Making a brand new person from scratch is hard work. While pregnancy can be an incredible moment in a person’s life and an amazing accomplishment, it’s also totally normal to hate being pregnant. Even if you don’t have any major traumas or complications, it can still be a pretty (read: very) uncomfortable experience.
When I was pregnant with my son, I spent my entire first trimester feeling like I had the worst hangover, without the fun of the party. I felt on-the-verge-of-sleep tired for almost my entire first and third trimesters. My elevated sense of smell constantly reminded me of just how much of the world stinks. I had to to pee all the time. Every time I wanted to be still and rest, he would have what felt like a dance party in my belly.
Though I was so happy to become a mom, and experienced many wonderful pregnant moments I sincerely enjoyed, I also really hated so many aspects of pregnancy. Overall, I actually preferred childbirth to pregnancy, a statement that shocks a lot of people but is true, for me, nonetheless. It’s true that there’s an unspoken expectation that you’re supposed to be totally overjoyed all the time when you’re about to have a baby. Maybe that's how it is for some women, but for many of us the exact opposite is true. It’s totally understandable, and it doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad mother or anything other than a normal human being who enjoys complete body autonomy and not, you know, feeling like you have to throw up every three seconds. Trust me, you're not a bad mom, you're normal, and here are just a few reasons why:
Having Another Person Living Inside You Can Be Uncomfortable
It’s normal to not enjoy discomfort. Yes, making new people is a pretty wonderful thing that our miraculous bodies can do. But it’s also really uncomfortable at times, and at no other time in your life are you expected to like discomfort, so why should pregnancy be any different?
Pregnancy Can Be Scary At Times
Being so totally invested in the new life you’re creating comes with a great deal of worry and fear. It’s even scarier if you’re pregnant after experiencing pregnancy or child loss, and you’re even more acutely aware of all the things that can potentially go wrong. It’s totally normal to hate feeling afraid.
Just Because You Chose To Do Something Doesn’t Mean You Have To Like Every Moment Of That Thing
I’ve never met a lawyer who enjoyed preparing for or taking the bar exam. That doesn’t mean they’re bad lawyers, or that they should never have chosen that line of work. It just means it was a difficult and tedious thing to do, that was necessary in order to get to the thing they really wanted: a career in law. Same goes for pregnancy.
Nobody Likes Anything All The Time
Even rock stars and professional athletes, who essentially play for a living, have parts of their work that they hate. Musicians get sick of performing that one song they know their fans are going to demand at every show. Athletes get tired of intense workouts and practicing certain skills over and over. It’s possible to have moments of “Ugh, this sucks!” even when you’re pursuing the thing you love most. Again: normal, normal, normal.
It’s Physically Grueling
Speaking of intense physical activity, pregnancy is a really intense physical activity that your body is doing round the clock for the better part of a year. Even the fittest people have moments during their workouts where they wish they could just stop, that they only tolerate because they enjoy the end result. Why should pregnant moms be held to a higher standard, that they be nothing but happy even as things get really, really hard?
How We Feel Physically Isn't A Reflection Of How Much We Care
The physical experience of pregnancy is tough, and the surging hormones can also wreak havoc on our mental health. Hating pregnancy doesn’t mean you don’t care about your family, or that you’re not excited to be a mom to this child, or anything else except that you hate pregnancy.
It’s Possible To Have Different Feelings Simultaneously
It’s possible to be grateful and full of awe that you have the capacity to give life, while hating how that capacity makes you feel. It’s possible to be excited about your new baby, and afraid of or intimidated by the sheer magnitude of the responsibility you’re about to take on. Humans can feel lots of things at the same time. Just the fact that pregnancy is such an enormous life experience that inspires so many conflicting feelings makes it that much harder to handle sometimes.
It Has Nothing To Do With How You Feel About Your Developing Child
It’s possible to be really excited about becoming a parent, and meeting your new baby, and looking forward to the life you’re beginning together, and still hate being pregnant.
Your Feelings About Pregnancy Have Nothing To Do With Who You Are As A Mom
You’re allowed to feel however you feel. Hating pregnancy just means you may not like this particular part of your journey. It doesn’t mean that you won’t like motherhood, something you will get to do when you are (usually) not pregnant. It doesn’t mean you won’t like your child. So, don’t worry about what it “means” about you as a mom, if you don’t like pregnancy. For most people, pregnancy is the shortest part of motherhood, so your feelings about it aren’t a referendum on whether you’re any good at it.
Your Feelings About Pregnancy Have Nothing To Do With Other People
You’re not required to like pregnancy just because there are other people who would love to be pregnant, but can’t be. Guilt and shame are powerful, but they have exactly zero impact on other people’s fertility or life circumstances. You’re also not required to love pregnancy if you love the person you conceived with, or any of the other weird reasons people come up with to shame women who dare to gripe about pregnancy. Your pregnancy is not about them.
You’re Still Human
Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to the same range of emotions all other humans experience. Contrary to popular opinion, you’re not required to be superhuman just to be a mother.