Hate is a strong word. I don’t tend to hate many things, but I hated pregnancy. Not all the time, but most of it. This made me feel terrible while I was pregnant. I’d always been led to believe that women love pregnancy, so when I found it horrible I thought there was something wrong with me. I had an ‘easy pregnancy’, with no complications. We were both healthy. What’s to hate then you might ask.
Expectation vs realityI think one of the main problems was my expectations. I really thought I’d love it. People have always said to me “ooh I loved pregnancy” and “It’s such a special time”. People only really talk about the positives of pregnancy and in a generally romanticised way. I was expecting to feel a bit sick (in the mornings!) at first, then to feel fine with the only side effect being the pregnancy ‘glow’ that everyone talks about. Ha ha ha.
I hated how I felt for the first 15 weeks. I had quite bad nausea, but I felt like I shouldn’t complain. After all, I wasn’t actually sick. Some people have hyperemesis gravidarum and get hospitalised. I just felt like I wanted to be sick. I also hated having no energy. Usually I’d walk everywhere and go to the gym several times a week. I felt like curling up on the sofa after work was all I could manage.
I did have a good few weeks after the nausea stopped, but by about 21 weeks I started getting ligament pain. I’d basically stopped going to the gym by then so walking was my only exercise. Then that became painful. We went on holiday to the Yorkshire Dales. Usually we’d do a lot of long walks. I did a 5-mile walk one day and I could have cried the whole way. I didn’t want to slow down, but I needed to. Then a bit later the general pelvis pain started. Looking back, I should have made more of a fuss. I mentioned it to the midwife, but as a bit of an aside at the end of the appointment. After a few weeks complaining I was given a support band which helped a little.
The last real problem I had was heartburn, which was something I’d never experienced before. It was unrelenting. I kept reading about ways to prevent it online. Everything I read said don’t eat spicy or fatty foods. I had heartburn after eating a cereal bar! A bloody cereal bar! I couldn’t enjoy any food and I was getting through Gaviscon at an alarming rate. The day after Jacob was born I suddenly realised I didn’t have heartburn anymore and I’ve never felt such joy.
Honesty around pregnancy
The evening of Jacob’s birth, one of my good friends asked me what was worse, pregnancy or childbirth? I immediately replied pregnancy, even though I’d just had an 18 hour labour (according to the hospital—don’t get me started on how they count labour hours!).
Don’t get me wrong, I was so happy to be pregnant. I’m not ungrateful and I understand that some people have a terrible time getting pregnant and would give anything to feel like I did. Ultimately, it was all worth it. I ended up with my beautiful little boy. But I’m not looking forward to doing it all again anytime soon.
I do wish people had been honest with me so that I knew what to expect. When I confided to a few friends who’ve had babies that I wasn’t really enjoying pregnancy they overwhelmingly said “Yeah it’s awful isn’t it”. Why does no one tell you this in advance?
I’ve decided not to sugar coat it when people ask me about pregnancy. I’m going to tell them it’s OK if they feel rubbish and hate every minute. They aren’t going to be a terrible mother just because they feel like that. If someone had said that to me from the start, I’d have felt a lot better about it all.
How did you find pregnancy? Were you one of the mythical glowing pregnant women?