Luissa Zissman was shamed back in July for a post she shared on Instagram about how difficult and unenjoyable her pregnancy has been. Some very hurt, grieving, and understandably envious people told her how she should feel and tried to guilt her for expressing her honest thoughts. I immediately took issue with the criticism. I was toward the end of my first trimester when I read this article. Honestly, I’m not familiar with Zissman, but the headline got my attention since I too struggle with my pregnancies. I didn’t feel like she was being insensitive or disrespectful to anyone, including her unborn child. I felt like she was simply making an honest statement about her OWN experience. I would likely feel differently if she hadn’t been talking about herself. For instance, if she’d said something offensive or derogatory about all pregnant women in general. Like, “Pregnant women are so disgusting.” Yeah, that’d piss me off.
True, some women are blessed with feeling better than ever and truly enjoy how they feel when they are pregnant. I’m genuinely so very happy for them. What a blessing. For some of us, though, the physical and emotional toll is immense. 40 weeks is a long time, especially when you feel sick and/or hurt literally 99% of the time during those 40 weeks. And it’s a long time to pretend like everything is fine for the purpose of not offending everyone around you. BUT IT DOESN’T MEAN WE AREN’T GRATEFUL OR DON’T LOVE OUR CHILDREN.
Listen, I know firsthand how awful it feels to watch “everyone” around you having children while you spend years and tens of thousands of dollars trying to conceive. I also know the pain firsthand of having multiple miscarriages. So even though I’m appreciative, I still don’t enjoy being pregnant.
Let me give you a glimpse. This morning, I rolled out of bed (literally rolled) and took a minute standing next to the bed to regain my balance and waited for the spasms in the ligaments and tendons in my pelvis and groin to cease before I waddled to the bathroom for the fourth time since falling asleep at 9 pm the night before. I made my way to the kitchen and breathed through the process of making my sons’ school lunches (nothing like handling lunch meat at 6 am to aggravate the ever-present nausea). While filling out one last form for my oldest’s teacher, my youngest, already dressed in the school uniform his daddy helped him put on, sleepily climbed up onto my ever-shrinking lap for a few minutes of snuggles. Thirty minutes later while ironing my clothes after my shower, I began the countdown to the impending vomit. (4 minutes from the moment I gave up fighting to the eruption, in case you’re curious.) The vomiting spurred a nose bleed which I continued to nurse while I finished puking and styling my hair. Today turned out to be a minimal make-up day. Again. My nose was still bleeding while I ushered by beloved boys out the door and off to school, to which we arrived five minutes before the tardy bell sounded. As we walked through the school doors hand in hand, my 6-yr-old excitedly told staff members (again) that his mommy was going to have a baby which always brings a smile to my face. Then I was off to work…
My point in illustrating these two hours of my day at 22 weeks pregnant is that it is not fun for me. It is incredibly unpleasant for me. It is painful and somewhat debilitating for me. I can’t say I enjoy any of it other than the anticipation of meeting our newest family member. And I think it’s a damn miracle how it all works so there’s that. Yet all the pain, all the puking, all the heart palpitations, and all the sleepless nights are totally worth it for me. I don’t resent being pregnant. I know this is only temporary. And I am grateful. Very grateful. I try not to complain for the sake of those around me (and my own mental health – trying to remain as positive as possible), but I’m also not going to lie when nearly every single person I see asks me how I’m feeling or tells me I look exactly like I feel. I don’t usually elaborate, but I don’t say, “I feel great!” because it’s simply not true. I usually shrug my shoulders and wrinkle my nose to get the message across and then change subjects instead of denigrating the miracle of procreation.
I don’t enjoy being pregnant, but I do love my kids. Do I fear what the next four months are going to be like? Absolutely. Am I tired of hurting? Absolutely. Am I tired of throwing up? Absolutely. Am I grateful for the experience of carrying my child? Absolutely.
If you love being pregnant, that’s great. I’m happy for you and a little jealous. But you do you and I’ll do me. If I ever insult you directly, then you can tell me off.