My vagina physically aches & 5 other unedited, unfiltered, shitty pregnancy truths

September 21 | Guest post by Andrea Waner
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By: pyxopotamusCC BY 2.0

I feel like no one talks openly about how unbelievably hard it can be to be pregnant — about how physically and emotionally uncomfortable it can be.

Conversations and postings on social media are left to dance around the majesty of growing a human being. The first bump sightings. The funny cravings. The flutters of feet and sounds of a strong heartbeat. The other conversations, the ones that don't fit into this socially constructed box of what's normal and what's not, are left for private text messages, worried phone calls, and fleeting moments between friends.

I've had the immense privilege to be friends with a few incredibly strong women who have lived this experience of motherhood. They take all of my baggage and concerns in stride when talking me off the ledge. I am forever grateful for their stories and insight. (When I regain the ability to bake without forgetting to add in key ingredients, I'll be sure to thank them in calories and love.) But even these conversations cower in the corner of text messages and car rides.

The comfort level to talk about the dirt and grit of pregnancy publicly is almost non-existent. I find myself afraid to admit out loud to the things that I'm experiencing, the things that cross my mind while pregnant for fear that I am not "normal." But not having these conversations in a public space is exhausting. It constantly leaves me feeling like I'm the odd-woman out. Like what I'm feeling — or rather, not feeling — is wrong. Like I'm screwing this up somehow or that something is wrong with me.

So today, I stand in solidarity with — what I suppose to be many — other women who can't always talk about how amazing and magical it is to be pregnant. Who need to talk openly about shitty hormones and anxiety and crying over seemingly inconsequential things. Who need to talk candidly about the changes their bodies are going through. Who need to find solace in a simple conversation with a stranger that everything is going to be okay and that what they're feeling is not wrong or abnormal.

In an effort to self-disclose and move toward a pregnancy culture where we can share our shit and bare our souls beyond the excitement of impending motherhood, I give you my current, unedited, unfiltered, list of pregnancy truths:

I feel like my body is betraying me

I'm constantly losing track of time, misplacing things, forgetting to do things, crying at minuscule things, and just overall not being able to KEEP. IT. TOGETHER.

This is a major shift for me. I'm used to being the one that has it under control, the one that other people come to when they need help or someone to talk to. I'm nowhere near being that person right now. And that's a lot to accept and deal with.

I sweat all the time

The armpits of my shirts are ruined. I'm self-conscious that I smell, constantly.

My vagina physically aches

It's like I'm being punched continually in the ladybits, or that I've had really aggressive sex for days on end.

My breasts are already quite large, so getting pregnant has only made them bigger

My boobs are too big to buy from a regular maternity store. I caved and finally had to buy a new bra because my previous one had caused bruising under my breasts and along my ribcage from my rapid growth.

Pregnant acid reflux feels like the devil is trying to crawl out of my chest daily

Having had a hiatal hernia for a number of years, acid reflux has always been an issue. I wake up throwing up stomach acid — which feels like fire, then because I'm trying to breathe normally and am coughing at the same time, I breathe said stomach acid into my lungs where it feels like my lungs are being torn apart every time I take a breath. I then feel like I have pneumonia for several days afterward.

All of the "what ifs" and panicked thoughts will consume you if you let them

I have wasted so much energy in the past few weeks worried about money. Whether I can be a good mother or not. What happens if I don't love the baby when he arrives? What if I'm one of those mothers that drives their child into a lake? What if my partner leaves? What if my partner dies? What if I have to do this alone? What if I will never have an identity again? What if this is all I am? What if, what if, what if…

Pregnancy is not all ice cream and pickles and gender-reveal parties and nursery themes. It's hard, grueling, physically and emotionally exhausting work, and the conversations surrounding those areas of discomfort need to leave the shadows. Let's normalize these feelings and experiences and start breaking down the stigma around having anything but a pleasant pregnancy. A simple, "I'm here, I'm listening, I understand, you're not alone" can make all the difference.

Let's have the hard conversations out loud and in public. We owe it to each other.

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  1. Reflux – I spent the last six weeks (maybe more) of my pregnancy sleeping propped up on the couch. The back cushions actually helped support my belly.

    Your center of gravity is a moving target, literally. You grow every day so it moves every day. Any time you move, your nervous system is going "Whoa now, that's now how we moved yesterday, everything it is a little bit off again!" So you are reminded, consciously or subconsciously, all the damn time, that you are freaking huge (relative to yourself a few months ago).

    The bigger your belly gets the harder it is to reach your undercarriage after using the bathroom to wipe thoroughly. God help you if you are cursed with narrow stalls at your most frequently visited bathrooms.

    Trying to tie your shoes (when they still fit that is). Ha. Hahahahahahahahahaha.

    I think Scrubs said it best in the first minute of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=intmxeW4GT8

    11 agree
  2. I had a little cry when I got to the 'what if' paragraph! Yes, yes to all of this. Thank you.

    I wrote a similar piece myself as a form of therapy a few days ago but managed to somehow waffle on for four thousand (tongue-in-cheek) entire words on how crap I am at pregnancy compared to all these selectively publicized, socially accepted "norms". We need to be more open! I can't tell you much I appreciate this read.

    4 agree
    • Thanks, Kitty! I'm so glad you got some validation out of this! I wish you the best of luck going forward!

  3. What if your baby dies and your left feeling like the rest of us who would give anything to feel like shit if it meant we got a healthy, living baby out of it?
    Pregnancy is hard, but sometimes not being pregnant is harder.

    6 agree
    • Wow, that's harsh, and not really what this article is about. If you're insinuating that she is complaining, you are wrong; she's trying to make other pregnant women feel like they aren't alone.

      I have fertility issues myself and may never feel any of this mentioned in the article, but I worked it out, and am in a comfortable place where my life could take any direction and I would be okay with it.

      I get it, infertility is hard and I too felt seething jealousy when yet another woman got pregnant, but the "what if" you raised was really uncalled for.

      124 agree
    • Nikki –

      I thank you for sharing your feelings. It was not my intention, ever, to make anyone feel triggered or that being pregnant is something other than a gift to many but not to all. I realize that I am, overall, lucky to be in this position. I also think it's important to talk about issues like these in order to normalize how women feel. Again, thanks for sharing your feelings.

      12 agree
      • I do NOT think you need to apologize for this article. If Nikki is in a situation where she's unable to conceive (or even just playing devils advocate) then why the HELL would you come to this blog and read this article?

        That'l like southern baptist going to a biker bar and criticizing everyone inside drinking and swearing – it's uncalled for, and the it's not the world's job to put kid gloves on to make you feel better about the woes of your life.

        I'm 35, and when I was 21 I was told I'd never have kids….
        In late June I found out I was pregnant. My husband and I are beside our selves with joy but this pregnancy has been full on some seriously traumatic events thus far, including being told I'd miscarried and didn't know it, and having a D&C scheduled for what they thought had turned into a molar pregnancy, only to have the doctor who was paged for the D&C FIND my baby, sucking it's thumb with the hiccups –

        So I ABSOLUTELY understand how incredibly LUCKY I am to have this opportunity to have a child, an opportunity I was told I'd never have, and one that's almost ended on 3 separate occasions so far, and I'm only 4 months along… but I'm also completely LOST because my body is literally no longer my own. I wake up in the mornings unable to walk because something shifted while I was sleeping and now my hip my out of joint.

        I'm constantly having to put myself in time out because my reactions and mood are completely inappropriate. I can't keep up with my active husband, my dogs look at me like a traitor when I come home from work and I'm so exhausted that I fall asleep fully clothes instead of taking them for a walk..

        So yes, I realize I'm fortunate, but those who think we're not allowed to be both appreciative of the gift while also being so uncomfortable with the process that we'd like to simply sleep until it's over, are simply fixated on their own journey.

