No two pregnancies are alike. From person-to-person and even from pregnancy-to-pregnancy for the same person. It’s wild like that. There is no guarantee you’ll check off the typical boxes of symptoms, weight gain, health issues, or even feelings along the way.
Some people really seem to enjoy it. They say it’s the best they’ve ever felt and the most attractive. Others are terribly sick either for the first trimester or the entire duration. Some struggle with the idea of gaining weight. Others feel comfortable showing off their new figure.
Some pregnancies make it the full forty weeks. And some don’t. Some have healthy children. And some don’t.
Some people are really looking forward to the way their lives are going to change in the future. And some aren’t.
I’m here to break the stigma that being pregnant and having children is absolutely precious and beautiful at all times for everyone. I’ve shared some of my emotions with others, but there are some that I have kept quiet for fear that those “perfect moms” will shame me for feeling differently.
I also don’t want anyone struggling with becoming pregnant to feel like I’m complaining and throwing this in their faces. They so desperately want a child that they’d go through 40 weeks of pure sickness if that’s what it took. They’re true warriors—far stronger, emotionally, than I am. But this post is for them too, in a way. Because trying to get pregnant can feel like a loss of control too. One that people keep quiet because they don’t want their friends and family constantly checking in to see if their efforts have worked. They don’t want to “string along” those same people for fear that if they do get pregnant and lose the baby, the loved ones will have to carry that loss in their heart as well. You’re not alone and you’re allowed to feel out of control and anxious. It’s normal and ok. Which is the whole point of this post—normalizing complex feelings around something that people keep so hush hush every day.
For us, we planned this pregnancy. We want children. I tracked everything, every single day to get pregnant as fast as possible. I could try to control that situation (which is laughable, honestly). And we were lucky—it happened within three months. Not everyone is as fortunate and man, my heart goes out to them. I’ve seen my friends struggle through infertility and it’s heartbreaking. And I’ve seen some friends experience loss—which is tragic. So far, it’s been smooth sailing for us. So, who am I to complain about anything? Honestly. But again, I’m trying to normalize feelings. So, here we go.
You guys, it’s been hard for me. I was extremely nauseated the first trimester and slightly beyond. I could barely eat or function like a normal human. It wasn’t enjoyable. And there was nothing I could do to fix it. I was on prescription anti-nausea medicine three times a day that wasn’t touching it. Again, I’m lucky though. I didn’t have hyperemesis. My pregnancy kept progressing in a healthy way. But this was my first experience with a significant loss of control.
I consider myself a fixer—resourceful. A planner. And I’m these things because I don’t like the world feeling too chaotic or disorganized. I want to be in control of my life as much as possible. (I’m sure this stems from a childhood that felt out of control, but that’s for a professional to figure out.) Sure, I like a little spontaneity—it’s thrilling and fun! But even that has to be slightly controlled or at least in a way that I don’t feel like I’m spinning wildly out of control.
Right from the start, pregnancy felt uncontrollable. This was new, unchartered territory. I was on this ride, and I had no idea where it could take me.
I’m in my second trimester now and I’m able to eat food again. And not feel like I have narcolepsy. But I can’t go anywhere that doesn’t have a restroom available because I have to pee every half hour. We were just on vacation and my bladder was causing me anxiety. What if the boat tour didn’t have a restroom? Walking around the beach village would have to be interrupted to go buy something in a store so I could pee there. And the flight! I needed to sit on the aisle so I didn’t disturb everyone when I had to get up to go. Sleeping at night? I’m up at least three-to-six times to go. I’ve lost all control of my body.
I won’t go into all the other fun symptoms of pregnancy—but I have a lot of them. And I’m not abnormal. This is par for the course.
I’ve been worried about my baby and how he is developing. And if he will continue to develop. Pregnancy loss happens. In fact, 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage and that only goes up as you get older. I’m 34. Again, I’ve been lucky. So far, he’s doing great. That doesn’t stop me from worrying and feeling like I can’t control the situation.
