This final pregnancy is number four for me. Number four. That means four times the morning sickness, the cramping, the sleepless nights. Four times as many cravings and pee breaks at work as non-preggos. Every single moment of every single pregnancy has been worth the stress and strain my body and mind have been through, but don’t tell me for one second to “enjoy” it.
Being pregnant is a glorious thing. I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to bear children, and while I feel for those who haven’t been given this wonderful gift, I resent people who tell me how I should feel about being pregnant. It’s hard. It’s painful from start to finish, and just because others miss doing it or can’t do it is no reason to diminish my personal experience. Let’s start from the beginning.
Lots and lots of women experience morning sickness to varying degrees. Juggling an intense hunger with the constant desire to puke it all up is no fun at all — it’s downright miserable. If and when you come out of this stage (which not everyone does), then you get to deal with your own body distortion. For those poor ladies who are sick from conception to birth, I salute you. You are seriously troopers.
In the second trimester of pregnancy, it’s likely that your risk for miscarriage has lessened a great deal. At first, you couldn’t be more excited to witness the physical growth in your body that shows your baby is growing healthy and strong. Then, the changes start catching up with your psyche. All of a sudden pants don’t fit well anymore and your boobs are painfully busting out of your bras. You hit that stage where it’s not quite clear if you’re pregnant or have a beer gut. No matter how much your friends and family tell you how beautiful you are, all you see is that damn double chin. You’ve never been more uncomfortable in your own skin — until the third trimester.
Now you are thinking that you may never see your abs again. It’s a valid concern, but your physical appearance may be the last thing you’re worried about at this point. Your hormones are completely out of control, making you cry over a ClearBlue commercial or obsessively scrub the baby toys again and again. You may or may not be at the halfway mark. There’s plenty more ahead.
Along with the third trimester comes intense acid reflux for which no amount of Tums can completely cure. If no one has told you yet, you should also prepare yourself mentally for the random and oftentimes 3am calf cramps that are incredibly intense. You never knew before that your muscles could flex and lock without your permission, but they can and they will.
It’s especially fun being pregnant when the baby gets so big that they constantly kick you in sensitive areas like your ribcage or your cervix. Along with all this gloriousness comes the back pain, hip pain, abdomen pain — the list goes on and on — as your body is stretched to its utmost limits to accommodate the precious little being growing inside you.
“Enjoy” sounds like the perfect word to state how you SHOULD be feeling right now, amirite?
Yes, it’s wonderful to be able to have children. Yes, I will miss the little kicks and the feeling of life growing inside me. Yes, it will be tough living with the fact that I will never experience the journey of bearing children again. However, that doesn’t make it suck any less right now. I’m miserable and I’m entitled to be, so if you want to be supportive or encouraging, please don’t tell me to “enjoy” these last few weeks. I won’t do it and you can’t make me.
Instead, tell me things like, “You’re strong and you’ve got this” or “I’m on my way to your place with a gallon of ice cream”. Those are the kind of things I need to hear. There’s no doubt in my mind that when my pregnancy is all over, I’ll look back on this stage of my life as the beautiful time that it really was, but until this baby is out of me, please refrain from telling me to enjoy the shit show that is pregnancy.