        I have sympathy for that journey, I really do. Honestly. But wanting sympathy without extending someone your own is complete B*llsh*t.

        42 agree
        • I hate this kind of "be grateful you can even have kids at all" BS. It's akin to saying "stop whining there are starving children in Africa." Sure there are, and starving probably feels really shitty and something we should work to solve, but my vagina bones shifting is causing excruciating pain on the daily, and while I'm #blessed to be having a kid, it still #fuckingsuckssometimes.

          50 agree
          • Whoa, I could be wrong, but I think you're all reading a lot more judgement into Nikki's comment than she likely meant. Having just miscarried myself (and feeling like it's another part of pregnancy that is only whispered about between closest friends)…pregnancy was shockingly difficult and physically draining, but no one seems to talk about the fact that all those shitty pregnancy symptoms continue after miscarriage for weeks (in addition to the physical act of miscarrying). Bringing up miscarriage doesn't dismiss your discomfort…It is an extension of how difficult pregnancy is and how we should be able to talk about it openly. Depending on what stats you use (1 out of 3 or 1 out of 5), many women will experience miscarriage and may struggle with continuing pregnancy symptoms without any baby to look forward to. It isn't about jealousy or triggering someone's pain…the article seemed to welcome an open discussion on all aspects of pregnancy. Miscarriage is often a part of the pregnancy journey, apparently, a part we still aren't allowed to talk about.

    • This is exactly the kind of censoring the author is referring to in the post. It seems that you can't speak anything slightly negative about this really truly strange unique and concerning experience with out some one slapping you back verbally like you just did.

      I recently got pregnant after being told I was unable to become so, I was overjoyed. I also had a VERY hard time emotionally and physically. My husband was deployed. I had HG. I felt like a monster for being miserable. For being a crying, puking, sweaty mess that cursed my belly when I could not reach over it and not a glowing radiant life giving goddess.

      Not having the ability to talk about my aches, pains, feelings, without some one slapping me back into a "good moms don't complain" box lead to depression while pregnant, worries and fears over how I would handle mother hood, fights with my husband over giving the (much wanted much loved totally adored) child up for adoption because obviously I wouldn't be a good mother, and more.

      Women need a space to talk about the fact that pregnancy does suck. They need to know that not feeling great about it is OK, and that they are normal.

      Acknowledging one kind of suck, does not make your specific kind of suck, suck less, hurt less, or diminish it in any way. I'm sorry you are having a hard time conceiving, and I hope not only that you have a child soon, but that you also have an easy and non-sucky pregnancy.

      80 agree
      • Jess – I could kiss you. Thank you for being so honest. Lots of love to you.

        8 agree
      • Jess, you bring up a good point.
        I'm well into my first pregnancy, and even though we're discouraged from expressing how we feel, because "we should be grateful," it doesn't stop every person who has ever had a baby from flooding me with their pregnancy horror stories. Maybe, if we were allowed to talk about it when it is happening, we'd stop frightening generations of women after us. (Luckily, I'm old enough to know better, but some people believe everything they're told.)

        4 agree
      • 100% this about all things:

        Acknowledging one kind of suck, does not make your specific kind of suck, suck less, hurt less, or diminish it in any way.

        19 agree
    • I hear your pain. I have a friend who had multiple miscarriages and has given up the dream of having kids that are biologically hers. I had a high risk pregnancy. We couldn't talk for months because of it.

      However- because her point of view isn't yours does not mean you have the right to silent her. Her voice has legitimacy.

      10 agree
    • I recently miscarried. Seeing something like this hurts. But I do think that the need for openness about miscarriage is a separate, though related, conversation from the one about openness about pregnant experiences.

      9 agree
    • Nikki,
      *hugs to you* because if you're going through a battle with infertility, I'm sure you need them. Your comment was a harsh, but I think I understand where it came from.

      Throughout my fertility treatments I had a number of friends who were pregnant and shared the downsides of pregnancy (not knowing that I was struggling) and every time they mentioned the back aches or the nausea or the reflux, I would think "f*** you, I would give ANYTHING to be going through that if it meant I could have a baby."

      And I couldn't stop myself from feeling that way, it's a visceral reaction of anger and envy and weird hormones from fertility treatments and deep, dark grieving disappointment. And then if you do conceive, the what ifs that run through your head aren't about what will happen after the baby arrives, it's what you'll do if the it doesn't and are you strong enough to face that?

      I wish you luck and strength and hope that if you are able to conceive, that you don't feel that you have to be happy about every aspect of your pregnancy. Parts of pregnancy are sucky (and expressing it doesn't make you less grateful or happy). Parts of motherhood are sucky too. After going through the infertility, I felt like I wasn't allowed to complain about anything related to my pregnancy and that isn't how it should be.

      9 agree
    • Nikki, I am sorry that you lost a child. I miscarried in January the weekend after my first doctor's appointment. I was angry, hurt, sad, scared and really, really depressed for a long time. I still feel those emotions too sometimes. And I am sure that others have felt it too.

      But I am also glad to have read this post because many of Andrea's honest statements where serious worries for me. I worried how my body would change due to the weight, how basically everything was going to seriously change FOR EVER. And the thing is….I blamed myself for my loss because of those fears and worries. I felt like I caused it to happen.

      I know for the most part, most of the time this is not true. I have been able to deal with it in some fashion after being a severely green-eyed monster when dealing with friends pregnancies.

      Anyway, I don't want to hijack this post to focus on miscarriage. But I will value this post for being honest that being pregnant is freaking tough. Hopefully I have another chance and I will try to be more caring to myself, to accept that it can be miserable and crappy, and it is okay. And I hope you will find a way to grieve in whatever way works for you. Because it does help.

      4 agree
  4. I'm surrounded by people who are only too happy to tell me just how horrific and painful pregnancy and childbirth are. And then they wonder why I don't want children and act horrified when I tell them so 😛

    18 agree
  5. Yes to all of this! I live in SF and appearing to have all your shit together is paramount. No one really talks about all the hard stuff of pregnancy (and post). And I found others to be judgy not supportive. Even though my kid is one now, I'm still dealing with the fall out of being pregnant and the identity crisis, physical changes (hormonal) that it wrought. I wish people had told me about all the bad along with all the good. I totally had pregnancy brain in the last three months, where I couldn't even finish my sentences! And had a partner saying "use your words…" in a most patronizing way. I really almost inflicted violence on him! The thing that freaked me out the most was the joint pain in my hands. All of a sudden it felt like they were not just swollen but that the joints wouldn't move without horrible pain. My doctor kept telling me it was normal but no one else I knew had gone through it. (Id did finally go away after a few months). I made friends with a pregnant person recently and I told her about it and she was like "me too!" and finally had someone understand. I was glad I was able to help someone. I wish I had a pregnancy mentor. I think all pregnant women should have one (and post-partum ladies should be one!)

    6 agree
    • Yes! That would be amazing!! Thank you for sharing your experience, too! Super validating!

      1 agrees
  6. I appreciate this post so freaking much right now! I am a plus sized curvy queen currently 25 weeks pregnant with my first (and only, I swear) child. No one talks about the gross/uncomfortable parts of pregnancy. We're all lead to believe it's a beautiful miracle and in a lot of ways it is. In a lot of ways it also sucks. No one alerts you to the icky parts until you're either well into your pregnancy or already experiencing them! No one tells you that EVERYTHING will make you tear up, that your lady bits will undoubtedly hurt on a regular basis, that your breasts will not only get huge but ache due to the weight of them, that your back and pelvis will ache and that getting out of bed (or hell, into it) will be an adventure in and of itself.
    Thank you offbeat home for bring these types of topics to the forefront, it makes me love you guys just that little bit more!

