Confession: I Am Not a Fan of Pregnancy

Last year, I was at a baby shower, and the sweet first-time mom-to-be asked the host’s grey-haired family matriarch about her many kids, cooing, “You must have really liked being pregnant.” Which made granny burst out laughing. Hi-larious! As if liking pregnancy were akin to considering a lobotomy. Just not done. Unless, perhaps, you literally are insane.

I, too, once assumed that enjoying pregnancy was a given. That it was one extended bonding moment with the baby growing inside you and mostly involved glowing and eating pickles with ice cream. Then I got pregnant.

Of course I’d heard about morning sickness, but I had absolutely no idea that #1) terming it “morning” sickness meant nothing. They might as well call it “raccoon” sickness for all the relevancy that first word has. Morning my ass. All. Day. Long. And #2) It’s a lot like having the flu for months. While pretending you don’t, because no one knows you’re pregnant. While worrying about that pregnancy, because you’re so sick. While freaking out about how your life is totally changing, in a way that apparently involves vomiting regularly.

Which is to say that the first few months of my first time around, being pregnant felt pretty much like the opposite of a beautiful thing. I survived on cereal and Saltines. A good day was making it to noon before heading back to bed. I started the second trimester 5 pounds lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight—and I was still sick. My doctor comforted me with stories about his worse-off patients, so sick they needed IVs. Is it wrong that this information made me feel a little better?

You often hear that the only reason women go on to bear more children is because nature has a way of erasing the pain of childbirth from memory. I went drug-free, and I still recall the astounding pain of childbirth all too well. I also recall how I spent the hour before my son’s entrance into this world swearing, “I will never do this again! Never!” But then I met Roy, and I got it: Something this perfect should not come easy. Almost immediately, I knew I could endure that daylong pain-party again. Life with him in it was, from the get-go, 100 percent worth it.

What that sneaky bitch Mother Nature did erase from memory was early-pregnancy’s illness. Those first few waves of nausea brought it all rushing back to me, and instantly I had the urge to lighten my work schedule, load up on ginger ale and stock the DVR with Law & Order reruns.

As luck would have it, this time around was worse. The nausea, the tiredness, the vomiting—there was more of everything. What I had on my side, however, was knowledge. I knew that there was nothing I could do to cure it, so I didn’t waste my time trying. I knew to take full advantage of the good days, hours or even minutes. I knew that it would likely taper off, and then, eventually, end. And I knew that every last bit of it was due to the fact that I’m nurturing the final piece of our family puzzle, who was at that very moment busy growing body parts and organs and such. I’ll be honest. There were days when I thought I can’t do this. But then I’d see my son and tell myself, oh, buck up. Look at how lucky you are. Of course you can.

I realize that there are some wackos out there who enjoy being pregnant. I happen to be really good friends with quite a few of them. Yay for them! I mean it. There’s potential for difficulty at every step of this journey, from conception through the teen years and beyond. Whenever a fellow mama—or parent, for that matter—can skate through any stage, I say right on. Lucky, lucky you.

In fact, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that after the illness finishes tapering off, I figure out a way to tap into some of that pregnant-lady bliss and truly enjoy the rest of my pregnancy. It’ll be my last, so my nostalgic tendencies should help. And if I remember correctly, once I hit about 20 weeks—almost there!—things weren’t so bad. My feet hurt, but my hubby gives an excellent massage. I don’t even recall minding the fact that I was two weeks late. I’m taking it day by day, though. Every pregnancy’s different, plus my memory may be flawed. I know from experience how Mother Nature rolls.

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  1. by anti jen

    On August 12, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    “What that sneaky bitch Mother Nature did erase from memory was early-pregnancy’s illness.”

    I am ROLLING. You are awesome. You’ll soldier through, as you know, and proudly continue the long line of mamas who aren’t afraid to say so when things aren’t picture-perfect. Love it, and your writing!

