Years ago, back when my little one was but a “someday dream,” I was catching up over coffee with a dear friend not long after her daughter was born. In the midst of our conversation she suddenly looked around to make sure no one was listening, leaned in and whispered with obvious guilt, “I’ve never told anyone this, but I absolutely hated being pregnant. But I love being a mom!”
I told her there was no reason to feel guilty, which she seemed relieved to hear. I supported her wholeheartedly, and I also just assumed that if I became pregnant I would love the experience. And we know what happens when we assume!
Before I got my BFP I had an almost dreamlike vision of pregnancy. I pictured myself walking leisurely across a beach in a flowing dress while caressing my swollen belly (clearly I watch too many movies because I don’t know anyone who does that), long naps in the afternoons and evenings spent sitting by a fire knitting baby blankets. Feel free to laugh with me at my naiveté and no, I don’t know why there had to be a fire!
After I became pregnant reality kicked in and I realized just how wrong I was. And those predictions? Hilarious! Just the thought of smelling saltwater makes me feel queasy, so those beach strolls are out. And if I’m lucky enough to grab a nap I usually wake up within 10 minutes because my bladder is screaming, “empty me now OR ELSE!” Knitting? To be honest, I don’t know how and even if I did the migraines and dizzy spells would inhibit my ability to focus.
I never expected to agree with what my friend said all those years ago, but oh how her words ring true. This has been hard for me to say and I’ve been filled with guilt for feeling this way, but here it is. I don’t like being pregnant.
First, let me make a few points:
1. I am thrilled to be pregnant and appreciate how lucky I am.
2. I love my son and I can’t wait until he is born and
3. I would go through ALL the pain of my pregnancy tenfold to ensure his health and wellbeing.
Honestly, my pregnancy has been rough. I could list in detail all the physical challenges I’ve had thus far, but I won’t. I’ve come to believe that I don’t have to justify my feelings. Pregnancy is a journey, a beautiful and messy one that is unique to all of us. Yes, many women love being pregnant whether or not they face complications. And I applaud them, I wish I felt the same way. I just don’t.
For me, pregnancy has been hard both physically and emotionally. That may change in the coming weeks and months, and I hope it does. I want to love this time in my life. But even if nothing changes I know I will get through it, and what has helped is being honest with myself and those around me.
I eventually confessed the feelings that had been weighing me down with guilt and despair, first to my husband and parents, next to my doctor and finally to my friends. In a breakthrough moment the nurse at my doctor’s office soothed me as I cried and said, “Besides that healthy baby there hasn’t been much about your pregnancy that you would like. You are dealing with a lot.” And I finally released my guilt.
Instead of the judgment I feared, I received the support I needed in the form of tips and suggestions from those who have been here before me and love and support when I’m feeling low. And, most importantly, others have told me they felt the same way I do. Learning that I wasn’t alone made all the difference.
I am no longer afraid of my truth. I love my baby but I don’t like being pregnant. And that doesn’t make me a bad person or affect my ability to be a good, loving mother. Opening up and being honest, no matter how crazy I think my feelings may be, is what is going to get me through the next 26 weeks and 4 days (but who’s counting!).
And you never know, with any luck I may start to feel better soon… and maybe I’ll finally learn how to knit that baby blanket after all!
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.