I think it’s safe to blame the hormones

Vivid dreams are a side effect of pregnancy for which I wasn’t prepared. Most of the time, they’re wacky (like the other night when I dreamed that Michael Phelps towed my sinking cruise ship to shore, rescuing everyone on board). But last night, it was bittersweet.

In the dream, it was fall. Crisp, cool air replaced the stagnant, wet heat outside right now. Tony and I were going on a trip somewhere exciting. It was sunny and beautiful, and I felt well. I felt light and cheery and good in a way that my body hasn’t felt for, oh, about 5 months now.

When I woke up, it was a bitter reminder of the stark contrast between how my body feels now, and how I used to feel when my biggest complaint in the morning was that I didn’t feel like going to the gym. What I wouldn’t give to put in 3 miles on a treadmill now, but I feel too heavy, too sick, too exhausted all. the. time.

It’s not that nobody warned me. I witnessed my sisters as they endured 9+ months of discomfort during pregnancy. I knew I’d likely face the same fate. But I don’t think it’s possible to fully understand what will happen to you during pregnancy until you’ve experienced it yourself. I know I wasn’t prepared.

And yes, I know, I know, it’s all worth it. Unfortunately, when you’re pregnant for the first time, there’s no real frame of reference. Like pregnancy, parenthood is something that’s impossible to understand or grasp until you experience it. So for now, I’m feeling a whole lot of discomfort with only a vague understanding of what awaits at the finish line.

I am completely aware of how lucky I am. That’s why I’ve tried really hard to keep my complaining to myself. We decided we’d like to have a baby, and a month later I was pregnant. That alone is a feat considering how many people struggle for months and even years with infertility. So far, the baby is healthy and thriving despite my discomfort. I quit my full-time job pretty early in the pregnancy to begin a freelance career, so I won’t have to worry about returning to an office after the baby is born. And Tony is about as patient and forgiving as a husband can be, even when I don’t deserve it (especially when I don’t deserve it). He cooks and cleans and takes care of me on the days when I’m too sick to get up (and yes, I’m still having those days, even at 22 weeks).

I’m fully aware that I’m lucky, which is why I choose not to write most days instead of writing what I’m feeling. But the truth is, I struggle to feel grateful. I know I have much to be thankful for, but I’m human, and it’s hard to feel grateful after 5 months of what feels like stomach flu. It’s hard to feel grateful as I swell to twice my previous size. It’s hard to feel grateful as I struggle to sleep at night and concentrate during the day. I know it’s not supposed to be easy, but somehow the inability to feel grateful is the hardest part.

And then I feel guilty about it. I remind myself of how lucky I am, and I feel guilty because it’s so hard for me to appreciate it right now. It’s a vicious cycle, and I suspect that it will continue at least until the baby is born (and likely beyond).

Despite the guilt, I have to admit — I hate being pregnant. I know how sad this will seem to the many women who enjoy the whole process, but I am not one of them. It has been a roller coaster ride with fewer ups than downs, and although I’m barely halfway through it, I’m already counting down the days until it’s over.

I am miserable most of the time. I don’t feel like myself. I snap at my husband over the stupidest things. I shout at my dog for annoying me when all he’s trying to do is comfort me the only way he knows how. Lifting myself from bed in the morning feels like running a marathon; I feel so heavy, and my muscles and joints are so stiff. I’m constantly overheated. I’m depressed. And then there’s the continued nausea and constant pain, of course.

I can’t help but feel like I’m having some sort of allergic reaction to my unborn child. Thankfully, he seems to be doing fine, despite the fact that my body is rejecting his presence so violently.

So. Why don’t you tell me your favorite thing about having kids? Because I sure could use a reminder of why this will all be worth it in the end.

Photo by cglatz

16 thoughts on “I think it’s safe to blame the hormones

  1. Marguerite

    My favorite parts are the laughing… my DH would say little things in a high-pitched voice as if the baby was saying them and she would laugh this awesome belly laugh. She runs over and hugs us if we even look like we’re unhappy and brings her teddy bear to us if we’re sick or hurt in any way. Even now that she’s older and she sighs like the weight of the world is on her and tells us that spelling tests are “soooooo haaard” we just have to giggle because we remember being that age when everything was so important.

    Hang in there! It gets so much better. :)

  2. M

    Sorry you are having such a hard time physically, Take it easy and slow and do what you need to do to feel comfortable. Swimming is a really great way to get exercise — you aren’t putting any pressure on your joints and it might feel good to be in water. I just borrowed an XL swimsuit — the maternity suits are very expensive. Another thing that I found effective for nausea is acupuncture. Might be worth the expense if it gives more energy and if it is available in your town.

  3. Mary @ Tips & Treasures

    I’m so sorry you’re feeling like crap through your pregnancy. But you know what, I’m so glad to see someone else say that they hate being pregnant. I totally get how you feel.

    For my first I was sick the entire 9 months. It was terrible. For my second (and last) it wasn’t quite as bad, but still, I was fick for the entire 9 months. For my first, my skin got super greasy and I was breaking out like crazy and with both kids, my hair got extra greasy and icky looking. I hated being pregnant and I’m sooo glad to know I won’t be doing it again.