    7 agree
  7. "In an effort to self-disclose and move toward a pregnancy culture where we can share our shit and bare our souls beyond the excitement of impending motherhood, I give you my current, unedited, unfiltered, list of pregnancy truths"

    That is well said. I think it's odd that women have to endure the current standard of what it means to be pregnant because the end result is worth it. Why shouldn't we make the whole process as comfortable as possible especially labour and delivery? It's like women lose the right to be human once they become baby vessels.

    Delivery, when checking your cervix becomes the new handshake! That's not the polite way to say hello Doc.

    I lost bladder control after birth, completely. Everybody was cool with it except me. Note to self, bring diapers in hospital bag, for mom.

    That long list of stuff you can't do pregnant or while breastfeeding that in reality you probably can.

    I had to nap on my lunch break to make it through the day.

    Makin a human is hard, but when I heard that heartbeat for the first time I cried and cried.

    6 agree
  8. I'm currently almost 32 weeks pregnant, and it sounds like I have had a much easier pregnancy than the author, but it is still really difficult! I'm in grad school for flute performance so carrying around a backpack is really taking a toll on my back and rolling over in bed is painful and insanely difficult, but other than that I'm not having too bad of a time (yet). The main things people didn't tell me were how hard standing on one leg to put on underwear and pants would be, how hard wiping would be, and how to deal with rude comments from friends/acquaintances. I saw plenty about dealing with comments from strangers but was completely unprepared for a friend to tell me at 6 months that I couldn't possibly get any bigger and looked like a hot air balloon!

    1 agrees
    • My husband said, "You've got all the textbook shitty things about pregnancy." Glad yours is a little easier 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience, and good luck with the rest of your pregnancy, Erin!

      1 agrees
    • I did not anticipate *rolling over* would be such an issue when I was pregnant. My hips hurt so bad I could only lay on one side for so long, but rolling over was such a *process.* I spent most of the third trimester sleeping in my recliner, which was only slightly better. And I'd actually forgotten how hard it was sometimes to put on underwear!

      8 agree
      • Yes! This is my current reality. Rolling over is a three day process it seems. And the hip pain is unreal!

        8 agree
        • I just got a DTaP in my left bicep so for about a week that left only one side for sleeping. I mean "sleeping."

          2 agree
        • I know this is unsolicited advice, but have you looked into physical therapy? Pregnancy hormones gave me crazy loose joints which made rolling over excruciating from my hip bones grinding against each other. I never would have thought that was the problem, but my doctor refered me to a therapist who said my body was unstable. Like uranium or something. I was radioactive.
          The PT really helped and she had some great advice for moving around as well. Might be worth a try!

          1 agrees
          • I did physio last time around, they gave me a shoe insert as my right hip is slightly higher and it was a godsend! I found swimming pools to be heaven! Just floating even, didn't have to swim. There's a heated pool near where I live, I could just live in it.

    • Will your flute fit in a rolling bag? I feel like a backpack is not a good idea for anyone, but especially so for a pregnant woman.

      • Yeah several people have been suggesting that, but I know next year I don't want to deal with pushing a stroller and pulling a rolling bag at the same time. I know I need to figure out a better solution, but with our limited budget it seems so fruitless to buy something for just two months of use.

        • I have a really awesome rolling backpack, that has wheels but also straps. Jansport makes them I think… But also, keep in mind all the glorious things you can pile on a stroller! Seriously, with my back issues, a stroller is a lifesaver sometimes.

          2 agree
        • Maybe someone could lend you a rolling bag for the short period before you have a stroller which can carry the flute and everything else? I know I would – I have two sitting unusued on my wardrobe right now (but sadly on the other side of the Atlantic, judging from context)! A lot of people use that kind of thing only for specific circumstances such as business trips, so it might be worth asking around. (Even mention to a sympathetic professor if you think friends won't have anything – I would do this for a student.)

          3 agree
  9. I just about cried the first time someone told me it was ok to complain about being uncomfortable and pregnant. My 1st pregnancy went crazy wrong so I felt like I didn't have a right to complain the second time around. I was on week 6 of strict hospital bed rest feeling like a person who had been strapped to a bed for 6 weeks but felt like I couldn't complain. I didn't want to make my husband feel worse since he had to take over all the home duties. I didn't want to complain to the nurses about the food, or my back ache, or my exhaustion because they were nurses and working their buts off to keep me pregnant.

    Then one night I got a night nurse who was 30 weeks pregnant. She went out of her way to make me talk about how uncomfortable I was, how hungry I was, how I needed more sleep. We talked about how being 30 weeks pregnant can suck and she didn't want me to feel guilty for thinking it. She never once told me that I should be grateful for being pregnant, or suck it up for the baby. All the things that I had been thinking.

    26 agree
    • That whole feeling like you don't have a right to complain is exactly what prompted me to write this. I didn't have a place to have the hard conversations, and didn't know how. I'm so glad you found an outlet that made you feel validated. You're doing a wonderful job!

      8 agree
  10. The reason I didn't talk about this stuff is the same reason I don't talk about my parenting truths: because this

    "I'm here, I'm listening, I understand, you're not alone"

    is not what I generally hear in response. I hear "just wait" and "you'll see" and "here's how I had it worse" and "here's how I did it better." Maybe that's just how people relate and I'm too sensitive but it made and still makes it difficult for me to talk about stuff.

    25 agree
    • Yes! This! I got tired of hearing those same responses – which is why I wrote this. We need to encourage each other to be more sensitive and open that not everyone experiencing pregnancy is on cloud nine. Thanks for sharing your feelings!

      4 agree
    • I'm not pregnant, nor have I ever been, but this is one of the most important little tidbits for real life I've ever read in a comments section. Those first four phrases are crucial in building up any relationship, and the others are key factors in tearing one down. My husband and I are separated at the moment, and I wish we'd heard something like this five years ago.

  11. I had some much extra saliva I drooled like a Saint Bernard for the first trimester. I carried around a towel. The rest of my pregnancy the drool only happened at bedtime.
    Unfortunately, the not having it together aspect hasn't stopped for me. I like to say I traded brain cells for my daughter. It was a pretty awesome trade.
    I appreciate your honesty. Pregnancy isn't all sunshine, but that doesn't make it worth it. I can tell you know it is worth it.

    2 agree
    • Yes, post-partum, my brain is gone. It was difficult during pregnancy (especially in the final weeks), but I think that my brain really departed after my child was born. She's over a year old and my mental capacity hasn't come back. I used to be able to remember faces, names, conversations, places I needed to be/things I needed to do, but now I'm a mess about all of that.

      2 agree
  12. Thank you so much for this! I am 6 months out from a really rough pregnancy emotionally and physically. I felt like I was the only one in the world to not thoroughly enjoy pregnancy and thus would be a terrible mother. Now through the darkness I can tell you, I may not be the best mother, but my kid is happy, healthy, and robust, and I love being a mom. 7 months ago I would not have believed one lick of that.

    All you pregnant ladies out there it gets better. And remember just because you aren't good at being pregnant (or your kid is a pain in the ass as a fetus) doesn't mean you won't be a good mom (or you kid won't be a good kid)!

    7 agree
  13. Thank you for writing this. I am currently 32 weeks pregnant and miserable. Part of it is that I identify as genderqueer and not as woman, and I am so so unhappy/sick of being referred to as "mama" by everyone out there, and my usual clothes don't fit, and I have body issues like many others and don't want to just put on bigger polos and look fat,but nor do I want to wear the maternity clothes that draw attention to my belly. Also, the sciatica. Also, my inability to keep my regular schedule and be on my feet a lot. I totally dropped running back at 28 weeks or so, but now even walking around the block hurts and makes me have to pee. Standing to cook is hard. I have no idea how to make 8 more weeks of this.
    And yet. This is something I chose, this is something I worked for years to achieve (finding a sperm donor, finding a supportive doctor, working with my PCOS). I chose it, I want it, and it STILL sucks.

