The day we saw our baby’s heartbeat for the first time, I was six weeks pregnant, on the dot. We’d been trying to conceive for a full year, and it had been hard — with lots of emotional ups and downs, tons of money spent on pregnancy tests, and one fairly heartbreaking miscarriage. So catching a glimpse of that surprisingly strong thump-thump-thump made our hearts sing (and our inner type As loved hearing the doctor call this foetus an “overachiever,” as it’s not always possible to detect a heartbeat so early). We took the rest of the day off to celebrate, hitting a museum, then heading to local restaurant for a dinner of our favourite Greek food — and almost as soon as we sat down to eat, the nausea began. I could barely touch my food, and the taxi ride home was fairly excruciating. Considering I hadn’t had morning sickness during my first pregnancy, I was sort of comforted (it is, after all, a good sign) — but also filled with a bit of dread. Was I about to embark on 34 weeks of misery? Would all the pregnancy clichés turn out to be true?
In a word: No. In fact, a bunch of pregnancy side effects (both fun- and shitty-sounding) skipped me over completely, much to my surprise.
There’s a weird disconnect here — on the one hand, it’s almost a cliché in itself by now to say that no two pregnancies are alike; but on the other hand, our cultural depictions of pregnancy (and the questions we cannot stop asking pregnant people) still make it feel like there’s basically just one very specific pickles-and-ice-cream way to be pregnant.