When I was pregnant I managed to do most things on my own. Even after I was labeled high-risk, it felt easier to take on whatever was needed instead of asking for help. For me, asking for assistance was humiliating, only because I rarely receive it anyway. In the end, I'd rather save face and get through the nine months on my own. There's a lot of other things I was afraid to ask for during my pregnancy, too, and for similar reasons. While it sounds pretty damn depressing and isn't meant to deter those who want to have babies from procreating, for me, pregnancy usually meant either going without or doing things myself.
My first pregnancy wasn't labeled "high risk" due to pregnancy-induced hypertension. Even then, I would've sooner risked my blood pressure rising than ask my partner for any kind of assistance. Part of it was a pride thing, to be sure, but I honestly didn't want to ask because it usually ended up with me doing whatever I'd asked about anyway. Why bother, right?
Pregnancy with my youngest didn't go much differently, honestly and unfortunately. If anything, the pregnancy was more dangerous — I was put on bed rest — but I found that people were less inclined to help because it was my second pregnancy. It was beyond frustrating. All the requests that yielded little results trained me into believing my needs weren't worthy. So, eventually, I just stopped asking. With that in mind, and because I truly hope pregnant women the world over don't believe themselves to be less than worthy of all the help and support they need, here's some things I was too afraid to ask during my pregnancy that, in hindsight, I should've demanded.
Help Cleaning All The Messes
I've never been incredibly messy or anything, but when I was pregnant and my feet were swollen and my blood pressure rose every time I stood, it was difficult to keep up with laundry and dishes. My partner worked outside the home, and with our first child we didn't live close enough to any family. My only options would've been to recruit friends — which I was too afraid to do — or pay to hire someone (and we were broke). I had to alternate between a messy house and cleaning to my heart's content and until it was medically necessary I stopped.
I was a vegetarian for a number of yours. Then I got pregnant, and my first real pregnancy craving was a cheeseburger. I waited days before asking my partner for one, though, because I was afraid of the judgment. To my delight, once I finally did ask he jumped in the car, went to the super store, and bought everything he needed to make the best damn cheeseburger ever created.
Everyone wants to touch a pregnant woman's belly. I never wanted to offend anyone by saying now, but every hand on my stomach made me more uncomfortable and more defensive of my unborn offspring. Being the polite, hormonally restrained woman I tried to be, I never did tell people "hands off," but I really, really wish I would have.
A Leg Rub
My legs hurt so bad during pregnancy, and there was no amount of epsom salt baths or Icy Hot that could relieve them. I hated to ask my partner — who worked on his feet all day — to alleviate the pain with a rub, because it honestly felt selfish and even though I was pregnant. Eventually I did cave and ask him to help relieve the pain. Lucky for me, he still rubs my legs every night before I go to bed.
Sometimes pregnancy felt so lonely, and all I wanted was the comfort of a hug. I'd never ask, for fear of rejection or looking weak, but I sure wanted them. Anyone? Hello?
During my second pregnancy my partner and I desperately needed time away from our daughter, but living near my partner's family left me a little too afraid to ask for help. I didn't think it was my place, since they were only my family through marriage, and my partner always procrastinated until it was too late. Looking back, I wish I would have spoken up and reached out.
Yes, pregnant women get hemorrhoids, and no, I wasn't immune. I needed creams, but was too embarrassed to ask. That was, until the discomfort proved to be unbearable. A pregnant woman has to do what a pregnant woman has to do.
Consideration When Plans Are Made
I know life goes on, even when I'm sitting home pregnant and miserable, but I remember feeling so offended when I'd see that friends made plans without inviting me. They obviously had the right to invite whoever they wanted, and it's not like I really even wanted to go, it just would have been nice to have been considered. Pregnancy emotions are super complicated.
I've never been one to speak up when feeling in the mood and, for better or for worse, pregnancy didn't change that. If I had, though, I have no doubt my partner would've been all about it.
The biggest thing I felt was lacking, and that I was too afraid to ask during both of my pregnancies, was reassurance that everything would be OK. I was insecure about being a mother, scared having the high-risk pregnancies, and I really just wanted someone to remind me my feelings were valid and normal. Now I know better, but back then I wish I hadn't let the fear win.