Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Do women really love being pregnant?

I was reading an article written by a woman who claimed she loved every moment of all three of her pregnancies. According to her, there was nothing about any one pregnancy she didn't enjoy. Instinctively my brain flipped to skeptic mode. Any time I hear a woman pairing the word "perfect" with the word "pregnancy", I'll admit, I'm dubious. It's true - some people do genuinely have good, smooth, complication-free pregnancies. Some have nausea filled, swollen-ankled, acne-ridden,shitty pregnancies. Some are bed bound. Some seem to breeze through it. Surely none are perfect though.

Me? I was a bit of both. The first few months of both of my pregnancies were beset with nausea (the first) or vomiting (the second) to the point of needing medication. At the same time, I remember also being dizzy with the excitement of first-trimester anticipation when not everyone knows yet and the birth is so far off that things seem not quite real still.

For me there were goods and bads: My skin broke out, but my hair was ultra-glossy and my nails grew strong and fast. I was uncomfortable as hell by the end of the second trimester, but I enjoyed the feeling of carrying my baby and feeling my son's tiny kicks in my belly. I got varicose veins in my right leg, but I loved the womanly curve of my pregnant body.

If I were to describe the way I felt about being pregnant, my response would be something like: "I really enjoyed the part where I met my baby!". And to me, there's nothing wrong with admitting there were parts of my pregnancy I did not enjoy. It doesn't make me a bad mum or an unsuitable candidate for pregnancy. 

In the past I've felt something bordering on guilt when faced with mothers who gushed about their sublime pregnancies and their AMAZING births. I wondered why I didn't feel all kinds of gushy about the experience too. 

I guess I'm just not the gushy type.

Don't even get me started on those who claim to have had an "orgasm birth". 

Just don't even scratch that surface.

I couldn't help feeling that, for some women, it was a one-upmanship to claim to have loved every second of their pregnancy - as though by default they had been selected as a superior being, designed to carry and deliver babies without a hitch.

Of course, these people don't exist.

I suspected that no matter what a woman said about her experience, she probably experienced some amount of trouble during her pregnancy. And so I had a hard time believing those who made statements like "I LOVED being pregnant.". I found myself trying to figure out whether they were joking or simply delusioned.

Some were plain serious.

And then, because I sometimes get these things completely wrong, I remembered something that shook my theory: my mother once told me she had loved being pregnant (with me). And my Mum - often one to join in with my (probably inherited) skepticism - had nothing bad at all to say about it. I can't remember her exact words but basically, the gist was, she loved it.

Loved it.

And though I suspect she went through her share of pregnancy complaints over the course of those nine months (or ten, in my case, because I was late and entered the world at a whopping 9 lbs), she just didn't complain about them.

(Or maybe she did, and years later looked back through rose-tinted spectacles at the whole thing.)

And then, I thought, perhaps I've misinterpreted these women who enthuse about their pregnancies. Perhaps they're not aiming for one-upmanship. Maybe they're just extremely positive about the experiences they have. Perhaps they gloss over the bad stuff because really that bad stuff was fleeting and in the end it's better to focus on the good stuff anyway.

And then I felt even worse that I wasn't that kind of person.

And then I used the word "and" to start a sentence for a fifth time, which was four times too many.

My final point is this: I'm not certain whether women who claim to have "loved being pregnant" are insane, lying, delusioned, smug or simply, telling the truth. Perhaps I shouldn't care. Perhaps I should nod my head and grant cheery congratulations with open arms instead of twisting my head to the side in my instinctively skeptical way and giving them the suspicious squint eye. Maybe I should give them a break.

What do you think?
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Amanda @ It's Blogworthy said...

I can say, without a doubt, I loved being pregnant. I was uncomfortable at the end, and sick at the beginning but I had a more or less uncomplicated pregnancy (although I was in the hospital twice for monitoring high blood pressure). I had such a great time being pregnant that when those good feeling hormones were gone, I struggled a lot. I think women who had great pregnancies aren't trying to make others feel bad or act like "super woman", but just enjoyed the experience, even the bad parts. I can definitely see how it can be a negative experience for many women, though.

Loukia said...

Hmm. I loved being pregnant both times. I loved the first time, because it was all son new and OH MY GOD I WAS PREGNANT! Even shopping for mat clothes was fun. Towards the end, of course, and especially because it was summer, I was over being that huge, but whatever, I was having a baby! I guess I loved eathing all the food I could get my hands on and not worry about gaining weight! I was never sick, either, so maybe that's why I was so happy. I wore men's swimming trunks that summer, before the baby was born, b/c I didn't know what else to wear in the pool and I was not going to expose my white stomach to the world! LOL! Hmm. Looking back, I was happy. Big and all, waddling and all, I liked my pregnancies.

