We know that women come in all different shapes and sizes and women have different pregnancies, births and babies. We know this. It’s factual. So why, WHY do we always compare ourselves to others?
When I was pregnant, I was so sick of people jokingly asking if I was carrying twins and saying how big I was. Yet, I have become aware that some women find it hard when people say they look so tiny. So before we have even had our babies, we are comparing how we carry babies and how we are faring through our pregnancies.
Next step is the labor. Did you have natural? Did you have drugs? No matter how comfortable we are with our decision (or lack thereof) sometimes we still find ourselves comparing our experience to others.
Next comes breastfeeding questions along with does your baby sleep? Are you going back to work? When are you going back to work? Why aren’t you? Do you have help? It’s endless. Most of the time these questions are harmless and form part of a conversation amongst friends so you don’t take too much notice. Its innocent exchanges of information. Sometimes however, depending on how you are feeling, it can make you question your decisions and actions. It’s just human nature.
So with this in mind, I thought it would be a fun experiment for my sister and I to answer the same questions about our pregnancies and births to show you all how two sisters can have completely different experiences. As sisters we make totally opposite decisions and have completely opposing views and yet we are great mothers and despite our differences, we have one goal in common which is to raise healthy babies.
How was your pregnancy?
Emma: It’s no secret I found pregnancy a challenge. There are women who have definitely had harder pregnancies than myself. However, everything is relevant and I honestly can’t remember loving one week of it. I was either sick or in physical pain for the majority of my pregnancy.
Caroline: I was really fortunate to have an easy pregnancy. I felt well for most of it and I carried small. This meant I could continue travelling, exercising and working. I continued working (night shifts and all) until 35 weeks.
What did you love most about pregnancy?
Emma: I did love the feeling of creating life. As corny and cheesy as that sounds, it is amazing what our bodies can do. I also loved those kicks.
Caroline: The kicks! They were amazing.
What did you find difficult about pregnancy?
Emma: Osteitis pubis – I found that harder than the sickness.
Caroline: Because I carried small I would always get asked, “You have such a tiny bump. Is everything ok? Is the baby ok?’ During your first pregnancy you’re constantly wondering if everything is all right and these types of comments don’t help!
Emma: Every day for 5.5 months
Caroline: Horrible for the first 3.5 months (but nowhere near as bad as Emma got it)
How was your birth?
Emma: Absolutely amazing. I was so lucky
Caroline: Ditto. Amazing.
What was the most useful accessory during labour?
Emma: The epidural!
Caroline: Trusting my obstetrician implicitly and of course the epidural!
Drugs or no drugs?
Emma: As I said above, epidural all the way.
Caroline: I’m a doctor so I was always going to have an epidural!
Did you have a lot of visitors in the hospital/hotel?
Emma: Strictly only two visitors a day.
Caroline: We had loads of visitors
Those first 6 weeks. How were they?
Emma: Apart from struggling to breastfeed, Belle was a really cruisy and happy baby.
Caroline: First 4 weeks were bliss and then Victoria started to get reflux…
Breastfeeding or bottle?
Emma: Both until 8-10 weeks then exclusively bottle.
Caroline: Exclusively breast-fed for 8 months, then combination until 12 months.
Post pregnancy body. Did you snap-back? Worked hard or still working?
Emma: I’ve been working so hard but still have 8kg to go. It’s been the same for 4 months.
Caroline: I was one of those irritating women that walked out of the hospital in their pre-pregnancy jeans. I’m finding it harder to keep weight off/stay fit now as a working mum with a 2 year old.
What did you find the most difficult during the first 6 months of being a mum?
Emma: Definitely breastfeeding and the identity crisis I went through. I felt this unnecessary pressure to be everywhere and do everything and be a new mum. It was unrealistic.
Caroline: Victoria was a really unsettled baby with terrible reflux. I also suffered from post-partum depression. I found the first 6-12 months of motherhood really difficult.
Were you pleasantly surprised or shocked by anything?
Emma: I was lucky my husband was so hands on and an absolute natural. It didn’t surprise me but it certainly was a welcoming quality.
Caroline: People talk about how amazing the love for your child is but I was still shocked by how powerful it is.
When did you go back to work?
Emma: I contract so I am able to pick and choose what works for me. But I did do a styling shoot when Belle was 6 weeks.
Caroline: I went back at 12 months.
Did you want to go back to work?
Nanny or daycare?
There you have it! It’s brief snapshot of some questions we thought were worth asking and hopefully this shows you how different we all are even when we are genetically bound.
Written by Emma Hawkins
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