    12 agree
    • So much love to you, Z! I hope you're able to find some comfort and relief these next 8 weeks!

      2 agree
    • Z,
      I couldn't tell you how excited I felt just now to read your post, as I have struggled immensely to try and find other people in my boat. I'm agendered and pregnant, and was looking for comfort in this post in the sense that i'm terrified of being forever branded with 'Motherhood' when I don't identify with that role (Among many other things like emotional and physical discomforts)- as excited as I am to be a parent with my loving family!
      I'm much earlier than you are, but thank you so much for posting. I had to join in and wave my flag back like 'We exist!!'

      3 agree
    • TOTALLY relate. I'm nonbinary but present as female (not really much choice with my looks so I roll with it). Sadly, the "momma" thing never stopped for me- people still call me that when I'm out with my kids. I totally get why, but it still sucks.

      • Depending on people's cultural backgrounds the mamma title can be a sign of respect. I had a friend who is Youroba and even after I had my third miscarriage she would softly call me momma, from anyone else I would have been hurt but because it was her I knew it was part of their culture. Now I'm momma Aidan, I'm not Jenny anymore and she never introduces me as Jenny anymore. So I think for me it depends who is saying it.

    • Thanks so much for sharing! My partner is genderqueer, and while I'm the preggo one, they have had to deal with a lot of Momma this and Momma that, and feel like they don't fit in anywhere on this parenting spectrum…all while dealing with my whiny ass about how much being pregnant sucks! I feel so happy to hear there are more of us queer people out there going through this since all we see is the typical hetero-normative family. Just 8 more weeks for us and we will be meeting our little Dude! While we are excited as all get out, my partner still doesn't know what to have the baby call them. I feel so bad that there's so much stress surrounding this part of becoming a parent, because this should be an exciting time, but instead, they're feeling pretty lost. Excited, but lost and confused. Any way you can share on what you've decided on being called? Do you have supportive people around you that are on board? Much love to you and best of luck getting through these last weeks! I feel ya!

      • Offbeat Home & Life

        Dez left a reply to a comment by Z on My vagina physically aches & 5 other unedited, unfiltered, shitty pregnancy truths:

        Dez

        Thanks so much for sharing! My partner is genderqueer, and while I'm the preggo one, they have had to deal with a lot of Momma this and Momma that, and feel like they don't fit in anywhere on this parenting spectrum…all while dealing with my whiny ass about how much being pregnant sucks! I feel so happy to hear there are more of us queer people out there going through this since all we see is the typical hetero-normative family. Just 8 more weeks for us and we will be meeting our little Dude! While we are excited as all get out, my partner still doesn't know what to have the baby call them. I feel so bad that there's so much stress surrounding this part of becoming a parent, because this should be an exciting time, but instead, they're feeling pretty lost. Excited, but lost and confused. Any way you can share on what you've decided on being called? Do you have supportive people around you that are on board? Much love to you and best of luck getting through these last weeks! I feel ya!

        Reply to this email to reply to Dez.

        Here's a recap of this post and conversation:

        My vagina physically aches & 5 other unedited, unfiltered, shitty pregnancy truths was published on Sep 21st by Offbeat Editors.

        In an effort to self-disclose and move toward a pregnancy culture where we can share our shit and bare our souls beyond the excitement of impending motherhood, I give you my current, unedited, unfiltered, list of pregnancy truths.

        There were 98 comments previous to this. Here is this reply in context:

        Z

        Thank you for writing this. I am currently 32 weeks pregnant and miserable. Part of it is that I identify as genderqueer and not as woman, and I am so so unhappy/sick of being referred to as "mama" by everyone out there, and my usual clothes don't fit, and I have body issues like many others and don't want to just put on bigger polos and look fat,but nor do I want to wear the maternity clothes that draw attention to my belly. Also, the sciatica. Also, my inability to keep my regular schedule and be on my feet a lot. I totally dropped running back at 28 weeks or so, but now even walking around the block hurts and makes me have to pee. Standing to cook is hard. I have no idea how to make 8 more weeks of this.
        And yet. This is something I chose, this is something I worked for years to achieve (finding a sperm donor, finding a supportive doctor, working with my PCOS). I chose it, I want it, and it STILL sucks.

        Dez

        Thanks so much for sharing! My partner is genderqueer, and while I'm the preggo one, they have had to deal with a lot of Momma this and Momma that, and feel like they don't fit in anywhere on this parenting spectrum…all while dealing with my whiny ass about how much being pregnant sucks! I feel so happy to hear there are more of us queer people out there going through this since all we see is the typical hetero-normative family. Just 8 more weeks for us and we will be meeting our little Dude! While we are excited as all get out, my partner still doesn't know what to have the baby call them. I feel so bad that there's so much stress surrounding this part of becoming a parent, because this should be an exciting time, but instead, they're feeling pretty lost. Excited, but lost and confused. Any way you can share on what you've decided on being called? Do you have supportive people around you that are on board? Much love to you and best of luck getting through these last weeks! I feel ya!

        Reply to this email to reply to Dez.

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  14. 40 AND 33weeks pregnant here! I've never worn such tall underpants in my (long) life…. THANK YOU for this post. My hubs doesn't dare ask me anymore "what did you do today?" because my reply is an angry something like "grow your gigantic baby in my uterus while he literally sucked out what little energy I may have" or "try to walk while a parasite simultaneously punches my ribs and feeds off of me."

    16 agree
  15. Yes! I am convinced anyone who says pregnancy is easy is either a liar or really lucky. We need to talk more about the shitty side of pregnancy, in the same way people need to stop being ashamed of miscarriages – genetics happen.

    I have been seen in our EPU now for almost every early pregnancy complication at this stage. In my only successful pregnancy so far I suffered chronic pain. I vomited so bad I no longer freak out if i vomit blood (my throat bleeds every time I get sick now). I developed asthma, nobody told me pregnancy can give you asthma! My butt was like a pin cushion because I bled a lot & they'd to keep gining me anti d (another thing they left out in the go forth and multiply pep talk). Chronic constipation(need i say more?). Where I had a cervical biopsy done years before hurt constantly. Oh and don't forget the spinal tap when I eventually, crying from exhaustion after being awake 48hrs straight, begged for an epidural after being induced due to another complication. I know the last one was more a surgical mishap but it still sucked when the vertigo kicked in. Oh and not being able to breastfeed due to autoimmune disorders but the head midwife still showing up mid labour to ask if I was really sure I wanted to bottle feed (she ran from the room).
    All those pregnancy goddesses forget the women who have to go off much needed meds to even contemplate getting pregnant. Sometimes I feel those people who make us feel shit about feeling shit are just a bunch of ablest assholes, I'm glad they can have perfect pregnancies and do everything "right" according to whatever author or blogger they follow but they are the exception not the rule.

    Btw I have a fantastic almost 3 yr old (my 4th time lucky) who I love to bits but it was a tough slog and if I say otherwise I would be a liar.

    5 agree
  16. All of my pregnancies have been plagued with severe hyperemesis gravidarum. But I felt/feel like I cannot talk to anyone about it because I'm always nagged about how other people suffer more than I do with infertility or infant loss. It's awful. I've never undermined anyone's emotional or medical struggles. I just want to be able to talk about the medical and very emotional problem that I face while pregnant. But there's just so much pregnant women and mothers are 'not allowed' to talk about without someone more self righteous trying to argue with you or silence you. Why can't we all just support each other?

