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The Myth of Pregnancy

A few months ago I wrote an article for Castanet about the challenges many women face in pregnancy. Check out the link below or simply keep reading!

Not all pregnancies feel like rainbows and sunsets.

For many women, pregnancy is more like planning a trip to Italy, only to find out that your plane has landed in Estonia and there you must stay. Undoubtedly, you’d find this scary, unpredictable, confusing, and foreign.

Countless magazine ads, social media posts, and celebrity photos portray pregnancy that appears glamorous, footloose and fancy free; however, this ideal is skirting on fraudulent.

The reality, for lots of pregnant women, isn’t anything close, and the result of this discovery can vary from disappointment to despair.

To learn that the glow of pregnancy and the blissful belly you longed for isn’t yours to carry can make you feel betrayed by your own body. No one, not even your doctor or midwife, can tell you what your pregnancy is going to be like, or how it’s going to evolve.

And no one, not even your partner or your mom or your new pill-sized friend Zofran, can take away your discomfort for any length of time that really matters.

If you thought you were going to feel and look a certain way during pregnancy, but don’t, what do you do? This can be an awfully lonely place. It can be really hard to say to someone, “I hate being pregnant”, or “being pregnant sucks”, when the risk of judgment looms in the air.

But that’s exactly what you should do: talk about the way you feel.

Maybe you feel comfortable talking to your partner, mom, or fellow pregnant friend. Maybe you feel inclined to rant about it on social media. Or maybe those feelings have a place on a canvas, piano or in a journal.

One of the biggest problems with a difficult pregnancy isn’t that it’s difficult, it’s that we don’t talk about it or do anything with those feelings so we can feel better and, ultimately, help to normalize unpleasant pregnancies.

This happens for a number of socially unacceptable reasons:

  • You may not feel comfortable admitting you’re uncomfortable.

  • You believe complaining is a sign of weakness and unattractive.

  • You’ve been told pregnancy is beautiful,magical and a miracle and how dare you feel any other way.

This is one of the most confusing parts of an unpleasant pregnancy; being pregnant is beautiful and it is magical and it is a miracle even when it’s the most physically gruelling thing you’ve ever experienced. Even when you so desperately wanted a baby.

Your whole experience of creating a child is valid. All of it. From the loathing to the fear. It’s all OK. Socially, we need to do a better job of accepting a woman’s experience as is, and the path to this kind of acceptance is to be open.

Not only will it help ease some of your discomfort, but it will help other women feel empowered to do the same. In turn, this domino effect can create a safer space for women to be honest with each other and educate their community.

Forty weeks, or almost 10 months, can seem like an eternity when you’re experiencing:

  • all-day nausea

  • vomiting

  • constipation

  • reflux

  • hemorrhoids

  • bone-crushing fatigue

  • weight gain

  • insomnia

  • aversions

  • sciatica

  • gestational diabetes

  • pre-eclampsi

  • and the list goes on.

Creating human life is no easy feat, but remember this: no woman has ever stayed pregnant forever. In time, you’ll adjust to the place you’ve landed, buy new guidebooks, and do your best to settle into the unknown.

Things will get better, and by the end of it, you’ll be holding your beautiful baby who, we hope, will make it all worthwhile.


© 2020 Fiona Patterson