I am not loving this third pregnancy of mine. In fact, most of my time is spent daydreaming about the day my daughter is born, not just because I can’t wait to meet her but because I can not wait to not be pregnant anymore. Some days, and I know there will be some judgemental person out there about to spit out their tea with shock but I’m saying it anyway, I hate being pregnant; I hate it. You know what though? I am not keeping quiet about my lack of enjoyment in my body growing another human because pregnancy is hard sometimes and none of us mums-to-be should be ashamed to admit that. If you are pregnant now and feel the same, if you wake up every day wishing you could just time travel to your due date so this whole gestating business can be over with then please know you are not on your own. I feel you mama, it’s tough. What makes it even harder is that we are told we are supposed to LOVE pregnancy, to be grateful and just be quiet and bask in our blooming pregnancy glow (it doesn’t exist, by the way). There are lots of reasons to enjoy being pregnant and I do have days where I am swishing around the house in a floaty dress, cradling my bump as baby kicks away and I wonder what she will be like. I am not trying to convince the world to feel sorry for us expectant mums, pregnancy can be wonderful. Being pregnant can also be really shit too. To get across my point and to help the non pregnant population to understand that us humans growing humans are totally allowed to not enjoy pregnancy sometimes, I have written this list of the reasons why being pregnant can be so hard.
10 reasons it is totally ok to not enjoy pregnancy
1. The first trimester – Is there really any other circumstance where a person is throwing up, feeling exhausted and generally awful and everyone else thinks they should be happy? The first trimester is so tough, it is like a hardcore endurance test, worse than a marathon I’d say. Every day you wake up feeling sick and probably go to bed still feeling sick after not having much reprieve from feeling sick all day. It feels like once the initial excitement has worn off that all your energy goes into the bin along with your used pregnancy test. However, god forbid we complain too much, we are the lucky ones and should just be grateful. Humans are complex beings though, it is completely possible to feel lucky, grateful and in love with your little poppy seed AND feel miserable because you’ve spent more time looking at the bottom of your toilet bowl than you have at your partner over the past 3 months.
2. Weight gain – We live in a world that tells us women should look a certain way and that certain way is often portrayed as a skinny, lean woman who still somehow manages to have curves ‘in all the right places’. It is hard having very little control over your body, watching it stretch and grow more than you ever thought possible. A baby bump is a beautiful thing, but coming to terms with thighs and hips that seem to have doubled in size, an extra chin or two and back fat that definitely wasn’t there before can be hard. Lots of people feel upset when they gain wait but pregnant women are supposed to just accept and embrace the fate of their body. I have to tell you, after being told our whole lives we should look a certain way by the media, it can be hard to watch your body balloon and also be more than aware that it is going to look completely different again once your baby is born.
3. Pregnancy complications – Not all mums have a complication free pregnancy. Some mums develop complications like anaemia or high blood pressure and others can have more serious pregnancy problems like placenta previa, pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes to name a few. I have always been low risk in my pregnancies but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been problems. I am anaemic and have to take horrible iron tablets that make going to the toilet quite the experience and have also had to have regular growth scans this time around as there’s a risk my antidepressants could mess with my little ones growth. If you have complications it often means more appointments, more tests, more prodding and probing, of course this is going to leave a mum to be praying for D day to just hurry the hell up.
4. Everyone has an opinion – Every old lady you bump into in Tesco will want to know when you are due, what you are having and then go on to tell you about that time back in the olden days when they gave birth. I can do small talk if I have to but when I just want to make it through the aisles and back to the car in less than two hours, the constant interest, advice and opinions on my bump can get a bit frustrating. I do appreciate that people mean well but, seriously Susan, I don’t want to hear about the 100 stitches you had after you delivered a 10lb baby – just tell me my bump is cute and lets all carry on with our lives, yes?
5. The labour fear – As Susan demonstrates in point 4, women seem to love nothing more than to share their gory birth stories with pregnant women. Why? Why be so mean? I do believe that being prepared is so important and no one has ever benefitted by burying their head in the sand but do we really need to hear about your botched episiotomy or your 6 day labour ending in a traumatising trip to theatre? Please do share your stories, it is important to talk but maybe be kinder with your timing, don’t start reliving your horrific labour with your pregnant friend the evening before she goes in to be induced. After baby is born, that is the ideal time to go for it completely, be the most compelling storyteller ever, don’t miss a detail, it doesn’t matter then as your friend/daughter etc will have been through it herself and won’t have the fear anymore.
