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I’d love to be able to say that I was one of those glorious women that loved every moment of their pregnancy. Who were energised by the life growing inside of them and radiated happiness. But I wasn’t. At all. I’m not ashamed to admit that I hate being pregnant. And I don’t feel guilty for it at all.
I never had that lovely pregnancy glow – for me, the only ‘glowing’ I did was the pre-vomit sweat that would bead up on my face as I tried to hold back the twentieth vomit that day. I never had the bounding energy people talk about that comes with the second trimester – I had to slowly ease my muscles back into use after I’d been in bed for months, moving only to throw up and try to find a better position (which there wasn’t one).
But hating pregnancy isn’t reserved only for those women who had Hyperemesis Gravidarum as I did or other pregnancy complications. There are women who have perfectly ‘normal’ pregnancies who also hate being pregnant.
Somehow it has become this shameful topic, that we aren’t allowed to say we dislike something for fear of offending someone.
It doesn’t mean we love our babies any less. It doesn’t mean I’m ungrateful for my ability to conceive and carry. And it doesn’t mean I wish I wasn’t pregnant. It just means I don’t enjoy being pregnant.
Perhaps if we spoke more openly and honestly about our struggles, we wouldn’t feel so alone and we wouldn’t feel like we should be ashamed of how we feel in pregnancy.
It’s okay if you hate being pregnant. You’re not alone. You’re not a bad person. You’re not a bad mother. You’re not selfish. It’s okay to say you aren’t enjoying something.
If you are one of the women that hate being pregnant, here are some ways you can cope. These are some of the things that helped me, and I know have helped other women.
1 – Be Honest With Yourself
For a long time, I felt like I couldn’t say how I truly felt about being pregnant. Whenever anyone asked me how I was feeling, I’d respond with a general ‘great, thanks, I’m so excited’ when what I really wanted to say was ‘I feel like hell and I’m terrified’.
Early in my pregnancy, I couldn’t even admit to myself that I hated it. I honestly thought that there was something wrong with ME because I wasn’t feeling happy and joyful like everyone else. I was so, so sick, and my Hyperemesis went undiagnosed as I was told that it was ‘just morning sickness, everyone gets it’.
Even typing this now, 6 years on, I feel anxious. THAT is how much of an impact your mental health and wellbeing can have beyond pregnancy itself.
It’s important to be honest with yourself. Ask yourself ‘how am I feeling’ and answer truthfully.
Once I was honest with myself, I slowly started being honest with other people and it surprised me how much support I had. Sure, some people would brush it off, but so many women experience hardships and challenges in pregnancy, so it’s nice to have someone say ‘I understand’.
But you first have to be honest with yourself. When I finally said to myself ‘I don’t like this’, it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders because deep down I knew, but now I was finally admitting it.
2 – Talk To Someone
I mean it when I say there is so much support out there. Not only direct, one on one support, but there are online communities, helplines and even online chat systems you can use to talk to someone about how you’re feeling.
Please, please let your healthcare provider know how you’re feeling. They should be incredibly supportive of you. If you feel you aren’t being heard, you can literally say to them ‘Stop, I need help’. If then, you still feel like you aren’t being heard, please find a healthcare provider who will listen to you and will support you.
Sometimes it’s as simple as needing to talk to someone who understands. It doesn’t mean you are going to be ‘diagnosed’ with anything, and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad mother. Often we snowball things in our heads and when we talk to someone it can all seem so much better.
But other times we do need extra help, and having a healthcare provider who can support you through this is important.
Some resources to help you include:
You should also talk to your husband/partner about how you’re feeling. I also found talking to my Mum was good. If she didn’t understand what I was feeling from her own experience, she still listened and offered her love and support.
3 – Find Ways To Bond With Your Baby
One of the reasons I hated pregnancy so much is because I no longer felt like I was ‘me’. I didn’t feel like my body was my own and I didn’t feel like I had control. I don’t cope very well when I am not in control of a situation, and pregnancy felt like the ultimate loss of control for me.
To help with this, I did what I could to bond with my babies. During my first pregnancy, I focused on this a lot as I knew my son was unwell and would likely need surgery after he was born.
Finding out the sex of the baby was huge in helping me bond with them. Being able to name them and refer to them by name helped me feel more connected. I also bought outfits and small items to help establish a bond. I would read stories and play music to them and would ‘play’ with them, poking and reacting to their movements.
These seem like simple and maybe even ‘normal’ things to do, but they all helped in creating more of a bond with my baby and helped me find parts of my pregnancy to enjoy.
4 – Try To Focus On Positive Aspects
Sometimes this can be hard to do, so I would often focus on the positive aspects of pregnancy in a more comical way.
Things like being able to eat Nutella out of a jar and no one daring to question me. Or being able to sit my drink on my stomach while leaning back on the lounge. Or getting my husband to bring home Krispy Kreme’s whenever I wanted them…
Picking out these little positive things helped me cope so much better when I was having a particularly rough time with pregnancy. Some days were more enjoyable than others, but there were always Krispy Kreme’s for the bad days.
5 – Understand This Is Your Pregnancy And No One Can Tell You How You Should Or Shouldn’t Feel
No one has experienced your pregnancies except for you. No one. Which means no one can tell you how you do or don’t feel, or how you should or shouldn’t respond to being pregnant.
This is YOUR pregnancy. It’s okay to admit that it’s rough. Own it. That’s your experience. You’re not saying that other women shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy their pregnancy. You’re just being honest in your own experience of your pregnancy.
If you find people acting negatively towards you, distance yourself from them. They are not supportive and not the kind of people you need to be around.
Surround yourself with people who love you unconditionally, if that means you find that love and support in your current friendship groups or in a new online support group then so be it.
Being honest about how you feel and admitting that you hate being pregnant doesn’t mean you’re a bad mother (I know, we keep saying this because you need to know it). It doesn’t mean you don’t’ deserve to have a baby. It doesn’t mean you’re ungrateful for being pregnant. It just means that for you, pregnancy is difficult and you don’t like it. And that’s okay.