10 March 2016, by Tan Li Lin
No one told me it would be this hard.
I wouldn’t dare to say I’ve been through many “hard times” as described by our fore-fathers, or even something more recent like my mum having to ride Bus 14 back and forth to work everyday when she was pregnant with us and having to get down at Katong and Raffles Place to barf before getting back on… but
THIS MOTHERHOOD PREGNANCY THING IS HARD.
Sure I’ve been through times in my life I had to struggle – physically (like when I was in Girl Guides and hurling things half my weight in the hot sun), mentally (like having to do sales calls) and emotionally (get dumped by my then-love-of-my-life for the school Ah-Lian), but those are instances I either chose to go through to build character and skills, or where I didn’t have a choice (like heart-breaks) at least a shift in mindset helped.
In this case, no amount of positive thinking, shoulders-to-cry-on or escapism methods work. I’m left on my own while my body takes over and decides on a daily basis what it feels like doing to me. This is the first time in my life I feel powerless to something else – and I don’t mean ‘powerless’ in a sense of ‘someone in my team doesn’t want to listen to me boohoo’ power-less. I mean, this thing is taking over me and I can’t do anything!
I’ve realised that reproduction is an extremely powerful force. It’s almost as if the moment I got pregnant, centuries of evolution kicked in and started being boss. At the risk of sounding whiny, for the first time in my life, I proclaim that I actually am suffering – so far, I’ve sobbed twice, propped up by my elbows on my bed, with a clueless but worried husband next to me, watching me gag and cry simultaneously at how much I am suffering (Acid Reflux, nausea and iffy digestion is the BANE OF MY PREGNANCY!!!).
Alas, it has also been an extremely humbling journey (actually, honestly there’s no other way to see it):
1. Your Ego really doesn’t feature in the matter – Who cares if your list of strengths include “strong-willed”, “personable”, “fun-loving” or “dedicated”? Or if bits of your ego suffer from, say, the lack of appreciation from your boss, or a snide remark a colleague made? The body definitely doesn’t care. It doesn’t matter who you believe yourself to be – all forms of self-importance goes out the window when it comes to all things hormonal. You realise you really are just a bunch of cells that are working together according to evolution’s protocols, and your opinions about what they do and how they do it simply don’t matter. You just gotta learn to flow with Nature’s flow.
2. What woes? Also going out the window – all those concerns about having children. Worried about hospital bills? Turned off by “all that money spent even before the kid arrives”? “My life will change / bye-bye to freedom! / My career will suffer!!!” are considerations I spent so much time pre-pregnancy buying into… that barely even feature in my thoughts now. Now, all I can think about is making it through the day, and if I can eat later.
3. Mother’s instincts are boss – I fell horribly sick the whole of last week, spent time in the hospital on drip, vomited my insides out and moaned and rolled around on the bed like a dying beached whale. It was a nightmare, but the only nightmare I was having was the thought of losing my kid (more specifically, boiling it to death in my womb). The only thing I was obsessed about was sponging my abdomen to cool my womb down. Of course, I really doubt it worked, but I was so convinced I’d lose the baby. I only realised this fear, driven by Mother’s Instinct, when I recovered and snapped back into sanity – the websites were right, babies are a lot more hardy than we thought. In a comforting way, I have stopped worrying about ‘being a mum’ because it seems ‘Being Mum’ knows how to do its job perfectly well without #1 (my ego).
Lastly, apart from being humbled at my journey thus far, I am also very humoured by my husband, who, apart from witnessing my orchestra of sounds (don’t think I need to be detailed here), is completely clueless, despite trying very, very hard to be emphatic.
Poor thing – wait ’til it hits him…
Lin Tan is an Entrepreneur and an Executive Coach who dedicated herself to others and her career, until family changed all that. Follow her blog on www.maybebaby.sg/blog and journey with her as ‘life after 30′ opened up a completely new chapter.