    4 agree
    • Me too! I had Hyperemesis with Sprog 1, to the point I dropped 3x dress sizes from severe weight loss. Had it again this time. Am I allowed to explain to my co-workers just HOW BAD this is? Hell no. If it's not the patronizing "Oh you need to try x miracle cure" for the vomiting, it turns in to patronizing remarks, to the point of being told "you just need to eat more!" (Someone actualy said this to me after I'd come out of hospital about two days beforehand) Or worse, a "My pregnancy was worse in x many ways" competition. All we want when pregnant and suffering to be able to express how this is affecting us, to be listened to, to not be told the "it gets worse" or "you think you're tired now? Wait till baby gets here!" remarks. Pregnancy is beautiful in that we are growing another human, but it can be the absolute worst for some women, and we should be allowed to express how we truly feel and how hellish a time we are having without being expected to suck it up because society doesn't want to hear it.

      3 agree
  17. I'm convinced that even if you have a super easy pregnancy (I did), it is STILL difficult, uncomfortable and hard on not only your body, but your being. My pregnancy went swimmingly and here were my truths:
    – Snoring. Omg the snoring. I would wake myself in the night.
    – Always hungry, but never able to eat. This is mostly for the last trimester. You are always hungry that you could eat a horse…but you can never stomach more than a few bites of something, and then you're hungry again in 30min. I remember waking in the night starving, and I sat on a coffee table eating crackers crying because I just wanted to sleep!
    – Loss of bladder control. I've got a tiny bladder as it is, and had a hard time holding it. During and after pregnancy? Not even close. when I say I gotta go, I really do or else I'm gonna wet my pants (which I may have done a couple of times).
    – Post-birth hormones. I knew they were gonna be bad…but not anything like I've experienced before. I remember just crying randomly at nothing, and not knowing what was happening. You gotta have good support in place for post-birth effects.
    – Only one comfortable sex position. After a certain stage in my pregnancy, we could only do it one way. Any other way was too painful or uncomfortable for me.

    I agree about the vagina aches (why does no one tell you these things) too.

    5 agree
  18. Women should talk more about shitty pregnancies. It really annoyed me when people would tell me that my morning sickness would get better after the first trimester because it never did. (Oh and that you get an energy boost and feel great in the second trimester – that was a total lie.) I was on medication for it during my whole pregnancy (tried going off a couple of times). I know women generally start feeling better around 12 weeks but I was very sick until 23 weeks when we finally found a combination of medications that controlled my morning sickness and my (hormone induced) migraines.

    My pregnancy was not 'typical' and neither was my labour. I was repeatedly told that first labours are long and that first babies are typically born after their due date. A resident told me that I was an anxious first time mom (at 39w 4d) because I made a comment that I was going to have my baby soon (he warned me that it could be another two weeks). I was in labour for three hours (including 30 minutes of pushing) and I showed up to L&D 9.5 cm dilated and my daughter was born on her due date. I was also told that contractions start out further apart (eg 10 minutes) and get closer together and get stronger. Mine started off 3 minutes apart and were crazy intense (after half another they were 2 minutes apart – that's when we left for the hospital). My mother's pregnancies and labour were exactly the same.

    5 agree
    • Wow, I had a super-fast labor, too! I showed up at the hospital 45 minutes after my water broke (the nurse who had answered at the maternity ward told me to "take my time" getting over to the hospital) and was already at 9 cm. Three hours after that, my daughter was born. Had I not needed IV antibiotics, I was told I could have started pushing about 2 hours earlier.

      I'm sorry to hear that you suffered from nausea for so many weeks. (And headaches!) In my case, I was lucky to find that, where I normally suffer from regular headaches, they cleared up while I was pregnant. It was one of the few "good" symptoms that I experienced while pregnant… (Well, that and having a healthy baby.)

      • A number of people told me that they had fewer headaches/migraines during pregnancy. I am glad that you were one of those people.

        When I got to triage the nurse said that she wanted to check my cervix and not hook me up to the monitors since she thought I was really far along (since vomiting is common in transition and I had just puked all over the exam room floor). After she checked and said I was 9.5 cm she yelled out to the nurses station that I needed a room immediately (there were no rooms that were available – luckily one just opened up but it needed to be cleaned). Then the nurse said to me 'hope you didn't want an epidural'. My water didn't break until the second round of pushing.

  19. I'm convinced we call it Mother Earth because my vagina bones shifting is JUST LIKE PLATE TECTONICS and I worry that I'm going to have a fucking earthquake inside my pubis and rupture all over the place. It hurts so bad.

    Other thing? I am a walking dudebro faternity of smells. Yeah. My farts could clear the mold filled Greek houses on any college campus, any day. It's BAD. Now I know how Pumbaa felt.

    Being hornier than a 14 year old boy, but feeling so sweaty/stinky/unattractive/achy to not be able to do anything about it except stew in un-chosen celibacy.

    11 agree
    • My pets used to leave the room in disgust when I was expecting lo, from animals who lick their own asses that speaks volumes! Haven't reached that stage this time but it's still early days :-S

      1 agrees
  20. On top of the "usual" miserable symptoms of pregnancy, I had severe cystic acne. Whoever claimed that women "glow" during pregnancy was full of crap, in my book. The acne on my shoulders produced these huge cysts that made it hurt to be hugged or have any pressure (bra straps, purse straps, leaning any certain way in a chair…) on any part of the upper half of my back. This was especially horrible, as everyone wants to give you hugs to congratulate you on growing another human being.

    I also remember having multiple breakdowns, especially prior to really showing and going shopping for maternity clothes, over what I could wear to work that would look appropriate while also feeling comfortable.

    Often I would feel grouchy (because I felt miserable), which then caused my generally super-easy-going husband to get grumpy, say something snippy, and I would end up sobbing for an hour at a time, causing him to feel like the worst person in the world. Those pregnancy hormones do some crazy stuff to you.

    I'll skip the description of my post-partum struggles, as that's a whole other long thing…Having said all of this, in the long run, the misery was worth it, as I now have a wonderful, healthy little girl. My body isn't the same as it was before becoming pregnant with her, but most of its changes don't bother me.

  21. Thank you for writing this. We definitely need to be having more open and honest dialogue about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. It's not all soft-focus instragram photos and #blessed. It's awkward, uncomfortable, embarrassing and downright terrifying. I had a really easy pregnancy. Like, stupid easy. No complications, no swelling, heck, I wasn't even sick. It was the most asymptomatic pregnancy I had ever heard of, and it wigged me out at the beginning because everyone was telling me that I should be sick or be really bothered by smells (I worked at a coffee shop in downtown Seattle. Weird smells abound), but I really didn't feel different at all. SO THERE MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG!!!! Nothing was wrong. Everything was great. I didn't even get that big. In a way, that made it even harder when I actually had my son, who came four weeks early with no warning. For me, all of these super feels came after he was born, especially the feeling of my body failing me. This was compounded by the feeling that my body had failed my son because my water broke four weeks early and he was born so tiny. It took a really long time to get over that feeling. I just felt like a wreck. And I didn't feel instantly "so in love!!!" with my son the second he was born, either. I didn't hate him or anything, but he was just a tiny person who I didn't know yet. I had a 40+ hour labor and I was exhausted and starving. I wanted to sleep and eat and then get to know my son. I think what it all comes down to is that we, as parents, owe it to each other to stop the candy coating and share realities. I think we'd all be healthier people for it.

    7 agree
  22. I just found out I am pregnant about 12 days ago. We haven't told anyone (y'all are the first on the internet lol), not even our parents.

    I am TERRIFIED. We are TERRIFIED. I've always wanted kids, but was starting to think I would never have them–I have PCOS, older (36), and well, to be blunt we had been screwing for YEARS sans condom or BC and nothing had happened.

