Pregnancy is Anything but **Magical**

Around ManilaForeign Service Life
March 1, 2011

I feel misled.  I was told that pregnancy was magical.  And I believed it – hook, line and sinker.  I was ready to GLOW from within and feel an INSTANT BOND with my unborn fetus.  Instead, I am miserable.  Today I went so far as to try and barter my 7 week ‘blueberry’ with my friend’s 37 week ‘watermelon’.  Unfortunately, no deal.  :(

So instead I’m here to rant in the hopes of getting this anger and crabbiness out of my system for good.  Because if there’s one thing I learned in coaching, it’s that what you resist persists.  And right now I’ve got a whole mess of emotions going on.  I’m about 50% grief, 30% anger/resentment and 20% joy/excitement.  You do the math people, but I’m pretty sure those aren’t good stats.  Now before you judge me, you should know that I am 100% confident that I’m going to LOVE being a Mom.  And I’m also 100% okay with not liking pregnancy.

The System is Messed Up

In fact, I feel like I need to complain on behalf of all the silenced pregnant women in their first trimester who are waiting to tell but have to withstand all this horribleness alone.  The system is messed up, I tell you.  As moms-to-be, we’re told that we’re supposed to love pregnancy and be a martyr about the bad stuff.  We’re also told that it’s best not to tell anyone we’re pregnant until after the first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage has passed.

That means that during the miserable first trimester when you’re nauseous, puking and exhausted that you have NO ONE that you’re allowed to talk about it with (except your husband, who WILL NOT UNDERSTAND.  And even if he is really great and sympathetic, you’re probably be pissed as hell at him for doing this to your body while he stays exactly the same).  And then, in the horrible event that you have miscarried, you’ve created this wall of secrecy around the pregnancy so no one knows to call and give you the love and support you so desperately need!  Yup, definitely messed up…

The Top 10 Things I DISLIKE about Pregnancy

  1. I am pissed as hell that I can’t go on my DREAM trip to Bhutan.
  2. I am tired of injecting goo into my you-know-what each night before bed to ensure my Progesterone goes up.
  3. I resent the fact that I can no longer go and play with the kids at Friendship Home, on the off chance that they may pass a disease to the baby.
  4. I am panicked about the size of my exponentially growing chest size and afraid I won’t be able to support it at 9 months if it continues at this rate.
  5. I am sick of drinking water and miss my 4 favorite beverages, all of which are now banned: Diet Coke, Wine, Crystal Light and Caffeinated Lattes.
  6. I am grieving my old life, the one in which I had interesting things to do and wasn’t on house arrest.
  7. I am crabby that I had to quit my Advanced Photography and Photoshop Class per the Doctor’s orders.
  8. I genuinely miss being able to exercise.  My energy has really gone down.
  9. I despise the “judged-if-you-do”, “judged-if-you-don’t” mentality around pregnancy.  I’m perfectly capable of judging myself, thank you very much (and I happen to be very good at it!)
  10. I hate admitting that it’s never going to be the same — being forced to give in to the uncertainty and let go of what happens to my identity in the process.

That’s enough for today.  I’m feeling better already.  Thanks for holding the space for me as I cleared this stuff out.  If you’ve never tried ‘clearing’ before, I highly recommend it.  Note: it’s not about getting sympathy, etc., it’s merely about releasing the heavy emotion from your system so you can move on to acceptance and healing.  Make sense?

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42 Comments

  1. Oh, no! Did I miss something? Why can’t you go on your trip? Even if you are on bed rest now, I thought it was only temporary?

    Now I’m pissed off for you! You can’t go to the happiest place on earth when you need it most? WTF?

  2. Jen says:

    Thinking of you…and trust me, I do not judge when it comes to pregnancy (too many times I was judged on assumptions, no less, and it’s not fun or necessary)! Feel better!

  3. Betty miller your lovely sister says:

    I just wrote a long response about how I am an ob/gyn pa and the reasons why I don’t agree with most of your list. but it got deleted and I am too tired to rewrite it

    so that being said…progesterone? bedrest? crystal light? bhutan? missing your photography class? Dumb

    call me someday…momma b will give you her two cents on pregnancy! it would make you happy :)

    thats all…toodaloo

  4. Carla says:

    Way to get it out Sarah – I love transparency!!

