My Pregnancy Journey: Third Trimester

The third and final part of a series that looks at the good, the bad, and the ugly of pregnancy – a must-read for the pregnant women in your life!

The third and final part of a series that looks at the good, the bad, and the ugly of pregnancy – a must-read for the pregnant women in your life!

The final stretch. We’re nearly at the finish line…

You’ll probably be counting down the weeks until eviction day! I write this post whilst being in the middle of my final trimester so I’ll probably be adding to it as I get further along. So far, this final stretch has been by far the most challenging for a number of reasons, but mainly because the reality of becoming a single mother is creeping closer.

Although I have an abundant amount of support from my family, ultimately this journey is mine and mine alone. Nobody really tells you how lonely this journey can be. When I wince at night due to the aches and discomfort, it’s me who has to comfort myself, be my own source of strength and reassurance. When I breakdown in my prayer and ask God to help me, I come out of that prayer even more determined to succeed at being a worthy mother to my child. And I guess that’s my biggest fear, not being good enough.

I struggle to tame the self-doubt that my husband planted in my mind when I was in my first trimester. A part of me knows I am worthy and will give my child all that I am able to give and more until my last breath. But another part of me makes me feel less than. That’s the part I’m in constant battle with.

As the time comes closer to meeting my little blessing, holding him in my arms, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming need to protect. To protect my baby from harm, from my partner, his family, and from the world. Because a part of me tells me that they won’t leave this alone, not just yet. A part of me tells me that they will try and make my already difficult journey even more difficult by suddenly asserting their involvement with my baby as soon as I give birth.

I can’t help but think about the future, about when my child will grow up and notice that his father isn’t around, or when he’ll start asking questions. I think about what and how I would tell him, how it will affect his development and life. Because let’s be honest, it will affect his life. I grew up with an absent father from the age of 15 and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t affect me at different points in my life.

I sometimes feel guilty for not being able to give my child the ‘conventional’ family that includes both parents in the picture. I think about when it’s time to settle down again, and whether another man would ever be capable of loving a child that is not his. I don’t have a plan and I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I am trying to just take a day at a time and not overwhelm myself with what I have no control over – the future.

There are days when I feel like I’m just a vessel, solely at the mercy of my baby. Not able to do anything, not able to walk around, stand, sit or lay down because every position, every movement is incredibly uncomfortable. When it’s warmer the swelling in my feet/ankles/legs is so severe, to the point where my movements are heavily restricted. My knees and joints are in pain every day. I wake up every day feeling as though I have severe arthritis in my hands. My fingers cramp up and don’t move until I massage them and manually try and open them up. I am told this too is common during pregnancy and will soon fade away post-birth.

I remember feeling fed up and deciding to go grocery shopping with my mum one day. I underestimated how difficult I would find it. My lower back was in agony to the point where I had to stop in the middle of the store and physically couldn’t move my legs even an inch. It felt like my spine and pelvic bones were on fire and the pain from that had paralysed me…Needless to say, I learned my lesson and have not left the house since!

I had briefly touched upon pelvic girdle pains in my previous blogpost, but I can now go into more detail. Every single night is worse than the day before. I’m unable to maneuver myself into bed and out of bed. Not to mention the simple act of changing sides from left to right is incredibly difficult. The pain in my lower back/tail bone is sometimes unbearable, but only when I have to lay on my back for a brief moment in order to switch sides. I have to physically hold my legs to slowly shuffle first onto my back, take a deep breath as I try and externalise from the pain, I then slowly lower my legs and bump onto the other side.

If I had to describe what it feels like, it’s as though my pelvic bones are literally dismantling. I was told by my midwife that it’s to do with how my pelvic bones are widening but are not aligning properly – but there’s not much they can do about it, especially with COVID-19 which is just great…

Throughout this trimester, my energy levels have been temperamental. Some days I feel completely like myself and I’m able to remain really active in terms of working out. On other days I am drained in every sense of the word and require multiple naps throughout the day. The workouts I do, I have had to alter drastically from high intensity to low intensity. I call it the ‘single mothers workout.’ I mean, I’m not going to have a man to carry my baby car seat around now am I? So I’ve taken it upon myself to strengthen my upper body so that I’m able to be independent and hold my baby and his car seat by myself.

I have also started doing pregnancy yoga every morning which I find really helps with the pelvic girdle pains and gets my body ready for childbirth. Along with low-intensity workouts and yoga, meditation has also helped greatly! I have always considered myself to have a high pain threshold, but I don’t doubt the pain I am yet to feel during childbirth will completely throw me off! so, I believe training one’s mind to remain as calm as possible and be in tune with one’s body will assist me when I am in labour.

One of the biggest fears for most women I assume, will be childbirth. We have movies and TV shows to thank for that! (FYI I used to love watching One Born Every Minute!) Surprisingly, since the start of my pregnancy, I haven’t been too concerned about the birth. It might sound strange to a lot of women who haven’t given birth yet – but I’m really looking forward to it all. I don’t see the point in stressing about something that I have no control over and something that I cannot skip.

The way my mind works and the way I have managed to remain calm is, I envision the end result – skin-to-skin with my baby. I envision the feeling I’ll have, the feeling of contentment, the overwhelming emotion of relief and comfort for reaching this amazing milestone on my own. Now in order to get that end result I have no choice but to go through the process of childbirth. It’s a hurdle every woman must face so I want to try and remain calm and positive about it. I have tried to do some research on how I can somewhat prepare mentally, but in all honesty, I do sometimes feel completely overwhelmed with information because, well there’s just too much of it out there!