    The money issue is definitely a huge worry….it's low key stressing me out. I have the better paying, more stable job, so I can't really afford to take too much time off, though luckily I did sign up for AFLAC this year which hopefully will pay out in the likely event I need to go on disability (I have high blood pressure AND Type II diabetes, though the latter is fairly under control at the moment). My insurance is kinda shitty–it's a high deductible plan ($5k, though my job gives us $1200 towards it), so we're going to have to shell out at least $3500 in one shot. I'm a little unclear as to what the plan covers for prenatal.

    I have zero idea how we are going to handle childcare–my mom told me years ago she never wanted to be the baby sitting gma, and while my dad is GREAT with young children, he's a little awkward with babies. Right now my boyfriend works overnights, which honestly would be perfect so we wouldn't really need day care, but he wants a better paying job with normal hours.

    So many fears: I'm scared I'm going to gain a lot of weight (though right now my appetite is nonexistent), and that my boobs and feet are going to swell to massive proportions. What am I going to wear to work—I work in a conservative, business casual office. How long will I be able to even drive to work? What happens if I want to breastfeed after the baby is born? What if I get sick, what if the baby is sick or is premature (TERRIFIED I"m going to have pre eclampsia).

    And, uh, I have to take extra doses of Metformin to hopefully prevent a huge spike in my blood sugars. If you've ever taken it, you know that it causes tummy issues. So, among all the other terrible fears, I am totally worried I'm gonna shit myself in public.

    2 agree
    • Hey, if you've already talked to your doc about the metformin and diabetes during your pregnancy, then ignore me. I just wanted to say, that during the first trimester often less insulin is needed (type I diabetics need to lower doses) and that would probably mean, that you shouldn't need more drugs early on. Generally metformin during pregnancy is being studied, but you probably know that. Then during the second and third trimester more insulin is needed (this is the point where pregnancy diabetes often happens), and some pregnancies require insulin even with continued metformin. Diabetes is a sucky sucky thing! I wish you all the best dealing with it.

      1 agrees
      • MyA1C levels were out of control so I had to increase my dose anyway. I started watching what I was eating, and took more Met. and then bam! I got pregnant. My PCP was the one who increased the dose after the positive test, but I don't know what my OB will do (first appointment is Friday!)

        • Well that sounds like you're getting quality care, so keep on being strong with all of that! I was just checking in, because that wasn't totally clear in your original comment. All the best!

    • I was worried too. I think you are doing the right thing by talking with your doctors. Just keep breathing, talk to your partner and your doctors. I am currently taking Metaformin to get pregnant. I've found the best way to manage the tummy issues is to always take it with food and follow a strict time schedule. If you still have some issues take it slightly earlier than scheduled, say 12:30 instead of 1:00. I would sometimes have moments when I got shaky if my blood sugar got too low, so I tried to keep a small piece of hard candy at hand. It does take time to adjust to it, and stay away from carbs. I gave up on pasta and most sweets. Good luck!

      1 agrees
      • Part of my tummy issues come from no longer having a gallbladder (I'm one of the lucky folks who still has issues years after surgery). Ther Metformin just makes it worse.

        I'm good about following the morning schedule, but terrible at dinner time. Trying to be better about that.

  23. Wow, I am 16 weeks pregnant and this entire thread resonates so hard for me! I feel like nothing and nobody prepared me whatsoever for some of the crazy things happening to my body, but I also feel totally silenced, like I can't really complain about any of it. How's this one: I'm naturally very tall and thin but have abnormally large breasts for my frame, always have – and right now, my stomach is growing a little, but the boobs are exploding, getting bigger and bigger….and the ladies at the maternity store were at a loss because they don't even make maternity bras in my tiny ribcage size, with the enormous cup size that I need right now. I'm like a 30 F or G cup and getting bigger….but of course try complaining about that to anyone without having eyes rolled at you…boohoo, your boobs are big.

    Also the gas. OH GOD THE GAS. Coming out both ends. Trapped inside you like stabbing sharp knives in your chest and back and stomach…or the acne instead of a pregnant "glow" you were promised. Or the horrible taste in your mouth that never seems to go away!

    Of course I'm excited to have a baby, but this sucks enough that I only want to do it once now.

    5 agree
    • Poor you! I've not been pregnant but I can help on the bra front. Try bravissimo.com – they go up to H cup and do maternity bras and I'm pretty sure do international deliveries. Hope your symptoms ease off soon x

  24. That one time where your mom tries to relate to your pregnancy by saying, she, too was disconnected (from you) when she was pregnant . This is after you've spent a lot of time in therapy trying to understand your life knowing your mom didn't ~want~ you when she was pregnant (with you). The good news is that she turned out to be a pretty good mom but you know you don't want to be that kind of parent because you KNOW how shitty it is to be that kid. …Don't you DARE tell me I'm *anything* like you right now…

    3 agree
    • This is the exact reason my mother doesn't know I'm pregnant and probably won't. It's just easier for me to keep it from her than listen to her diatribe.

  25. We NEED to talk more about the disgusting, horrible, painful and upsetting side of pregnancy, because until we do, the world will never see past this beautiful fairytale picture of the "perfect" pregnant woman, and those who suffer, like the many who commented on this post, will forever be dismissed as making it up, exaggerating, it not being that bad, or freaking out when something out of the ordinary happens, only to be told that yes, it's perfectly natural.

    I'm 25 weeks pregnant. I've had hyperemsis, both with this baby and my first kid. That made me loose 3x dress sizes the first time, I don't know how many I've lost this time because nothing fits properly anyway. Back ache, going from wanting to eat three plates full of food to barely being able to manage crackers. I'm exhausted by 8pm. I get daily headaches (I'm currently off work on rest.). I have pain in my hip, pain in my vaginal area like I'm repeatedly being punched by the hulk. I have days when all i can do is sob my heart out. I get hot so quickly, I sweat like I've run a marathon. The gas is unbelievable, both ends. I've been dismissed by friends and family when trying to explain just how rough pregnancy actually is on me. Never mind the unsolicited opinions on things like baby names, how we should have xyz thing for baby, that a baby can't wear this that or the other color.

    The "comparison culture" of thinking it can't be that bad, because you, your wife/sister/mother never had this or that needs to stop, because it's not helping us. It's not helping the poor soul who just wants a friendly ear to listen during a rough pregnancy, who just wants to have someone say "Yes, I do understand. Yes, I am here for you."

    9 agree
    • It really annoyed me when people would give me "miracle" cures for vomiting. My favourite was that I needed to eat crackers first thing in the morning. I was actually seeing a dietician who had me off vegetables and carbs (both are filling but not calorie dense). Plus I wasn't sick first thing in the morning. That was actually one time I could usually eat food so I needed to eat good food not crackers.

      Also my FIL had a hard time believing how sick I was even though my MIL was very sick when pregnant with my husband (that said it was 30 years ago). My MIL acted like me being sick was a badge of honour which I also didn't appreciate.

      • Luckily the vomiting has only been bad one night this time so far. But last time even the emergency doctor didn't take it seriously, I'd been vomiting so much my throat and stomach were both bleeding and he told me to go home and suck on an ice cube. If I'd had the energy I would have gone for him with his letter opener!

    • I haven't been vomiting, but I'm low key nauseous ALL the time, and just don't want to eat. I don't know what to do!

      1 agrees
      • Tell yours doctor and gets some meds. It's the only thing that has helped me so far. I was one of the 'lucky' ones who got sick starting at 5 weeks (aka right around the time I found out and took the test! Yah!) also, eat lots of little snacks throughout the days.

  26. Vagina aches: Wear less underwear. My ob gave me this trick and it was the best goddamned thing I ever learned. At home, I just did NOT wear underwear and it helped so much. I hope it helps you, too!

