I had so many ideals of the type of pregnant person I’d be when I was planning my family. I was going to be glowing with a neat little bump, I’d be eating salads and organic veggies while attending pregnancy yoga and aquanatal classes, I would be cherishing every moment. However, the reality is incredibly far from that and it really does pain me to admit it, but I didn’t love pregnancy. I didn’t hate it, but I certainly didn’t love every moment. I felt completely indifferent, I was just a human incubator doing a job.
For me, pregnancy brought a new challenge with each week that went past, with each new trimester a whole new wave of symptoms and pains. First, it was bleeding, nausea, over tiredness, being permanently starving. Then it was heartburn, cramps, sleep deprivation, soon to be followed by aches, pains, worries and fears.
Here I am, just another girl complaining about pregnancy! But you see, I’ve been on both sides. I remember when I was desperately trying to get pregnant hearing Kim Kardashian moaning about pregnancy and being livid, didn’t she know how lucky she was? Didn’t she realise what a joy pregnancy is? Then I got pregnant and realised just how naive I was.
There was something about pregnancy that I could never put my finger on, something deep within me always felt a little off. I think it was a combination of hormones making me more short-tempered and feeling my life was on hold. I felt like I knew my whole life, friendships and things I enjoyed were about to change, I was about to no longer be the person I am, but I just had to wait to become the person I am as a mother. It felt very stale and transitional, I also felt a little lonely. I didn’t have a huge network of pregnant friends until much later in my pregnancy.
I hated sharing my body, I hated that I was always hungry because everything I ate went to the baby, I hated that I couldn’t breathe properly or get comfortable, I hated the constant ache in my ribs from baby feet and legs residing in there. But most of all, I hated the fear. I hated the lack of control over my baby. I hated trusting my body to keep my teeny little bean safe and warm until I could do it for myself. I hated worrying that I hadn’t felt his movements for a while or when the midwife took a long time to find his heartbeat. I just wanted my boy.
I do have regrets about not enjoying my pregnancy, but it’s very easy for me to say that six months later. When I talk to pregnant friends I have all these reminders of what they go through for nine months and just how gruelling that is.
I think for a lot of people the ‘dark side’ of pregnancy comes as a really big shock as so many women are seen as unappreciative if they dare utter a word – but actually it’s very easy for woman to judge who have put their pregnancy behind them and forgotten all the trials and tribulations, for woman who have never been pregnant or for women who did love every part of pregnancy. I see more and more people discussing how amazing women are who don’t complain about pregnancy and good for them, but pregnancy IS hard and if you find it hard you are completely normal, you have every right to moan and complain to your hearts content, you have every right to hate every minute of it. You are only human after all.
Disliking pregnancy isn’t a reflection of your gratitude for being pregnant, nor is it a reflection on your baby and people need to stop the pressure of feeling like you should be enjoying every single moment. No body enjoys every aspect of anything. Yes, pregnancy is a gift and a miracle but it’s also one of the most gruelling things our bodies will ever go through.
Cut yourself some slack, and also a slice of cake.