I know it is not everyone, but I feel like there are women out there who talk about the joy of pregnancy or are constantly wondering why someone either has not had or would not want children.
Now I am (as of writing this) at the end of my pregnancy and just waiting for the baby to come. My pregnancy has not been horrendous, but in no way would I call it some joyful wonderful 9 months of my life. It has been a difficult journey and it is not one to enter into lightly. It is great if you had no complications and had the perfect time being pregnant. There must be people like that because I, right now, cannot even imagine doing this a second time, but who knows?
The big thing I think is that we talk about not sharing horror stories and I think that is true, but I also think we need to recognize that being pregnant is not as simple as some people make it out to be.
Now in the first trimester there is, hopefully, the joy of finding out that you are pregnant. Although it could also be the shock of finding out you are pregnant depending on your point in life. For me it was excitement because David and I had been discussing kids for a long time and we finally felt that we were at a point to handle it.
At the same time there are so many things that start running through your mind and that you have to learn. Then add on top of that the morning sickness, exhaustion, and worries – it is a perfect storm. For me the morning sickness got so bad I ended up having to work from home for a couple of weeks. I am lucky enough to be able to do that, but I cannot imagine some people being able to do that. It is a lot to have to go through, but it is just the first three months. It is temporary, but it can still be a lot.
The second trimester does tend to be the better time because you start to have more energy. At the same time you can only hope that the morning sickness has actually gone away, but that is not guaranteed. Luckily there are medications you can take to help with that if it gets to bad and I thank God that it worked for me.
The bigger problem with this time is that early on you are in-between in terms of size. Often times you notice that you are growing, but other people do not notice. If you have any issue with your weight this time can be hard because you do not really look pregnant and you kind of just feel fat. At the same time gaining weight is okay, but it can be a difficult time. This is also the time to start thinking about what you need and to figure out the space issues for where a new baby is going to go.
The really great part about this point is that you should be able to have your first ultrasound and really get to see the baby.
In the third trimester the exhaustion often returns as well as additional aches and pains that make it difficult to get around – or sleep. The other issue that can come up as you near the end of the pregnancy is the thought of preterm labor, hypertension, preeclampsia, and all sorts of other issues.
Now I admit that I am lucky that my high blood pressure did not show up until late in pregnancy, but I still got ordered on modified bed rest in my last weeks of pregnancy. It did not turn into preeclampsia, but that is something that can happen. Again, this is not every pregnancy, but what happens when this happens and you cannot get off your feet or take the time for bed rest? Now obviously the great part about this time is that you are at the end. You are about to get your body back and you need to remember that!
I think the biggest problem with this myth of the joy of pregnancy is it doesn’t recognize the hardship that is possible in pregnancy. I think the joy comes afterwards, but it is still a huge change in your life. This is something that we chose and we planned. I recognized going into this that it would not be easy, but I don’t think you can really understand what it is like until you have gone through it.
I don’t want to say at the end that it was not worth it, but at the same time I honestly don’t know if I will want to do this again. It has been a hard 9 months and while it has only been 9 months it still has been a huge transition. Now imagine doing that with a child that already needs your attention, it just adds another layer to things. I don’t want to say it is the worst thing in the world, but it is something that is not for everyone and we as a society need to recognize that it is not a simple question.