It’s OK Not to Enjoy Pregnancy
I wish someone had told me, “It’s OK not to enjoy pregnancy.” When I was pregnant with J, it felt like everyone thought that I had to be over the moon about it. We’d already lost one baby, but we kept trying, and then, finally, I was pregnant. I was excited that we were going to have a baby, but was I excited to enjoy my pregnancy? I wasn’t sure. As it turns out, I put on a face to show that I was enjoying being pregnant, but it wasn’t what was going on inside.
Everywhere I looked, pregnant friends were enjoying themselves. We talked for hours about their latest shopping trips to find the perfect stroller, cradle, or clothes for bringing the baby home from the hospital. All the while I smiled and nodded.
The first few weeks my pregnancy was difficult. After having a miscarriage, you expect signs every time you pop to the restroom. With every ache and pain, you worry if it’s cramps that will signify the end. Combined with morning sickness, it made for a worrisome few weeks.
Then, around the eight-week mark, things started to go from worrying about what might happen to start to hurt. We all know aches and pains are normal in pregnancy, but, after a day of teaching, I was in agony, and it only got worse. By 14 weeks, I had a visit to the emergency room as I couldn’t get up. My hips and knees had gone – I was given crutches and exercises, but these didn’t help. At 20 weeks – the half way point – I was in a wheelchair, and my dose of pain medication was as high as it could get.
Pictures of what a pregnant woman should look like at 20 weeks showed ladies standing and holding bellies in summer clothes. I was stuck indoors on my sofa on heavy pain killers so that I could sit or sleep.
As the pregnancy progressed, it didn’t get better. Instead of enjoying trips to get things for the new arrival, it was horrific. Getting in the car was painful, being pushed around stores in a wheelchair was frustrating, and being unable to help with the basics of preparing for our much-longed-for baby made the next 18 weeks some of the most difficult I have gone through.
People would say, thinking it was for the best, “Cheer up! You’re pregnant and being miserable won’t help you or the baby.” But really, all I needed was for someone to say – “It’s OK not to enjoy pregnancy. Not everyone does!”
After the birth, which wasn’t anything like I’d imagined, I didn’t forget how I didn’t enjoy pregnancy. Instead, I knew that I wanted to have another child so J wouldn’t be an only child. Luckily our second pregnancy happened quickly without any miscarriages.
After the first 28 weeks, I learned I had gestational diabetes. Gone was the occasional midwife visit. Instead, we were on biweekly visits, then weekly, and then twice a week to the hospital, monitoring blood sugars, injecting myself with insulin, and arranging for the date when the baby had to come out.
Yes, I could walk, but it wasn’t easy with the constant hospital visits, the side effects of the medication, and the pressure of having a “big baby.” Again, I didn’t enjoy pregnancy, and it was OK. I didn’t have to: the end product was a beautiful tiny baby girl that I held in my arms.
If you are pregnant and reading this, listen: whatever your circumstances, you don’t have to enjoy pregnancy — some of the time or even all of the time. Sure, you end up with a baby, and that’s amazing, but each pregnancy is different, and no one can know how you feel or what you are going through. No one can walk in your shoes for those nine months. Look away from those pictures of joyful mums holding their pregnancy bellies. It’s OK not to enjoy pregnancy.
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This post was syndicated with permission to BonBon Break Media, LLC.