I’ve met many mothers and soon-to-be mothers who say they love being pregnant. I’m not calling them liars, but they’ve clearly had a different experience than I have during my time as an incubator.
In the grand scheme of things, my symptoms aren’t too awful compared to what some other ladies go through (tip of the cap to these soldiers and all the physical, mental, and emotional wars they wage every day).
My pregnancy has been textbook when it comes to symptoms, but I’ve had to sacrifice a lot for my baby—and she isn’t even born yet.
I’m not saying that I hate pregnancy, I just truly don’t enjoy it. It’s taken me almost an entire nine months to realize that it’s okay to feel this way and it doesn’t make me a bad mother or a bad oven.
Things I Like About Pregnancy
The whole idea that females can grow humans in our bodies is pretty crazy. I admit, there have been some awesome milestones along the way:
- the first ultrasound where we caught our first glimpse of the microscopic tenant in my uterus,
- the second ultrasound where it actually looked like a tiny person,
- the strength of some of the kicks that sent sections of my stomach moving outward.
It’s cool stuff. The human body is miraculous.
Pregnancy Doesn’t Feel Good For Me
As I said, most of my pregnancy leaves much to be desired. I feel very misunderstood and rather horrible when I try to share my feelings.
I get asked how I’m feeling a lot. The inquirer usually pulls away if my answer is anything but, “Great!” I stop several conversations short by answering with “pregnancy is horrible” or “pregnancy kind of sucks”.
It’s difficult being honest with people when you’re not delivering the good news they want to hear. Much of the time I feel bullied into saying that I feel much better than I actually do.
What they don’t tell you is that for a lot of us, pregnancy is HARD. It’s not all hilarious food cravings, beautiful pictures of baby bumps, buying cute baby clothes, and gender reveal parties.
Yes, Dan and I want to have a baby. Unfortunately growing them in laboratory tubes is not common practice, which means I have to give birth the old fashioned way.
There are many things I won’t miss about pregnancy:
The barricade of pillows to make sleep somewhat obtainable
For many months, I’ve been cocooned in a pillow fort and unable to comfortably curl up next to Dan at night. I actually enjoy sharing a bed with my husband and the physical barricade I built between us feels like all kinds of wrong.
The cruel tricks of gravity
I have reason to believe that gravity pulls harder when you’re pregnant; clearly the universe thinks it’s funny to try to get a pregnant woman to bend over to retrieve her dropped items. Well, universe, I have a husband that was happy to pick up all the things for me, so joke’s on you. For everything else, I can grasp and pick up items with my toes; I’m sure if I tried hard enough, I could open a pickle jar with my feet.
The feeling that my body is public domain
I can’t tell you the number of people who want to touch your baby bump—even strangers. I’ve had a few courteous folks ask to touch it first, but you will come across those who just dive right in to touch your belly as though completely unaware that it’s still part of your body.
Hi, consent is still a thing.
If it’s not the act of touching your bump, people will tell you all about your appearance. You go through a lot of physical changes when you’re pregnant, but it seems like everyone has a comment on your body regarding how you look—even when their intentions are good. “You’re getting huge!” has a bit of a sting to it.
Aside from the verbal observations, you’ll feel the stares too. Whenever I walk down the street, the eyes of strangers will sweep from my face down to my growing belly. I don’t need another reason to feel less secure in my own skin, thank you.
Those freakin’ hormones
As someone who doesn’t regularly show vulnerability, those hormones got me on many occasions. I’ve cried for so many reasons. The one I’m the most surprised by was an evening when I made tea, forgot about it, and broke down when I discovered it two hours later and it was cold. True story.
Attempting to shave anywhere in the southern hemisphere
Your baby bump will become one heck of an obstacle when it comes to trying to shave your legs and bikini area. While I support women who choose to let their hair grow out, for myself, I like to be smooth. Poor Dan is tasked with checking out the results of my blind shaving attempts to let me know where I’d missed with the razor.
