There is a very misleading attitude amongst women when it comes to pregnancy, which is only made stronger by the Internet in my opinion. The idea of women being these superhero figures that nurture and grow a baby within their bodies for 9 long months only makes them seem even more mystical. The endless blogs, magazines, books and Instagram accounts praising woman for their ability and strength; while looking radiant and put together has made it near impossible to relate to the REALITY of being pregnant.
I am aware that there are women who are unable to bear children and this post is not about them. It is about the woman who were blessed with bearing children and what it REALLY feels like to have a baby growing in you for 9 months. Everybody will chant that all pregnancies are different and some are better than others but here is a few truths of what happens that nobody really likes to talk about.
- Pain & Uncomfort: No matter what stage you are in your pregnancy you will be in some sort of pain and be constantly uncomfortable. It may be the early stages of nausea, or the tight squeeze of your beloved pair of jeans. It will only get worse with time, as your pregnancy graduates thru the trimesters so does the level of pain. Some of us will have endless lower back pain and/or constant vomiting while others will suffer from migraines and sciatica. Let’s be assured there is rarely a time when you are at complete comfort and ease.
- Heartburn & Gas: Things happen in your body while pregnant that make you somewhat of a repulsive human being. Indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea is no longer a catchy phrase (via Pepto Bismol) but our reality. Feeling like your chest and throat are on fire and that your insides would like to exit your body into a toilet bowl are all to common. Not to mention the endless shattering farts that will not only surprise you but anybody in close proximity.
- Loss of Control: Nobody tells you the first things you’ll lose while pregnant is your basic control of both your life and body. For someone like me with a Type A personality this had to be one of the most frustrating aspects of being pregnant. Imagine having no control of your likes/dislikes. Not knowing that your daily cup of coffee would instantly taste like rusted metal. Or the way your emotions would act up at any given situation; causing you to be sobbing uncontrollably while watching the BBC news. How about how your body would react to merely waking up. Some days full of energy while others closely resembling being hit by a bus.
- Weight Gain & Belly Size: This is the most natural thing about pregnancy, obviously. However I have never been more fixated on weight gain in my life till the minute I got pregnant. Not the common concern of pre and post pregnancy body but more of looking pregnant. The amount of stares and comments you get from both people you know and complete strangers is borderline unacceptable. In my case, it was the opposite where in the beginning it seemed I gained a few pounds but as my stomach started to harden all I heard was “you don’t even look pregnant”, “”you can’t be x amount of amounts, you’re barely showing”. Listen if I tell you I am pregnant and go as far to tell you how many months I am, then “you look great” will suffice. Anything more than a pleasant generalization of how I look is going to far.
- Swelling, Glowing, Sweating: Having your fingers and toes resemble chubby hot dogs, while your breast have grown a staggering 2 full cup sizes is not fun. Not only is it not fun to look at it is surprisingly painful. I haven’t suffered to bad with swelling but my former pregnant friends will testify that face swelling was one of their most hated aspects of the pregnancy. I will say that the pregnancy glow may not be a wives tale and that many people experience a few months of radiant looking skin BUT that is not everybody. Lastly, sweating has to be the thing I am most familiar with I have never sweated this much ever. You are definitely the oven with a bun in it! My body is constantly heated and I feel like a heat lamp follows me throughout the day only to go full blast when I sleep.
- Darkness, Marks and Unwanted Hair: Again, this doesn’t happen to everybody but most of us will suffer from one or all of these issues. Maybe an overshadow that takes up the better part of your body making your favorite foundation now 3 shades lighter than your neck. Or the zigzag pattern stretch marks that have mapped out on your growing belly. They may have made appearances else where, maybe decorating your bottom or thighs. For those of us that are super lucky, you get to visit your wax woman every other week because the fur coating hair that has taken over your body is just embarrassing.
- Nonsense Cravings: I am annoyed by this almost completely because everything I have heard about pregnancy cravings seems to be completely untrue in my case. For starters cravings are more like ideas that pop in your head at the most ridiculous of times, not only that they seem to be very extravagant. My cravings had me picking 3 dozen doughnuts in our local Krispy Kreme only to be repulsed by the smell of them when I got home and eating none. That is the part that no one talks about, almost all my cravings were satisfied by merely looking at the food or at most taking one bite. Also, the specificity of what I craved was almost comical, like craving a popsicle that I use to eat when I was a kid (no longer exists).Or chicken noodle soup from a restaurant in Canada while being in Saudi Arabia.
- Personality Changes: This may be the most difficult adjustment for many pregnant woman, including myself. I am not the most social person around but the further my pregnancy got the worse my anti-social behaviour became. I found it more and more uncomfortable being in social gatherings, no real want or desire to go out and even less to be around people. Being alone gave me so much comfort, which sounds similar to postpartum depression but I assure you that it is not the case. It is just that with pregnancy and the many contributing factors of what is happening to your body people tend to really change how they see things and/or feel thing. I know people who are the complete opposite and become total attention seekers. There are women who literally don’t want to be left alone at any given time and are constantly buzzing. No matter what the case, coping with pregnancy is an ordeal and what ever way suits you best to cope is the right way.
- Exhaustion: Being tired is an understatement when pregnant and I don’t mean from just carrying a child but with everything that entails. You are mentally exhausted thinking about the what ifs, how comes, when’s and whys only to have a body that makes feeling normal an obscure idea. There is not enough sleep in the world for a pregnant woman to claim she is well rested and not a bed in the universe that provides ultimate comfort. It maybe the countless bathroom visits, the numbing of body parts, the kicking baby, aching back pain and/or growling hunger pains that make every night a night like no other.
- Fear:If people talked about this more, there would be more REALISTIC view/voice about how women felt about pregnancy and being pregnant. Fear is using categorized and portrayed as the finishing touch of pregnancy with a huge baby being pushed out of a mother’s delicate and small vagina. We are told that the contractions are so painful and the labour so bad that we fear only that aspect. But let us not forget the 9 months of endless fear we endure while carrying the baby. Is the baby healthy? Did I put the baby in harm/stress? Will I be able to take care of a baby? Am I/we ready to be parents? Will my breast produce the golden milk? Does my baby have all the nutrients it needs? Is the baby big enough? Will he/she be a premie? …….
It is absolutely endless, you are constantly in fear. The minute you find out your pregnant till forever I assume you will always have a cloud of fear over your head because you no longer are just responsible for you but an entire other person.
So let’s just be REAL about the whole thing and decide that pregnancy looks great but we all know looks are deceiving. As great as it is to be a mother it is a greater responsibility than anything else. I wish all woman those pregnant, trying and hoping the safest and least realistic pregnancy possible.