  5. Lisa Overman says:

    From where I’m standing – you are loved not judged and doing an amazing job of being exactly who you are supposed to be which is really the best gift you can give to the “blueberry”. Thanks for keeping it real for those of us who think you are pretty darn special no matter what.

    Hugs and kisses to you.

    Lisa

  6. sarahlynn60 says:

    Yup, wouldn’t you know it Carla, the one place we wanted to go is incompatible with pregnancy because it’s 8-13,000 feet above sea level, which would cause both me and the baby to get a restricted air flow. Thank the Lord we bought trip insurance or all that money would have gone out the door! Nick has assured me that we will rebook as soon as we’re back in this vicinity again… and yes, I could really use the happiest place on earth right now!

  7. sarahlynn60 says:

    Thanks for the support darling, I love that I can be real with this community! Thanks for loving me as me!

  8. sarahlynn60 says:

    I could really use that Bethy. I’m drowning in ‘don’t do this’ and ‘can’t have that’ and Nick is a stickler when it comes to following pregnancy rules. It’s killing me!

  9. sarahlynn60 says:

    Yeah, I’m big on transparency Carla. It’s refreshing and so much easier than keeping up a facade… PS – My Mom has some really big stuff brewing for the State of MN Early Learning Standards Committee and I bet she’d LOVE to talk about it with you. She’s **THIS CLOSE** to making a massive impact that will change the course of Early Childhood Education for the State of MN!

  10. sarahlynn60 says:

    Oh Lisa, thank you for that. You are a gem and I’m SOOOOO excited to get to know you better during the next chapter in our lives!

  11. Caroline says:

    First, that sucks a LOT that you can’t go to Bhutan. Is it because of your couch rest?

    Second, while I know there are great benefits to being pregnant, I also am definitely not in the camp that it’s magical. I’ll even go ahead and wait, go into labor, and push the kid out. But please, can I not be pregnant beforehand? But for the record, I’m also not in the camp that your world becomes technicolor the second your child is born. Sure, you’re going to love that little one from the very first moment and your life will change and you’ll be glad to have your new family member. But it’s hard, and babies can be really boring, and you’re tired and just want to stop at the store quick to get cough drops but you can’t because you have to completely unload the baby for one thing if you do and it’s just not really worth it. So no, I don’t judge you for thinking it’s not magical or fun. Because there’s really not a single thing that’s glamorous about being a mom, and honestly, you’re certainly not going to feel glamorous a lot of the time.

    Third, you seem to have a TON of restrictions. And that’s really hard. You’ll likely be able to pick up a lot of things you liked once your progesterone is up and you reach into the second trimester, because things really change a lot as pregnancy goes along. But it’s really sucky to have to give things up and you are totally right that just suffering in silence isn’t the way to go. Once you are off couch arrest, I’m hoping you’ll feel better.

    I guess what I’m saying is, it does suck a lot, your restrictions are nothing to be envied, I’m horrified you have to miss Bhutan, and while things might not get, by definition, better, they get better. Or at least, your attitude will shift with it as you let yourself experience it all. I hope.

  12. Caroline says:

    I wrote a really long response, too, and it also disappeared. Maybe your blog hates long responses.

    Anyway, the jist of it was this: Your restrictions suck a lot, but they will get more lax as a) you get further along, b) your progesterone comes up and c) you get back to Minnesota.

    Also, I am not huge on being pregnant, either. I’m fine with the wait, and I’ll even do the labor and pushing and everything, but really, I can do without the pregnancy. But I’m also not someone who thinks the whole world is technicolor the second you meet your baby. I mean, you love the kid and everything, but babies are really boring and it’s hard to adjust to the life changes when you’re still not certain this person even knows you’re as awesome as you know you are. But…they get more fun as they get older and even though they are still super inconvenient, they are also a pretty good playmate and awfully lovable. It’s worth it, but honestly, it really doesn’t feel like it AT ALL. I especially felt that way with my first, because you have no idea what’s on the other end. At least now I know that I’m going to like it.

