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Anna Daly: ‘I’ll wear my stretch marks with pride’

We hear it all the time, each pregnancy is a unique and individual journey. As cliched as it sounds, it's so true. Just as you think you have things under control and you're dealing with all the changes (and they are many, believe me) something else strikes and you're caught off guard.

But would I change things?

Not in a million years.

I'm a few weeks off my due date now and I feel very blessed to be in the position I'm in. But as I've also discovered, having a sense of humour will certainly help along the way.

When I take the time to glance downwards it feels like I'm dressing someone else's swollen frame. I'm thrilled to be pregnant and feeling well but it's still a real shocker to see your body change to accommodate this new life. Everything is just a little more 'puffy'. And I'm not just referring to boobs and bump! (Boobs being a huge bonus in my case.)

At 6.45am one morning a couple of months ago, I went to change from my comfy cosy Uggs into a pair of zip up knee-high boots in advance of going live at 7am for Ireland AM and I was shocked to discover that I had a struggle on my hands to zip up my, usually roomy, boots! I wasn't bothered and the team got a good laugh over their morning coffee at my expense. Jibes about my newly acquired chubby calves ran for at least the first two ad breaks!

As for stretch marks, I've never lathered myself in as many oils and potions in order to keep my skin soft and supple, in a vain attempt to avoid those silvery streaked lines some of us are prone to. However, if I do get them it won't be because I didn't moisturise and it certainly won't be the end of the world either. In fact, I'll be damn proud of them. What's more, I'll probably have a new respect for women I see who show the tracks of this journey, perhaps we could even exchange a glance of acknowledgment having both been through a journey that you'd expect would harden you but, I have a feeling, only serves to soften you.

We hear it all the time: be prepared, knowledge is power and all that. But being quite squeamish, my approach has been to gently consume relevant literature around pregnancy in small digestible doses.

However, being that bit further on and with the fear that I may have read 'too much', I'm going to suggest that there's a strong argument around ignorance being bliss!

I don't understand those young teenage girls we see on reality TV shows who don't realise they're pregnant until these strange pains strike and suddenly they're in the throes of labour. How do they float through nine months of their lives in an airy, carefree, nonchalant manner and not actually notice ANY of the symptoms? The swollen boobs, the aches and pains, the need to use the bathroom more often, the emotional outbursts, the leg cramps, the nausea, the headaches (I should stop here).

Being an expectant mum is an amazing feeling but it would be very tough to ignore the symptoms along the way.



Symptoms

So, is knowledge really power in this particular case? I have to admit, sometimes if I'm concerned about something and I research it, I end up even more perturbed. And don't even start me on googling your ailments. That's when you end up reading the most peculiar, upsetting stories by the most un-hinged people in society. As a friend of mine pointed out, people don't go to the internet when things are going well. Horror stories are plentiful. My advice? Stay away from the internet!

My yoga class brings some zen into my life. However, I'm still getting my head around the 'AA' style meeting at the beginning where the instructor moves around the room and each excitable mum-to-be gives her due date and divulges her latest symptoms. There's nothing left to the imagination so as well as the pelvic floor exercises, my mind is getting a fair workout too.

However, no matter how bad your week has been, you realise you're not alone. Apart from those kids who don't even know they're expecting. The rest of us will try and enjoy our pregnancies!


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