    1 agrees
  27. You are doing a great job Preggers! Keep it up.
    My Ob/Gyn just recently told me: There are two types of women who like being pregnant. Liars. And big fat liars.

    Things will change and all of the sudden your worst symptom will vanish only to be replaced by a new one 🙂 I thought I was prepared for it all, but then had horrible carpal tunnel on top of everything else. The drool! I had to change my pillow case every morning. And why didn't anyone tell me how difficult it becomes to wipe your own ass?

    3 agree
  28. THIS. My pregnancy was TERRIBLE, and I felt like I had no one to complain to because I was supposed to be "happy!!" and the "miracle of birth!!"

    1 agrees
  29. Not pregnant, but I have a question about the vagina pains.
    I have vaginal and vulvar pain, so I know getting pregnant itself will be a chore. I've been told by OB's that having a baby can cure vulvar pain in some women. But from this post, could being pregnant make it worse? Anyone have experience being pregnant but having vulvar/vaginal pain? Has anyone been "cured" by having a baby?

    1 agrees
    • First of all, see a physical therapist for the vag issues! Second, my PT says it's about 50/50 on whether vag pain, valvovidinia, etc gets better or worse with pregnancy. But, there are things you can do with PT if it gets worse. So, there is hope.

      • It's great to know that some people have experience in an area that has relatively little research. A 50-50 chance of getting better is definitely better than my current prospects. And isn't exactly a consideration in having kids, but I like to be informed.
        I have had physical therapy and the pain is better, but not completely gone. I also went into thousands of dollars in debt to go for 2 months (because I would have to see a specialist). At this point I am focusing on the psychological aspects to my pain.

        1 agrees
  30. This is a very important post.

    So many women go into pregnancy thinking it's a walk in the park that will turn them into glossy haired, glowing angles. The reality is pregnancy is an energy intensive biological process that ends with a lot of blood and fluids, not really matching the image portrayed. Sure there are always upsides (baby!) but there are a LOT of risks involved that people just do not seem aware of because it is never spoken about. My mother by her own account had pretty easy pregnancies followed by uncomfortable births, the last one which resulted in my youngest sibling being born with a broken collar bone and hip damage with constant pain that will follow my mother around for life and she was not of an advanced maternal age when that happened either. I have a spinal injury so would be taking a massive risk if I ever decided to become pregnant (a risk I am not willing to take) but I still believe women, all women should be taught the realities of being pregnant, maternal death rates in their countries, maternal diabetes, injury, disability. We have good sex ed in Australia but it was still just "Sex happens like this, fertilization happens like this, baby grows like this, baby is born like this" no talk of complications or risks or even just the general side effects that come with all of the crazy hormones.

    3 agree
    • So true! Nobody mentions xyz can happen. I wish more countries would give you a full health check when you say you would like to start a family. Then at least they know what to watch out for. My friend is Chinese, I know there are many negative things that can be said about China but from what she has told me their maternity care is fantastic. They really look out for mother and infant.

  31. Thank you so much! I'm nearly 35 weeks and I really needed to read this right now. I HATE being pregnant and am constantly furious about how disappointed everyone seems to be in me for failing to be the perfect earth mother. Trying to share how I'm feeling with close friends and family has led to my feelings being dismissed, minimised or brushed aside totally.

    Aside from all the physical symptoms (vomiting up to 26 weeks, the hip pain, the drool, the gas, the heartburn, the sleeplessness, the sweating and all the rest) I have been having panic attacks. Every time I go into a baby shop I start to cry uncontrollably and hyperventilate. We don't have a crib, a pram or any other baby equipment yet because I literally can't manage to buy anything. I've had to send my mum, who lives in another country, to buy newborn clothes for me because I can't do it. And now my antenatal classes have started and I keep crying uncontrollably in those too. I'm also terrified about labour and its aftermath, especially breastfeeding, because I go into panic when people I don't know touch my body. But I've been repeatedly told 'oh no, you won't think about that at all when the time comes, you'll be too focused on your baby'.

    • I'm sorry to hear that you're having a tough time. Out of complete caring, I recommend that you line up a therapist or counselor to talk to. Mothers with histories of depression are more likely to have postpartum depression. So if you're already having some symptoms (anxiety, panic attacks, crying) it could be an indicator that you're at higher risk.

    • Hi spangles, I totally get you on baby gear! I had 3 miscarriages before I had lo. I only started getting things a few weeks before I had him.

      The idea of breastfeeding freaks me out too, I panic if a stranger touches me and sometimes I don't even want people I know touching me. On top of that I've psoriasis on my boobs so that's off putting too. Oh and I sat down and had a LONG talk where he totally talked me off a ledge on that subject. Besides the fact he wanted to do night feeds (I'm deadly serious) we looked at the differences between formula in a first world country compared to breast, and there isn't one. Even our specialist told me the differences are so minute and there is zero long term difference between formula fed babies and breast fed. He said if I lined up a group of adults could you tell who was breast fed and who was formula fed? I laughed because I couldn't.

      My point is you will not be less of a mother if you formula feed, don't feel pressured into something you are not comfortable with. If anyone tries pressuring you into something you don't want to do just say no. What is most important is that you are happy and baby is fed – how is irrelevant. My son is now two, he was formula fed, his speech is brilliant – he's constantly surprising people with his intelligence. My niece was also formula fed, she's a lawyer.

      1 agrees
      • Thank you Jennie! I would love to be able to breast feed but I just don't know if it will be possible and right now it feels like yet another thing which I can fail at & be disapproved of for. It has been very hard to discover that some of the most important supportive women in my life don't understand my pregnancy issues at all – I feel like the rug has been totally pulled out from under my feet. I'm a sexual abuse survivor and so I do have issues about my body and control. Finding out about a counsellor is probably an excellent idea, if I don't end up needing one then so much the better but prevention is better than cure.

        • Offbeat Home & Life

          Spangles left a reply to a comment by JennieWren on My vagina physically aches & 5 other unedited, unfiltered, shitty pregnancy truths:

          Spangles

          Thank you Jennie! I would love to be able to breast feed but I just don't know if it will be possible and right now it feels like yet another thing which I can fail at & be disapproved of for. It has been very hard to discover that some of the most important supportive women in my life don't understand my pregnancy issues at all – I feel like the rug has been totally pulled out from under my feet. I'm a sexual abuse survivor and so I do have issues about my body and control. Finding out about a counsellor is probably an excellent idea, if I don't end up needing one then so much the better but prevention is better than cure.

          Reply to this email to reply to Spangles.

          Here's a recap of this post and conversation:

          My vagina physically aches & 5 other unedited, unfiltered, shitty pregnancy truths was published on Sep 21st by Offbeat Editors.

          In an effort to self-disclose and move toward a pregnancy culture where we can share our shit and bare our souls beyond the excitement of impending motherhood, I give you my current, unedited, unfiltered, list of pregnancy truths.

          There were 99 comments previous to this. Here is this reply in context:

          Spangles

          Thank you so much! I'm nearly 35 weeks and I really needed to read this right now. I HATE being pregnant and am constantly furious about how disappointed everyone seems to be in me for failing to be the perfect earth mother. Trying to share how I'm feeling with close friends and family has led to my feelings being dismissed, minimised or brushed aside totally.

          Aside from all the physical symptoms (vomiting up to 26 weeks, the hip pain, the drool, the gas, the heartburn, the sleeplessness, the sweating and all the rest) I have been having panic attacks. Every time I go into a baby shop I start to cry uncontrollably and hyperventilate. We don't have a crib, a pram or any other baby equipment yet because I literally can't manage to buy anything. I've had to send my mum, who lives in another country, to buy newborn clothes for me because I can't do it. And now my antenatal classes have started and I keep crying uncontrollably in those too. I'm also terrified about labour and its aftermath, especially breastfeeding, because I go into panic when people I don't know touch my body. But I've been repeatedly told 'oh no, you won't think about that at all when the time comes, you'll be too focused on your baby'.

