Kim Kardashian, someone who I wholly dislike and yet seem to read about on a daily basis just by opening an internet browser, recently bemoaned pregnancy as “the worst experience of my life.”
My initial reaction was, “Ungrateful b*tch!”
But on second thought, it is refreshing for celebrities to speak up on some of more uncomfortable, inconvenient and downright painful symptoms of pregnancy that often get overlooked by magazines and popular culture. We see gorgeous celebrity photos of glowing women and their baby bumps (did anyone else drool at the sight of Blake Lively in that dress?) But rarely do they divulge the ugly symptoms many women experience every day and oftentimes keep hidden from friends and family because, let’s face it, who really wants to know?
Well, the short answer to that question is other pregnant women. Or women hoping to become pregnant at some point in time. This post will focus on the first 12 weeks, as you can rest assured week 13-40 invokes symptoms very worthy of their own posts. Some of these are obvious, but they don’t think they get the credit they deserve for the level of discomfort they elicit.
1. Morning Sickness.
I could write a book on how much this truly SUCKS. Imagine the stomach flu where you can’t keep anything down, where the thought of certain foods or drinks make you gag, and where you feel your soul being slowly drained away. Now image this for 4-6 weeks, not just the morning, not at night… 24/7… I even dreamed of getting sick. My morning sickness was much worse than the first time around with my son, which I hear means I’m having a girl, but time and tests will tell. Now that my morning sickness has mostly passed, I already feel my memory of the experience fading. But I never want to forget that there were days I was so sick I secretly hoped I wouldn’t be pregnant anymore so this experience could end. I told you it steals your soul!
Fatigue is such a lame word. When I hear it I think of a yawn, stretch, and flutter of the eyes. Pregnancy fatigue in the first trimester is a BEAST. If I could have slept all day, I would have. There were days where I feared my ability to drive, I was so tired. It should be noted that when I first gave birth to my son, I thought the advice “sleep when the baby sleeps” was the dumbest thing I ever heard. I had chores to do, exercise to accomplish, and TV shows to stream! I wasn’t going to waste that precious time sleeping! Now, my 18-month old son’s nap times are gifts from heaven.
Ok, this is gross. Maybe that’s why no one wants to talk about it. But it’s so uncomfortable, it cannot be ignored. Instead of talking about it, let’s talk about how to fix it. I think some of the natural “fixes” you read are full of crap, no pun intended. Drink lots of water, eat plenty of fiber… This is great advice, if you can keep food and water down. For me, this time around my doctor recommended Miralax and stool softeners (Your doctor may have different advice so please ask him/her, and don’t rely on me. I am not a doctor and I hated biology in high school). I feel so much better, I wish I had learned this information sooner!
4. The Melon in your Belly.
My sister in law actually outed my pregnancy at week eight. According to Baby Center, my baby was the size of a grape. But by the size of my stomach, you would think I was halfway through. My stomach was so bloated (see above: Constipation), that it was a nice little preview for what my cute little baby bump would look like soon enough. I told my sister in law I just had severe gas, which aside from being such a gross thing to say to someone, was technically true, and it shut her up, so mission accomplished. But you should have seen the look on her face! She’ll probably never look at me the same again.
5. The Voice in your Head.
This deserves its own mention as a symptom because from the moment you become pregnant, this voice in your head appears that thinks you are doing everything horribly wrong and are probably killing your baby. You question everything you do, from the way you sleep to what you eat and drink to even what you listen to on the radio. I’ve always struggled with anxiety, so maybe this symptom was bound to be worse for me, but from my Google searches it is clear that many women are asking the same questions. “Is it okay to do this? Is it bad to drink that?” My brother in law actually gave me some great advice that I try to remember when I’m really stressed about pregnancy.
Next time you’re worried you’re doing everything wrong and you’re going to f*ck up your baby, watch the folks walking down the aisles of Walmart. If they can do it, so can you.
So, my dear fellow pregnant friends, let’s all relax and enjoy this moment. A miracle is occurring in our bodies, and we are responsible for this gift from heaven that will soon enter our lives. Let’s celebrate the bigger picture, and try not to focus on the icky pregnancy symptoms that try to slow us down along the way. I love saying all this now as my worst symptoms subside, because if I read my own advice about three weeks ago I would have punched myself in the face. Cheers!