  2. by Riti

    On August 12, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    I LOVED being prego! I was so lucky to never have morning sickness, although I do remember being more tired than I thought possible (especially when chasing a toddler around), and I did develop a strong aversion to Mexican food. I loved my belly, I loved how people treated me, I loved IT! I also went 2 weeks over my due date with my first. I wish you well Berit! Week 20 will be here soon!

  3. by Berit Thorkelson

    On August 12, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Riti, it truly is heartening to hear how MUCH you loved it. I hope that as the weeks go by, I feel that way. I’m planning on it :)

  4. by Betsy

    On August 13, 2011 at 7:47 am

    I, too, love being pregnant. Not having any significant morning sickness problems, it makes it much easier to love. Ginger really did help me, in pretty much any form, but a friend gave me these chewable ginger candies that were wonderfully portable for those unexpected waves.

    I miss that feeling I can only describe as “electric” that I have about me when I’m pregnant. That warmth of knowing someone incredible is growing inside of me.

    Here’s hoping you soon reach that “happy place” in your pregnancy. And thanks for a hilarious post, sorry to say I’m laughing at your expense!

  5. by Heather

    On August 13, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Berit: I can totally sympathize.(I was one of those women in the hospital with an IV. Twice.) And I didn’t love being pregnant either. But as you said, it’s worth it! Hang in there.

  6. by Berit

    On August 14, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Betsy, I’m thinking the presence or absence morning sickness is a key indicator as to where you fall on this one. And laugh away! it’s always good to find nuggets of humor where you can.

    Heather: Sorry! Good thing Mason’s the most adorable thing ever.

  7. by Jessica Amerson

    On August 14, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I have only had one child and would love to have another. The only problem with having another child would be experiencing the all day sickness all over again. I was extremely sick. I threw up all day for about 9 months. I couldn’t stand the smell of anything that had been grilled, detergent, trash bags, refrigerator, cologne, etc. I could only drink water and a select few juices. I lost so much weight that the doctor said he would put me in the hospital if I didn’t start gaining weight. I even had to go to the hospital because I lost 18 pounds in one week. I was in there for 3 days. The vomiting no only sucked, but the constant peeing on myself also sucked! Everytime I threw up I peed on myself. Since I threw up all day I peed on myself all day. When I finally got to deliver my son and go back to normal I had to stay longer in the hospital because I couldn’t pee. Lets just say I went through a lot for my son. I honestly would do it all over again because my son has made me a better person.

  8. by Joanna

    On August 14, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Berit,
    Your humor and shere honesty in this blog was amazing! I too was a mother with horrible illness. I started my marriage (and pregnancy) at 19 and was in for a world of trouble! I was my obgyn’s youngest high risk pregnancy. I was sick until 26 weeks with my son an had a fully inflamed gallbladder for the rest of it. At 36 weeks I went Ito the hospital and was sent home 3 cm dialayted. I walked about like that until 2 weeks later when my water, thank Jesus, finally broke. My son was delivered in 10 hours.
    I’m pretty sure he good lord took pity on my horrible pregnancy and gave me an easier labor. And, although painful and full of many cuss words and death threats to my husband my son Damion is the best thing that ever happened to me!!! They just removed my IUD on 08/05 just a few months shy of my sons 4th birthday.
    To be honest I’m pretty sure I’ve gone insane!! I have no idea what made me want to go through not being able to drink anything other than water, eating only crackers, and destroying all of my good thoughts of fast food, again. But… Moments like right now when my litlle guy came over from watching “go diego go” to give me a kiss makes me realize that it truely will be a labor of love, right!? I keep hoping that this pregnancy woulnt be as bad.

    I wish you many sick free days in your ongoing pregnancy! And good luck with both of your children!!

  9. by Berit

    On August 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I feel for you, Jessica and Joanna. Jessica, I’m glad you’re no longer peeing on yourself (I’m assuming here :) And Joanna, good luck! I hope that you conceive easily and wish you an illness-free pregnancy, complete with totally normal gallbladder, but a similarly easy labor. Keep me posted!