I don’t feel precious. Or beautiful. I feel like my body is doing things that I can no longer fix. I’m growing a belly—for an excellent reason! But I’ve never seen the numbers on the scale jump that high or my stomach protrude this much. It’s healthy, but it feels abnormal and out of control for me.
Booze? No. Botox? No way. Bicycle riding, rollercoaster riding, or anything of the sort? Nope. These are trivial things I have to avoid to keep my child safe. And I will. But man, restrictions and rules are hard when you’ve been able to make adult decisions for yourself for so many years.
And I haven’t even gotten to the anxiety I have about how much our lives are going to change once this little dude makes his entrance into this world. We’re going to do our best to maintain our relationship, have adult time, and be sure that we keep our identities as much as possible. We’re going to be mom and dad, yet still Sam and Kenny. Our new titles won’t define our lives and who we are. Instead, they’ll be a really wonderful addition to the whole humans we’ve already become.
But there are inevitable changes we can’t control. Lack of sleep, way longer nighttime and morning routines, fewer meals out and date nights, securing babysitters any time we’re not with him, and most importantly—ensuring the little guy is safe, learns shit, and develops into an amazing full-sized human. That’s a ton of pressure and a massive blow to our currently daily routines (and freedom).
Is it all worth it? For sure. It’s a frickin’ miracle. There is a HUMAN growing inside me. My fiance and I made him together. It’s how we all got here and how humans will continue to exist. I can’t wait to meet our son and love him more than anything or anyone I’ve loved in my entire life. I can’t wait to see his personality and what he looks like. And even though I feel out of control, I know that I’m going to be a good mom.
It doesn’t remove the fact that all of these feelings make me feel like a bad person and certainly not motherly.
I think most of that is because I know that all of the above statements are going to be polarizing for current moms and pregnant women. I’m going to face backlash from those who may call me “selfish” for having these thoughts—and they’re allowed to have their opinions, but I’m not alone in these feelings. Some of us have issues with control—we can’t help it. And this is a major life adjustment. Plus, those of us with these thoughts probably have anxiety thinking about those overly judgy moms and how they’re going to perceive us in the future!
Feeling out of control, anxious, worried, excited, scared, and uncomfortable (or a combo of many) are all normal. People just refuse to talk about. But that needs to stop. Nearly everyone I’ve opened up to about it admitted to feeling similar but not ok with telling others. Not all of us immediately felt like “glowing goddesses” the second we got pregnant. Not all of us are able to not stress about what comes next and how to make it all work when our plates already feel pretty full.
Trust me, I’m not trying to complain or be ungrateful for the crazy miracle. I know I’m one of the lucky ones. (#blessed, as the kids say) I just want us to feel less shame in having complex human feelings.
Which brings me back to the moms who have experienced a loss or the people who can’t wait to be moms but it’s taking longer than you had hoped—the loss of control, anxiety, and sadness you feel must be overwhelming in a different way. And I’m here to tell you it’s ok, too. We all need to lean on each other and be more understanding of the complex emotions we all feel. Sometimes, things just don’t feel ok. We don’t have to have it together. Or be courageous. Or be alone. Reach out to others when you need to talk. Let them know how they can help you emotionally.
Oh, an to the people who don’t want to be parents—that’s cool too. You’re allowed to make whatever decision you want in life without the pressures of society (and your family). Maybe you’re shaking your head “yes” at this post because you like the way your life is going and you don’t want to add that feeling of uncertainty and loss of control. Maybe you just don’t have the desire to raise another human. Maybe you’re doing it for environmental reasons. Whatever your reason is, it’s valid and it matters. And you don’t owe an explanation to anyone.
Let’s all judge less and be more open with our real, human, normal feelings. Let’s remove the stigma and stereotypes about how we’re supposed to feel in any given situation and feel less weird for being human.