Some women love being pregnant. I’ve heard glowing stories about other people’s experience with pregnancy. How they loved feeling the baby moving inside of them, relished talking to their baby inside their belly, had great experiences with strangers being extra kind to them because of their pregnancy, and felt so free with their diet and lifestyles because they finally had an excuse to not worry about their weight. Stories about how they cherished each and every moment of that new life growing inside of them and how they felt so empty and sad when baby was born and no longer with them in that most intimate way.
Like I said, some women love being pregnant. I’m absolutely not one of them.
I’ve also heard so many horror stories of women with horrible pregnancy experiences. One friend had intense morning sickness that lasted her entire pregnancy, with really no improvement after the first trimester. I had a friend who was on bed rest for about half of her first pregnancy, which not only bored her to tears, but put a huge financial burden on her family since she was out of the workplace for much longer than was expected. Friends who’ve had major health issues when they were pregnant, or developed them shortly after, due to their pregnancy. Friends with horror stories about multi-day labors and emergency C-sections and major blood loss. I’ve also had friends with babies that came early, weren’t developed properly, had to spend time in the NICU, or have been diagnosed with devastating diseases shortly after birth.
There are some pretty horrible experiences that can accompany pregnancy and childbirth. But mine aren’t like that either.
I haven’t had a horrible pregnancy or pregnancy experience (yet!), but I just really don’t like being pregnant. And I almost feel guilty feeling like this since my aches and pains are so inconsequential compared to everything that could happen. So many women have legitimate reasons to complain, but I don’t really have that fabulous happy glow about me either. There are just too many little things that disrupt my normal life that I don’t like. So for all the women out there that feel the way I do, but also feel guilty for complaining, here’s a sounding board for you to add in what you also don’t like about pregnancy.
In no particular order, a few of the many things I hate about being pregnant:
#1: Food and drink restrictions.
I’m a foodie. I love food, and I love food that tastes good. If I’m hungry, I eat a lot of it. I don’t really care. Some of my favorite indulgences are sushi and wine – two major no-no’s when pregnant or trying to conceive. And there are so many other restrictions as well (especially if you are trying to be extra vigilant about your health when pregnant, as I do, since I want my baby to be as healthy as possible when they arrive). For instance, it’s recommended that you have all your food well-cooked to make sure that all possible bacteria are killed so nothing can transfer inadvertently to your baby. Well I pretty much like all my food on the “raw” side – el Dante pasta, medium-rare cooked meats, only raw or lightly cooked veggies, chewy breads and cookies, eggs with the yolk still runny, soft cheeses, etc. And pretty much all of that (with the exception of the veggies) is on the avoid list when you are pregnant. Which pretty much means I hate everything I eat for 9-11 months (if you count the pre-conception prep as well as the pregnancy itself).
#2: Reverting to the cravings of a toddler.
I normally have a really good diet. Lots of fruits and vegetables and minimal processed foods. However, when pregnant, the only things that appeal to me are the same things I’m trying not to feed my toddler on a regular basis. PB&J sandwiches, mac and cheese (really, anything with cheese), pizza, chips, cookies and milk…. It’s so hard to get nutritionally what I need when I have no desire to eat it. I remember being unable to even walk through the produce section of the store with my first pregnancy – the vegetables smelled much too strong. Luckily, I was able to go back to my normal food routine after birth. But it still makes me feel so unhealthy when I should be trying to be my healthiest.
#3: Having to pee…..ALL THE TIME.
It’s like having a UTI that never goes away, only without the burning pain. And since you are supposed to stay well hydrated, it’s a double whammy! Again, I feel like a toddler since I have to plan trips out of my house around where I can find a bathroom.
#4: Working in the public eye, and having to talk about my pregnancy 20-30 times a day.
I don’t mind talking about my pregnancy and sharing the good news with people. But having to answer the same questions over and over again gets old. I just want to wear a t-shirt that says, “Due date April 9, it’s a girl, yes we are excited, it’s our second, we already have a boy, everything is going well, please don’t touch my belly.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t fly with the dress code in the office, or with expected norms of social interaction.
#5: Varicose veins.