I was advised to practice some breathing techniques in preparation for childbirth. I remember practicing one morning and suddenly I burst into tears. Perhaps it was because I was envisioning being in labour and breathing and I was angry and hurt at my husband for having made me go through this alone. I don’t know what it was…but I quickly realised that I need to pull myself together. It is what it is and yes, you can cry all you want at your circumstances, but you still have to go through it, so toughen up.

“You have gotten through 9 months of your pregnancy by yourself, with no partner. You did that. You can and will get through whatever else comes your way. You have to.” I repeated to my reflection in the mirror. This is the reality of my situation. Most mornings I wake up and have to get used to my reality all over again. Every day coming to terms with what is. It’s not easy, but I guess that’s life.

I have realised that I am more stressed about the menial things such as; my outfit for when I go to the hospital or what if I forget to ‘groom’ myself prior to going into labour. I know, I know it sounds so silly, but I think this is my brain’s way of distracting me – somewhat like a coping mechanism. And I think that’s what it comes down to for every woman. Finding their coping mechanism. For some, screaming out loud will help them process and deal with pain better and some may find calculated slow breaths will help better.

Everyone has their own way and as women, we shouldn’t discourage others with how they deal with childbirth. It doesn’t make you less of a woman if you scream your guts out, if you’ve had to have an emergency C-section or willingly opted for a C-section in fact, if you’ve taken every pain relief there is or if you’ve only had gas and air. My point is if you’ve given birth before, don’t force what’s worked for you down someone else’s throat and criticise someone’s choices or experience.

You may also have your first call with your health visitor and I’d just like to warn you about what the conversation might sound like: “I’m thinking of bed sharing with my baby” – “INFANT DEATHS” / “Bottle feeding” – “INFANT DEATHS” / “What about…” – “INFANT DEATHS!”

Okay, I might have got a little carried away there but it’s not the most pleasant thing you want to hear especially when you already have your new mum-to-be nerves.

Another common symptom amongst pregnant women is iron deficiency. This is something I had when I was 16 and again during pregnancy. I was informed during my second trimester that my iron levels were low and was advised to have an iron-rich diet. I thought I had it under control but boy was I wrong. My iron levels plummeted even lower and I was on medication. The downside to this for me was that it meant I may not be able to have a water birth which I had mentally prepared for, because apparently, women with iron deficiency are more likely to bleed more than usual during child birth and being in the water will make the process of managing blood loss harder.

I was also told that I may need a blood transfusion after giving birth due to the blood loss. For some reason, I wasn’t concerned about anything other than the possibility of not getting my water birth. Perhaps this was a way for me to fixate on something, to give me some sort of direction and focus. The thought of not getting my water birth made me stress out a little because I then had to alter my plan mentally.

I was also told that my blood group is RH negative and my baby’s is most likely to be positive. This means that there will be complications if somehow our bloods mix – perhaps by trauma or bleeding during birth. As my body will then create antibodies to destroy my baby’s blood cells which can lead to anaemia and jaundice or in the worst cases – a stillbirth. Due to this, I had to have an Anti-D injection in the muscle of my arm which will prevent my body from attacking my baby’s blood cells. From what I’ve learned, the injection is precautionary primarily for my second pregnancy rather than my current pregnancy, so we’ll deal with that when and if the time comes in sha Allah.

One of the biggest things that I’ve been stressed about is my divorce. I have been separated from my husband since February and Islamically, I have to wait until after the birth of my baby to pursue the divorce. This has been a major added stress to my journey as I so desperately want to enjoy my new chapter of being a mum and all the joys and struggles that come with it. But the divorce remains a heavy weight on my shoulders throughout and I won’t find peace until the divorce is final.

Life would be easier if he divorced me, as it’s a quicker process for us both. And although he has no clear intention to make amends or take me back, it doesn’t make sense why he’s not willing to cooperate. The only logical speculation I can make is that his family and him want to make it difficult for me or to take back the monetal mahr (gold) which at this point, I don’t even care about. He hasn’t financially assisted me throughout the marriage, or the pregnancy, and have no doubt he will continue to be tight-fisted once the baby is born too.

I have heard endless amount of stories from other women who have been through similar journeys and how difficult the process can be through the Shariah Council. I want nothing more than to end that chapter as quick as possible so that I can start the next chapter of my life and learn the ropes of being a new mum. But I’d be lying if I said that I have hope in an all-male Council…At this point It’s not even a matter of who will be labelled the bad guy, because I am willing to be painted as the bad guy as long as it means this chapter closes ASAP. (I’ll be writing another blogpost about my experience with the Shariah Council in pursuing a divorce when I go through that process)

Moving on, I’m currently in my 9th month and due in 6 weeks in sha Allah. I feel energetic, uncomfortable, excited, and nervous all at the same time. I cannot wait to meet my little baby and start this new chapter of my life. I have no doubt that I’ll make a good mum because I have the best role model anyone could have – my mother. I am no longer allowing negativity or toxicity to enter my personal circle. I couldn’t be more grateful for this little blessing and I will do all that I can to create a life of love and peace for my little blessing.

Please keep me and my little cub in your prayers.

This article was originally published on the author’s website Safura’s Corner, found here.



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