‘You didn’t know you were pregnant?’ - The Symptoms That Never Were

You’ve heard the stories before: we all have.

Girl wakes up with unexplained stomach pain, a seemingly ordinary trip to the toilet ends with a baby and a lot of confusion, and voila, an undetected pregnancy. I’ve always been suspicious of these stories. I personally couldn’t get my head around the notion that someone could go 9 months without noticing a person growing within them. I’m sure anyone who has experienced pregnancy would have the same doubts - pregnancy is noticeable after-all. Morning sickness, ridiculous cravings, ballooning belly; you’d be crazy to miss it, or at least, I assumed so. Oh how wrong I was.

I made it to just short of 7 months before I realised I was having a baby. I say realised, I more stumbled upon it, than actually realised. I can wholeheartedly say I was clueless to it; not even the slightest of inklings.  Had it not been for an upcoming summer holiday – I probably wouldn’t even become aware of it until even further down the line.  I was a big health and fitness nut prior to pregnany – I’m sure I still will be after – so I was used to seeing changes in my body whenever I made a conscious effort to make them. I knew how to gain muscle and I knew how to lose fat, so when I tried to drop my body-fat a little before going on holiday, and saw little results, I knew something was not quite right. I thought I had a hernia. Not a baby. I hadn’t gained any weight really – from January 1st until June 29th I’d gained 4lbs, 6 months worth of pregnancy weight that I put down to a change of circumstance. It all came down to waking up one Friday with a ‘bump’ that had popped, and no way to explain it. A joking suggestion from my partner to take a test, which of course came out positive, and there we have it, pregnant.

When you tell someone you’ve been pregnant without realising, I can guarantee within the first 45 seconds you’ll have been faced with at least 3 of the following questions. At least. I’ve answered each countless times – and every time I do I go over my situation yet again and realise there was probably so many warning signs that I didn’t pick up on, if your not expecting them, your not looking for them, but I suppose they are there.

1.    How?! Did you not gain any weight?
Nothing noticeable. I was running 2 miles and strength training daily though,  so it wasn’t for lack of effort on my part. During the second trimester my diet was near enough perfect, I lived off of chicken, rice and broccoli in a last ditch effort to strip some fat off before this holiday, so that obviously balanced out the weight I should have been gaining for my pregnancy. On the plus side – I didn’t have to buy any maternity clothes my entire pregnancy.. on the down-side, my body has decided to play catch up and gain 2 and a half stone in the space of the final 2 months.

2.    But did you not have morning sickness?
Absolutely nada. Some people just don’t get morning sickness full stop – it all completely depends on your genetics and mine said no sickness for me. I can recall a week or so during what would have been my first trimester where I felt nauseous for a few hours a day, but this was put down to a bad chicken breast and put to the back of my mind… What more could it really be?

3.    You must have been craving weird stuff though…
If you don’t know your pregnant, you don’t notice these things as cravings. To this day, I couldn’t tell you what my cravings were. I ate a hell of a lot of chocolate in the very early stages – but I really like chocolate, so I put it down to that. I took an odd liking for Donner Kebab on approaching the 5 month stage, but my partner ate it weekly, it was only a matter of time before I jumped on the bandwagon. I’m a firm believer that cravings are all in your head, if I wasn’t aware of what was going on in my body, then I wasn’t going to notice in inferences for odd foods.

4.    Did you not get a period?
I was on the contraceptive pill and had been for a long time – my regular week off from it was not regular though and never had been. I’d been a gymnast as a child, and then stayed relatively lean following that, so I could never guarantee a monthly visitor. My body didn’t like the pill it’s safe to say, and I probably should have had that checked prior, but I just assumed everything was fine and given that I was protected nothing could come of it.

5.    You mean you didn’t feel any movements? None at all?
The first movement I felt was on the day my bump ‘popped’. I’d have been 27 weeks or so, and although the movements were probably there all along – I’d finally considered the idea that I might be pregnant, in doing so, I think I allowed myself to notice what was going on in my body. And what was going on was a little baby foot booting me straight in the ribs! It’s absolutely crazy to think it could have been happening all along and I wouldn’t have noticed because I wasn’t looking for it.

As I look back now, the signs truly were all there. There’s no doubt about it. But I was not looking for them – every ‘symptom’ could be put down to another thing  that was on-going in my life.  I’ll no longer be sceptical of the stories people tell about undetected pregnancies; they truly do present themselves in a different way in every single individual, and not being attuned to it does not mean your any less entitled to being a mum. Next time you meet someone who didn’t know they were pregnant, maybe avoid those five questions, and stick to ‘well, at least your still fitting into your skinny jeans!’, that’s always a safe bet.

Post by guest blogger Kirsty McManus.  You can find her blog at www.trackingtwenty.co.uk

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