  13. sarahlynn60 says:

    Thanks for the love Caroline – I guess I knew going into this that I’d have more restrictions than the norm because I’m high-risk with my Arthritis. Add the spotting problems on top of that and it’s been pretty crappy. I do have a lot of restrictions but I agree that most are valid, given the signals my body is showing, I’m just not happy about it. It’s very hard to slow down when you’re used to having so much freedom!

    The Bhutan trip sucks the most. We literally picked one of the few places that’s incompatible with pregnancy due to altitude. The altitude in the places we’d be visiting is between 8-13,000 feet above sea level, which is high enough that it would restrict both mine and the baby’s oxygen supplies to a dangerous level. It’s just not a good idea since I’m not used to that elevation and we’d need to hike, etc to see the places we want to go.

    Thank you for your honesty about the experience. I trust there will be a shift at some point, I’m just biding my time until it happens…

  14. Connie says:

    The most important thing I learned when pregnant and while nursing is that hormonal swings make me insane. We all, always, have a bit of a disconnect between logic and emotion, but pregnancy hormones are chaos… as if a mom to be needs anything else to stress her out! It was tough trying to remain positive when I really wasn’t, and it made me miserable at times. Trying to remain positive when I was hormonal and people TOLD me to be positive made me homicidal (well, mentally, I never actually killed anyone). Most of my first pregnancy was easy and wonderful… but there were THOSE other moments that I wish I’d handled better. I only figured it out after my son was born. My 2nd pregnancy was easier… if I felt overly angry or sad for whatever reason. I didn’t fight it, I’d have a good cry or write an undelivered angry note and delete it, and I got through it faster and easier. Acceptance of your real emotions… to heck with what others say you should feel… that’s the key and so yes, you make a lot of sense!

  15. sarahlynn60 says:

    Thanks for the affirmation Connie – I so appreciate hearing the experiences of others who have gone before me. It’s nice to have some honest dialogue about a topic that is often presented in a single light!

  16. naomi says:

    I am a hater of pregnancy too! Ask my Husb. Hated most every minute of it! Especially when you’re miserable and people are gushing at you about how AWESOME it is.

    Blech.

    Boo hiss on the restrictions. I won’t full-onditto your lovely sister, but I would echo some of the same “that’s dumb!” comments … I feel bad for you !! I hope that they WILL ease up as you get further along in the pregnancy ..

    (Loving Caroline’s comments as well … parenting is not pretty rainbows and Teletubbies dancing through fields of flowers … but it is pretty damn cool!)

    Hang in there friend …

  17. sarahlynn60 says:

    Thanks for the love friend, it’s comforting to know I’m not alone!

  18. Erin says:

    If one more person tells me how they LOVED being pregnant, I’m really going to lose it. That said, I must say that this end of second trimester/beginning of third is much better than pretty much the first 20 or so weeks were. I look and feel like a whale (and with the benefit of my broad shoulders, the winter clothes season, and my husky northern European heritage, no one can really tell I’m pregnant, I just look exceptionally fat), but at least I can feel him kicking, so I know he’s moving around in there and I feel like I can start bonding with him better. I wasn’t really prepared for how sick I was going to be for a LONG time (sorry, that probably doesn’t make you feel better), and the hormones have really been tough. But Pedro has been just amazing during this time, and I just keep reminding myself that it’s temporary (even though it feels eternal) and that I’ll be able to hold him in my arms relatively soon!

    Thinking about you, sending lots of love and healthy energy your way!

