Dina Leygerman

10 Reasons People Need To Stop Romanticizing Pregnancy 

Ad failed to load

Gorgeous, ethereal maternity photo shoots depicting pregnancy as the most beautiful experience one can ever live through are everywhere. A mother-to-be stands atop a grassy knoll, adorned in a translucent ivory dress, staring wistfully into the sunset. The dusk bestows the most breathtaking amber glow upon a perfectly round pregnant belly, which the mother-to-be cradles in her arms. The scene is serene, and pregnancy looks perfect. While our society seems pretty obsessed with pregnant women, there are plenty of serious reasons why we need to stop romanticizing pregnancy. Pregnancy isn't glorious nor fabulous for many women. In fact, pregnancy can often be terrifying and unpredictable.

I would probably have another child if I wasn't horrified of being pregnant. When I say I hated being pregnant, I am being kind. I despised being pregnant. There was maybe a month that I felt normal and the rest of the time I was miserable. Don't get me wrong, there were some perks to pregnancy: people were extra nice to me, I got preferential seating at restaurants, skin tight clothes showed off my bump instead of my gut, and I (sometimes) loved feeling the baby kick. Everything else, though, sucked. Colossally sucked.

Both of my pregnancies began with a round of nausea during which I was too sick to even get off the couch. The most I was able to accomplish was walking from the bed to the couch and back. I practically crawled to the bathroom whenever I needed to go, because standing upright was nauseating. Every smell and every taste made me want to vomit, but I didn't. Not even once. I was just constantly, painstakingly nauseated. I begged to throw up and it never happened. When the roller coaster of nausea finally subsided after the longest 10 weeks of my life, the hot flashes arrived. Those were then complemented by heartburn that felt as if my esophagus was trying to kill itself. Dear reader, all of this was just the beginning.

Ad failed to load

Because Of Morning Sickness


According to The American Pregnancy Association, 70 to 80 percent of women experience some form of morning sickness. I know a few women who may have had very mild morning sickness, or none at all, but most pregnant women do suffer from morning (read: all day) sickness and it can be truly debilitating.

There is nothing quite as romantic as the constant feeling of nausea, right? The ball that, for weeks, positions itself atop your throat, burning and whirling your insides, isn't at all pleasant. I spent my days waiting for nighttime so I could sleep and not feel anything. I survived those days by believing there was an end to this misery and by sleeping as much as I could. I had to take Zofran when I went to work and I was still awfully sick, sitting at my desk wishing for each day to end.

Because Of High-Risk Pregnancies

Factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, mother's age, and gestational diabetes can all cause a high-risk pregnancy. According to the University California San Francisco, 6 to 8 percent of pregnancies are considered high risk. While that may seem like a small number, take if from someone who went through two high-risk pregnancies when I tell you: they are no fun. In fact, high-risk pregnancies are beyond stressful.

I was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) at around four months pregnant. When I got to the emergency room, my heart rate was at 195 per minute. My entire body pulsed with frightening intensity. "This can't be good for the baby," is all I kept thinking. I was immediately put on a beta-blocker that was Category C, which meant there was a potential risk to the fetus. So that was the rest of my pregnancy, constant monitoring to make sure that my heart condition and the medicine weren't harming the fetus. It wasn't glorious and it wasn't fun. It was dreadful.

Because Of All The Symptoms


Vomiting, heartburn, sore breasts, ligament pain, food aversions, hot flashes, mood swings, bloating, frequent urination, fatigue, weight gain, swelling, nightmares, charley horses, cravings, hip pain, joint pain, back pain, and more. Sounds so pleasant, doesn't it? I had it all. So no, I did not enjoy my pregnancy. No wonder women are shocked to find out these symptoms exist when all they see are stock photos of perfect women smiling down at their beautiful bellies.

Ad failed to load

Because Some Women Have Anxiety

My high risk pregnancy didn't help my anxiety. The obstetrician telling me there was a very tiny (1 percent) possibility that my daughter may be born with Down Syndrome, didn't help my anxiety. The random aches and pains that could have been normal or that could have been worrisome, did not help my anxiety. The 100 billion recommendations for what not to do while you're pregnant, did not help my anxiety. I was on the verge of bursting.

