Many of us women feel this way, but there’s still a stigma in admitting it. It’s more easily digestible to say we love pregnancy. That we’re so in awe of the new life growing inside of us that we didn’t notice our cankles and Jolly Green Giant feet. That we’re a bundle of pure glowing light. Or something like that.
But why can’t we be simultaneously grateful for and in awe of the life we’re creating, while also loathing nearly every second of the process?
Here are five ways reasons a typical pregnancy sucks, and one important reason it doesn’t:
- We feel terrible. We get that positive pregnancy test we’ve been waiting for, and we’re excited and nervous. I feel fine, we think. Maybe I’ll escape that dreaded morning sickness. If it does happen, I’ll just have a little ginger candy and some peppermint tea and be fine. Ha! Then six weeks rolls around and we get hit by a gravel-loaded truck of awfulness. Awfulness that is not limited to mornings and might very well last the whole nine months. We’re so sick we can barely function, yet we must somehow drag ourselves to work if we are employed, and carry out our other obligations, like caring for older children and chores. We can’t exactly call out pregnant every day, even though we feel plenty sick enough to. And nothing says fun like wrestling a hyper toddler into pajamas when we just want to go to bed and sleep for a year.
- We have “pregnancy brain”. You know that fuzzy-brained feeling we get after staying awake all night? When we can’t remember how to spell “the”? Welcome to pregnancy brain. No sleep deprivation necessary. Although, we probably won’t be sleeping much, either. It’s like every ounce of our body, including our brain, is preoccupied with making this baby, and there’s not an ounce of brain juice left for us. Just try to figure out how much to tip that server at the restaurant. No calculator allowed. I dare you.
- Our body is not our own. Pregnancy feels like an alien is living inside of us. A very angry alien that’s not permitted the small pleasures of sushi or wine. Our favorite pumpkin scented candle will suddenly disgust us. If indigestion never bothered us before, Tums will suddenly become one of our most important food groups. We can’t even eat lunch meat that we don’t nuke to bits in the microwave. Lunch meat. We not only can’t sleep on our stomach or our back, there’s a certain side that’s better to sleep on. Sweet dreams. Then of course, there’s the way that a baby moving in our abdomen literally looks and feels like an alien in there. An alien with no qualms about head-butting our bladder. Here’s hoping we don’t mind wetting our pants.
- Our bodies change permanently. There’s a reason for “mom jeans”. They’re designed to fit “mom bodies”. Our nipples might darken during pregnancy, our boobs will sag a little more, and they’ll never quite return to their pre-pregnancy state. Our stomach will be softer and protrude more after the baby’s born. Our hips might just “feel” different. Things move and shift. Exercise will help, but those “tiger stripes” as stretch marks are now optimistically referred to, might be here to stay.
- Pregnancy results in childbirth. That baby has to come out somehow, and the childbirth process will probably be incredibly painful. We can sugarcoat it all we want, an eight pound human coming out of the birth canal is going to hurt. Sure, there’s pain relief, but our labor might progress too quickly for an epidural. Or we (maybe you, not me!) might bravely decide against one. Women have been birthing babies forever, but our ancient ancestors probably fended off bears with their primal childbirth screams.
Of course, childbirth is also the reason we endure pregnancy, which leads us to the very important reason pregnancy doesn’t suck.
- Pregnancy results in babies. For those of us who choose to bear children and are fortunate enough to be able to become pregnant and carry these pregnancies to term, pregnancy leads us to our babies. When we’re in the throes of morning sickness, it’s easy to take our eyes off the prize at the end of the exhausting, uncomfortable journey. Before our babies are born, it’s difficult to fathom the enormous impact they will have on our lives or how completely we’ll fall in love with that little stranger. With one whiff of new baby smell and the kiss of a soft, chubby cheek, we’re forced to admit the annoying cliche rings true. It really is all worth it.