Trying to balance my emotional understanding with my intellectual knowledge
I know that part of the deal with pregnancy is getting bigger and having my body change. My brain absolutely comprehends this fact. I was not prepared for how it would affect me emotionally when I outgrew my pants and could no longer zip up my sweaters. It really got me down.
Limits on adventures
Dan and I love to be active and go for hikes, bike rides, climbs, play in and on the water, and experience adventure any other way we can. However, a lot of what we want to do (or the speed at which we enjoy doing these things) are a no-no when it comes to keeping the fetus safe.
Downgrading to walks, easy hikes, and swimming is a distant silver medal at best. Even these activities eventually slowed down for me due to exhaustion or discomfort. Nothing makes me feel less like myself than having to give up a big part of my lifestyle.
I’m a woman who enjoys scalding hot showers that turn your skin pink from the heat. When we first found out I was pregnant, Dan would do temperature checks to ensure that I wasn’t boiling our baby with my hot showers. I have to say, I miss the steamy shower at the end of a long day that gives me everything I needed to reset.
Complete and utter exhaustion
Now I don’t try to kid myself, I’m fully aware that I won’t become reacquainted with proper sleep for many years once we have the baby, but there is a special kind of fatigue reserved for pregnancy. In the first and third trimesters, the exhaustion burrowed into my bones so deeply I worried I would never be able to be productive ever again. Some days it was enough to travel from my bed to the couch, which is really sad for those of us who like to live our lives outside.
My friend, acid reflux
Of course, I use the term friend sarcastically here; it’s more like an annoying sidekick that doesn’t leave you alone. If I drink too much water, it’s there. After eating, it’s there. At two in the morning with an empty stomach, it’s there. There were times the acid reflux was so bad it would result in losing my lunch. To combat the reflux I’ve been drinking a lot of milk…I’m not a big fan of milk unless it’s in coffee or cereal.
In some respects, I fancy myself as a lady, which makes all the burping so horrible. I say, “pardon me” every few minutes because the expulsion of gas makes me look like a caveperson. I have manners, I swear.
Further into my pregnancy when my little monster grew and moved lower into my pelvis, I developed some hard-to-ignore hip pain. This isn’t surprising news to a lot of pregnant women considering the circumstance of a growing baby. This hitch in my giddy-up cut walks short, and left me wistfully staring out a window with a heating pad counting down to my next registered massage therapist (RMT) appointment.
On a somewhat related note, RMTs prefer you to be more specific with what’s bothering you than using phrases like “rickety hips” or “it feels clunky when I move”. It helps them help you if you say, “it feels like my hip doesn’t fit properly in the socket when I walk” (which is rickety hips in my world).
Pregnancy Is Hard
There are several other symptoms that pregnant ladies get to experience like nosebleeds, constipation, hemorrhoids, stretch marks, groaning anytime they get up, swollen hands and feet, and a bunch more. I didn’t get the pleasure of experiencing these symptoms, but I can imagine that they aren’t a picnic.
When you look at the list of everything that can affect you when you’re pregnant, you’re darn right you’re allowed to dislike it. If you weren’t having a baby and you were going through these symptoms, you likely wouldn’t be enamoured with what you’re going through. Just because it’s a rite of passage to bring your little one into the world doesn’t mean that it’s an enjoyable journey.
If you’re having a wonderful pregnancy, count your blessings. I wish that all of us were so lucky.
If pregnancy hits you hard emotionally, physically, and mentally, it’s okay. Own your feelings; you’re entitled to them.
We all experience pregnancy differently. Let’s exercise a bit more kindness and understanding with each other. Having a hard time with pregnancy doesn’t make you weak, it doesn’t make you an unfit mother, and it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you.
As my husband says, “you’re creating the universe.” That’s a hell of a lot of work and a massive sacrifice. Keep your chin up, mom.
Photo Credit: Camylla Battani