My main inspiration for starting this blog and the inspiration for the name came out of a place of loneliness. I was surrounded by wonderful people whom I love dearly but I felt very alone. From the very beginning of my pregnancy, I have struggled. I knew I was pregnant immediately and felt exhausted, nauseous, and generally run down every day since then. I scoured the internet for information. What did people do to get through this part? Was anybody forced to tell others about her pregnancy earlier than planned because she couldn’t just keep lying and cancelling plans and feeling lame for being in bed all day? I found some message boards where people had asked similar questions and eagerly scrolled down to see responses…. almost nothing was helpful. I was so disappointed. The internet is chock full, to the brim, with three kinds of pregnant people: 1. Those searching for answers or people with similar experiences, 2. Those who have had horrible experiences and spend their days warning the first kind of pregnant people that their symptoms could indicate that they are dying of cancers, ectopic pregnancies, and other alarming conditions, and finally, 3. The Minimizers. These minimizers are tough cookies. They’ve been through whatever the question-asker is experiencing, and sometimes worse, but rather than offer empathy and advice (“Oh yeah, I remember feeling so guilty when I cancelled on the same friend three times in a row. I couldn’t tell her I was pregnant because of x,y, and z so I decided to _____________ and that worked out well. Maybe you could try something similar”), they tend to offer something like “Ohh yeah, I had that. Don’t let it get to you now because it only gets worse!”
I found myself craving somebody who would just write their experience. Just the truth. No sugar coating about pregnancy being a miracle or birth being beautiful. No cautionary tales about everything that can go wrong and how much worse pregnancy gets in the third trimester. I’m well aware that it will all be worth it when my baby is born, but pregnancy is a long process and the struggles that it brings feel never ending when you consider how much longer you have left. I wanted somebody else, anybody else, who would say what I was thinking. I often say what I’m thinking and I am met with shocked faces or pity. I don’t need either. I wanted to read the experience of just one person who wasn’t afraid to say that pregnancy sucks. Period.
I hate being pregnant. It’s not fun. It’s not easy. There are hundreds of things that make it difficult that I didn’t even know about. I thought if I could handle being a massive person with swollen ankles, some months of nausea, and some months of back pain, I would make it to the hard part: labor and delivery. Nobody told me about the months of insomnia, the sore joints, the extreme fatigue, the pelvic girdle pain, or the struggles of tying your shoes when you can’t reach your feet. Nobody ever mentioned that not only will I have hormones affecting my emotions and decisions, I will also have friends, family, and strangers who feel like it’s okay to constantly tell me that my thoughts and feelings are not my own; they are just a product of hormones and therefore, impliedly, not really valid.
Sure, there are upsides: for the first time in my life I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight, strangers go out of their way to hold doors for me, carry things for me, and ask me how I’m doing and feeling. It is fun to experience something that seems to be universally exciting. Of course my inner circle would be excited excited, but the guy rotating my tires? I never thought he would care, much less spend half an hour asking question after question about me and my baby and my plans and grinning ear to ear as he exclaims how exciting everything is. Or the guy who installed my Verizon internet who spent an hour helping me unpack the boxes of things for the top shelves in the kitchen. Those parts are fun. I wish I was noticeably pregnant all along- it would have made the first six months easier. The fun parts don’t kick in until you have a big pregnant belly and people stop being afraid to assume you’re pregnant and not just heavy.
Sometimes I feel like pregnant women are only allowed to talk about these upsides. I mean, sure, say you have to pee a lot, but don’t ever say pregnancy in general is awful. But why is that? Whenever I complain of a symptom I’ve never heard of or an experience that I think is unique, I get response after response from people who have been pregnant that went through the same thing. When?? I never heard about it. Why doesn’t anybody talk about these things? I wonder if people are afraid of complaining too much or of seeming like bad moms because little baby kicks drive them crazy instead of making them feel warm and fuzzy. Maybe they’re worried about offending people who would give literally anything to experience pregnancy and have a baby but are unable to do so. Maybe they just don’t like to commiserate as much as I do…
Whatever the reason, I unsubscribe from that rhetoric. I love my tiny squirmy ball of crazy and I am so excited for him to be born. AND I hate when he kicks my bladder or my stomach or my ribs or squirms visibly when I’m in church. I hate almost everything about pregnancy. All of this is definitely worth it because I get my sweet baby boy in a few months. I can know that and also know that at the same time, I hate the beautiful, miraculous experience of pregnancy. And I am okay with that.