Let's be real ladies. What I want to know is why NO ONE seems to warn us about the not so fabulous sides of pregnancy, such as the hormonal headaches, achy hips, heartburn, insomnia, anxiety, acne, greasy hair, stretch marks, pubic symphysis dysfunction, bloating, and pregnancy-induced nasal congestion. And I'll spare you the havoc it wreaked on the more personal sides of our marriage relationship...Let's just say it was not Fifty Shades of Gray in our bedroom!
Perhaps nausea was the one that I, personally, felt the most blind-sided by. "Morning sickness" has such a sweet ring to it compared to the reality of ALL DAY, never ending waves of feeling like I had the stomach flu. Some times it would bring me to my knees, (literally), praying to the porcelain goddess; and unfortunately unlike in my younger days I couldn't even say it was worth it for the incredible night I'd had! If you've ever been there you know what I'm talking about - that horrible moment when you have to decide between peeing yourself or loosing your prenatal vitamin on the floor. Not exactly the rosy picture of pregnancy I had imagined when my mother described these months as the best she'd ever felt.
That's when the worst part came in, at least for me - the GUILT. My first experience with mommy guilt, and I didn't even have a sweet babe yet to hold in my arms. Guilt for not enjoying every moment of this blessing, guilt for not being sick ENOUGH to be complaining (I wasn't in the hospital getting IVs after all), guilt for taking medications to remain functional, guilt for not feeling more maternal towards this little person that thus far had only brought me pain and discomfort. Then the guilt for illogically resenting my husband for not having to suffer to bring our child into the world the way I had to. Perhaps worst of all, the guilt I'd feel for being angry at God (and even this precious little life inside of me, in full disclosure!) for making me feel the worst I'd ever felt physically and emotionally in my life. What kind of mother feels those things towards the people she loves most in the world?!?! This mother. That's who.
Yes, I said it. Jacquelyn Duke, labor doula, natural childbirth educator, placenta encapsulationist, home birther, and over all birth junkie HATES being pregnant. Up until the moment I experienced pregnancy for myself, it seems all I ever heard about from the women in my life were how thrilled they were to be pregnant, how wonderful they felt, how lucky they were. Every magazine raved about the fabulous nails and hair I would have and the confidence I would feel as my body morphed into a sexy, fertile goddess my husband wouldn't be able to get enough of. Well, it's time to be real ladies. That wasn't my experience of pregnancy, with either of my children, and I'm guessing that I'm not alone.
I hope that by sharing my story those of you that may be struggling with some of these same feelings during pregnancy won't feel quite so alone. My real goal of this post is not to bring you down, but rather to give you hope during these weeks that feel like they'll never end. These may, in fact, be the hardest months of your life. But they DO end, and you WILL feel like yourself again. And that's when the real fun begins!!! Getting to know this AMAZING, beautiful, precious baby that grows up before your eyes, and before you know it, you not only gave birth and returned to your non-pregnant fabulous self, but you're the mother to a kindergartner and you're wondering how in the world it all went so fast.
Resource for Those Struggling with Pregnancy-Induced Nausea:
The Pink Stork - One of the first companies genuinely trying to help pregnant women suffering with morning sickness and HG. Check out their new products!