  19. Bethany says:

    I puked for 3 months…sucked
    I’ve never totally lost the baby weight….sucks
    My breasts felt like boulders…ugh
    I was judged because I live in the South and we were not married when I was pregnant…annoying
    36 hours of natural labor and then having to forgo the water birth…painful in more ways than one

    Feeling that first flutter…amazing
    My stomach sometimes looking like an alien is living in it when he moved…crazy and wonderful
    The puking eventually stopping…hallelujah
    The looks on people’s face when I was a day away from labor and looking like a hippo…hilarious
    Looking into his eyes right after he was born…breathtaking
    Finally knowing what unconditional love feels like…I would do it all over again.

    xoxo Bethany

  20. alex says:

    I hear you. I had a miserable first trimester too — although for different reasons. It seems like you’ve mostly escaped the nausea problem? If so, at least that’s one thing to be grateful for! But unlike you, I didn’t tell anyone — so I dragged myself to French classes every day, barely able to function, and suffered in silence. Kudos to you for sharing your frustration.
    And while every pregnancy is different, of course, I suspect that yours, like most people’s, will get better. Hang in there! I’m at 30 weeks now and while I’m still not one of those people who love pregnancy, I definitely don’t despise it as much as I did at week 7. =) It’s a lot more satisfying once you can feel movement and kicks…

  21. Chris says:

    Dearest Sarah – well, if it’s any consolation to you at all – your blog today made me laugh hysterically! Not that it’s funny that it’s happening to you, but you should at least know that the way in which you described it is comedic material of the highest quality. That’s it!!!! You could become a pregnant comedian – that would take your mind off the whole awfulness of the first trimester!!! Just think – you could waddle onto the stage with your humongous bosoms, carrying a huge syringe filled with the awful, gooey stuff that you inject into your you know what every day and have the audiences rolling on the floor!!! Seriously . . . I know it is awful, but I think your attitude about the whole thing is amazing . . . I know it is very cathartic for you to put it on paper so to speak and kudos to you for being the strong woman you are and doing just that. Keep on writing and laughing!!! (And hanging in there!) Hugs and love.

  22. That really really sucks. I hope you guys are planning another trip so the long weekend doesn’t go to waste!

  23. Rebecca says:

    Just one question… who told you pregnancy was magical!?! Being a mom IS magical (and lots of work). Love you and miss you. I’ll be thinking happy thoughts for you and praying for a healthy baby and healthy mommy.

  24. Katrina Buetow says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I am sorry the the first couple of weeks have not been fun for you but I PROMISE, it will get better! However, I am concerned about some of the activities that you are no longer taking apart of. Maybe I don’t know the entire story but…you can drink Crystal Light (not sure why you couldn’t), you can travel (I went around the world with Stella), not sure why you had to cancel your photography class and you can work out as long as you did prior to your pregnancy. You can also start yoga if you haven’t in the past. Also, a little diet coke or coffee is okay-they say you can either one once per day. Just remember that babies have been born all around the world for THOUSANDS of years. It wasn’t until recently that they came out with not smoking or drinking. Cut yourself some slack and enjoy what makes you happy, just do so in moderation.

  25. Joyce says:

    Welcome to the women’s hormone club! Glad you have a husband who is a stickler. Even the most upbeat person is going to have downtimes. Why can’t we just pop them out at 1 month right? These little guys are DEFINITELY worth waiting for. Just go with the flow and let people ask if your pregnant, try to help you, be excited for you, and give you advice or their seat on the bus. That’s what it’s all about. Love you.

  26. Chelsea says:

    I had mono a couple years before I was pregnant with my daughter. Um…. the two felt pretty much the same. I hope it gets better for you at 12 weeks. It does for most people! (It must, hence the world’s population growth…)

  27. sarahlynn60 says:

    Thanks Erin – I appreciate the glimmer of hope! Thank goodness for our amazing men our we’d never make it through this debacle! Can’t wait to meet your little guy! XOXO

  28. sarahlynn60 says:

    Thank you for that reminder Bethany. I definitely needed that today… Big hugs, Sarah

  29. sarahlynn60 says:

    OK Alex – I’m holding out for movement and kicks then! I definitely think that will help improve my mood. It still doesn’t feel very real yet! Sorry you suffered in silence, but WAY JEALOUS that you’re at 30 weeks!

  30. sarahlynn60 says:

    Thanks Chris – I’m glad you found it amusing! :) I may consider ‘pregnant comedian’ for my next career… you never know! Hopefully I’ll be able to read this and laugh too in the next few weeks. Thanks for the love.

  31. sarahlynn60 says:

    Yeah, we’re considering a few ideas, but waiting for our next ultrasound in 2 weeks to get the go-ahead.

