Pregnancy and Postpartum

Confession: I didn’t enjoy pregnancy

This is a rare pregnancy topic that many mums shy away from. I’m here to tell you all that it is perfectly okay to say that, for whatever reason, you didn’t enjoy being pregnant.

Whenever I make this controversial admission, I’m always met by the question of “did you have a rough pregnancy, then?”, or, from people who know me and saw me most days of the pregnancy, the concession “yeah but you did have a lot of sickness”.

First of all, my pregnancy really wasn’t that difficult. It was emotionally hard, as I was battling depression and anxiety. I had a number of personal issues, and was leading a highly stressful life with little to no support network. But physically, it was quite an easy pregnancy. I had some morning sickness at odd points throughout the pregnancy, but really not a lot. Possibly the worst complaint I have of my pregnancy was that I had reflux for the entirety of the last trimester, which had me downing Gaviscon by the bottle, but even that isn’t such a severe reason to have hated being pregnant.

Secondly, regardless of whether I did or didn’t face any kinds of problems while I was pregnant, what has that got to do with my personal feelings on being pregnant? Why is it that my dislike of pregnancy has to somehow be justified by my (usually childless) friends’ perceptions of whether or not my pregnancy was a difficult one?

Societal expectations

As much as society is making progress towards equality, I believe that the root of this need to justify anything I say about not liking pregnancy is that there is a stigma that this is what women are supposed to do, and that it’s a magical time, the bad parts of which we should take in our stride because of how we are biologically designed to cope with any childbirth related phenomenon.

Um, no.

Amazing as it is that my body grew a tiny (well, actually a rather porky) baby, that doesn’t mean that I can’t have legitimate complaints about the process.

Even worse than this is the response I get to stating that I never want to be pregnant again – for some reason, my age becomes a factor here. Sorry, I don’t care how old I am, but I won’t change my mind on this. Once was enough for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still get broody for babies, but I never plan on being pregnant again. I have plans to adopt/foster in the future and again those plans are met with the question of why? I’m able to have children, but that doesn’t mean I have to have children.

Just in case anyone reading this is thinking how ungrateful I am when there are plenty of women who can’t have a child themselves… I’m not. I appreciate that I probably don’t have a reason to complain when I have a perfectly healthy child, but again, the mere fact of my womanhood and my fertility doesn’t impose an obligation on me to have children or to enjoy pregnancy.

If you’re reading this and wondering why I felt the way I did, well…

1. Sickness

My sickness wasn’t really sickness. It was a constant and painful process of dry-retching over a toilet until I could breathe enough to swallow water and spew it back up

2. Losing my…modesty

It’s not nice having to bare all to a large number of healthcare professionals. Whether it’s the stretch-mark covered belly or your vagina, I didn’t quite get used to having it all out there until I was in labour. Quite frankly, I couldn’t give a crap either way at that point

3. Weight gain

I put on 3st and hated my body. I couldn’t look in the mirror without crying. Honestly, I didn’t see a pregnant belly, I saw a fat lump of a woman who would never look the same again. That may be vain but sadly enough it was actually the only time I felt any kind of pride in my pre-baby body. It took my pre-baby body to have a baby and be essentially ruined for me to realise that I actually liked myself deep down.

4. Losing my Autonomy

As soon as you’re pregnant, other people feel like they can dictate to you what to do. Mainly your midwife. I was a veggie and my midwife did not respect that. She asked me to start eating meat, saying that the baby would be iron deficient if I didn’t. Eating meat changed nothing except to make me put on more weight, and I still had to take iron tablets.

5. Freaky baby movements

In the last few months when the baby is running out of room: at night, if you lie on your back, the baby’s movements look like something out of Alien. You can visibly see their backs turning or their feet protruding and as well as being uncomfortable, it freaked me the hell out.

6. Discomfort

Drawing on the uncomfortable point – I went a week overdue, in a heatwave in May. Enough said.

