So if you have been enjoying the joyful secret that is only between you, your husband, family and a few friends, there shall surely come that time when the secret shall be no more. Like the Bible says, everything that is hidden shall be revealed. [refer to Luke 8:17]
Once the first trimester is over, you should know that your little secret will begin to be noticed any time soon. Usually, the first to notice will be the nosy old women around you who have superhero eyes that can see your bump even before you see it yourself. Ha! Luckily, I had none of those around me at work or church. Well…maybe there could have been one or two at church but definitely not women who could approach me to make a comment so I can safely pretend there was none of those.
So at work, I can say my boss was probably the first to notice. I think he only did because he had been away for a while (I think the entire first trimester) so it was easy for him to compare the Cheryl he saw before he left with the Cheryl he saw when he returned. Lol. I dress casually to work (thank God for working in a small tech company :)), usually wearing a pair of trousers and a T-shirt. Around the 18th week, I had had enough with using a rubber band to fasten my trousers (since the buttons couldn’t do the trick anymore). I had my seamstress make me some maternity clothes and thus, the secret was officially revealed to the work gang. One colleague asked how come I was wearing a maternity dress…or wait, are you expecting? Hehe. That was funny. Another asked if he could start congratulating me. So that was how it came to be at work. Generally, afterwards, my colleagues were generally very nice…perhaps overly nice.
Church folks…well, they surprised me a bit. Unless, like I mentioned earlier, they did notice but said nothing. I adjusted my church clothes well in advance since I had more fitting clothes for church. But no, didn’t get any comments that early. Ah well. Around the same time my work folks noticed, I started getting comments every Sunday, starting with a few and then many more until it was almost normal.
So! What generally happens in Ghana when your bump starts showing?
Oh. I hated this one! “Abrewa”, “Old Lady”, “Ataa Maame”, “Openfo”
Hello? I have a name and you know my name. Why don’t you use it? Sigh! And for those who didn’t know my name, couldn’t we try a nicer name? I mean “Abrewa”? Seriously? Even for someone who was not feeling very conscious of my ever changing body, I did not like it so you can imagine how someone who did feel conscious would have felt. “Ataa Maame”? I’ve told you I’m expecting twins eh? Ah well. In the end, I felt it was just something I had to deal with and couldn’t do much about. Ghanaians are…just Ghanaians.
Now this was fun. People offered me their seats at public places. A bank teller told me not to join the queue the next time I came in. On Good Friday, I skipped the long queue to venerate the cross. There was even an occasion where a police man stopped me when I was driving to do his usual “checks” but upon seeing my bump, he just asked me where I was headed and then wished me well. Hehe.
It’s amazing how much we can do that we take for granted. As your bump grows, there is a limit to the kind of activities you can undertake. One in particular is bending. Dropped your key or any other item? Be ready to squat gently. Want to get you clothes washed? You may have to set up a stand to place your laundry bowl on so you stand to wash like I did. Even sleeping! Back sleeping is a no no. Sleeping on your right is okay occasionally. The most recommended is sleeping on your left. Your limitations should however not make you lazy as exercise is highly recommended for a healthy pregnancy.
Contrary to my perception that there will be entire sections of shops with just maternity clothes, maternity clothes are actually very difficult to find in Ghana. Well at least, I found it difficult. Let me know in the comments below if you didn’t. I resorted to sewing the majority of my maternity clothes and boy! Was it annoying! Due to the fact that I didn’t have a very good idea of how big I was going to get, I had to alter some clothes about 1000 times. In fact, there were a few I was not ready to alter so I ended up wearing just a few times. One of the very few clothes which I actually bought which was really beautiful, I could never even wear. It fit when I tried it on at the shop. In two weeks, when I was ready to wear it, I couldn’t! Hey. Was this just me or every mama-to-be goes through this?
Like the saying goes, enjoy everything while it lasts. Now that I am reflecting on this time, it was actually an interesting phase. Perhaps, next time around, I will be more prepared for all the changes that come my way.
So, tell us. How did you handle the time when your pregnancy started showing? What was exciting and what was not? Tell us more, Ghanaian mamas! Share in the comments below. 🙂