From the moment I found out I was pregnant to the moment I delivered my kids, I struggled. Pregnancy was not this beautiful magical experience I had been promised. I suffered through terrible symptoms, complications, and felt guilty about hating it so much the whole time. There was a constant internal battle about my love-hate relationship with growing a human. It took me far too long to realize that feeling this way is okay. This didn’t make me any less of a parent and certainly didn’t make me love my kids any less.
Comedian, Amy Schumer, recently took on this topic with her special “Expecting Amy”. Her special is a refreshing and realistic view of being pregnant. It made me think, why is there such a vail over pregnancy? Why can’t we all just be honest that it kind of sucks? I think the fear around this is if we don’t talk about how wonderful it is all the time maybe people will think we aren’t grateful.
I get that. Early in my second pregnancy, someone asked me how I was feeling, and when I answered honestly, she snapped at me saying I should consider myself lucky to be pregnant. That really stuck out to me, because I never said I wasn’t lucky. As a matter of fact, all I said was I was feeling crappy and didn’t sleep. I did consider myself to be so lucky to be pregnant, but I was also miserable. The thing about humans is we are complex beings that are capable of feeling more than one feeling at once. I am done sugar coating my experience to make others more comfortable.
A Few of My Least Favorite Things
If you don’t experience morning sickness when you are pregnant, I’m sorry but I instinctively hate you. I had very different experiences with both of my pregnancies but both resulted in lots of vomiting. With my first, I would throw up everyday first thing and then after I would be able to function almost like a normal person. With my second that was not the case. Throwing up would happen all the time. I would throw up first thing in the morning, then feel sick and queasy all day and get full-blown morning sickness symptoms again in the afternoon. I would also throw up if I coughed, cleared my throat, or showered. The vomiting alone left my pregnancy feeling less than glamorous.
This affected me in three major ways. First was diet change, which I didn’t mind, except I wasn’t stomaching much to begin with. The second was my poor fingers. Between the sugar checks at least 4 times a day and the insulin, my fingers were in rough shape. Third was massive babies. My first was born at 37 weeks and was 9 lbs 13 oz, while my second was born at 39 weeks and was 10 pounds 13 oz (thank goodness for c-sections).
The Things People Say/Do
I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it a million more, if you wouldn’t do it when I am not pregnant, don’t do it when I am. Because I have tendencies to carry my babies prominently, shall we say, people thought it was their right to constantly say and do weird things. Don’t even get me started on touching – why would you touch someone without asking? I would have people at work (AT WORK) touch my stomach. People love to talk about your weight. I heard the following far too often “you’re huge”, “Are you sure it isn’t twins?”, or “you’re carrying so low, it must be a boy”. I find that last one to be especially creepy.
Having fibromyalgia, I am used to chronic pain. Pregnancy was no exception for me. Each time, I would get joint pains, backaches, leg pains, and so many more aches and pains. With this, my pregnancy waddle started early and happened often. Someone once said to me “isn’t it a little early for you to be waddling?”. HOW IS THAT HELPFUL? Also, as I mentioned above I have two beautifully large babies, which did not help the situation at all.
A Few of My Favorite Things
I really leaned into being able to wear whatever I wanted when I was pregnant. Usually, I don’t like wearing form-fitting clothes because it makes me uncomfortable, but when I was pregnant it was a different story The best purchase I made throughout both pregnancies was my overalls. I would throw all sense of fashion out the window and wear my pregnancy overalls and be happy.
Feeling the Babies Kick
But really, no matter the struggle, is there any greater feeling than your baby kicking you for the first time? For me, there wasn’t. It was totally worth all the vomiting. I remember crying the first time it happened and then calling everyone I knew to tell them.
I love napping. And I love that it is both socially acceptable and encouraged when you are pregnant. When napping while pregnant, the dialog goes from “why are you napping? what’s wrong with you?” to “Of course you are taking three naps a day – that baby is taking a lot out of you”.
The End Product
I think this goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. My kids are the absolute best part of being pregnant. They are wonderful, kind, caring souls who make me better every day. They are both totally without a doubt worth the wear and tear on my body and all the vomiting.
It is what it is.
I wanted to continue to get the narrative out there that if you don’t love being pregnant, it’s OKAY. In my mind its more than okay, it’s normal. No more feeling weird for not loving every second of pregnancy. Or worse, feeling like I wasn’t grateful to be pregnant for not smiling through the bad moments. There is such an unrealistic expectation that you should be pregnant, glowing, and grateful to the universe every second. My personal experience taught me to listen to my body. It taught me to breathe through the rough things, to lean into all the good things, and most importantly, to find a person who will listen to crying about the good, the bad, and the in-between.