Loukia said...

(God, sorry for all the typos!)

Lady Mama said...

Amanda - thanks for your comment. I agree, most women are probably not trying to do the super woman thing at all. I just think positives and negatives are a normal part of pregnancy.

Loukia - I'm still laughing at the men's swimming trunk thing. That is genius.

thesavingmomparents said...

Honestly, when I am pregnant I feel more confident about my body. I don't have to care if I have a "curve" or "roll" in the wrong place. I have lots of sickness moments, but the excitement that fills me every time I think about it outweighs the sickness. I love the nesting stage because I get so much done around my house. So, I do love being pregnant, but do not LOVE all of the pregnancy. :) Plus, the end reward can't compare to anything else. Thanks for your post. It made me think and laugh. ~Jessica

Lady Mama said...

Jessica - that is SO true! I feel exactly the same.

..... Carmen said...

Are you ready? I LOVED being pregnant. No, I'm serious. There were parts of both of my pregnancies that were awful. The extreme morning sickness, the scary parts of not knowing if A was ok, and all the extra ultrasounds and testing as a result. And you know my birth stories. I could easily be candidate for "pregnancies suck and so do births". BUT, I loved being pregnant. I loved their kicks, I loved seeing that positive on the stick, I loved sharing the news with others. I loved snuggling their tiny bodies and sharing them with our friends and family. The good outweighs the bad... WAY outweighs the bad. (Perhaps I am delusional... not sure). But if someone asked me if I loved being pregnant, I would probably say yes. Overall, definetely yes.

Christy said...

I am currently pregnant with my third child, and can honestly say sometimes I love being pregnant and sometimes I hate it. Different parts of the pregnancy, different babies, different fitness levels, different moods. No two are the same. But as for those peeps who say they love the whole thing? I don't think it can be true. Who EVER loves nine months of their lives? Hell, I have a hard time finding two entire DAYS in a row that I love all of, you know what I mean?

Loved this post.

Lil said...

Firt pregnancy was bad, second was worse. I did not love being pregnant I LOVE the children that came at the end and the baby kicks.This coming from 20+ weeks of vomiting, nausea, can you say you love getting up in the morning to vomit and love vomiting some more in the evening? Would love to have loved being pregnant but can't see that ever happening in my case.

the mombshell said...

I loved everything about being pregnant! Except the nausea, the sore boobs, the discharge, the swollen ankles, the muscle cramps, the back pain... Mostly I liked not having to suck it in anymore when I was pregnant.

Lady Mama said...

Carmen - I just remembered one thing I loved: sending J out for fried chicken in the middle of the night!

Christy - You just summarized exactly how I feel about the whole thing.

Lil - Me either. I loved bits of it and hated other bits. End.

the mombshell - I loved not having to suck my stomach in too.

Girly Notes said...

found your blog while i was looking for curvy celebs photos on google and now i'm following it although i'm not a mom :))

LisaDay said...

I also loved being pregnant. It took a lot of work to get there and I knew that this would be it so I enjoyed every moment. Of course I didn't need medication because I was throwing up so much. And I wasn't huge - sadly. I was disappointed I never really looked pregnant and no one ever volunteered to take my groceries to the car.


Amanda said...

I loved aspects of being pregnant, liked others and disliked some. It's a beautiful thing, but certainly not a perfect or discomfort-free process. I think it's easier to love 'all' of pregnancy... in retrospect, with a beautiful child in your life. Sometimes I feel a little sad that I'm not going to experience it again, but then I see a women in the throes of early or late pregnancy and think... phew, I'm not doing it again!


WhisperingWriter said...

I certainly didn't love being pregnant. I felt HUGE and towards the end it was so uncomfortable.

Plus, I hated the morning sickness. I hate that pukey feeling.

Momma Sunshine said...

Honestly, there were parts I didn't like. Like that stage where I just looked chunky to anyone who didn't know I was pregnant. And the all day morning sickness I had for a little while there. Oh, and the stretch marks.

But the rest of it? I LOVED. I loved my big round belly. I loved feeling the baby move around in side me. I loved using my belly to my advantage and dressing up as "fat Elvis" on Halloween. I loved feeling like I was part of a miracle in progress.

But I had, for the most part, good, easy pregnancies. Some women aren't so lucky, I guess. We're all different...

Mwa said...

I love the idea of being pregnant. When I am pregnant, I have the nausea and the heartburn and the constant worry, but it's also the time I feel most like a woman and I love that. I also love being able to talk about it with other mothers, or anyone really. So while some of my pregnancy was very annoying, I already miss it. I suppose I have those rose-tinted retrospective spectacles on. Give me a break? ;-)

ModernMom said...