It’s a curse in my family. My mom’s legs are covered with them. And not just the varicose kind. We get these big, deep veins that pop up and actually feel like braille when you run your hands over them. I had one on my right shin that really amplified when I was pregnant with Matthew, and it never really went away. However, that was the only permanent mark I got from that pregnancy, so I tried to ignore it the best I could. With this second pregnancy though, my whole right leg is horribly affected. My entire shin and calf are covered with both the varicose veins and the big deep puffy ones. And my right hip area has them too. My left leg is completed fine. I’ve never loved my legs and now I have even more reason to not want to show them off. I spoke to my OBGYN about it, but all they can offer me is a consult with a vascular surgeon after the baby comes.
#6: Insomnia and losing sleep.
It’s a cruel twist of pregnancy that the baby disrupts your sleep before they are even here. You get so little sleep in the first few months of having a newborn, that you’d like to think that your body could try to store some up and get well rested until the day they arrive, but the kicking and bumping and constant need to pee wake me up and make it impossible to fall back asleep. Plus, now that I’m in my third trimester, I’m reminded of how much the big belly makes it impossible to find a comfortable sleeping position. Therefore, expect to be tired even before baby arrives.
This goes along with number 6 in a way (if you aren’t sleeping you will be more fatigued), but unfortunately even if you are sleeping well, you still get fatigued. Chalk it up to all those hormonal changes and the effort it requires to grow a new human being. So even when all goes well, I find myself way too tired to get as much done as I normally can accomplish. And that leads to massive frustration.
#8: Feeling full way too fast into eating, and then feeling so uncomfortable afterwards.
This is mostly a third trimester issue, when baby gets bigger and starts squishing everything inside of you. I have a tendency to carry my pregnancy rather compactly. This means I don’t look huge (bonus!), but instead everything inside of me has no room anymore (not fun). So even a tiny portion of food fills me up way too fast, and because it takes a while for hunger and full signals to be alerted to your brain, I generally end up eating a tiny bit too much even when I’m purposely trying not to. Just the other day I had a muffin, a half a cup of cottage cheese and a single cup of coffee for breakfast and felt pretty good afterwards. 30 minutes later I bent down to pick up something off the floor and the pressure sent a bunch of bile and gastric juices up in my throat that took about an hour to choke away. Then I’m starving about 2 hours later, but really don’t have any desire to eat and go through that again.
#9: Not fitting into my clothes. Especially when being very pregnant in the winter and not having any winter coats that can zip up to keep me warm.
Yes, I understand that they make maternity clothes. And I don’t mind spending and spending well on quality things that are important to me. But my frugal side has a really hard time justifying a super expensive winter coat that’s going to be used for 2-3 months and then never used again since it will become way too big for me. Luckily, when pregnant I tend to run warmer than normal, so I can get away with keeping a coat unzipped as long as I’m just running from buildings to cars, but it doesn’t allow me to enjoy any long-duration outdoor activities. And I’ve bought just enough maternity clothes to get by – 5 pairs of dress pants for work, 3 pairs of jeans for days off, and 10 maternity tops which can be layered with many of my sweaters, so I don’t feel like I’m wearing the same stuff over and over again, even though that’s in fact what I do for the final few months.
#10: Itchy skin, dry lips, and dry eyes. And I never get the luscious hair, strong nails, and glowing skin that other women seem to get.
In fact, everything about my skin just seems unhappy and dry with pregnancy. My chapstick and lotion use increases exponentially when pregnant. I drink a ton of water and tea (and therefore pee a lot). It just makes me want to get back to normal.
#11: Depressed immune system.
When you get pregnant, your immune system ramps down because you don’t want to consider your baby to be a foreign invader that needs to be fought off and killed. As a result, you are more susceptible to all the nasty viruses and bacteria floating around. And working one-on-one with the public all day (right in their face) and then snuggling with my toddler at home (who brings home a ton of germs from daycare), means that I’m sick all the time. And being pregnant is miserable enough. Being pregnant, sick and unable to fight it off well? Don’t even go there. In fact, as I write this, I’m going on 1 month of being sick with a sinus cold that antibiotics haven’t touched.
#12: Feeling stretched to capacity and unable to breath. I’m always losing my breath.
I mentioned above that I carry my pregnancy compactly and my lungs feel the effects of this. Walking up and down stairs, carrying anything more than a few pounds (including my toddler), and trying to talk to patients during my day job all leave me breathless. It makes me feel more out of shape than anything else, and I really don’t enjoy that feeling.
#13: Mood swings and being way too sensitive and irritable.
I’m normally a pretty even keel person, but all the hormones and changes that happen in pregnancy really mess with my emotions. I cry at anything remotely emotional or moving (and I find this super embarrassing when it happens in public). I also tend to get angry (really angry, really fast) at things that normally wouldn’t have bothered me that much. And just getting annoyed at things in general? Oh boy. Makes me worry that my toddler will think someone kidnapped his mom and traded her for a crazy person.
#14: Not being able to do the physical activities I love: snowmobiling, ice fishing, winter sports, running, yoga, etc.
Part of this is again my frugality in not wanting to buy expensive and bigger winter clothes. And part of it is that these things are just not comfortable or even safe when you are pregnant. So my sanity suffers as a result of being cooped up and less active.
#15: Having to delay a lot of the lifestyle things that make me happy and keep me sane: coloring my hair, hot tubs/hot baths, massage, clothes shopping, etc.
Again, these are sanity savers which help me to enjoy life and I understand that they are luxuries. But who wants to clothes shop when nothing fits correctly? Pregnancy massage is available (and I have been getting them), but it’s just not the same as a normal massage. You can technically color your hair, but I’d just rather not take the risk of exposing my baby to those chemicals. And hot tubs/baths are discouraged no matter what.
#16: Feeling the weird sensations of the baby moving inside me.
Some women love this! I just find it annoying. The first few flutters each day are reassuring that everything is OK, but then it just bothers me. (Cue the section on being easily irritated!). It’s like someone is tickling you on the inside, and you can’t get them to stop no matter what you do. Plus it always makes me have to pee (yet again). And when the kicking is so violent to physically move your belly around….well that’s just weird. Especially if it happens at work when I’m in a patient exam, because then the person always wants to touch my belly in response. And not everyone asks if it’s OK before they do.
#17: The pregnancy “waddle” and always worrying about falling or hurting my belly. Especially with my toddler being in the rough-housing phase.
Both of my pregnancies have put me in the last trimester during the winter season in Maine. That means I’m navigating lots of ice and snow. Every prenatal visit they warn you not to fall, but I’m not the most graceful person to start with. So telling me not to fall on ice in the winter, especially once I have a big belly and my center of gravity is off, is like telling the sun not to rise. It’s laughable.
#18: Gaining weight and having my toddler tell me that my belly is “so fat”.
If you’ve read my about page, you learned that I was an overweight kid and have experienced decades of struggling with my weight (in fact, I’ve spent more of my life overweight than not). So even though I’ve finally figured out a way to keep myself at a good weight and like my body (when I’m not pregnant, that is), mentally, it can be hard to not “feel like the fat kid” when your body changes as much as it does during pregnancy. And even though my fantastic husband does his best to correct Matthew when he calls my belly fat and tell him that it’s actually baby sister inside making it so big, it doesn’t help my self-confidence any.
#19: So many doctor appointments, and blood draws, and tests….
Being a wife, mom of a toddler, and a working parent is busy enough as it is. Add onto that all the appointments and tests that are required and life just gets so much more hectic. Especially since for this second pregnancy I’m considered to be “geriatric” and get even more doctor attention! Lucky me.
#20: Mommy brain.
Mommy brain is real. Any mom can tell you that. I polled readers this week on my Balancing Life as a Mom Facebook page and asked what the one or two crucial items were that always get misplaced. One creative mom answered “My memory and my sanity. I think as moms we lose these from time to time.” And it starts before baby even comes. Enough said!
So that’s 20 of the reasons why I don’t like being pregnant. And trust me, it’s not an exhaustive list! I know I could come up with more. For me, pregnancy is a means to an end. I love the cute little baby, and the eventual sweet child, that comes from being pregnant. And I love the way that child enriches your life beyond words. But I don’t enjoy the process to get there.
Hopefully I’ve given you a good laugh for today. Feel free to commiserate with me in the comments below!
All the best,