Posted on August 10, 2015
About three seconds after I had my second child somebody said “Do you miss being pregnant?” and I thought – Awww that’s cute.
I smiled and said no but I could have provided a list of all of the things I prefer to being pregnant. It’s a short list:
There are many magical women out there who have amazingly easy, symptom-free pregnancies. These women are rare beings. I have met two. One of them, when drunk (well after the baby had exited the womb) admitted it wasn’t that great “It was kind of OK some days and then other days I wanted to die a little bit”. Oh alcohol! So good for honesty.
I was SO EXCITED about getting pregnant. I cannot even tell you. I basically spent half of my life imagining myself as a pregnant woman. Daydreaming about being pregnant was a full time preoccupation for me for around four years. It was a painful time too. So many negative pregnancy tests, so many tears. I vowed I would never be one of those ungrateful women who complains about being pregnant. When I got pregnant I would enjoy it. Every second. And I was beyond grateful when I finally got that positive test.
My fantasy didn’t just cover how I would feel (grateful, constantly ecstatic, blissful, at peace with my place in the world) though, the How I Would Be When I’m Pregnant fantasy covered everything: I would be me, with a beautiful bump, glowing (obviously), just kind of quietly amazing you know? I’d wear floaty dresses – gorgeous ones. In my fantasy I wore a lot of chiffon and I frolicked in fields of lavender. I’d have glossy hair – I knew pregnancy gave you beautiful hair. I might feel nauseous – but just enough in the early stages to make sure the baby was healthy. You know, just enough to be able to say ‘Oh yeah, I do have a bit of morning sickness’. I’d be uncomfortable sure. But not like really uncomfortable. It’s only the last week or so that you’re really uncomfortable right?
Well, it wasn’t quite like that. Not quite.
Pregnancy was difficult. Hahaha actually let me rephrase that:
PREGNANCY WAS HELL ON EARTH LIKE ACTUALLY THE WORST THING I’VE EVER BEEN THROUGH IN MY ENTIRE LIFE AND ALL OTHER LIVES I HAVE LIVED EVEN THOUGH I DON’T ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN PAST LIVES BUT PREGNANCY WAS SO BAD I THOUGHT MAYBE THERE WERE PAST LIVES AND I HAD KILLED LOTS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE AND THIS WAS MY PAYBACK BECAUSE WHAT COULD I HAVE DONE TO MAKE MY LIFE SO INTOLERABLE FOR 37 EXCRUCIATING WEEKS.
A little nausea you say?
I puked every single day of my pregnancy, including on the way to the hospital to give birth. I once puked in the sacred waters of the Court of Appeal on my way to work (I’m sorry New Zealand). I slept holding a bowl so that when I woke up during the night to vomit I wouldn’t vomit in bed (again). I lost so much weight in my first trimester that I got used to people saying “What’s your secret? You look amazing!”
Here’s my secret – vomit so much that you are scared you actually spewed out some of your insides and you yell out to your husband that you need him to check your puke because you’re worried your gall bladder is in there.
You think that’s gross? I haven’t even said the word discharge yet.
I vomited until my throat bled. My gums swelled. I felt so weak that my husband had to help me into the car in the mornings and after work. We would drive to work with me vomiting into an ice cream container. I could barely keep down water.
Things improved though, and by the middle of my second trimester I was puking only twice a day and once or twice overnight. Bliss.
My hair? It fell out. Basically I was malnourished so I had clumps of hair falling out. It was awesome.
I was huge. Like a whale ate a whale. I had imagined a cute little bump but I was basically needing a wheelbarrow to get my massive bump around from 25 weeks.
When I slept it was basically just from blacking out from lack of energy so insomnia wasn’t really that much of a problem until 30 weeks. People are really helpful about insomnia in pregnancy.
“Sleep now! Soon you won’t be getting any sleep!”
Oh thanks! So helpful! I’ll just tell myself to sleep and then I’ll sleep. And reminding me when I’m exhausted that I’m going to be more exhausted? Wow, thank you! That’s not something a sadist would say at all!
YOU THINK THIS IS BAD? WAIT UNTIL DEATH.
To be honest, I got more sleep after the baby was born. I wasn’t peeing every eight seconds for a start. For the whole second half of pregnancy you basically pee and then you pee again and then you’re like, I definitely can’t pee more, but you pee once more. And then the effort of standing up from the toilet makes you pee.
I’m a lady so I’m not going to talk about poop.
But I will say that once at work, I almost called emergency services because I thought I was having the baby. I wasn’t. It was a poo. It was just as much effort as giving birth. It was only slightly less painful.
