I’ve not wanted to talk too much about my pregnancy and all things baby, mainly because this is a travel blog about Scotland and I don’t want to scare off those of you who are here just for that.
But a wee update can’t hurt, can it?
The past 8 months have been like a box of Roses… mostly wonderful, but there’s been the occasional vomit-inducing moment (anything Turkish Delight or Orange flavoured, no thanks).
So let’s start at the beginning…
The Missed Period
The first trimester dragged on forever. I found out I was pregnant virtually straight away, thanks to a ‘just in case’ pregnancy test I took when my friends were arriving for a boozy weekend.
My initial reaction was delight; a warm cocoon of happiness surrounded me, which was a huge relief because at that stage I had plenty of reservations about having kids. It was the Haggis who suggested we start trying- I had spent so many years on the pill avoiding falling pregnant that I wasn’t even sure I could conceive.
I envisioned it would take at least a year, or not at all. My parents struggled to have me; I was the miracle baby that arrived after 10 years of trying.
When I showed the Haggis the test his first reaction was disbelief, then joy, and then he went into shock for a good two-week period. I was on cloud nine, buying hundreds of children’s books and unisex clothing!
The Adjustment Period
Our panic calendars were perfectly in sync because the moment he wrapped his head around becoming a father, that’s when I had a breakdown and the doubts about motherhood crept in.
He held me as I cried one night, expressing I didn’t know if I wanted to be a mother. What if I never developed a connection with the baby? What if it turns out that I don’t actually want a child? What if I’m a crap mother, and my child grows up resenting me?
Then I hated myself for feeling this way when so many women struggle to conceive when it happened on the first go for us.
I discovered these thoughts are all totally normal to have as you attempt to wrap your head around such a life-altering transition.
For the next few weeks, I went into a depression, grieving for my old self. I liked her a lot, and I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. No one really talks about this part of pregnancy. Or if they do, I missed the memo.
Hormones flood your system, and your body starts changing almost immediately, which is both amazing and panic-inducing. I truly felt like a different person at the beginning; my normal interests no longer interested me, I felt exhausted, and I just wanted curl into a ball and watch TV.
My first sign of pregnancy was round ligament pain- which is when the ligaments in your lower stomach begin to stretch to make room for baby. This meant I couldn’t work out or play netball, because I felt like my ligaments were about to snap. Usually, this happens in the second trimester of pregnancy, but no, my body was well and truly prepared to grow this baby (the first time I’ve been organised for anything!).
I went from loving life to barely recognising myself, and it made me sad.
The Vomiting Period
At around 6 weeks I contracted Covid19. The Haggis kindly shared it with me after spending a weekend at a stag do in Newcastle.
My symptoms were awful- and worsened by the arrival of morning sickness. The only silver lining was that I lost my sense of smell for several weeks, which probably helped with the morning sickness somewhat, but for one week I lay on the couch, a miserable, sinus-infected, droopy mess.
When Covid departed, I was in the full-blown morning sickness phase. I had also just left my full-time job to go back into blogging full-time. I’d organised 6 weeks of blog campaigns, which required a lot of travel around Scotland and balancing several deadlines!
It was a chaotic, messy period, and I learned that I needed to slow down, make self-care my #1 priority, and take a 2-hour nap every day.
The fatigue during the first trimester was extreme- I’ve never felt so tired in my life. Combine that with a constant feeling of nausea, headaches, depression, and raging hormones- I was an absolute joy to be around.
Thankfully the Haggis stepped up and did all the cleaning, dog-walking, meal cooking and hair-holding whenever I found myself huddled over a toilet. He’s a fantastic husband and didn’t complain once- I truly hope our son takes after him.
I was only physically sick a handful of times, and annoyingly, they say the sicker you are, the healthier the pregnancy. I seemed to have a thing for throwing up in hotel car parks.
When the Haggis and I were going out for dinner in Brodick on the Isle of Arran, as I got out of the car I promptly found the closest bush and let it all go. The Haggis watched me from the rearview mirror in horror, and a couple who were about to walk into the restaurant apparently turned around and said ‘’let’s find somewhere else to eat.’’
To date, it’s the Haggis’ favourite pregnancy story to tell.
There was also another time when we stayed in the Scottish Borders to celebrate my four-year anniversary of hiking the Scottish National Trail. We lasted one night, as the following morning, the Haggis said he spotted me on all fours, hurling my insides inside out in the hotel garden.
Round two came even more quickly, and I failed to make it to the garden, depositing my beautifully cooked Full Scottish Breakfast all over the hotel car park. The staff, to my horror and immense gratitude, cleaned it up while the Haggis loaded up the car and set Google Maps to ‘Home.’
Then there was the 4 am hospital visit after I developed worrying stomach cramps (constipation is no joke, baby).
I also had pretty bad food aversions; apple juice and berries on pancakes were the only things I could stomach.