    Anyway, as for my favorite thing about being pregnant? Ummm that would be that I was so sick and would gag so easily, that Hubby took over cleaning the bathroom… and still does it! Gotta love that!

  4. Olivia

    You must take the bad with the good no matter what part of life. But, I sympathize with you on the “feeling sick” part. Sucks. But those first flutters when the baby starts to kick, when the baby hiccups in your tummy, the pondering and careful selection of the perfect name, the tiny new baby clothes and the anticipation of sweet little baby toes and smiles. (*sigh*) Well, the trade-off for all that discomfort is pretty damn good. You get a blessed little babe that you will love like nothing else in this world!

  5. Ginny

    I’m 16 weeks along with #3 and right there with you. I’m not very big yet, but I really hate being pregnant. I’m so much more crabby this time, but not ready to admit that to my husband.
    But it’s SO worth it. Hang in there. I honestly believe you can survive anything if you know it will be temporary (the pregnancy- not the parenting :)
    I just keep focusing on how great my boobs look.

  6. eastTXmom

    Even though it’s been 10 years since my son was born I remember when he was about 3 weeks old and my husband commented that I had been in a better mood when I was pregnant. Well, HELLO!!! Of course I’d been in a better mood I was getting sleep and didn’t have a baby attached to me every 2 hours. Now I can look back on all that and smile and you will too. . . . . one day:)

  7. Anne

    It’s impossible to imagine the joy (and pain) children can bring to your life. It’s as though the heart expands. My favorite times are when the kids say such wonderfully funny things without meaning to do so. Of course the first smiles, kisses, and hugs are incredible as well.

    A joyful mother of four

  8. ericka

    I am glad to hear that I wasn’t the only one to hate being pregnant. I had twins the first time around so my symptoms were extremely exaggerated. I was exhausted all the time, I had wicked heartburn and I had to eat a little at a time because I couldn’t fit a full meal in my tummy. I wasn’t sick but I felt icky all the time. Things were better the second time around, I was only carrying one child, but I wasn’t glowing like other women. Just try to remember it will all pass and it will be worth it.

    Mom to 13yo twin girls and 10yo boy

  9. Cathy

    When my kids were babies, my favorite things were laying them on my chest and falling asleep with them. Their bodies were so relaxed that it was impossible not to feel the same way. I had problems getting my first one to latch on for nursing and can still remember the first day we were successful. I loved cosleeping with both kids and especially loved waking up to one of them staring down at me touching my nose, eyes and mouth. I remember my daughter wanting to be exactly like me. She even wanted to grow up and be short like me. :) I love their creativy and how if you let yourself, you can be a child again too.
    Now that my kids are teens, I love when I wake up at 2am and hear the two of them hanging out together laughing. They will be friends forever, I know. I like having deep conversations with them. I love seeing myself and husband in them, but a better us. A more advanced us.
    Once your baby arrives, all the struggles you have gone through with this pregnancy will disappear and be replaced by late nights, early mornings and new struggles. However, your struggles have a daily prize attached to them and you will be happier than you ever imagined.

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  11. Lindsay

    I just stumbled on to your website randomly for the first time and read this post. I am 37 weeks pregnant for the first time and going through a similar experience. I just wanted to say hi, that I feel the same way, and that some days do indeed suck. Try to pamper yourself and make special time each day to do something that is just for you. That helped me a lot.

  12. Issa | You Want To Be Rich

    When they hold your hand and look at you, their eyes filled with adoration and trust – and you get overwhelmed with love and tenderness – there’s just no other feeling in the world that can compare to that.

    Hang in there. One day, you will get it. Good luck!

  13. Angie

    I love her brand new skin. No scars, scrapes or bruises. Brand new. Soft and sweet.

    I love her belly laughs. Especially when she’s cracking herself up, or when she’s laughing at my husband.

    I love how she squeals at our first children (2 black labs), to the point that she has to catch her breath.

    I love seeing her learn new things and hitting milestones. Oh how proud we were when she picked up a cheerio for the first time and made it into her mouth!! We cheered like the hometown team just made a winning touchdown!!

    I love dressing her up in some of the cutest outfits, and making up her conversation with our dogs, or her dad. (“Peace I’m out, pops. Text me later!”)

    proud mother of a 1 yo

  14. Jessica

    I am currently 30 weeks pregnant with our first and i’m in agreement with you–I hate being pregnant. I cannot get comfortable, I hurt all the time, I’m winded by simply looking at stairs and seem to be forever exhausted. I do love being able to feel and watch her move around, and I’m excited about her arrival and all the cute baby stuff, but everything else I could do without (especially the strange dreams and insomnia). I keep trying to focus on the fact that I am going to have the ability to show her the world–good and bad. I will get to read her all the books I love, to show her the globe and teach her about the people of the world…and to learn about her. That’s what keeps me going everyday…to drag my tired, uncomfortable body to work and school and then home again to wash laundry and make dinner. Alas, I’m still counting the days…almost there…

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