  10. by Tashanna

    On August 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    I, on the other hand, have never been pregnant. But I have reached the point in life where you start to think about it. And I have thought a lot about “morning” sickness and other complications. After reading this post I am both nervous and excited to see what my experience of pregnancy will be like. And this might sound strange but I hoping that I am one of those wackos that enjoys pregnancy.

  11. by Berit

    On August 14, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Tashanna – I sincerely hope you are, too! It’s better that way. And honestly, your chances are good.

  12. by Jasmine

    On August 14, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    I understand how you feel, although I am not exactly sure if I’m pregnant or not(I’ve had 4 faint positives and am doing a blood test soon) the tidy bowl aka BOB has become my best friend.. Almost EVERYTHING sweet makes me sick which REALLY sucks because I am a sugar-holic.. But at least I’m not going through the woes of nausea and fatigue alone.. My Boyfriend has it too!! :) Hang in there I’m rooting for you!!

  13. by Eve

    On August 15, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Thank you all for sharing. I am one of those who had a blissful pregnancy. As we start to consider having a second, I need to hear the possibilites that are out there.

    My sister has a theory: you have an easy pregnancy or an easy delivery. Thoughts?

  14. by JJ - The Dude

    On August 15, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    My wife was also not a fan of being pregnant. Other than the ultimate result, I don’t think there’s a lot for anyone to get excited about. I became a regular at the grocery store, supporting my wife’s 2 pack a day habit. Yes, two packs of the four in a box of saltines every day or so. Thankfully she never threw up. That would not have worked out well. For anybody.

  15. by Berit

    On August 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    exciting, Jasmine! Fingers crossed for ya.

    Eve: I had a 36-hour delivery that culminated in 4 long hours of pushing. Not the worst, but far from easy. But I guess my pregnancy could’ve been worse, too. So I suppose I had two kind-ofs.

    JJ! Thank god for husbands like you who cater to pregnancy whims. Makes it much more bearable. My own hubby has made plenty o’ grocery store runs under the cover of darkness for random food items that happened to be the only thing in the universe I could imagine eating at that moment.

  16. by Alice

    On August 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Loved this! I hated being pregnant. First pregnancy my morning sickness wasn’t bad, but I had a plethora of other little things such as back pain, horrible heartburn, and developed eczema (my dermatologist said this was quite rare). With baby no. 2 all these memories magically faded, only to come back pretty clear as I experienced morning sickness all day long until almost 20 weeks, got a terrible and very itchy rash all over my legs, and felt so tired that I thought I was about to pass out most of the time.
    However I must say I cherish the memory of that first kick I felt, it’s such an awesome experience to feel that little human being manifest itself.
    My pregnancies were not terrible, but also weren’t the best I’ve ever felt. But to hold your newborn is worth everything and anything in this world :)

  17. by Les

    On August 15, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    This article is refreshing, along with the comments! If not for the weight gain and acne, I would love pregnancy. Oh, I just thought of back pain and the 1st trimester sickness. Glad to see I am not the only woman who had some gripes with it!

  18. by Sarah

    On August 15, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Amen! I have two children whom I love dearly, and my husband and I would like to have two more eventually. I can’t stand being pregnant. I didn’t have a lot of morning sickness; I just didn’t feel like myself the entire time, and that really bothered me. I swore I would try to like being pregnant with my second, but it didn’t work. In fact, I think I wished him out, because he came 5 weeks early (and was perfectly healthy).

    Thanks for making me feel less guilty about not being in love with pregnancy!

  19. by stefanie

    On August 16, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    I think its true easy pregnancy or easy delivery…not always but was true in my case. I was a “loving it wacko” but having a c-section and the 6 months it took to feel human afterwards were icky enough to make me nervous for #2.
    On another note, Berit, I love your candor. Not enough people will share the reality and those who don’t have friends who share are left to feel like outcasts. Not all sunshine and daisies, but 100% worth it:)