6. Hormones – Pregnancy hormones remind me of a grumpy little troll living inside my brain. I am still me, still want to feel like me but the little troll keeps switching off the mood switch in my brain and taking over. So many arguments, bad moods and miserable grumpy days can be blamed on the troll. Struggling to keep control of your mood is exhausting, you think you feel one way and then next the hormone troll wakes up and says, ‘Nope, today you will detest the sight of your husband for no reason. Don’t worry though, I will make sure he notices so he gets grumpy too. Muhaha’. God, I hate the hormone troll. I mean, when else apart from in pregnancy have you stood crying in your kitchen and you just don’t know anymore if they are happy or sad tears, why they started in the first place and if they will ever end?
7. So much planning – Babies may be little but there arrival comes with a huge to do list. So many things to be done, so much organising to do: how many sleepsuits does a newborn need and are the MAM bottles really better than the cheaper supermarket own ones? Do I want a home birth or shall I plan for a hospital birth with all of the drugs? So much of this planning is placed into us mamas hands and it can be overwhelming, we feel like we’ve started a complicated juggling act before baby has even arrived. An impending birth is an exciting thing to plan for but it is completely normal (and ok!) to feel anxious and overwhelmed by everything that needs to be organised in advance.
8. Pregnancy anxiety and antenatal depression – Being pregnant can impact on your mental health. Experiencing depression for the first time during pregnancy can be confusing, especially if you are expecting a planned and so very wanted baby. The labour fear, the hormones, the overwhelm caused by your baby to do list, the uncertainty of what life will be like once your baby is here, the fear you may not be a good mum – there are so many reasons why pregnancy is a prime time for depression to occur. As I have already said though, everyone expects you to be happy when you are pregnant and seem to be ignorant to the fact that pregnancy can be damaging to a woman’s mental health.
9. It’s all about the baby bump – People seem far more interested in the tiny human you have in your womb than they do about you. Common questions asked to a pregnant woman include: When is bump due? Is it a girl or boy? Have you thought of a name for baby? Is all good with the baby? Your baby bump looks much bigger than it should, are you sure it’s not twins? Oh, if I had a pound for every time I heard one of these, my baby’s nursery wouldn’t be full of second hand items I have bought off Facebook, that’s for sure. Sometimes I would just like people to talk to me about something else, anything else, other than the obvious fact that I am having a baby. I don’t need it to be me me me all the time, it would just be nice for people to take a bit more interest in me than giving it all to the little person in my tummy.
10. And all the rest – Swollen ankles, migraines, stretch marks, restless legs, insomnia, needing to wee all the time, painful baby kicks to the cervix, owchy blood tests, SPD, bump restricting your movements, unflattering maternity clothes, inconveniently timed midwife appointments, having a baby’s bum squashing your lungs, sciatica, waddling like a penguin, fear of ‘accidents’ when you sneeze, not being able to shave your legs without back injury, being hungry all the time, feeling nauseas, painful boobs and on and on and on it goes.
Fellow humans of the world, please give us pregnant women a break, please? We are excited to meet our babies and we don’t hate every moment of growing them inside us but it is hard work. Please appreciate what our bodies and minds go through over the 40 weeks of pregnancy and don’t make us feel guilty for our occasional (or on the daily) complaints and moans about pregnancy. It is totally ok to not enjoy pregnancy, it doesn’t mean you are a bad mum or don’t love your baby, it simply means you are human and can only put up with so much.
So pregnant mamas, whinge away and don’t feel guilty about it! If you are having a bad day then don’t try to hide it for fear of being seen as ungrateful or a bad mum. You are going to be an amazing mum, the journey to getting there can be tough though and it’s perfectly acceptable for you to feel that way and voice how you are feeling.
Are you currently pregnant? Are you enjoying it all or have you found it a struggle? I would love to hear any other points you might have to add to this list.
If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more of my honest pregnancy post, please head over to the pregnancy section of my blog.