It's difficult to adequately describe pregnancy to those who haven't experienced it. I mean, I could talk about the various pregnancy symptoms I experienced, how my mental health suffered, and how amazing it was to wrap my head around the idea that I was literally growing another human being inside my body, but somehow my descriptions fail to do the entire experience justice. Still, there are so many things pregnant women want women who are TTC to know, even if our words fall a little short.
I know it can feel like there's this invisible barrier between pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant, but I believe we have much more in common than people think. For example, I know how stressful it is to try to conceive. I know that trying to get pregnant isn't always the "fun part." I know the anxiety that often comes with trying to track your fluctuating cycle, and the awkwardness of scheduling sex, and the seemingly endless amount of waiting. In fact, as a woman who was previously trying to conceive I was constantly waiting to ovulate, waiting to have sex, and waiting to pee on a pregnancy test. I was waiting for tests, for the "perfect window," and for results.
Your attempts at trying to get pregnant might not go according to plan or be perfect, but here's a not-so-secret fact for you: pregnancy won't go according to plan or be perfect, either. So while it seems like something massive is dividing us — pregnancy — I'm here to tell you that we're more alike than you think. In fact, here are a few other things pregnant women want women who are trying to conceive to know:
Your Timing Won’t Be Perfect
As someone who tried to time her pregnancies three times, for a variety of what I thought were valid reasons, I can tell you that things don't always happen on a very specific timetable. Fortunately, I’ve also learned that there’s really no time that’s 100 percent perfect for pregnancy or parenthood.
Don't be afraid to take life as it throws itself your way, and make the best of what might feel like a very stressful situation. Just because something didn’t go the way you planned, doesn’t mean that it’s not going to be OK.
It's OK To Not Enjoy Every Second Of Pregnancy
No matter how hard it was for you to get pregnant, or how long you tried to conceive before you saw a second line on a pregnancy test, there will likely be parts of pregnancy you don't enjoy. It's OK. Pregnancy can be exhausting, painful, humiliating, and intrusive in ways that are almost impossible to expect.
Not enjoying every moment of pregnancy doesn't mean that you aren’t grateful to be pregnant, or that you're somehow less deserving of a child, or that you won't be an amazing mom. It just means you're a human being who doesn't enjoy constant nausea, vomiting, constipation, heartburn, or any other pregnancy symptom that often makes you uncomfortable if not downright miserable.
Pregnancy Is An Emotional Roller Coaster
As a woman, I was used to my cycle and hormones dictating my mood and disrupting my life. Nothing can compare to the mood swings of pregnancy, though. Pregnancy hormones made me cry at commercials and blow up at my husband, all in the matter of seconds.
Pregnancy Can Impact Your Mental Health
Pregnancy took a huge toll on my mental health and wellbeing. I had no idea that prenatal depression was a thing, and I delayed getting help for a really long time when I realized there was a problem because I thought there was something wrong with me.
But there wasn't anything innately wrong with me, I just needed help. And once I talked to my doctor and started treatment, I realized I should have reached out for help much sooner. Remember: when you're pregnant, your mental health matters, too.
You Might Have Mixed Feelings About It
Even when you're purposefully trying to get pregnant, you can experience a slew of often juxtaposing emotions when you hold that positive pregnancy test in your hands. I've felt fear, worry, sadness, regret, joy, wonder, and overwhelming happiness — sometimes all at the same time. Your feelings are valid, even if they aren't what people expect.
Your Relationship Might Change
After experiencing three pregnancies with two husbands I can tell you that pregnancy can change your relationship... for better or for worse. Not only did I feel totally different in my own body, and about myself, but I felt differently about my partner, too.
In some ways pregnancy made me love my partner more, especially knowing that we were creating a life together. There was also no way to explain to them how physically, psychologically, and emotionally challenging pregnancy was for me. So just know that pregnancy can definitely change your relationship, and those ups and down are pretty typical (as long as they aren't toxic or abusive).
Pregnancy Is Stressful
When I was trying to conceive, and taking a pile of pregnancy tests every morning, I was unbelievably stressed out. But I have to say that I was stressed out when I was pregnant, too. I worried about every symptom, or absence of symptoms, and thought about the health of my baby-to-be constantly.
Trying to conceive isn't for the faint of heart, and neither is pregnancy or motherhood. So if you're handling the stress now, know that when the time comes you're going to be one badass mom.
Make Your Own Choices
We put so much pressure on pregnant people to "do everything right", but we don't really trust women to make their own decisions about their own bodies. My advice to you is to do your own thing. Yes, listen to your health care provider and take their expertise into consideration, but at the end of the day you deserve to make your own choices about your pregnancy, medical provider, baby, body, and birth.
Ignore The Critics
People seem to have a ton of ideas about when, how, and how often you should get pregnant and have babies. I am sure you've already heard some during your trying to conceive journey. Try not to let the unsolicited advice, questions, and comments you'll inevitably receive get to you. You know what's best for you and your future family. Period.