Pregnancy isn’t always a walk in the park; in fact, it can feel more like a slog through a warm jungle. We chatted to Kimberly about the challenges she faced during the nine months before her daughter arrived and how Bellyful helped take some weight when she and her partner needed it the most.
My partner John and I weren’t trying for a baby so it came as a quite a shock when my doctor announced that I was pregnant. We began preparing for the journey ahead but it quickly became clear that this was going to be a difficult pregnancy. I was throwing up every day and as the months wore on, I became so weak that I had to go to the hospital for blood and iron transfusions. John was amazing throughout all of this but even he couldn’t do much to make me feel better.
When I was about four months along, I started an online group with a bunch of other soon-to-be mums. It was a real lifeline. We shared stories, talked through each others’ problems and always had a good laugh. One of these women had used Bellyful during her first pregnancy and told me how much of a help it was for her.
At around eight months, I was feeling so unwell that cooking had become virtually impossible. It seemed like the right time to give Bellyfull a call. The woman at the other end of the phone was absolutely lovely and told me that they’d have some food over to me within the week. Unfortunately, the afternoon the food arrived was the same day I went into labour. By the time the lady knocked on my door, I was on my living room floor having contractions. I’d completely forgotten that she was coming!
I was rushed off to hospital. My labour went on for 72 hours before they gave me an emergency c-section. Finally, I got to hold my baby in my arms. I was exhausted but it was an incredibly special moment. When I got home a few days later, there was a freezer full of Bellyful meals waiting for me. Absolute lifesaver.
Those first few weeks of motherhood are kind of a blur. I don’t remember a lot of it but I remember the Bellyful meals. There was some beef lasagne and bolognese. Easy things that you could heat up when you needed them. Wholesome and filling and full of vegetables. They must have been tasty because I ate them all and I’m quite picky.
A couple of years on, I have just begun the process of becoming a Bellyful volunteer. My daughter, Saoirse, just turned two in March and for the first time since she was born, I feel like I have some time to give back to a charity that helped me.
I learnt a lot from that time in my life. I learnt that you aren’t failing when you ask for help. I learnt that having a baby can be a really hard time, not just for the mother but for the father too and the relationship between them. I learnt that ‘sucking it up’ and dealing with it yourself doesn’t always work and in fact, can often make things worse. Sometimes you need people to take some of the weight. That’s the magic of Bellyful. It’s not just about the food; it’s about having someone take some of that weight. I can’t wait to do the same for other soon-to-be mums.
Words by Kimberly. Image by Shar Devine Photography.