When it comes to pregnancy, the only person that can truly understand what it's like is the person who just-so-happens to be pregnant. It doesn't matter if a couple says "we're pregnant." Unless you, yourself, are physically carrying a fetus inside your body, you can't comprehend what it’s like. Sure, partners can (and should) be supportive, but do they get what it’s like to feel like you’re losing control of your own body? Nope. That’s why, no matter how hard he tries, there are things my partner can’t understand about losing my bodily autonomy during pregnancy.
Bodily autonomy is always important, whether you decide carry a pregnancy to term or not. After all, you are the only one who has to live inside your body, so why should decisions about your body be left to anyone else? Unless you are in serious danger of harming yourself, and mentally incapable of preventing that harm from happening, there’s no reason why your rights to do what you like with your body should be taken away.
However, the minute someone announces they are pregnant, everyone wants a say in everything you do. From what you eat, to how long you sleep, to whether or not you decide to stay pregnant, people will have opinions (and in so many cases across the country, legislations put in place that make it impossible to make your own decisions about your own body). One of those people can often be your partner. Here’s why you need to shut that kind of mentality down, even if your significant other means well.
When People Try & Force You To Carry An Unwanted Pregnancy
Depending on your situation, the people in your life, and/or how vocal you are about a pregnancy, there will be people “praying” for you not to have an abortion. Anti-choice folks can often get loud and in your face about how they feel you should stay pregnant, no matter what. It is an awful feeling, especially if your pregnancy was the result of a traumatic experience.
It's difficult if not impossible for a cisgender man to understand what it's like to have people feel as though they should control your body (or tell you what to do with your body). After all, men's bodies are not regulated through legislation the way women's bodies are.
When People Judge You For Staying Pregnant
Again, it depends on your unique situation and the people you surround yourself with, but it's not unheard of to be on the receiving end of judgment when you decide to see a pregnancy through, either.
Just like those who don't want you to abort an unwanted pregnancy, those who don't want you to keep a pregnancy for whatever reason truly believe they know what's best for your body, your life, and your future. Perhaps your income isn't "high enough," or you're not married, or you're not "old enough," or even "too old." It's as if you're not a grown adult who can make their own decisions.
How Horrible Morning Sickness Is
Nausea is a terrible thing, and one which usually accompanies the early weeks of pregnancy. Some even have it really bad throughout the entire pregnancy (Thanks hyperemesis gravidarum. You truly are the seventh circle of hell.)
Your partner might sympathize and bring you some soda crackers and fizzy water, but they will never understand what it's like to be at the mercy of constant nausea and vomiting. You can't keep anything down, you can't stray too far from a bathroom, and you can't find the strength to do anything other than dry-heave. It's hell.
How Often Your Meals Are Monitored
It sucks to have people constantly telling you what to eat or what not to eat. If you had controlling parents, this might have been you growing up, which makes it all the more condescending when it's happening to you and you're a grown-ass woman.
Yes, pregnant people should be mindful of what they're eating, but, like, they can do that on their own. Back off, buddy.
When You Have To Pee Every Five Minutes
Being pregnant means you have to pee 8,000 times a day. It’s a total nuisance. And for those who have jobs where they can’t really leave their post? It’s so much worse.
When The Hormones Take Over
Not everyone wants to ride the emotion train all day long. To me, that’s a totally legitimate reason not to want to continue with a pregnancy (especially if you’ve got other mental health issues that will get exacerbated as a result).
Your partner has no idea what it’s like to have to feel everything so intensely it's as though your emotions have a life of their own. It's as though you're just along for the ride, which can leave you laughing, crying, scared, and excited, all in the span of 20 minutes.
When You're Absolutely Exhausted
When you’re pregnant, you go through periods of extreme exhaustion. It's incredibly frustrating, if only because it literally feels as though you can't accomplish anything. I think all of us, regardless, have experienced extreme fatigue a time or two in our lives, but (in my opinion) it doesn't compare to the bone-weary feeling of pregnancy.
When You're Poked & Prodded By Doctors
This is the most invasive part of pregnancy and there's really no escaping it. If you choose to terminate your pregnancy, you’ll be poked and prodded because your doctor will have to help you with the abortion. If you choose see your pregnancy through, prepare for months of being poked and prodded for ultrasounds and other physical check-ups, until the day you give birth.
If you have a good partner, they will hold your hand through it all, but they will never, ever get it.
When Doctors Force You Into Unwanted Interventions & Procedures
Some medical practitioners actually bully pregnant persons into situations they don’t want to be in. For example, and even though these are relatively rare cases, some pregnant women are bullied into c-sections when their birth plan called for a vaginal birth, or were given Pitocin that resulted in an epidural when they really wanted to experience an unmedicated labor an delivery.
Hopefully, you find a caregiver who listens and can respect your birth plan. Your partner will, again hopefully help advocate for you, too. Regardless, though, they will have no idea what it's like to feel scared, unsure, and out of control when it comes time to bring that baby into the world.
When Your Body Changes. Again.
Your belly will swell up to a size you could never imagine. Your breasts may grow multiple cup sizes. Your hips will widen and your feet will swell and you might never fit into your size 7 shoes again. You might end up with stretch marks for the rest of your life. You might even gain a c-section scar. And once it’s all over, you will work hard to learn to love the new body you have left over from growing a human.
Rest assured, your partner will never in a million years understand what this is like, unless they also go through a pregnancy, too.