed because it's that painful.  Getting dressed becomes agony as the action of lifting one leg at a time renders you in extreme pain, ditto to walking up or down stairs. Whichever position to sit or lay in, becomes uncomfortable and then painful after short periods of time. You walk like John Wayne and it still hurts.  You're walking home from Nursery holding your childs hand and every time they jump, swing or do a superhero move you audibly yelp as the slight tug of their body weight seems to radiate through your hand, up your arm and jolts your pelvis. Your pelvis hurts, your foof hurts, your lower back hurts, your hips hurt, the inside of your thighs hurt, hell, even your bum hurts.  All the time. A simple ten minute walk feels like a hike, as your legs protest at being made to separate, you wince and feel like crying. Every step feels like columns of pain from the ground are shooting up your legs to your pelvis whilst at the same time someone is trying to rip both your legs out of their sockets in opposing directions oh and don't forget the band of pain that's crunching your lower spine.  It gets worse.  Every day the pain intensifies.  Bending down to pick stuff up, getting dressed, sitting/standing become filled with pain.  The little things you take for granted like walking to the shops, or going out for te day with your family become near impossible.  Every day simple tasks hurt more and more.  The lucky ones just have to exist through the agony, the unlucky ones are unable to and have to rely on crutches or even a wheelchair.  It's debilitating.  But hey, you're only pregnant.... you're not disabled.  Right?

Wrong.  Perhaps disabled is the wrong word, I know as someone who suffers from chronic SPD pain that the thought of referring to myself as 'disabled' sounds ludicrous yet if we take the word and strip it down to it's basic definition:

  1. (of a person) having a physical or mental condition that limits their movements, senses, or activities.

Then yes, sometimes to some people pregnancy in all it's hope wonder and magic can actually be disabling.  

Sometimes it's not just pregnancy niggles and aches.

Sometimes pregnancy isn't a straight line journey, you can't assume every pregnant woman is walking the same nine month path.  Like everyone in life you have no idea of their journey.

Pregnancy can be wonderous, beautiful, amazing whilst at the same time being excruciating and miserable.


  1. My mental health is at it's worst when I am pregnant. It is a horrible, awful struggle, and something that I know now, but didn't at the time through both pregnancies. Those were some dark, dark times. Coupled with SPD in my second pregnancy was especially horrific. Enough to stop me getting pregnant again! If I ever fancy a third, it will not be a decision lightly made.

    1. I absoloutely empathise on both fronts, though i'm evidently a masochist and on my fourth.

  2. I really struggled in later pregnancy - with both depression, back/hip pain and lack of sleep - due to being so uncomfortable and I agree there was a little bit of an attitude from some people that I shouldn't complain so I can completely relate to this post.

  3. what a brilliant blog! I seem to feel hassled by people interested in 'my welfare' when really it feels like theyre digging for me to say how crap it is to validate their time during pregnancy. Other than that the people i have around me are fantastic and supportive and have been such a help over the past few months. luckily my mental health issues have been dealt with and n longer pose a problem for me for which im really glad!


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