My Pregnancy Journey: Dealing With Inescapable FatigueBy Nikki Igbo
Published: June 2, 2015
At 27 weeks and 3 days, I am tired. It’s not that I’m anemic or suffering from any mineral deficiency. It’s that I’m carrying around a little boy who seems to grow exponentially every few hours. Again, I feel the ligaments around my hips stretching, the skin around my lower abdomen growing more and more taut. Sometimes I experience shooting pains through my groin. As far as maintaining any type of set schedule, I’ve given up. I sleep when I must. I eat when I must. I am not in control. I marvel at how any pregnant woman at this stage can continue to function the same way in a working capacity. I shudder at the thought of navigating through Atlanta’s traffic or reporting to an office at 8am every day. Once this child is born, I wonder how I could care for his little energetic person outside of my body if I should happen to become heavy with another child. I’m convinced that single mothers must be secret superheroes or somehow possess extraterrestrial abilities.
Whenever I ponder pregnancy at this stage, I stand in awe of women all throughout history. Thanks to modern technology and the creature comforts of my under-appreciated American existence, comparatively speaking, I am beyond fortunate. Hot water, central air, an abundance of memory foam pillows, the ability to craft the crust of a peach pie from scratch just because I wake up with an undeniable hankering one morning—I am lucky to have all of this. But what of those women who lived ages before in these Southern United States or any warm or subtropical climate anywhere else in the world? What did those women do when they wanted to benefit from the buoyant paradise of soaking in a bubble bath? How did they find comfort when the temperature reached into the triple digits? What did they do when they needed to build a fortress of pillows around themselves in the bed just to get an iota of restful sleep? How did they sate their need for a sweet, fruit-filled dessert?
I think of all those pregnant Southern slaves who labored in the unforgiving heat for a merciless master, women who still needed to fill a cotton-picking quota each day despite aching tailbones and constant hunger. Or those pregnant ladies in Ehugbo, having to draw water from a far off source and carry it back home balanced on their heads along with another child strapped to their backs. Though I exercise in some way every day, I get winded just taking a flight of stairs. And that’s just the physical aspect of this process. Each month, I have a doctor to reassure me that my pregnancy is at it should be, that my baby is developing as he should, and yet I still worry in such a way that makes my brain tired. What of those women who don’t have ongoing access to prenatal care?
What about the general ups and downs of life to the ever-expanding woman with child? I recently had a death in the family and had to steel myself from slipping into depression. I had to consider the well-being of my child, so I had to find ways to avoid dwelling on the sadness our family felt in the sudden absence of our brother, son, cousin, uncle and friend. What of those women who were and are pregnant during a war, during ISIS’s constant terrors throughout the Middle East, Boko Haram’s ongoing threat in Northern Nigeria, Russia’s violent forays into Ukraine? How do those pregnant women cope in the face of a constant feeling of danger and harm befalling themselves or their loved ones? How do they find peace and rest should their entire families be slaughtered or go missing?
I think of the women who came before me and the women throughout the world who must overcome the kind of obstacles during pregnancy which I can’t even begin to fathom. At some point, like me, they came to the difficult realization that they are no longer in control. They find themselves at once vulnerable to their own circumstances but somehow resolved that they still have the duty of being life’s gatekeepers. They draw upon untapped strength, strength they were probably unaware they possessed until their lives demanded it. They carry on. They let go and let God. They focus on the miracle developing within and let the hope of their baby’s future keep them afloat in life’s turbulent sea. I think of these women and I am energized. I touch my belly, feel the movement inside and smile.
Don’t miss out on Nikki’s pregnancy journey. Check out the previous articles here: Part 1: From 2 Miscarriages to Positivity, Part 2: Pregnancy Worries, Fears and Prenatal Results, Part 3: A Few Notes About My Unborn Son’s Personality, Part 4: Recognizing The Exquisite Gift of New Life, Part 5: Hunger, Fatique and Looming Concerns of Parenting.
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