To help you with all of this amazing joyous joy – you have lots of people telling you how to be pregnant. Frankly, I enjoyed crapping more than I enjoyed the endless advice:
Have you tried ginger? YES IT MADE MY VOMIT SMELL LIKE GINGER.
Have you tried yoga? YES IT REALLY HELPED ME VOMIT IN A NEW PLACE.
Have you tried highly concentrated bull semen? NO. NO I AM NOT INTERESTED IN SEMEN OF ANY KIND RIGHT NOW.
Or it’s just random statements that you didn’t ask for:
The vomiting stops after the first trimester. COOL I’M 28 WEEKS HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE EVIL?
It’s not that bad, I did it five times! OK BUT I’M NOT SURE WHAT YOUR POOR LIFE CHOICES HAVE TO DO WITH ME?
Just enjoy it! OK SINCE YOU SAID THAT I WILL.
Pregnancy is a miracle. You should feel blessed. I FEEL BLOATED. GO AWAY BEFORE I STAB YOU.
You’re lucky you know. YES. I KNOW THAT. I KNOW. BUT THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME FEEL WORSE THAN I CURRENTLY DO. THAT IS REALLY NICE.
Don’t even get me started about people touching you. I felt like I wasn’t just carrying a baby – I was carrying 10 pounds of pure rage. Everything made me angry. Once a colleague put the milk back into the work fridge with only a tiny bit left in it and I had to walk around the building because I was worried I might actually physically hurt him.
Emotionally I was wrecked during my first pregnancy. My second was far worse (I will blog at some point about getting help for this – because you can get help and I did). I was constantly terrified I’d lose the baby. Every time I went to the toilet I looked down at my underwear in terror – would there be blood? This never stopped. Even in labour I worried the baby would be stillborn. I worried when the baby didn’t move. I worried when it did. I worried that my worry would make the baby sick. Every scan I could barely look at the screen.
I felt guilty all of the time. I should be loving this! I’d wanted this! I had been desperate to be pregnant. We had tried for so long. Why couldn’t I enjoy it? What was wrong with me? Why wasn’t I trying hard enough to just “go with the flow”. To just “embrace” being with child? To celebrate this special time? Did everyone else hate being pregnant? I kept being told it was such a short time. That it would be over and I’d miss it.
And you know what? They were right.
Nah just joking. They were fucking full of it. I didn’t miss it at all. I willed that sucker (I mean my beloved firstborn) out of me by sheer hatred of being pregnant. Come 37 weeks I just went – NO. And my Eddie was born. I just needed to not be pregnant any more. He knew. I knew. My body knew. It was all over.
And I didn’t miss it at all. I’d never been happier than when I held him in my arms because 1) I wasn’t pregnant anymore and 2) He was here, and safe.
I vowed I would never, ever, ever, do it again. But I am not a smart person. And everyone said it would be different. So I thought…yes, it will be different. It’s totally worth it for the baby so maybe I should try again. The second pregnancy won’t be the same. It won’t be easy, but it might be easier.
And I was right!
No, I wasn’t. It was fucking terrible. Even worse than the first time. Except this time I took anti-nausea medication which I recommend. First time around I didn’t because I was a martyr or something.
Anyway – the one thing I learned from all of that is this:
Nothing. I didn’t learn anything. I mean I did it again! I would do it again! Ridiculous! So don’t listen to me. I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about.
Oh wait – actually I do have a message. I changed my mind. My message is this:
It’s OK to hate it. It’s OK to hate being pregnant. Pregnancy sucks. I mean it’s a miracle or whatever but it’s also awful. And you’re not a bad mother for hating it. For wishing it was over. You’re wishing for an end to the horrible parts of it, not your baby. That’s OK! That’s a totally understandable reaction! It’s OK to want it to be over. That’s normal. If you’re in pain, if you’re sick, if you are exhausted – it’s perfectly normal to not want to be. Think about it – if someone said they were really sick, would you tell them to suck it up because they’re alive so whatever? No! You wouldn’t. So be nice to yourself. Beating yourself up makes everything worse. You don’t have to enjoy it. How you react to pregnancy doesn’t have any impact on what type of parent you’ll be. I was an awful pregnant person. I am an OK sometimes quite good parent. Don’t let people make you feel guilty. Ignore bullshit advice (including this if it doesn’t ring true for you). Don’t listen when family tell you how great it was for them – they probably don’t remember how shit it was. Your baby will be born and that will be the amazing bit. It’s OK to hate every second of your pregnancy – it won’t mean a thing when you hold your baby in your arms.
That’s the best bit.