In their book about anxiety during pregnancy, Pamela S. Wiegartz, Ph.D, and Kevin L. Gyoerkoe, PsyD found that 5 to 16 percent of women struggle with anxiety during pregnancy. Furthermore, research suggests that moms who suffer from anxiety during pregnancy are at an increased risk for postpartum depression and that babies of mothers with anxiety may be at risk for premature birth. Still, no one is talking about it.

Because Romanticizing Pregnancy Can Be Harmful


Romanticizing pregnancy isn't just unrealistic, it can also be harmful. Women already deal with a plethora of unrealistic expectations in their everyday lives and more so when they become mothers. Women are supposed to "carry beautifully" and "have that pregnancy glow" and "be all belly." When you don't fit this very unrealistic pregnancy mold, you are made to believe you aren't a worthy pregnant woman.

I did not "carry beautifully," my pregnancy glow was likely sweat, and I was not "all belly." I was, however, all belly and all hips, and all ass, and all arms, and all thighs. I carried everywhere, so these beautiful images of perfect pregnant women aren't doing anyone any good and are subconsciously harming our psyche.

Because Of The Weight Gain

I gained between 28-30 lbs during both of my pregnancies, and while that isn't as much as some other women gain, for my 5'1 petite frame that was a lot. I was constantly winded. Every part of me hurt and the added weight put pressure on my knees, feet, and my lower back. I was perpetually uncomfortable, waddling through the last two trimesters, and all I wanted was to eat more cupcakes and drown my sorrows.

Ad failed to load

Because Of The Exhaustion


With my second pregnancy I knew I was pregnant before the test was positive. I knew because I felt it deep, deep inside. The fatigue pinned me down and held me hostage for at least three months. The feeling of crippling exhaustion was overpowering, but I still had to go to work and take care of a 4 year old. Try teaching a classroom full of teenagers when all you want to do is sit down at your desk and take a nap and then possibly throw up.

Because Miscarriages Happen Often

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found that up to 25 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. That is a high percentage. Women miscarry often enough and romanticizing pregnancy isn't really a healthy image for anyone to see, especially not for those who suffered from pregnancy loss.

Because Some Women Suffer From Infertility

Can we please stop talking about how incredible and amazing and easy pregnancy is? Because, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) about 12 percent of women, aged 15 to 44 years, have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. So for the sake of the women who are unable to conceive, or women who have difficulties conceiving, can we please stop describing pregnancy as this magical and miraculous thing? Please? Have some freaking compassion, people.

Ad failed to load

Because Sometimes Pregnancy Just Sucks


"Aww, you're so cute with that adorable little belly," people told me. Honestly, I wanted to punch these people in their faces because I felt like absolute crap 90 percent of the time.

Have you seen the 50+ stretch marks I've acquired? Have you felt the awful lower back pain I'm suffering from? Have you had to give up your favorite foods, like sushi and soft cheeses? Have you tried to shave your legs with a huge bulge in the way? No? OK then. I have and it all sucks.

So next time you see beautiful maternity photos on your Facebook feed, or come across yet another Instagram post of a celebrity showing off her perfectly rounded belly, consider that right before or right after the photo shoot (or, hell, even during) the mom-to-be had a hot flash, changed in and out of her slippers due to her swollen feet, cried, and possibly fought with her partner and/or photographer. So there. Pregnancy isn't fabulous for all. Stop making it seem like it is.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In April

It's that time of the month again: as March draws to a close, Netflix gets ready for a little bit of spring cleaning. Though some TV shows and movies will have to find homes elsewhere, their departure makes room for all kinds of exciting new media. A…
By Megan Walsh

The Pressure To Worry About The Gap Between Kids Is So Bad For Moms

"Two under two is absolutely crazy," a friend recently told me upon hearing the news that I was expecting a second child. "Why would you do this to yourself? Seriously, why?" However harsh her words, she was only echoing the same feelings I'd been ba…
By Marie Southard Ospina

To Be Honest, I Couldn't Survive Motherhood Without My Job

The decision to work outside the home once you've become a parent can be a complicated one. Some people don't really have a choice, and go back to work because they're either a single parent or can't sustain their family on one income. Some choose to…
By Priscilla Blossom

I Feel Guilty That My Kid’s Dad Is A Better Parent Than Me, & That’s BS

I was scared, and he was sure. I was clueless, and he was well-researched. I was making mistakes, and he was picking up the pieces. From the moment I found out I was pregnant until just last night, when I threw my hands up in the air and left the alw…
By Danielle Campoamor