7. Feeling emotional all the time

For someone who already had a lot of emotional issues, the heightened emotions of pregnancy made things even harder to cope with. It’s actually pretty shit crying over silly things, or for no reason. And even if you feel like you’re crying for a legitimate reason, other people don’t take you seriously because you’re pregnant, and they blame it on the hormones. Even if it is due to those nasty things, that doesn’t make your feelings any less legitimate. Even if I was crying because the vacuum broke…

8. Heartburn

That god awful reflux – and yes, I did have a hairy baby.

So there you have it. One woman’s reasons for not enjoying pregnancy and for never wanting to do it again.

It doesn’t make me a bad mother, a bad female or a bad person. I am allowed to have an opinion, and my position as a mother and a woman doesn’t negate my opinion or mean that I should grin and bear it. So to any fellow women feeling the same way, don’t be ashamed. It’s not something you have to keep to yourself when asked the oh so annoying question “so when is baby number 2 on the way?” It’s nobody else’s business, anyway.

If you liked this, check these out…

Mental Health Monday: Dealing with previous birth trauma during pregnancy

Swimming to Help With Hip Pain in Pregnancy

Taking control of my second pregnancy

0 thoughts on “Confession: I didn’t enjoy pregnancy

  1. Alice Letters to my Daughter

    I'm with you on a lot of this. I don't intend to have another child naturally again because I don't think my body could cope. My hips have been painful ever since the second trimester to this day, and most of my other joints have been compromised in some way. I didn't mind being pregnant but it was bloody uncomfortable and I slept on the sofa for the last 2 months propped up in a V position. Deffo not something I'm dying to repeat and would prefer to adopt a child who needs a family before bringing another one into the world.

  2. Someonecallsmemummy

    Oh no! I had a lot of hip pain throughout but thankfully not since! But yep, I completely agree. I genuinely think anyone willing to go through that more than once is insane! Haha but each to their own, and if I don't judge people for having multiple children, I shouldn't be judged for only wanting one. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Lucinda Teacher2Mummy

    I loved being pregnant with both of mine but it did get hard…the relentless heartburn with my first, feet & calves double the usual size with my second! Ergh & experiencing a heatwave was hideous! It’s annoying when people question you about more because there are many reasons why a couple may not have more children and it’s nobody else’s business. #bumpsbabies

  4. Someonecallsmemummy

    Exactly! I always hate having to explain that I just don’t want any more. One is plenty! Thanks for commenting!

  5. Lisa

    I enjoyed my first two pregnancies but not this one so much. Not sure if it's because I'm older but I feel knackered and ache from head to toe. I'm definitely more grumpy this time round #bumpsandbabies

  6. Someonecallsmemummy

    Ah bless you! Hope you’ve not got much longer left to go!

  7. Goblinette

    I loved my pregnancy but hated the delivery part. But I was healthy most of the time. It is different for everyone and it really is nobody's business how many kids you plan to have.

  8. Someonecallsmemummy

    Opposite way around for me! Delivery wasn’t too bad, but I’m still not dying to do it again haha

  9. Alana

    It is absolutely nobody’s business but yours and there are so many children already in the system who need good homes, I think your plan to adopt/foster is amazing. I loved being pregnant first time round, despite a couple of complications and fully expected to second time round as well, especially after so many problems just to get pregnant. But I didn’t at all. That second pregnancy was not enjoyable at all and like you it wasn’t down to any one thing. Every person and every pregnancy is completely different and we are all big enough to make our own decisions about our own bodies.#TheListLinky

  10. Sarah Barber

    Thanks for commenting Alana! You're right, every pregnancy is entirely different and I may enjoy another or I may not but either way I don't plan on doing it all again!

  11. Anonymous

    Im so glad i came across this. Im pregnant for the first time, only a few weeks to go actually. I had morning (all day) sickness till 22 weeks. Plus at 21 weeks got diagnosed with iugr, so have been going to a hospital 40 minutes away that specializes in small babies. It has not been enjoyable for me, just happy to get the prize at the end 🙂

  12. Sarah Barber

    Oh bless you! It can be so hard and overwhelming but it will all be done soon! Best of luck with your little one 🙂

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