Pregnant Lady Diaries #4: Support is key (and not just for your belly)

Being pregnant anywhere amounts to an emotional rollercoaster. Multiply that times ten and you'll start to understand what being an expectant mom in Venezuela is like.

While watching “What to expect when you’re expecting”, I thought: “típico que termino siendo esa catira”; and by “esa catira”, I mean her:

Every pregnancy is different, and while some go through it without even a hiccup, others like me will live out almost every cliché.

As I write this, I’m only on week 15th, but let me tell you:  I felt like crap during most of the first thirteen weeks.

On my first check-up on week 6, my OB/GYN prescribed me two weeks of progesterone and it was all downhill from there. My stomach was constantly aching and burning, I was nauseous 24/7, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t focus.

I cried because I had to get out of bed to get the remote or a glass of water. And when Carlos ran to see if everything was ok and I simply said: “todo es tu culpa” —It’s all your fault.

I became an insufferable human hulk (Carlos will totally vouch me on this).

I couldn’t face getting up out of bed, but I still had to do research to source stuff for the baby while the inflation/black market dollar boogey man was breathing down my neck.

I counted the hours till the end of the first trimester, because most books, webpages and friends said it would get better by then… and it scared the hell out of me to think that it would last another 6 months.

This is a struggle that many pregnant women will go through, whether you’re in Venezuela or La Conchinchina. But the current crisis ads fuel to the fire.

I couldn’t face getting up out of bed, but I still had to do research to source stuff for the baby while the inflation/black market dollar boogey man was breathing down my neck. Even if the baby is not due for another 6 months or so, we couldn’t help but think about all the expenses to come and even the cost of schools.

While I was trying to rest and fight the nauseas, Maduro kept on playing with monopoly money and the opposition danced “Up and Down” around the dialog table.

And while I fought the urge to cry when it was my time to do the dishes —though Carlos will try to argue that this happened before I got pregnant— I had to try and make sense of the crisis to write and answer millions of questions from family, friends, reporters and even my own self.

This is when a good support group becomes indispensable.

We created a small WhatsApp Watch Patrol of close friends when Carlos had a 5 day trip schedule for our 9th week of pregnancy, coinciding with my parents’ two week vacation trip. This was all in the middle of my hulk days and I was a bit concerned about being home alone.

Though I laid in bed for the whole five days and binge-watched Gilmore Girls, Stranger Things and Extreme Couponing, having my friends on watch made me feel at ease. The simple “How are you feeling? Need anything?” message can be of huge help.

Also, being able to talk with your friends and family about anything other than the scarcity of diapers and the price of rice, even if it’s via WhatsApp and Facebook, will help the future parents relax in the midst of all this chaos.

Though I haven’t enrolled in any, some prenatal classes might come in handy, not just for all you’ll learn, but for the support you’ll definitely find in other parents-to-be. Here is a directory of some pre and post natal services available in Caracas.

You can also find support in social media. There are a couple of IG accounts that have great tips for moms to be and you can even find some free activities to clear out some doubts and concerns about the pregnancy and how to care for your future baby. Some I’ve come to love are @cmdlatrinidad and @mipedialdia.

You can also follow some IG accounts that might not be filled with information, but will hopefully comfort you. Some are @thebump, @whattoexpect and -my personal favorite- @lucyknisley.

You OB/GYN is also an important part of the support system. Though you might see him once a month, you can usually text them or call them and the “don’t worry, It’s completely normal” message can ease some very worried parents to be.

When it comes to Apps, webpages and books, more is not necessarily better. You might end up overwhelmed and more stressed out. Do research a little at a time and move along with your bump; if you’re only 4 months along, don’t rush into the 8th month chapter.

Having a baby is a huge responsibility and having it in Venezuela demands a lot from the parents, family and friends. But, has my dad always says -among a million other quotes: “todo tiene solución; resolveremos”. It’s important to take things one step and one day at a time. Also, many in Venezuela are going through many of the same struggles and it helps to think about it to put things in perspective.

And who can forget: a crisis is the perfect caldo de cultivo for innovation and creativity.

Pro Tips:

  • Your friends and family want to be a part of your pregnancy and they’ll be more than happy to support the parents-to-be in any way they can. Stay in touch. Simple “How are you doing?”-type conversations are extremely helpful.
  • Look for some prenatal classes you can enroll in. Through social media you might even find a couple of free activities that will be filled with information and new members for your support squad.
  • Social media can help you do research and also relax, all for free. Try to follow both accounts filled with useful information and even some comforting baby pictures.
  • Your OB/GYN is a key supporter. Have him/her on speed dial.
  • Remember: when it comes to Apps, webpages and books, more is not necessarily better.