I still don’t know how I made it through those twelve weeks, but I do know for a fact that I am superwoman. All women in the first trimester are.
The Nesting Period
When the second trimester arrived, I started to feel more like myself. I started to feel interested in my hobbies again, and the nesting phase well and truly set in.
We bought our new house one year earlier, and I had started on some house renovations, but I was not prepared for the intense urge to get as much done around the house as I could before Baby Haggis arrived.
First, I tackled the nursery. We paid for the room to be plastered, and the Haggis and I painted it, built the flatpack furniture, and rebuild the wardrobe. The Haggis is useless when it comes to renovation (sorry, love) and so there I was, huddled around my small bump, splattered with paint and sweat, power tool in hand.
In those three months the nursery, living room, utility room, office, and master bedroom were mostly completed.
I’m so happy with how the nursery looks! We chose a wild animal theme, and focused on creating as much storage for the many, many books I bought for Baby Haggis!
The Preparing For Maternity Leave Period
Running a business solo while pregnant is no easy task. Before I was pregnant, I could fire from all cylinders.
Then, my perspective changed. Self-care became a priority, as well as the energy-hungry critter growing inside me.
As soon as I fell pregnant, my small business suddenly boomed. Travel was back in 2022, and my Facebook group grew from 10,000 members to over 70,000. My Scotland Itinerary Planning Consultations were fully booked until I was due to go on maternity leave, and I was working with a bunch of exciting new Scottish tourism businesses.
So many wonderful opportunities were coming my way, and I said yes to way too many.
My inbox and DM’s were overflowing – it all became too much. My workload doubled but I was only operating at 50%.
I felt immense guilt when people would message me and I didn’t have the capacity to reply, I had to turn down work, and I became bogged down in admin stuff when I’d rather be writing about Scotland.
When I was 30 weeks pregnant, I spent one day in tears. I was so stressed out, that I just had to stop for fear of upsetting the baby. I sent tearful emails to my freelance clients, apologising for missing my deadlines, promising the work will be complete, but it will be late. I came to the wonderful realisation that it’s okay to be crappy in my business. It won’t be forever, but for now, I’m going to suck at my job because I have other priorities.
It was a huge learning moment for me: I don’t always have to be at 100%. I care so much about my business and I’ve worked bloody hard to get to a point I can work for myself full-time.
I also learned that raging hormones reappear at the start of the third trimester, so they may have been to blame for the tearful moments!
The Amazing Period
I hope I haven’t made pregnancy out to be awful, because despite the lows, I’ve actually really enjoyed my pregnancy and would 100% do it all over again.
When I started to feel Baby Haggis kick when I was 17 weeks pregnant, it was the most incredible feeling! I went from not recognising myself and having no connection with my baby, to falling in love with the little flutters as they grow stronger inside me.
The early kicks felt like a goldfish swimming to the surface of its tank to be fed. They grew more consistent, and pretty soon I could see my boy’s feet poking out the front of my belly.
I’d play games with him; tickle my tummy in places and be met with a swift kick.
Every time the Haggis put his hand on my stomach to feel him, he would stop moving. It was hilarious!
Now he recognises his Dad’s voice and when we’re chatting he will often start wriggling around. I’ve never met my boy but I feel like I know him. Pregnancy really is the most incredible bonding experience!
During the second trimester, I also squeezed in a lot of travel- so far Baby Haggis and I have been on 14 trips around Scotland, and spent a week in Spain.
I’m so excited to take him on more adventures when he’s officially here. One thing I’m looking forward to the most is seeing the world through his eyes. I yearn to see what his personality is like, what his interests are, and what makes his eyes sparkle.
I want to show him all the beauty in the world, to teach him to always have fun, no matter what he’s doing, and that life is for the living. I want to teach him to go out of his way to be kind, to travel, and to develop an unbreakable bond with himself.
The Haggis is going to be an amazing Dad, and I’ve fallen even more in love with him after seeing how excited he is to meet the ‘wee man’ as he calls him.
Pregnancy has been a wild adventure, and its taught me a lot. It has taught me to prioritise my mental and physical health, to not put too much pressure on myself, and rest when needed.
I’m feeling relaxed and confident about going into labour- and I absolutely cannot wait to meet my son!
If I have any advice for other pregnant ladies, it’s this. Protect your mental and physical well-being. Make self-care a ritual, listen to your intuition, and set solid boundaries. This may be interrupting a friend to tell her you don’t want to hear her morbid birth story, or missing a family dinner because you’re tired and need an early night.
Every pregnancy is different. Everyone has advice to give you, and everyone wants to tell you a different horror story about pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. From my experience, it is DEFINITELY not as bad as many make out. There are so many wonderful moments!
Focus on those, keep your mind strong, and try not to put any pressure on yourself. You know yourself best, and you’ve got this!