Ask any random person to list the first few things that come to mind when they think of pregnancy, and you’re likely to get some sort of combination of relatively common, and mostly uncomfortable, symptoms.
- Sore boobs
- Weird food cravings
- All. The. Crying.
- Lethal, room-clearing farts
I get it. It’s how pregnancy is portrayed in books, movies, commercials, and Internet memes, and a lot of the time, rightfully so. I had two pretty standard pregnancies that checked all of those boxes, right around the time my What to Expect When You’re Expecting book said I might be feeling them.
It was reassuring, even if it meant I was barfing into a toilet at work while my coworkers placed bets on if I was pregnant, or suffering the repercussions of going on an uncharacteristic weekday bender.
But pregnancy is a funny thing, and even though the mechanics are theoretically predictable, it doesn’t mean it’s experienced the same by every person. In fact, even in the same person, the experience can be hugely varied between pregnancies.
So, what if what you expect while you’re expecting doesn’t line up with what you’ve been anticipating?
What if you *gasp* feel fine?
This may sound strange to someone who is bloated, crying, and struggling to understand their new obsession with cupcakes dipped in lukewarm tomatillo salsa, but not feeling “pregnant” in the expected sense, can be seriously unnerving.
Whether or not it’s wrong, we have a tendency to use pregnancy symptoms as a marker for a “normal” pregnancy. Nausea, although shitty, is physical proof that something otherwise undetectable is actually happening. Giant, achy, swollen boobs, reassure us that our body is doing everything it should to take care of the baby it is busy growing. Exhaustion makes sense when you consider you are building a human out of scratch. The comically outrageous gas we pass is the delightful side effect of all the progesterone and relaxin flowing through your body, loosening up your bits and pieces so you can squeeze a watermelon out of a bagel (sorry for the visual), proving once again that things are actually happening.
Feeling shitty has inaccurately become synonymous with what a normal pregnancy looks like.
Yes, you might feel absolutely terrible for an obscenely long duration of time while you grow your kid. Or, you might feel completely, unremarkably fine. You may even fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, or I don’t know, sprout wings and turn into a majestic golden centaur (you should probably call your doctor if this happens though). Pregnancy is weird, man!
Regardless of what you’re feeling (or not feeling), try not to stress about it. “Normal” looks different on everybody.