We’re expected to glow. We’re expected to love thinking about an invisible being all day every day. We’re expected to be thankful and overjoyed. Screw expectations.
We live in a society that presents itself on social media as perfect and happy. We’re constantly pressured to be “more than.”
The truth? Pregnancy’s a bitch. From day one, your body is devoted to something other than itself. You no longer control anything, as nature has taken over. You’re hungry? Just kidding, you no longer like greens. Or maybe you take two bites and you’re suddenly full. You’re after-work coffee date? Fun idea, except your body has enacted a strict 5 p.m. daily nap. Yes, we were made for this physically, but our society does not prepare us mentally for the realities of the 9-10 months actually leading up to the birth. The focus is generally on the birth itself and what happens afterward.
There are many books on the market nowadays devoting themselves to the truths of childbirth, and yet pregnancy is still not talked about in public settings as often as it should be. Thank God for Netflix and their push for honest pregnant female comedians such as Amy Schumer and Ali Wong. But even in these instances, it is all presented with a lighthearted spirit in a single-serve short format.
Pregnancy can be very difficult, and it is different for every single woman. You may experience many firsts during pregnancy that have nothing to do with the actual birthing part: migraines, UTIs, abdominal stretching and separation, itchy stretch marks, acne, hemorrhoids, uncontrollable gas, loss of balance, acid reflux, swollen ankles and feet, joint pain, complete exhaustion, uncontrollable crying. And let’s not forget the term definitely made up by a man: morning sickness. FYI, morning sickness can and does occur throughout the entire day, and often not just in the first trimester.
The constant stream of phrases like, “Isn’t pregnancy just beautiful?” and, “You’re growing a miracle!” makes women feel the need to hide what’s actually going on in their bodies from the public. Because of this, we end up not hearing the truth about these experiences until we’re a few months in and begging for any kind of aid to help our various changing symptoms.
So here’s the thing — you’re pregnant. You chose to keep the baby. You CAN do this. Unfortunately, you just have to suck it up. However, there is ZERO need to pretend to feel any other way than you are. Just get used to raising your hand when someone asks who farted, because let’s be real, it was probably you. Someone asks you how your day is going? Tell them. If they actually didn’t want to know, then that’s on them. You do not need to sit with this all by yourself. We live in our digital communities like they’re our lifeblood and then we go home to sulk alone in our true trials. Talk with your partner or a family member often about how you’re feeling. Keep a journal of your aches and pains. Positive self-talk is one thing, but lying to yourself and the rest of the world doesn’t just hurt you.
Be honest. Be raw. Maybe then liking pregnancy won’t be such an expectation.