When I discovered I was pregnant with my first child, I had no idea what would end up transpiring. I experienced all the "typical" early pregnancy symptoms, like morning sickness and fatigue, but down the line things got complicated to the point I was labeled "high risk. I didn't have the luxury of family or friends to help, and my partner wasn't always "enough." Thinking back, there's a lot of things a woman shouldn't have to ask for when she has a high risk pregnancy because, honestly, it's just freakin' unfair.
I don't blame my partner for not stepping up the way I needed. We were both young and the pregnancy was unplanned. He took on a full-time job and worked more hours than he ever had, and I appreciate that. Still, living hours away from family and friends left me in a lonely, miserable state, so once the doctor officially slapped on the "high risk" label, those feelings only intensified. I'd developed dangerously high blood pressure, so the simple act of standing on my feet for any length of time put our baby at risk. However, things still needed done; things like cleaning, cooking, and all the other household chores we'd taken for granted when I could accomplish them without repercussion. Towards the end of the pregnancy, I'd be put on bedrest and have to be induced a couple weeks early.
Five years later, my second pregnancy wasn't all that different. I was put on bedrest much earlier, my baby labeled a "threatened abortion," and after losing nearly all of my amniotic fluid, I was induced again. My body didn't seem to like pregnancy all that much but, thankfully, both of my children were healthy upon arrival (minus a bit of jaundice and reflux issues). There are times my partner and I think of having another, but then I remember how difficult my pregnancies were and how lucky that my babies, and myself, survived.
With that, there are plenty of things I wish I never had to ask for. During an already stressful, draining period of my life, it's frustrating to constantly request what is nothing short of obvious. I always felt like I had to do everything my damn self or it wouldn't get done (hence the elevated blood pressure and high risk). So, with that in mind, here are some of the things no woman should have to ask for when going through the same. Ever.
Being pregnant is exhausting on every level. During my first pregnancy, it felt like I couldn't sleep enough. Between morning, noon, and night sickness keeping me awake (and a rapidly changing body that left me swollen, wheezing, and out of breath doing the simplest of tasks) all I wanted to do for months on end was rest. Still, I had to request it.
With my second full term pregnancy (after two devastating losses early on), I was tired on an entirely new, other-worldly level. By this time, my partner had a different, time-consuming job and we also had to care for my (then) 4 year old. We had little help thanks to my partner's family, so I still had to ask for the time and pace to rest.
Let it be clear: a woman enduring a high risk pregnancy should never, ever have to ask for rest. It should be a given.
Comfort And Empathy
I realize how demanding I became for those nine months, but come on! I was growing and carrying a human who might not make it if I didn't put my needs first. I truly don't think I should have needed to ask for compassion, empathy, or some form of understanding as to what I was going through. These pregnancies took a toll on my hormones, making me feel depressed and alone. It would've been cool to know someone had my back, if only to say "I hear you."
Help With Usual Tasks
Just because I was pregnant and high risk didn't mean the chores or life responsibilities disappeared. With my youngest, they became magnified because I still had to care for my oldest, too.
I remember cleaning until my legs swelled up, cooking until I couldn't breathe, and sobbing for someone — anyone — to help me just a little bit. In the end, that pregnancy was most at risk because of all I had to take on (and wish I hadn't). When my fluid levels dropped, my doctor's appointments got so frequent, it was mandatory I stayed off my feet and yet, my level of "help" didn't increase. In the end, we induced for the health of both myself and my baby but all these years later, I'm still bitter.
Someone To Go To Doctor Appointments With
I had tons of appointments to ensure things were progressing normally. It gets old when you go to all these things alone — especially when I could've received potentially disheartening news at any one of those. My partner came along when he was able, and my mom tagged along a few times, too.
However, for the most part it was just me and my 4-year-old daughter. I was scared and unsure, in real need of a pep talk. High risk pregnancies should never have to go to any appointment alone because what if it's the last one? My final appointment started with a heart monitor and fluid check and ended in an induction. I was alone and it felt terrible.
Company During Bedrest
With all the bedrest, pregnancy was a desolate time. There's only so much TV one can watch, so many books to read, and so much journaling to do. At some point, it's nice to talk to actual people.
With my first pregnancy, I laid around all day while my partner worked. I had next to no visitors so I took refuge in talking my cats. If it sounds super depressing, try living it!
Consideration For Anything
It seems while on bedrest or pregnant in general, I was pushed aside a lot of times. I didn't feel as though anyone considered me or my feelings when I needed them considered the most. It doesn't take much to make a stranded pregnant woman's day. Just think of her. Be there to help when you can. Talk to her. Chances are, she could use it.
I had a lot of down days during both full-term pregnancies. Thanks to the overwhelming fear of losing my babies, hormonal fluctuations, and bedrest, I didn't really feel like I was myself. I had a lot of negative thoughts and feelings run through me all times of the day about everything from my body to how life would change after the baby arrived. My partner tried to be upbeat when possible but he was tired from working and I get it. I often think maybe having a little more positivity in my life — be it human interaction or a hobby I could do from bed — might've saved me from sinking further into depression.
A little hope and positivity goes a long way when the mother is constantly in fear of losing her baby. Be the person she can count on, rely on, and most of all, trust that you have hers and the baby's best interests at heart. It'll make a world of difference, I promise you.