6 Feelings You'll Likely Have During Pregnancy That You Should Never Feel Guilty About

By
Share
Ad failed to load

Pop culture is notorious for depicting pregnancy either as a relentless, painful, horrifying disaster (which it's not... entirely) or a blissed-out fairy tale (which it's not... entirely). Our society is awash with images of what a pregnant woman is “supposed” to look like: picture perfect and glowing one moment, apologetically weepy the next; giggling as a burgeoning belly makes it increasingly difficult to maintain awkward pre-natal yoga positions; later theatrically indulging in every pickle and ice cream craving. Pregnancy is truly a wondrous time and an incredible feat of the human body, but the utterly comical result is this polarized dual-depiction where real-life women are left feeling like they should simultaneous dread pregnancy, and appear as thought they're in love with it. (So, about as fair, logical, and poised for success as any of the other messages women are given about how they're supposed to feel about their lives, and what their lives are supposed to look like.)

There are many other sides of pregnancy that don't get talked about enough. Behind closed doors, most pregnant women aren’t simply humming lullabies while softly caressing their bellies and happily folding pint-sized pajamas. Instead, they are painstakingly trying to sort out the complex array of emotions that accompany bringing a child into this world. While it’s long been socially acceptable to share the happiness, excitement, and overall merriment that's associated with pregnancy, somewhere along the line it became taboo to discuss those other feelings. Rather than discussing the feelings society deems distasteful, many women bottle them up inside and deal with them alone. It’s time to shed light on some of those “unsavory” — but fortunately, usually pretty fleeting — feelings that many women experience during pregnancy, because they are very common and absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. 

Ad failed to load

Mood Swings

Ahhh, the dreaded hormones. The thing about hormones is that we're generally not psyched to point out how their fluctuations affect us, because those fluctuations are so often erroneously held up as super-sexist evidence and cause that women are unstable. But the thing is, they do exist. And they can rock you during pregnancy. Does that make us less competent or capable or sane or human or good at our jobs? Nope. Should sexist claims that any of that is true prevent us from speaking honestly and openly about how our hormones do affect us? NOPE.

Now that I’m more than 20-months postpartum with my second child, I can totally fess up to being crazed, and hormonal for the majority of both my pregnancies. One minute I’d be laughing at a bit by my favorite comedian, and the next minute I’d be sobbing over some heartstring-pulling commercial and trying to call my grandma. I was a hot mess. My poor husband knew better than to breathe the word “hormonal” around me though and quickly learned to placate me with hugs and Boston creme donuts. 

Exhaustion

Holy Crap, pregnancy is exhausting! Building a human is no walk in the park, not to mention the extra 65 lbs I had to tote around during each of my pregnancies. (Arguably, my husband probably did too good a job placating me with donuts, if a person can ever have too many donuts, which I solemnly believe they cannot.) Many pregnancy books list “fatigue” as a symptom. I’d call that the understatement of the century. I  was dog-tired from sun up to sun down and essentially couldn't keep my eyes open at varying times throughout those months. I didn’t have the energy to shave my legs, let alone keep up with housework or go out in public.

Terror

Whether it's your first go around or you're a seasoned pro, pregnancy can cause a lot of anxiety in moms-to-be. I  think I skipped right past apprehension and went straight to utterly terrified. The birth video they showed in birthing class made me want to hide in the closet like a scared little girl and become the only woman who has ever remained pregnant indefinitely. Whether you are planning an unmedicated, blissfully medicated, or cesarean section for your birth, the vulnerability and the unpredictability of the birthing process can feel foreboding. Not to mention the enormity of the realization that you will be responsible for taking care of another tiny human being!

Ad failed to load

Defeat

Whether or not we admit it, many of us fall victim to trying to live up to those preconceived notions regarding what pregnancy is supposed to look and feels like. When we inevitably fall short of those impossible standards, we end up feeling overwhelmed and defeated. I consider myself to be an incredibly self-reliant woman, and asking for help is not something I care to do often. During both pregnancies, at some point, I had to admit that I wasn’t superwoman and reach out for help. During the dreaded first trimester of one pregnancy, I had to take some time off of work because the slightest smell would have me projectile vomiting. And when I was pregnant with my second, I had to rely on the television and iPad to occupy my toddler on more than a few occasions. Though my pride took a hit, and I did feel defeated at times, I did what was necessary to survive.

Annoyance

If I had a dollar for everything that annoyed me during my pregnancies, I’d be a filthy rich woman. I was annoyed at everyone who wasn't pregnant because they couldn’t possibly understand what I was going through, at 40-weeks pregnant, during the peak of Florida summer. I was annoyed at everyone who was pregnant for being such perky, chipper rays of freaking sunshine and bragging that they never had morning sickness. Meanwhile, there wasn’t a place in my town I hadn’t tossed my cookies at some time over the past 9 months. I even found myself annoyed with my unborn child for keeping me up all night and tap dancing on my bladder. Shrug. Not sorry. To be fair, my pregnancy didn't make those people annoying as much as it just lowered my ability to tolerate them.

Regret

So this is the big, bad beast of all  taboo pregnancy feelings: At some point in your pregnancy, you may find yourself briefly (or not so briefly) wishing you weren’t pregnant. Maybe it’ll be while you’re dry heaving and clutching the toilet bowl, every day, for the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy. Or when you pass 12 weeks and, as promised by your doctor and all the baby books, the morning sickness doesn't pass. Perhaps it will be when you start contemplating how much your life is going to change or when you convince yourself that you are totally unprepared and unready for this. Maybe it’ll be when you nostalgically look at your other child and realize that this new baby will undoubtedly take time away from the two of you. 

This does not make you a bad person or an unfit mother. It makes you human. And you should never feel guilty for feeling it, or for talking about it. After all, what makes a better mom: someone who suppresses their emotions, bottles them up, and inevitably projects their unresolved crap onto everyone around them (which, by the way, will ultimately include their child), or a mom who has the self-awareness, self-acceptance, and pragmatism to face even her messiest feelings head-on, sort them out, and let them go so she can move forward unburdened of them? Yeah. No guilt.

Images: Jiawei Lin/Unsplash; Giphy(6)

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

8 Things That *Will* Go Wrong Every Time You Plan A Kid-Free Night

The last time my husband and I went out to dinner alone was… actually, I can’t remember. But I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen a movie in a theater in the last year. Before we had children we used to go out all the time. But even with …
By Liza Wyles

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack