I used to joke with my friends about pregnancy mood swings before I actually became pregnant. Then I experienced pregnancy firsthand, and the jokes didn't seem so funny anymore. You see, it's kind of hard to explain the myriad of emotions you go through while pregnant, especially to someone who hasn't been there. In fact, and because every pregnancy is different, even other people who have been pregnant might not understand. As a result, there are so many pregnancy emotions you'll experience alone.
During every single one of my pregnancies I felt a wide range of emotions. I mean, on any given day I could feel anything from hope and excitement, to fear and depression, to absolutely everything in between and sometimes all at once. To make matters worse, I had really difficult pregnancies with each one of my children. My body didn't like being pregnant at all, and I was completely miserable. I couldn't do the things I normally did to reduce stress, like exercise and drink massive quantities of wine, so I got really depressed and couldn't wait for it to be over. At the same time, I was so nervous. What if I had made the wrong choice? What if I would be a terrible mother? What if I couldn't be a great mother to my next kid? Or the next? I was so worried that something would go wrong, feeling the weight of my responsibility for this tiny human growing inside of me.
Towards the end of my pregnancies, I was torn between the fear of delivering early due to pregnancies complications (and the desire for my pregnancy to be over). I was so uncomfortable and so anxious to meet my new baby. Because I didn't think anyone could possibly understand, I experienced so many of these emotions alone, in my head, where I'm not always kind to myself and have a tendency to get carried away.
There's so much fear involved with growing a human. I was so afraid that I would have a miscarriage. Every time I went to the bathroom I thought I would see blood on my underwear. Every time I felt an ache or pain in my lower abdomen, I thought for sure that there was something wrong. I was even too afraid to tell anyone that I was afraid.
For me, my worst fears led to some pretty bad prenatal anxiety. I was constantly worried about the different things that were happening in my body. Was my pregnancy normal? Would my pregnancy ever end? Was everything OK? To make matters worse, I was so worried that people would judge me, or worse, confirm my worst fear of all: that I was suffering all on my own.
I had so much hope. Hope for the future, hope for healthy babies, hope that I would figure out this motherhood gig and not completely mess up my kids. All that hope was something to hold onto.
I was so depressed during my last pregnancy. I felt horrible. I had hyperemesis gravidarum (severe nausea and vomiting) and pretty much threw up every single day for the entire duration of the pregnancy. I wasn't able to do the things I loved anymore, and I resented my pregnant friends who were experiencing what I saw to be easy pregnancies. I wanted the entire thing just to be over. There were few people who understood what it was like and, as a result, I felt so alone.
I didn't tell anyone how embarrassed I was when I vomited every single time I rode in a car, almost peeing my pants in the process. I was also pretty ashamed of my pregnant body most of the time. As an eating disorder survivor, pregnancy weight gain was really hard for me. I was too ashamed to share these thoughts with anyone.
Pregnancy insomnia is so cruel. I wonder if there is an evolutionary reason for torturing exhausted pregnant women before they have their babies, in order to prepare them for the cruel realities of parenthood. I spent so many nights staring at the ceiling, or my phone, willing my body and brain to go the f*ck to sleep.
I was so exhausted all of the time. I have no way to describe it, other than to say that it was like a living creature was growing inside of me and unapologetically sucking out my life force. When you think about it, that is absolutely what pregnancy is. I actually called my daughter vampire for a while, until people got tired of hearing about it.
When I got pregnant the first time, the first emotion I experienced was actually regret. I wondered if I would keep the baby, or if I was making a huge mistake. Because it was a planned pregnancy and no one knew I felt that way, I experienced this emotion completely alone.
Pregnancy sucks. I can't even describe how uncomfortable I was, especially at the end. However, after a few months I stopped complaining about it, because it seemed to make people really mad. It was as if I was expected to endure a lot of pain and discomfort without saying a damn word about it, because I essentially "deserved it" for choosing to get pregnant in the first place. That is such bullsh*t.
Pregnancy is without a doubt overwhelming. On one hand you feel like an unwelcome stranger in your own body. On the other, is pretty freaking wonderful when you get to feel your baby move or hear your baby's heartbeat. There's no way to share that feeling with someone else.
I grew a tiny human in my body. How amazing is that? It actually sounds like magic when you say it out loud. I grew a human. That's pretty much the most badass thing imaginable.
All The Feels Simultaneously & Randomly For Absolutely No Reason At All
During pregnancy, I felt like I was a surfer riding waves of emotions that were positive, negative, and everything in between. It was impossible to take anyone along with me for the ride, or even explain how I was feeling, and those feelings were subject to change in a heartbeat or came out of nowhere to catch me and the people around me by surprise. So rather than trying to explain how I felt, I experienced all of these emotions alone.