Disabled and Pregnant 

At 25 weeks pregnant, it’s getting slightly uncomfortable now, and there’s still quite a way to go until pushing day. As I’ve mentioned before, this is my third baby, but no two pregnancies are the same and it’s amazing which bits I tend to forget about each time. Other things are very familiar. 

Being this pregnant and being a wheelchair user full-time comes with its own issues, however, and I thought someone might like to hear what it’s like from a different, slightly lower down perspective. 

1. Do I even look pregnant? I currently just look like I’ve been to a large family BBQ and eaten everyone else’s food. For those who know me and know I am pregnant, they are not surprised by my growing belly. And even for people I know that didn’t know I was pregnant, I think they’d guess and hopefully not just guess that I’ve eaten all the fruit pies. But for those whom don’t know me, and might just walk past me outside or in a shop, I’m really struggling to believe that they see me as being a pregnant woman. I don’t know why it bothers me, but, there it is. Like it’s not real if people don’t recognise it. I feel like because I’m not stood up and have an obvious spherical swelling on my abdomen, wearing a tshirt that says “Hands off the bump, punk”, or whatever, and am instead sat down with what looks like your dad’s beer belly just resting precociously on my lap, it doesn’t necessarily identify me as an expectant mother. 

2. My lap is rapidly decreasing in square footage. Everything falls off my lap where before it would just sit there conveniently. As I write this, a cushion is teetering on the edge of my knees because it can’t quite get enough purchase to stay on me. It’s quite unfortunate really as even my children are feeling the wrath of being kicked out of the way by their soon-to-be baby brother. My 2.5 year old regularly asks for cuddles sat sideways on my lap but within a few moments one leg slides off, and then the other and then off she toddles, making it apparent that lap-based cuddling is just too much work right now. She’ll be back in a few months, I hope. 

3. If anything does fall off my lap onto the floor and no one is immediately at my side like a loyal puppy to retrieve said item, then I’m at a loss for ways forward as I can no longer lean to the floor for longer than a couple of seconds, and picking up pretty much any object takes an average of 1 hour 3 minutes while my hands fumble around aimlessly poking the object on the floor, until I give up, sit up and sigh. 

4. Oh yes, sighing. Or even just breathing. Having a baby growing in your belly, pushing upwards in your abdomen, and being sat down all day makes breathing such a chore at times. I mean really, surely breathing is one thing that I should be able to do by myself with no assistance! But several times a day I find myself breathless despite breathing what I thought was normally. It feels like I’m hyperventilating and it’s very annoying at 2am when turning over in bed to get comfortable has just ruined my whole night’s sleep, and now I’m irritatingly aware of every single breath, in and out. 

5. The unquenchable thirst, and the argument I have with myself over wanting to drink more and wondering if I want the drink more than I want to have to go to the toilet. Yet again. This is something any pregnant woman faces, but for me having to pop to the toilet (I cannot ‘pop’ anywhere), especially in the dark hours, is more effort than I’m willing to put in for the sake of extra hydration, at a ten minute round-trip. Sorry thirst, you lose. 

6. My partner told me, whilst getting into bed the other night that he thought David Attenborough could narrate a documentary about me. “Well that’s rude”, I hear you mutter. But really, he’s just quite  observant. Crawling from the bathroom into bed, groaning in pelvic discomfort and with a belly getting nearer to the floor each week, is somewhat akin to watching a pregnant water buffalo lay down for the night, close to birthing her next young and desperately trying to get comfortable in her bed. I think it’s quite a compliment really. I mean Sir David only narrates the best documentaries, right?

I think those are the highlights so far. Still around 15 weeks to go. Or slightly less as legend has it. 

If you have anything similar to add, disabled parenting or plain old able-bodied, please do let me know. 

Until the next installment…