Leaking in pregnancy. When most people think about it that sentence, they’d think of breast leakage. But the fact is, pregnant women leak from just about everywhere. We leak urine and gloop from our vagina, gas from the back end, fluids from our nipples. We tend to sweat more, are more likely to have runny noses. Many women cry a lot more, too. And then we come to the inspiration for this topic in the first place: waking up on a drool-soaked pillow with a stream of saliva dribbling down your cheek.
This morning, if someone had asked me to describe pregnancy in one word, that word would be … moist.
I was having a conversation with a few people the other day who all feel put off when they hear the word ‘moist’, but ultimately it’s the most accurate way I can think to describe it.
The truth is that pregnancy isn’t as glamorous as it’s sometimes made out to be. Not all women glow. Many complain about acne, oily skin (possibly where the glowing comes from?) or extremely dry skin. Hair can become too oily or too dry. Nails can become really brittle, or, for some, much stronger. Dry mouths, thirst, sensitive teeth, loose ligaments, loose bowels, all those things that you don’t hear or read about all that much.
To be honest, one of my biggest issues is flatulence. Some days I feel like I am only moving through my day on account of the air pressure pushing me forward. I have to be creative when it comes to finding ways and places to discreetly let it out, hoping I can not only do it silently but move away quickly enough to not be blamed for any resulting smell.
At home, of course, I admit to taking pride in the long, high volume farts that smell so bad even my dogs leave the room. My children think it’s hilarious, though of course it doesn’t encourage good manners, so one has to be careful.
I’m actually very lucky for the most part. I carry small, don’t get morning sickness, my breasts don’t hurt, I’m not excessively tired (though yes, I do try to fit in a nana nap when I can). But I fart and drool and have to find creative ways to avoid constipation. Some days I find it hard going to sleep, some days I find it hard waking up, and some days I deal with both. Some days I have to pee a lot, some days not so much. And by pregnancy number three, I’ve become reacquainted with the ‘squeeze’n’sneeze’, which can on occasion morph into the ‘sneeze’n’pee’. Squatting on the ground and sneezing while in a position where you can’t squeeze your legs together can very easily call for an underwear change.
And after all that you give birth and things become even more moist. I personally start off losing copious amounts of snot-like gloop that makes me think of an elephant sneeze. Then you move forward to the waters breaking, pushing out the baby and then the placenta. After delivering the placenta with my second child, my midwife massaged my abdomen, and out came big, lumpy chunks of more gloop, which was possibly the most disgusting feeling of all.
Meanwhile, after my first, my midwife stuck her finger up my bottom to check that all my muscles were intact, and then put a pessary up there, just to enforce how impersonal giving birth can be.
There’s no dignity in being pregnant and having babies. People who can’t stand to be seen naked find themselves birthing in the buff and not caring. You don’t care that you poo in front of someone and they then wipe your backside for you. You don’t care that fingers of strangers end up in places you previously never wanted anyone but your nearest and dearest near. My husband has now seen more of my digestive system than he ever expected, as not only do you push a baby out, but also part of your insides.
All that said, I love pregnancy. I know many dislike being pregnant but I absolutely love it, and the idea of giving birth inspires thrill and excitement in me. But whether you love it or hate it, it’s so worth it at the end.
Plus, of course, it prepares you for all the leaking and moistness that comes with having a baby, and acts as a good introduction to the world of parenting.