  32. sarahlynn60 says:

    Maybe I made it all up in my head, but I swear that’s what I honest-to-goodness believed! I do have a history of building up unrealistic expectations, so it’s very possible no one ever said it to me and I just turned it into the reality in my head…. :) Love you!

  33. sarahlynn60 says:

    Thanks Katrina – I appreciate the wisdom of a veteran mommy! Perhaps I will ease up a bit… XOXO

  34. sarahlynn60 says:

    I’ll keep trying, so far I’m kind of sucking at it. You know me though, I’ll keep at it. Here’s to hoping it gets better soon!

  35. sarahlynn60 says:

    Awesome – thanks for sharing that, it genuinely made me smile! OK then, I’ll hold out for 12 weeks. That’s only 5 more to go – totally doable!

  36. Daniela says:

    Oh, Sarah, I am sorry you are feeling frustrated but good for you for getting it off your chest. That should help a little. And while I agree that some (perhaps many) aspects of being pregnant truly suck, I still think being able to grow a human in our bellies in 40 weeks is pretty darn amazing. It’s not always a pleasant process for the mommy but it’s nothing less than awesome.

    I had a wonderful first pregnancy and a less than perfect delivery and a less than perfect second pregnancy but a wonderful delivery (by comparison), so here’s hoping that the unpleasantness you are feeling right now means you will have a great delivery! And just echoing what a couple of people already said – pregnancy usually does get better after the 12-week mark but do not expect all the unpleasantness to go away. Hopefully, the positive emotions will outweigh the unpleasant things going forward.

    There are a couple of books I read when I was pregnant with my daughter that I really loved: The girlfriend’s guide to pregnancy and Belly laughs. Both are very funny and talk about all those things no one tells you about pregnancy. They really helped me deal with and laugh at some of the ugly sides to being pregnant.

  37. sarahlynn60 says:

    Thanks for the book suggestions Daniela. I’ve read the girlfriend’s guide (and thoroughly enjoyed it) and will check out Belly Laughs as well. I look forward to feeling my first baby kick, as I’m sure that will dramatically improve my mood!

  38. Connie says:

    Awesome list Bethany! So true! Your body gets used to the indignities, you get used to the ups and downs. Steal the AA phrase “Take one day at a time” and you’ll make it. And think of the stories you’ll be telling your kids some day….maybe not all the gory details… but mine love hearing ‘their’ stories. I told my daughter about how I had a back pain flare up (BAD sciatica) when I was pregnant with her. About 7mos into my pregnancy, my back went out. I could not move my legs, could not walk, and my husband wanted to call 911. I can remember begging him not to. He must have been terrified, but I didn’t want to be moved or medicated. (fortunately it eased up as quickly as it set in about 24hrs later). It really was NOT funny at the time, but laughing about it with my daughter was a blast! Time does heal.

  39. Carly says:

    Your honesty is on of your many fine qualities that will get you through the downs and make you a fantastic mother! Hang in there – and thanks for sharing this!

  40. Sara says:

    The old notion of “glowing” must just be a tale. The first 12 weeks suck. No other way to put it. The first time it happens to you it’s a shock. Don’t worry Sarah, by the second and third it won’t be.
    So I can relate to your feelings of blah-as you know-but I also have to add in my opinion.
    Pregnancy for me is a time when I feel hyper alive. My body is doing miraculous things and for these 40 weeks I am proud of my body and all of the growing expanding it’s doing. I’m not worried about a flat tummy or looking good in my jeans, I’m growing a child and it’s an amazing rush. As a woman I am using my gear for what it was intended for and for me that makes me feel ALIVE.

    I can honestly say that it’s not all joyful. It’s a hard 40 weeks (God knows those last few weeks are crazy hard). Lots of pain and uncomfortableness, BUT, it is definitely worth it in the end. It’s why women go back and do it again for the second baby.

    Hang in there. I really think things will start to feel better in a month or so.

    Sara

  41. Sarah Novak says:

    Thanks for reminding me of the ‘good’ stuff. Sometimes it’s easy to forget about!

  42. On the road to maternity is hilarious – you’ll love it, Sarah…

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