You won't get any one upmanship from me! I found being preggo to be one tough job. Sick the first 3 months, good the second 3 months, so uncomfortable at the end and scared in between? My birthing story...yeah I do brag about that. I figure it was easy to make up for my crap pregnancy! I also think everyone who "loved" every second of being pregnant has been tricked a bit by Mother Nature, it's her way of trying to convince us to give it another go!

Stephanie Faris said...

I think women love the idea of being pregnant but the reality is another thing. It's different for everyone, just like motherhood is easier for some people than others. I do think nothing is more beautiful than a pregnant woman!

Pa @writewrds said...

And (I love and)…and I loved being pregnant.
I was nauseous and scared – terrified something would go wrong, having been brought up by a mother with a disease/disability.
Bad, hard things happened.
I was a walking whale for the last several weeks.
Baby was late, labour was induced, a multitude of stressful, challenging scenarios played out. But I loved it anyway.
The miracle of it. The wee kicks and movements. The growing of it. The promise. I was awed. It was life in my body, coming out of my body. And I wanted it so so badly.

ezmy said...

Overall, I didn't really enjoy being pregnant. It wasn't the worst thing ever, but it certainly wasn't the best. First trimester = vomiting and third trimester = bed rest. The second trimester was pretty spiffy, due in no small part to the relief I felt at not being constantly wrapped around the toilet.
When I was pregnant, I worked in an office with 6 other pregnant women. It was maddening because they all seemed to be loving the whole thing. Not one of them seemed to be having any trouble. Which made me feel worse.
I made peace with the whole thing in the end. I'm not entirely sure I'd do it again, but I'm glad I did it once. I feel sort of the same way about breastfeeding - hated it, felt like a terrible person because I hated it, have now made peace with it. Life is funny.
I figure cut some women some slack. Perhaps they really are having the most beautiful experience ever. Or maybe it is just rose-coloured glasses. Either way, whatever. It's nice that someone is happy doing this jazz.

bluecottonmemory said...

I loved being pregnant! Not the dr. visits, but gee, you can eat what you want, look huge and everybody loves a pregnant person! As long as I wasn't hot, I was a happy camper. Yeah, I threw up for 3 months, but I didn't mind. How much ice cream can a pregnant lady eat? A bunch!!!Life not pregnant isn't perfect either. Life pregnant was just so special. I tell my sons I gave them the best 9 months of their lives! (a disclaimer: I had one miscarriage, one mid-pregnancy loss, and infertility issues after the first bith). Maybe those struggles just encouraged me to see the good side of it all:) (except the dr visits and delivery). Being pregnant is a piece of cake compared to raising a teen! LOL

Tammy said...

Ok if everyone loved being pregnant then we'd have this lineup of people wanting to be surrogate mothers and the unfortunate women who aren't able to have kids would not find it as difficult to obtain one. I think the mental aspect is what people love about it.. daydreaming about what the treasure at the end will be like, look like, feel like.. the miracle that there is an actual little person in there growing..feeling so much hope and excitement.. but NOT the physical reality of being pregnant.. sleeplessness, pain, discomfort, bad skin, hemmorhoids, nausea, dizziness, sweating, exhaustion, weight gain... nope...

I LOVED going on all inclusive tropical vacations.. that I would sign up anytime for knowing at the end I'm coming back to my ordinary life after with really nothing but memories.... being pregnant just for being pregnant without the end result/change in your life.... no thanks...

Kate Coveny Hood said...

How did I miss this one??? Super late but...I always talk about how I really didn't like being pregnant. But of course I did like some aspects. The main thing is that I loved feeling my babies move. And with my first, I loved the "just you and me" feeling I had. With all, I loved the feeling of possibility - "who are you going to be?"

But for the most part, I felt nauseous, reviled by 98% of the smells that wafted my way, exhausted, uncomfortable and unable to do things that made me feel like an able-bodied person. I also didn't love the times that I couldn't get out of my car because I was parked to close to a wall (or another car). And don't even get me started on labor. I did it both ways (first with a 9 pounder the old fashioned way and then with teeny twins via surgery), and I don't have much nostalgia for either experience.

Chris says we can't have more children because we can barely find enough time and money to devote to the three existing ones in our home. But even if those issues didn't exist. I NEVER want to be pregnant again. It had it's perks, but I far prefer the present.

I can't imagine life without my children - but I wouldn't have been heartbroken if I was able to have them without the pregnancy part.

Metropolitan Mum said...

Three months morning sickness, three months tiredness to the point of falling asleep on the tube (yuck!!), three months of sciatica pain that forced me to stay put on the sofa. The crowning moment: an emergency c-section after 24 hours of labour. Hurray!
I love my daughter to bits, and I have loved that little bean as soon as I found out I was pregnant. But I absolutely hated what pregnancy did to me.