These Millennial Parents Are Taking Gender-Neutral Parenting To An Entirely New Level

A woman on the subway looks at my bulbous shape and asks, “What are you having?” I take a deep breath and throw a glance to my 5-year-old. “I’m having a baby,” I say to the woman. “No, no” the woman says laughing as she pushes further. “Are you havin…
By Madison Young

I’m Registered At Babies “R” Us, & I'm Freaking The Hell Out

Hi. My name is Abi, and I’m registered at Babies “R” Us — and I’m freaking out. This may sound silly, but after being a die-hard Toys “R” Us kid, I was so excited to register at their baby store once my husband and I finally got our big fat positive …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

My Daughter Is Obsessed With Being "Pretty" & I'm Way Past Terrified

Last week, when I picked up my daughter after school, she immediately wanted to know if I liked her hair. "Is it pretty?" she asked. Her hair was pulled up into two ponytails that were intertwined into thick, long braids. A shimmering pink and purple…
By Dina Leygerman

7 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 20s, But I Will

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy was a surprise, since I was on birth control (side note: antibiotics and birth control don't mix), but my partner and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and committed to m…
By Candace Ganger

Women Who Miscarry Early Deserve To Grieve — Here's How Hospitals Should Be Helping

When I lost my baby back in 2013, it was because of a very early miscarriage. Because of the little amount of time I spent being pregnant, it was though my child had never really existed, which made the next few years hard — I felt like they had been…
By Risa Kerslake

7 Things I Wish My Partner Had Said To Me In The First Hour After Giving Birth

I don't know if it was the buzz of the surrounding machines, the non-existent cry of our son as the doctors tried to resuscitate him, or the fact that I'd already been through labor and delivery once before, but I knew something was missing after I h…
By Candace Ganger

Moms’ Groups Weren’t For Me, Sorry

I go to my moms’ club everyday of the week, but not usually on weekends. My moms' group is a place I can always count on finding fellow mothers who understand the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood and of juggling life’s responsibilities. Dep…
By Samantha Taylor

Millennial Women Are Getting Married Later Than Gen X, & The Reasons Why Are Pretty Badass

The battle of the generations seems to come up when it comes to every lifestyle or career choice people make. Women, especially, are an important demographic when it comes to analysts looking at the lifestyle choices we make or the expected milestone…
By Josie Rhodes Cook

I've Had 3 Miscarriages But *Please* Keep Telling Me About Your Pregnancy

I can feel the tension the moment my friend announces her pregnancy. I can hear the forced nonchalant attitude she's willing herself to exude as she fishes for the ultrasound. I know why I was the last to learn that she was expecting; why she keeps l…
By Danielle Campoamor

7 Early Signs You're Going To Need An Epidural, According To Experts

Even if you've constructed an elaborate birth plan, it's impossible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. Complications can occur, proactive measures might be necessary, and your mind is subject to change when those damn contractions really …
By Candace Ganger

I'm Pregnant & I Refuse To Read Any Parenting Books

I didn't read any parenting books when I was expecting my daughter, and I refuse to read any parenting books as I await my second child now. I'm the first to admit that I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to raising my daughter. A good d…
By Marie Southard Ospina

7 Reasons Why March Babies Are Total Badasses

From the moment you become pregnant, you begin to wonder what your little one will be like. Will they look like you, your partner, or your Great Aunt Edna? Will they be the quiet, thoughtful type or arrive on this planet raring to go? It's fun to ima…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

12 Overnight Face Masks To Use To Wake Up Feeling Pampered AF

Spring is right around the corner, and as far as I'm concerned, the sunshine and warm breezes can't come soon enough. But now that we're about to say goodbye to winter, it's a good time to take stock of your facial skincare routine. You know, in the …
By Katie Malczyk

11 Essential Products To Pack In Your Hospital Bag, According To OB-GYNs

The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This prec…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

7 Photos You *Must* Take In The First 6 Months Of Motherhood

In my experience, becoming a mom is like becoming an amateur photographer. There's just something about the need to capture every single coo and sorta-smile that leaves you obsessed with all things photography. I know I couldn't stop taking selfies w…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How Early An Ultrasound Can Actually Determine Your Baby's Sex

From the moment you see those two lines on a pregnancy test, there are a few markers along the way that stand out as especially exciting. Amongst them are hearing your baby's heartbeat and feeling that first, sweet little kick. And if you are finding…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik