our mothers lied to us

And they did it to get grandchildren.

Pregnancy is the most awful thing I have ever experienced.

And I say that with the utmost reverence. So I would like to offer a disclaimer about this blog post. Having worked in Women’s Health throughout nursing school, I know the struggles many women go through to conceive and to bring a child to term. I have seen, firsthand, the pain that infertility and miscarriage can reap on women and their families. I am in no way belittling what I experienced, which was an easy conception and, so far, a textbook pregnancy. I know countless women everywhere would give anything to experience morning sickness, growing pains, or heartburn if only to be able to have their own children. But so many cannot. And my heart goes out to those women, truly and deeply.

My heart also goes out to the women who are currently experiencing it. The women who are too afraid to complain about it because they don’t want to upset their friends, or they don’t want to seem ungrateful for the gift they have been given after a struggle with infertility. I say to you, you have a right to complain. This is your time. This is your moment. And of course, the ends justify the means…but lets be honest, for most people, the means SUCK.

Here is what your mothers didn’t tell you about what it is like to be pregnant. I am only 16 weeks along, so I anticipate an sequel to this entry in the near future.

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1. Morning Sickness

We have all heard of this one. But you cannot truly know how awful it is until you experience it. Also…it is not Morning Sickness. Clearly a man named this. It is All Day Sickness. Some have it worse than others. There is some evidence to suggest those carrying girls get more sick than those carrying boys, but I think the evidence is scant. I did not have hyperemesis gravidarum by any means. But boy was I freaking nauseous. For a while, all I could keep down were simple carbs. Now, my body is used to a pretty high fiber diet. So simple carbs were just not doing it for me. Couple that with the around the clock Zofran I had to take, and lets just say it made #6 much worse. I am 16 weeks along and I am still nauseous some mornings (and some afternoons and evenings). Somehow you manage to be horribly nauseous and ravenously hungry at the same time, and you have to fight your instincts not to eat, because you know eating will help the nausea even though you want to never eat again. It’s a cruel prank nature plays on you. Congrats you’re pregnant…have debilitating nausea for three months straight. Enjoy!

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2. Heartburn

This is one that some women have early in pregnancy (because your gastroesphogeal sphincter is more relaxed) and often late in pregnancy (because the big baby in there has shifted all your abdominal organs around willy nilly). It sucks. I had never had heartburn before. You think it’s going to be merely inconvenient. Let me tell you…it is terrible. Like someone poured acid down your throat, and nothing you do helps (not even tums). Fatty foods and spicy foods can make it worse. Drinking water during a meal can also make it worse. Lying down right after eating does make it worse. It sucks. That’s all there is to it.

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3. Headaches

These tend to flair up during the second trimester. They conveniently replace the morning sickness. Unless you are like me, and you just now have both. These headaches do not respond well to any treatment. But Tylenol and caffeine are worth a shot.

4. Discharge

Thank goodness there is no photo to accompany #4, right? What you need to know about your discharge during pregnancy is you will have more of it. A LOT more. Some women have to wear pads during the day (this is cruel because it should be a perk of pregnancy that you get a break from feminine products for 9 months…no such luck). It also smells a little stronger than usual. Which can just make you feel so un-sexy its unbelievable. Oh and meanwhile, your significant other is probably raring to go because of all the biology going on between you two. It is not fun. Frequent showering is recommended. Do NOT douche during pregnancy. This discharge is very good at keeping bad bacteria at bay which keeps your baby safer. Its just nasty. Nothing we can do about it.

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5. Bloat

Of course you will gain weight when you are pregnant. And your friends and family may tell you, “oh you look so cute with your little bump!” and the scale may tell you you haven’t gained anything. But mark my words, you will feel like a whale in everything. From the second I got pregnant, I felt like I was taking on water. I am not sure exactly why I felt this way, because clearly I wasn’t…now I actually do appear puffy (I haven’t quite started to show yet), but the feeling is real. Clothes are uncomfortable, no amount of water or urination helps…oh and there is a lot more of that than usual. Sweatpants come in handy…and your husband’s shirts.

The trials of becoming a mother

6. Constipation

If you have morning sickness and are eating a low fiber diet and/or taking Zofran to cope…this problem will plague you early in pregnancy. I came very close to delivering an enema to myself after day 4 with no BM around week 8. This is no joke. It is miserable. This also makes the bloating worse. Around week 15 I thought I was showing, but it was more of a constipation belly. I pooped the next day, and it was gone. Your doctor or midwife should advise you, but for me, I had to take milk of magnesia every single night for weeks.

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7. Fatigue

This is worst very early and very late in pregnancy. But at 16 weeks, I am still struggling. Some days I have tons of energy. And some days I feel like I got hit by a bus. Thank goodness I wasn’t working during my first trimester because I could barely peel myself off the couch some days. Of course the poor nutrition r/t the nausea wasn’t helping. Basically every symptom of pregnancy makes all your other symptoms worse.

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8. Weird dreams

This afternoon I took a nap and had a dream that I gave birth to a hot pink cat with three heads.

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9. Food aversions

So this was shocking. You hear about the cravings (which I have not had yet). But the nausea took away my love for a lot of foods. One that has never recovered is my love for coffee. I used to drink 2 cups every morning, black. I could drink it all day if I wanted to. Now, I have to force it down for the caffeine some mornings, and some mornings it makes me too nauseous to think about. This is devastating. I hope my love for coffee returns soon.

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10. Annoying commentary/advice from friends and family

You must have expected this. But it is still more annoying than you thought it would be. For one, you are hormonal and probably irritable from the hormones and the fact that you’ve been sick for months. Secondly, you probably already feel very protective over your child, even if you don’t realize it. You and your S.O. have probably already started talking about things you want to do and don’t want to do as parents. Most of that list comes from what your own parents/grandparents/etc. did right and wrong. So when they start telling you what your baby/child will and won’t do, or how cloth diapering will be too much and you will give up, or how organic food will be too expensive, or how breastfeeding is the only way to go, or how you WILL want an epidural, just tell them to fuck off. This is your baby and your pregnancy. You do you.

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