Why I Hated Being Pregnant

I wanted to love being pregnant…I really did. I wanted to glow, to bloom, to rub my gently swelling belly with a smug look on my face. I pictured myself in flattering maternity wear, snacking on healthy and refreshing pineapple, shedding a delicate tear at scans, plotting and carrying out a hilarious and cleverly designed time-lapse pregnancy photoshoot. OK, my expectations may have been a little optimistic, but I honestly thought pregnancy consisted of getting a gradually larger belly and receiving lots of positive attention while otherwise carrying on as normal.

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Here’s a ‘bumpdate’ at around 5 months.

To be fair, I do think I was slightly unlucky in my pregnancy experience. But I also think I massively underestimated the challenges and spectacularly failed to do myself any favours. There follows a list of why I hated being pregnant, containing a mixture of advice and observations about the pregnancy experience. In the spirit of what my husband irritatingly calls PMA (Positive Mental Attitude), I shall try to consider the following list My Pregnancy Lessons rather than My Pregnancy Regrets, which is what, in fact, some of them are…

  1. Morning sickness is NOT how sitcoms tell you it will be. My first wave of neasea was quite exciting, as it came at a time when I suspected but had not yet confirmed my expectant status. The next three months of seasickness-on-land were less exciting, more hideous. I wanted to retch delicately for five minutes and then laugh about it and perhaps post a few rueful Facebook statuses. Hashtag pregnancy, etc. What actually ensued was the torture of feeling starving hungry but the very thought of food turning my stomach. I felt that if I read one more “”helpful”” or “”handy”” “”hint”” about “”alleviating”” morning sickness symptoms I might punch either my computer screen or a human being. Dry crackers don’t work. Ginger doesn’t work. Sipping iced water hurts your teeth. I survived on Twister lollies and salt and vinegar Chipsticks for weeks. On the bright side, I lost a stone, but I would not recommend it as diets go. On a serious note, the single most useful thing I read or heard about morning sickness was to not beat yourself up about the baby’s nutrition as its needs are so tiny at that stage and it will take what it needs regardless, especially if you’re taking vitamins.
  2. If you eat loads more food than normal, you will become fatter than normal. I was hugely offended when a colleague repeatedly warned me (in a ‘joking’ manner) about baby weight. It was rude. However, to my great chagrin she turned out to be correct. Rude, but correct. Following the aforementioned weeks of morning sickness, I experienced an enormous increase in appetite. I was genuinely hungry. Like, starving hungry. I knew full well that pregnancy does not require ‘eating for two’ and that only a few extra calories are needed and those in late pregnancy. However, I followed my ravenous appetite and ate not for two but for twenty. I put about four and a half stone (28kg) on during pregnancy, and that is probably my only real regret because…
  3. Pregnancy makes moving difficult. Even a fit person will find their centre of gravity changes as their belly grows and may suffer loose joints as their pesky hormones do their thing. Carrying extra weight only makes this worse. There is initially a perverse pleasure in feeling your usual stride evolve into a pregnant lady’s waddle I admit. It feels like a key to an exclusive club. However, I suffered with SPD  (pelvic pain) and was practically sofa-bound for weeks. On a positive note, I truly have developed more empathy for anyone suffering from physical limitations of any kind because when you’ve never had to adjust your behaviour and activities to match your physical capabilities, you don’t realise what a challenge it can be. SPD is awful, and the support belt and physio I had didn’t help. Sorry NHS, you know I love you, but SPD is (in my area at least) rather neglected. Sadly, I can’t escape the painful truth that if I hadn’t eaten quite so heartily, my poor bones would not have had to struggle so. The eating is also linked to…
  4. Constipation: the struggle is real. This element of my pregnancy whinge runs the risk of being rather TMI for some. I, however, have talked about poo more in the last year (pregnancy and new baby) than I have previously in my entire life. If you’ve never been constipated you can’t truly understand, but it’s most distressing to have your brain sending you one message and your gut insists the opposite is true. Exhausting. And Movicol is disgusting by the way. I shall leave it there, but suffice to say I should have eaten more fruit and exercised more.
  5. My face got taken over by a monster. Yes, while I struggled with my changing body shape, I also had the joy of swelling and pregnancy-induced seborrhoeic eczema all over my face. Huzzah for hormones! Not recognising your own face in the mirror as it gets puffier and puffier (hello swelling) and then monitoring a red rash spreading across your lower face is a little disheartening to say the least. The warm weather and pregnancy sweats meant that makeup was the last thing I felt like wearing. And two people (both men) actually felt the need to comment on my changing skin. Thanks guys! I’d better include a Top Tip here: if you notice a pregnant colleague has suddenly developed terrible skin, consider NOT EVER MENTIONING IT OR REFERRING TO IT for the duration of the pregnancy or until the skin has healed or ever. Hope that’s helpful, chaps.
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My gorgeous pregnancy cankles. Thank goodness for flipflops!

6. Carpal tunnel syndrome will ruin any of your remaining fun. Picture the scene: your painful hips have you stuck on the sofa, and I should add you are sweating profusely because it’s the middle of summer, you’re seven months pregnant, and weigh three stone more than you used to. There’s nothing on TV because, as I mentioned, it’s summer and no idiot would sit inside in such lovely weather. How about a nice book to read? A puzzle to complete? Sketching? Therapeutic colouring? Sew that rocker cover you’d planned for the nursery? NO. None of those things. Your wrists and hands are tingling and fingertips are so numb you can’t hold a pencil. Carpal tunnel also affects…

7. Sleep; don’t get me started. Has anyone shared this gem of advice with you: you sleep badly in pregnancy to prepare you for lack of sleep when baby arrives? So the best way, you’re telling me, for my body to brace itself for months of severe sleep deprivation isn’t restful recuperation but is, in fact, more sleep deprivation? Nice one, Nature. Joints ache so you can’t get comfortable, pins and needles and sweats keep you awake, then when you finally drop off, your bladder announces its new regime of five tinkle trips a night. I genuinely can’t remember the last time I slept for eight hours in the last year, and THAT is as good a reason to maintain your contraceptive routine as I can think of. You’re welcome.

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We could have just stopped at cats…

Now, this list comes with a HUGE disclaimer. Pregnancy, although it was all the things above (for me) and more, was also the most miraculous and precious experience I had gone through until the actual birth of my son. Not everyone is lucky enough to fall pregnant, and some experience loss and heartbreak as they try to start a family. Carrying a child is truly a privilege, and despite how common a condition it is, pregnancy is still a life-changing miracle every time. Because planned or unplanned, difficult or easy, long or short, pregnancy is a means to an end and the end is your own precious child. A new human being. A miniature person. Your very own contribution to the over population of our world. And I’m ready to do it again before too long…

What was your first pregnancy experience? Do you have regrets? What did you do differently with subsequent pregnancies? Any top tips? Let me know!

xXx

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4 thoughts on “Why I Hated Being Pregnant

  1. snickledpink says:

    I’m right there with you! Thought I’d be one of those cute pregnant people who only get a bump on the front. Yeah right! It was like the second I got pregnant I started getting fat! Everywhere! Not to mention how you actually feel lol. Should have set the expectations much lower!

    Liked by 1 person

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