          JennieWren

          Hi spangles, I totally get you on baby gear! I had 3 miscarriages before I had lo. I only started getting things a few weeks before I had him.

          The idea of breastfeeding freaks me out too, I panic if a stranger touches me and sometimes I don't even want people I know touching me. On top of that I've psoriasis on my boobs so that's off putting too. Oh and I sat down and had a LONG talk where he totally talked me off a ledge on that subject. Besides the fact he wanted to do night feeds (I'm deadly serious) we looked at the differences between formula in a first world country compared to breast, and there isn't one. Even our specialist told me the differences are so minute and there is zero long term difference between formula fed babies and breast fed. He said if I lined up a group of adults could you tell who was breast fed and who was formula fed? I laughed because I couldn't.

          My point is you will not be less of a mother if you formula feed, don't feel pressured into something you are not comfortable with. If anyone tries pressuring you into something you don't want to do just say no. What is most important is that you are happy and baby is fed – how is irrelevant. My son is now two, he was formula fed, his speech is brilliant – he's constantly surprising people with his intelligence. My niece was also formula fed, she's a lawyer.

          Spangles

          Thank you Jennie! I would love to be able to breast feed but I just don't know if it will be possible and right now it feels like yet another thing which I can fail at & be disapproved of for. It has been very hard to discover that some of the most important supportive women in my life don't understand my pregnancy issues at all – I feel like the rug has been totally pulled out from under my feet. I'm a sexual abuse survivor and so I do have issues about my body and control. Finding out about a counsellor is probably an excellent idea, if I don't end up needing one then so much the better but prevention is better than cure.

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        • Well the auto reply didn't work well at all… Here is my actual reply :*) glad I checked now.

          Hi spangles, I had guessed you were a survivor but didn't want to say anything. I have had similar issues. Even skin to skin was sometimes unnerving for me with lo and I've had counselling. Talking to someone is always a big help. Also telling your midwife and ob that you are a survivor will help a lot, they have protocols in place to make everything a little less stressful, they understand that for survivors this emotional time can be stressful. 

          I don't understand why some people feel they have a say in these things. It's the child's parents who have a say. I think the irish attitude is different though, we don't care how a baby is born once mother and child are healthy at the end. We don't care if you breast or formula or combined feed once baby and mother are happy and healthy. One midwife tried to pressure me into breastfeed while I was in labour with thunderpants. The conversation went like this "would you not reconsider and at least try breastfeeding?" no "but have you looked at the research?" yes. I fed no1and will feed no2 formula  because that's what works for me and oh, one of my favourite cousin breastfed both her kids and that's what worked for her and her oh. There is no difference between our kids. They both get snotty noses, both have allergies & eczema (ain't genetics grand) and are both very intelligent. 

           family are the hardest people to deal with because we let them away with behaviour that we wouldn't accept from anyone else. They are the hardest ones to stand up to as well, but it is worth doing. From my own experience standing my ground completely changed my relationship with my family but for theabetter. Maybe counselling would help with that too, being assertive was the hardest life lesson I ever learned but I am happier for it. now when my family say things to me I remind myself what a counsellor taught me "would I take this if a stranger walked up and said it?" "would this behaviour be acceptable from a stranger?" if the answer is no then I slam on the breaks and tell them x is unacceptable and if it continues I'm picking up thunderpants and leaving. I will also put the brakes on a conversation If I sense it becoming manipulative, I will abruptly change the subject or just flat out say I'm not discussing x with you its none of your business/my decision is made etc. It took time but it worked.

          I would recommend the skeptical ob to read, I find her straight talking and she doesn't hold back on the facts about birth statistics and feeding (she believes fed is best). I also like the what to expect when you're expecting book and your baby week by week book for when baby is born (it's full of don't panic if x happens if y happens phone your doctor). 

          I hope you feel better soon and I'm only an email away if you need virtual hugs 🙂 

          1 agrees
  32. this is so great!
    one of the things that I thought more people should talk about is how freaking hard having a new baby is. I feel like everyone talked about how it was a ~~big life change~~ but not about how difficult it was going to be.
    also, "fun" pregnancy things like bleeding gums, constipation, when the baby decides to have a party in your rib-cage and it HURTS, or the late night charley horses! or how sometimes, you stand up and farts just happen.

    • Both my mother and my sister have made serious changes to their dental health since having children. It's definitely a health problem for pregnant women. I believe many dentists also recommend frequent checkups before, during, and after pregnancy, to prevent the most serious complications.

      2 agree
        • I've been told that it has to do with the change in hormone levels, along with changes in how the body absorbs/uses nutrients. Something about the microbiome in mothers mouths makes it a perfect envrionment for the bad buggies to flourish and cause cavities and gingivitis.
          Although it's apparently a myth that calcium leeches from the mother's teeth to support a growing baby (unless the mother's calcium intake is severely deficient).

  33. I'm just a few weeks into my first ever pregnancy so I haven't had many physical symptoms yet, but the emotional ones have been brutal.

    Every insecurity I've ever had is roaring to the surface. I waited so long and tried so hard to get pregnant and now here I am feeling really down instead of happy. Blank instead of excited. Self-hatred that I thought was gone is coming back. It is quite an emotional punch.

    3 agree
  34. This was wonderful to read. I'm 35 weeks and some change and the pain in the vagina/ hips and the constant popping in and out of joint sometimes brings me to tears. And everyone says, "That's normal, don't worry about it." I am not worrying about it, I want to know if there is anything I can do to lessen it or outright stop it cause it sucks. But they don't get that. And I get the same old, keep a pillow between your knees when you sleep, take tylenol, take a hot bath. I have been doing those things, thanks. Lol Thankfully there is the internet.

    Also, constipation, always being hungry, feeling like I stink directly after taking a shower, being perpetually damp because apparently I am one of the lucky ones that ooze lubrication. Yay. It's 50 degrees and I am sweating and all my clothes feel too tight, but I know they fit the way they are supposed to. The perpetual low grade ache of my middle back because I have no abdominal control to speak of anymore. Walking into a store means I am huffing and puffing, lifting anything requires a tactical battle plan to make it happen.

    And then there are the tears. I cried over a Harry Potter tribute music video. I break down in the middle of the store because I can't find the drink or food I want without high fructose corn syrup or other artificial sweeteners. The hormonal roller-coaster is very real over here.

    My first trimester I was always nauseous, but I was happy and mostly positive. Now, I just want to throw things and scream at my inability to do things I once found easy, like walking down a set of stairs to do laundry with a laundry bag. Or snuggling with my SO. I have so many pillows in the bed I feel like we are on different continents sometimes.

    I have miscarried before, and it has been hard to say anything to the people I know about all this, because they are all of the opinion I should just be thankful that I have made it this far with this one. I am thankful. I think a person can be thankful and still realize how much the current situation sucks at the same time.

    I have anxiety over labor, wondering if I will be strong enough to get this little life out of me, if I will be any good at breastfeeding, if I will be one of those overwhelmed moms who don't know how to ask for help and just go crazy.

    Thankfully I have such a supportive significant other. Though we haven't had much in the way of conversations about how to deal with what the twig calls us as parents. I am gender-fluid, I usually identify as androgynous, or more on the male end of the spectrum, and I feel like Mom might not be the right term. But I dunno. I guess I will cross that bridge when the twig starts making noise about speaking.

    3 agree
  35. I was so relieved to read the "what if" paragraph of this article. I was afraid I was the only one who worried about those things.

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