By Amy Molloy
There are side effects of pregnancy that women expect – nausea, insomnia, mood swings and cravings. We’re taught that life with a newborn comes with challenges like lack of sleep. However, after finding out I was pregnant with my son when my daughter was only 18-months-old, I faced a side effect that I hadn’t read in the baby books – my vision had (drastically!) altered.
And, I’m not the only mother to experience this.
There is a reason laser eye surgery is not recommended for six months after pregnancy, as I discovered after stumbling across a blog post on a health website. It wasn’t a coincidence that I first noticed my eyesight shift shortly after seeing two lines on a pregnancy test.
Any hormones shift can impact the health of your eye and, in pregnancy, can make your eyes more sensitive to light, cause headaches or – in my case – drastically decrease your tear production.
By the time I (finally!) booked an appointment with an optometrist I had damaged my eyes from continuing to wear my contact lenses through the discomfort. Immediately, I was put on an “intensive dry eye plan” including heat packs, eyelid cleanser and three types of drops including steroids.
The relief was instantaneous and, within ten days, my eyesight was almost back to normal.
But there was another consequence to my treatment. For two weeks, which turned into four, I couldn’t wear the contact lenses I’d relied on since I was a teenager. If you had warned me in advance I would have been mortified but I discovered that being forced to wear my glasses (every day!) changed my view – physically and emotionally.
Firstly, I chose to see my glasses as a symbol of self-care. After months of ignoring my own needs, I had taken positive steps to address my health issue and, for that, I was very proud of myself and grateful to the expert who was helping me.
I also discovered I like my look in glasses. I realised that I was letting my 13-year-old-self dictate my opinion – the teenager who dreaded going to school wearing unflattering frames. Now, as a 35-year-old with a healthy income, I can pick glasses that call to me and express my creativity.
My advice to mamas? If your eyesight shifts with pregnancy or during the postpartum period, then raise it with your optometrist – earlier than I did! And, if you’re a long-term contact lens wearer, don’t be afraid of a lens ban. You might find that, as a new parent, your eye sight has reduced – but your self-esteem has increased!
Amy Molloy is a journalist, Hay House author and mental health storyteller who produces uplifting content for the biggest names in global publishing. Her sell-out book, The World is a Nice Place: How to Overcome Adversity Joyfully was followed by Peace, Instead of This which she released for free on Instagram. Through her online course, Healing with Children, she helps parents to find time for emotional selfcare.