According to society, pregnancy is without-a-doubt a joyous time in any woman's life who chooses to experience it. Sure, pregnancy is beautiful and amazing, but society tends to gloss over the fact that it's also pretty scary. In fact, it's overwhelmingly frightening, even when you're excited to grow another human being in your body, so there are more than a few reasons why it's totally OK to be terrified of pregnancy.
During every single one of my pregnancies, I can confidently say I've been freaked out. I was scared not only just because of the potential for complications, but because housing a fetus inside your body for 40 (more or less) weeks is just weird. I never knew what to do or what sources to believe. In fact, I was essentially just waiting for my OB-GYN to politely (or not-so-politely) tell me that I was doing pregnancy wrong. I was never confident that I was doing the "right thing," and I certainly wasn't sure I'd be able to make it through labor and delivery. Then, of course, there was the whole "bringing a baby back from the hospital that you're entirely responsible for" thing. I mean, what was I thinking?! Surely they wouldn't actually let me leave the hospital with a real, live child. How could I think I could adult hard enough to actually be a parent. See? Terrifying.
I think (read: I hope) a lot of moms feel the same way, though, and especially the first time around. So, if you're thinking about starting a family sometime soon, or you're currently staring at a positive pregnancy test, know that you're not alone. There are more than a few legit reasons why pregnancy is pretty damn scary, so it's OK to be terrified. I promise.
Because Pregnancy Is Weird
I think most will agree when I say: pregnancy is surreal. You go from being an autonomous, individual person, to being a vessel and an incubator for an entirely other being. You are no longer alone in your body. It's like a science experiment is happening in your uterus and, well, it's just bizarre.
Because Your Body Is Going To Change
Pretty much everything about your body changes. Your boobs grow, your nipples change color and size, and (for some women, of course and because every woman's body is different and responds to pregnancy differently) you get a weird line down the middle of your stomach. Your hair changes, your skin changes, and even your feet grow a few sizes (maybe).
For me, everything I thought I knew about my pre-baby body was no longer true when I was going through pregnancy. Foods I loved made me sick, and foods I craved were foods I would normally stay away from. All that change can not only be difficult to grow used to, but can be intimidating.
Because It's Uncomfortable
While pregnancy can provide you with some adorable moments (baby kids, anyone?) it's also pretty damn painful. Sciatica, pubic symphysis dysfunction, round ligament pain; I mean, I was hurting in places I didn't even know could hurt. My breasts ached and my head throbbed, and I know that for so many women it can only be worse (especially if you have other health conditions and/or are experiencing pregnancy complications). In other words, you have to take the good with the "owe."
Because The Rules Change
I had no idea there were so many "rules" to this whole pregnancy thing, until I was pregnant. No deli meat, no sushi, no alcohol, but then again maybe some of each of those is ok? No hot baths, but you should soak to relieve discomfort. Take this particular medication for your nausea, but wait; hat particular medication might cause problems, so never take it ever. Avoid hardcore exercise, but oh look, that woman is running a marathon.
The mind boggles, my friends.
Because You Are Growing A Person Inside Your Body
There is a fetus forming and growing into a person, essentially incubating inside of you until you bring them into the world. I mean, when you stop to think about it, it's just astounding. It's also pretty scary. I mean, not Alien scary, but damn close.
Because Pregnancy Usually Ends With Childbirth
While not every pregnancy automatically means childbirth, more often than not (if the mother decides not to terminate or she doesn't experience a pregnancy or infant loss) labor and delivery is involved. Not only is labor and delivery usually the end of the pregnancy road, there's really only a few ways you can bring a baby into the world. Those choices, of course, aren't necessarily comfortable, regardless of whether or not you birth with or without medication. While birth can certainly be more than painful, pain is part of it and it's damn normal to be afraid of pain.
Because You Can't Do The Things You're Used To Doing
Ride horses? Run marathons? Lift weights? Take long hot baths? Fly places frequently? Yeah, you're gonna need to stop doing that stuff (for the most part, however it's always worth asking and going by whatever your doctor or midwife suggest). You aren't really in charge of your body when you're pregnant, so sometimes you have to give up your favorite things in order to make sure the little one growing inside you, you know, keeps growing.
Because It's Easy To Feel Out Of Control
When I was pregnant I realized that not only was my body changing, but my mind was, too. Thanks to hormones and a slew of emotions and a big life change I needed to adjust to, I was feeling all the feelings all the time. It was easy to feel somewhat out of control, because so much of my pregnancy (as well as my reaction to it) was out of my control. That's a scary realization, my friends.
Because Your Relationship With Your Partner May Change
Pregnancy changes lots of things, and your relationship with your partner is no exception. When your life roles essentially change, from a couple to parents, that transition can be a total mindf*ck for both of you.
Because It Usually Means You'll Have A Baby To Take Care Of
While pregnancy can be pretty damn terrifying (as already noted) I must say that taking that newborn baby home takes the cake. Staring at that perfect little being you grew inside of you, knowing you have to take care of of them and keep them healthy and teach them all the lessons they'll need to learn in order to live a happy, healthy, fulfilled life is, well, overwhelming. That's fear realized, my friends. (Thankfully, it's usually the good kind of fear.)