I went through two miserable pregnancies. There wasn't anything particularly awful about them, other than the extreme and extended battle I fought with morning sickness. Honestly, I'm just one of those women who hates being pregnant. Having coped with hating pregnancy more than once, I recognize that there are ways to help a woman who hates pregnancy and, in turn, make her life just a little less miserable while her body is being held captive by a tiny (yet powerful) fetus.
Women who are shamed for hating pregnancy face a special kind of guilt, which is somewhat perplexing because it's common knowledge that pregnancy isn't always pleasant, even for the women who love being pregnant. Hating pregnancy isn't an indication of how amazing a woman is going to be at motherhood or a not-so-subtle hint that she doesn't actually want to become a parent. Hating pregnancy just means that you don't particular care for the overall experience of nausea, vomiting, constipation, insomnia, weight gain, exhaustion and feeling like your body is no longer yours.
Women who hate pregnancy need to talk about it more, because while a very real and valid feeling is whispered about, far too many women are losing sight of the fact that hating pregnancy is totally normal. In addition to opening up a dialogue about hating pregnancy, making friends and family aware of the ways in which they can help their miserable pregnant girl out is not only helpful, it's vital.
While I was lucky enough to have a supportive group of family and friends, I also wish they knew the follow ways you can help out someone who hates being pregnant. Trust me, the pregnant woman in your life might not want to admit it, but she needs all the help and support she can get.
Don't Judge Her
Pregnant or not, women are subjected to far too much judgement. However, when you raise your eyebrows at a pregnant woman as she shares her negative feelings about her pregnancy, that shame doubles. Even triples. We're constantly told that being pregnant is one of the most precious and sacred things a woman will ever experience, and while, yes, pregnancy does result in a beautiful and life-changing gift, that doesn't mean that we have to enjoy every second of being the packaging that gift comes in. There are a lot of reasons that a woman might hate being pregnant, but none of them merit unfair judgment, so if your friend or family member hates being pregnant, try not to assume that it's because she's fundamentally flawed. She's not.
When I was pregnant, I counted every hour of every day and the time seemed to drag by while I waited for my due date to approach. I felt trapped inside of my own body, and at a certain point it started to drive me a little insane. Thankfully, I had an amazing friend (who also happened to hate pregnancy) who went out of her way to keep me distracted when she was able to. We live an hour away from each other, but she constantly called, texted, and even made a few trips to my town to take me out to eat, or to help me register for my baby shower. It's little things like that that made me feel normal again, like I wasn't as trapped or as miserable as I thought. By giving someone who hates pregnancy something other than her pregnancy to focus on, she forgets, even if for only a few minutes, how uncomfortable she is.
Tell Her She's Doing A Good Job
Hating pregnancy has the unfortunate side effect of making a person feel like a bad mother (or at least it did for me). I felt like there had to be something wrong with me; like I was missing a maternal trait or chip or something because I wasn't enjoying every second of growing the life that was inside of me. I've got an almost three-year-old and an 18-month-old now though, and I've got to say: I don't completely suck at motherhood. When I would sulk and beat myself up during my pregnancies, my co-workers or family or friends would tell me that I really wasn't complaining as much as I thought I was. They told me that they thought I was doing a good job, despite it not feeling even remotely true, and they reminded me that I wasn't a bad mom for not enjoying my gestation.
Remind Her That Pregnancy Doesn't Last Forever
Despite it sometimes feeling like a life sentence, pregnancy doesn't last forever. Something I found myself doing in an attempt to put time into perspective, was thinking about how different things would be in just a year. I would say things like, "This time next year, I'll have a six-month-old," or, "This time next year, we will be on vacation with our baby." It helped to remind me that time doesn't actually stand still, and that it really wouldn't be all that long until I was holding my baby in my arms, rather than in my belly.
Help Her Get Excited About Planning/Decorating The Nursery
This is another great way of distracting a woman who hates being pregnant. We were renting a house at the time of my first pregnancy, so I wasn't really concerned with nursery decor, but I had a friend remind me that even if I wasn't that into decorating a nursery, I still needed to make it functional for my baby when he or she made her debut. So, we started getting the nursery organized and, before I knew it, I had picked a color scheme, and then a theme, and then I chose the bedding I wanted to register for, and suddenly something that I didn't really care about became something that helped me to not only escape from feeling miserable, but also get prepared. Seeing that nursery ready to go every day made everything feel real to me, and created a light at the end of my tunnel.
Help Her With Her Registry
It's easy to go a little overboard when you're handed a scanner gun and told to go wild. I got a little crazy with it, and ended up registering for things that I definitely didn't need (and even some things that I had no clue as to what they actually were or what purpose they served).
By helping your friend figure out what she actually needs to register for, you are also aiding in her ability to focus on something other than her discomfort. Also, once she figures out what she needs, the two of you can have a little fun picking out the things that she wants, and who doesn't love signing up for adorable gifts? Even women who hate pregnancy like getting to pick out baby swag.
Plan A Relaxing Day Out
Plan a day out with your pregnant friend. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, maybe just a day getting pedicures or having lunch or relaxing by a pool or in a coffee shop. Just getting her out and about will help her to feel like a normal person again, and that it something that she definitely needs.
Don't Drink Wine In Front Of Her
This is just cruel.
Just Give Her Support
Basically, your friend just needs your support. She needs to hear that she's not a bad person or a bad mom, and that she isn't going crazy (although she definitely feels like it). Let her vent without judging her and let her cry for no reason and let her complain all day about how uncomfortable she is. Even if you don't completely understand how she feels, just letting her know that you care and that you're there for her will make her feel so much better.