I love being a mom. And after two miscarriages, I am incredibly grateful that I am able to be pregnant. But I don’t love being pregnant, if I’m completely honest (which I usually am). Being pregnant is definitely not my favorite. And I don’t think I’m alone. Sure women talk about how hard and exhausting being pregnant is, but it feels very taboo to say something like “I don’t love being pregnant.”
Because society judges women. Hard. And it judges moms even harder. So when a woman shares honestly that the process of growing a life isn’t just hard, but sometimes downright unenjoyable, she’s probably going to be met with a lot of furrowed brows and opinions. But not loving every, or most, moments of pregnancy doesn’t make me a bad mom. In fact, I think it shows just how much I love my kids.
I’m willing to go through a very uncomfortable process that isn’t a great time for me, just to bring them into the world. I’m not the glowing, cherishing every moment, pregnant person. And in the spirit of transparency and solidarity, I want to share how I truly feel about pregnancy. So that other women might feel more open to sharing their own feelings, too.
I Don’t Love Being Pregnant
When my husband and I first decided that we were open to having a baby, I got pregnant fast. Like within 4 months. And then we experienced multiple miscarriages. It was devastating, and the loss lead me to fantasize about what being really pregnant would be like. I thought I would love being pregnant, seeing my belly grow, and feeling those first kicks.
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After about a year of pushing through early losses, I was finally pregnant with out son. I was anxious, but once again dreaming about what it might be like to have a successful pregnancy. Soon after the positive pregnancy test, I was quickly met with all day and night morning sickness that was so severe I ended up in the ER begging for medical interventions multiple times. The first 13 weeks I was so sick that I was wholly consumed with just trying to survive, rather than “enjoying” pregnancy.
After the first trimester, once the nausea subsided, I thought I would finally have the dreamy maternity experience. I quickly found, though, that despite being able to keep food down, I just didn’t feel like myself. I was nervous about working out, and eased back into it very slowly. I found myself constantly symptom checking for a sign that something was wrong with my pregnancy.
Probably part PTSD and part generalized anxiety. I realized that while I was so grateful to be pregnant and past those initial 12 weeks, being pregnant was a big challenge for my mental health. And honestly, this struggle made it really difficult to enjoy pregnancy. To add insult to injury, it wasn’t long before well-meaning friends, family, and even strangers started commenting on my body and how it was changing.
I didn’t mind how I gained weight, or the fact that my body was changing. It was a good sign that things were progressing. I just didn’t love how frequently people commented on it, because it just felt strange and uncomfortable. All the attention my body was getting made me disconnected from it sometimes. Again, I enjoyed seeing my body change, but I simultaneously felt awkward when others noticed.
Then came the all the cherries on top. The difficulty getting comfortable and getting decent sleep in the last trimester.
The body aches.
The continued decrease in being able to do the things I loved like running.
Feeling less like the me I knew.
It took my anxiety to a whole new level. I was so excited to meet my baby boy, but I was struggling in a way I hadn’t ever experienced.
After all of it was said and done, I got to bring home one of my favorite people. Transitioning into motherhood wasn’t easy, and involved more struggles with mental health post-partum. But it’s always been, unequivocally, worth it. After all of the struggles I experienced with pregnancy, it took me a long time to be open to repeating the process, honestly. Almost 8 years to be exact.
And I went into pregnancy this time with eyes wide open. I knew that this pregnancy would be different than my first, and it has been. My morning sickness lasted a little longer, but I’ve been able to be more active. I’m not quite as nervous after the first trimester, but I still feel weird when someone points at my belly and asks me questions.
I’m more confident and comfortable with myself and my voice as a 34 year old year woman than I was 8 years ago in my twenties. Knowing what to expect, and having the trophy of keeping a kid alive for 8 years makes me feel a little better.
But the anxiety is still there.
Not getting good sleep still makes me cranky.
And there’s absolutely nothing I love about how my back feels these days.
I don’t love being pregnant. I’m amazed at the fact that my body has now grown and supported two separate beings, but I’m also tired, hot, uncomfortable, and uneasy. I share all of this to say that if you happen to not love the process of being pregnant, it doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you a complainer. It doesn’t make you ungrateful. And it definitely doesn’t make you a bad mom.
It makes you someone who is willing to sacrifice their own personal comfort for the sake of loving their children. Which I think is something every mom can relate to. Because even the moms who relish in every moment of prenatal bliss probably don’t love the experience of labor and delivery, or the effects of sleep deprivation that follow.
I don’t love being pregnant. I don’t love every moment of motherhood. But I absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt love the fact that I have built our little family from scratch. And I’m grateful to the body that has allowed me to do so. Even if it feels strange these days.
I love my son and this baby that I haven’t met more than words could ever say. Even if I don’t love being pregnant.