IT was a quiet breezy night. My husband and I had just put the kids to bed and I sat there watching them sleep. When did they get so big? I used to be able to carry them with just one hand! I looked at their baby photos around the house and sighed.
It could’ve been the soft wind from the balcony, it could’ve been the peaceful sound of the kids’ soft breathing, or it could’ve been something I ate for dinner that made me dizzy, but these words suddenly came out of my mouth. “Sweetheart, do you want another baby?”
What. Did. I. Just. Say?
Was I serious? Were we ready for a third baby? I looked at my schedule for the year. With new investors coming in, more store openings, penetrating new markets, investing in new areas of the business, there was only one word to sum my year up: NOTIMEFORANOTHERBABY.
But weirdly enough, somehow all that didn’t scare me. My maternal instincts took over and told me I was ready. My parents had always told me to have all my kids while I was still young and energetic, or else I might regret not having more in the future. Parents are always right, right?
Over the months, I took so many pregnancy tests that I pretty much peaked all pharmacy sales for Clearblue sticks. The results were all negative, and stubborn old me blamed the sticks for malfunctioning. All 20 of them, all spoiled! But one fine day, I took the test again and voila, a plus sign. I just sat down for a minute and took in the moment. Oh my goodness, I’m pregnant. Finally, a Clearblue stick that actually worked! I took my phone and whatsapped my husband a photo of the plus sign. “We’re pregnant,” I wrote with a smiley emoticon.
First baby, a big feast to announce it to our families with tears of joy. Second baby, a celebration with a romantic dinner. Third baby, whatsapp a photo while yawning.
And with that, we are now on the way to Baby No 3! Yay!
The “yay” got softer and softer over the weeks. You see, I’ve had two pregnancies before and they were pretty much smooth-sailing. I had maybe a little nausea and heartburn, and my back pretty much ached the whole nine months, but it was bearable. I worked every single day of those pregnancies, I dressed up like a normal human being, and I was generally cheerful. So I thought the third pregnancy will just get easier. I mean, come on, my body already knows the drill, it should be even smoother than before. No, guys, no. If in two pregnancies before, I was still Vivy, with this pregnancy, I have morphed into a new creature – let’s name her Pivy (pregnant Vivy).
Vivy? She’s positive, she loves working, she wakes up with a smile, she’s friendly and she loves dressing up. Pivy? Oh, let me introduce you to Pivy.
Every morning, Pivy wakes up with a groan and a sigh. She refuses to dress up and only wants to wear her worn out kaftans. She can barely eat anything and only wants to lie down on the cold marble floor to stretch her aching back. She hates wearing make-up and meeting people. She goes to work, dragging her feet, in a big jumper and jeans that she can no longer button together. She doesn’t just have morning sickness - she has morning, afternoon, evening, and night sickness.
It’s even more frustrating for Pivy because her tummy is already so big that she looks like she’s five months pregnant and can no longer hide it from the public. She has consulted her doctor and the doctor says everything is fine, it’s probably just the “age factor” followed by a death glare from Pivy (note to self: change doctor). She consulted her parents too and her mother-in-law said it’s because her tummy is already loose and it’s now a bungalow house since it’s the third baby (note to self: change mother-in-law).
Is Pivy emotional? Not really. Just maybe that one time when her husband forgot to say goodnight and she slammed the door so hard and cried thinking he doesn’t love her anymore. Ok, maybe a tiny bit emotional.
If you call me now, Pivy might answer the phone, so let me apologise in advance for everything.
It hasn’t been the easiest first trimester and I really really miss old Vivy who’s always happy and on the go.
In my eight years of experience as an employer, I’ve seen many of my teammates get pregnant and enter the new beautiful life phase of sleepless nights and diaper changes. Many of them morphed into their own versions of Pivy and I just could not understand it then. Because I had had relatively easy pregnancies, I thought they were “weak” and were just entertaining their self-pity – a trait I dislike. Oh, the amounts of MC slips I received and even calls from their husbands and mothers to tell me they wouldn’t be coming in to work – I dreaded it and used to complain to the HR department. Pregnancy shouldn’t impair your ability to perform and it shouldn’t affect your other teammates whose work you are also delaying. I was (still am) a tough love kind of boss and “It’s all in the mind” is what I would usually say to my pregnant colleagues because that’s what I told myself when Iwas pregnant.
And then, bam, Pivy came into my life. Oh, when karma hits, it hits hard. No, I cannot lose. I need to win this. I have to remember the words I used to tell others. I need to take charge and get Vivy back. My company depends on me, my husband needs his wife back and my kids need happy Mommy back.
So I did what I had to do. I woke up, got ready and looked at myself in the mirror. “Ok Vivy, remember this? This is a make-up brush. It used to be your best friend. Rekindle the friendship today.” I put on my make-up, I wore my clothes (pants unbuttoned but that’s ok, no one knows), I put on my heels and I walked out the door with my sunglasses on, wind blowing my dUCk scarf in slow motion. Cue soundtrack: “We are the Champions” song.
In a few minutes, I arrived at the front of my doctor’s clinic. I marched up to his door and with guts and glory, I started my speech “No doctor, I refuse to live like this. There must be something you can do. I want to be normal again while carrying my baby. I want to be rid of this nauseous feeling every day, I want to stop moaning about my gas, I want to be happy etc etc etc.!”
He looked at me and smiled. “Ok sure, I will prescribe you some medication for all that,” and scribbled something in my file.
There was medication for this? “Why didn’t you say so earlier?! Prescribe me a double dose, please.”
At the end of the day, every woman is different and we all go through different types of pregnancies – some are easy, some are difficult, some even have to be hospitalised! We must know our own bodies and consult our doctors to know our limits, but at the same time, we must have strong minds to tell us we can get through this. We must take the initiative to motivate ourselves to be strong, to be happy and to be grateful. Find whatever it is that lifts you up and works for you – with Daniel, I ate cold guava to combat nausea, with Mariam I had to chomp on ice chips like a crazy lady. This pregnancy, whining to my husband seems to make me feel better. #prayforfadza
To all other pregnant mums out there, here’s to wishing you an easy and smooth pregnancy! In the meantime, stay strong and stay positive always. Don’t be the reason why people don’t like to employ women and don’t be the reason why people say pregnant women are weak. There are so many women in our past who did it all – hustled their way through, pregnant and all. They ain’t got no time for morning sickness. Let’s follow in their footsteps and uphold the good name of strong-willed women.
I went to the office smiling. I could feel Vivy slowly creeping back into my life and a happier mood surrounded me. I rubbed my tummy and suddenly was reminded to be grateful for everything. I had been so blinded by Pivy that I had forgotten to bask in the joy of becoming a mother once again. Oh my goodness, I’m going to have another baby! Yay!
Fashion Valet co-founder and 2018 Women Empowerment Year icon Vivy Yusof muses about the struggles of being a working mum and finding balance as a multi-faceted woman... in heels of course. Follow her journey at @vivyyusof and on her YouTube channel.