I like the idea of having kids someday with my husband. They would be adorable, blond-ringleted, brilliant, rational-thinking little things. I see other people’s sweet little children and the fulfillment they get from raising them. I’ve decided that’s something I want in my own life.
But here’s the thing. I’m TERRIFIED of getting pregnant. Like, it is literally the worst fear I have of everything I could encounter in the world. There’s going to be this parasitic THING inside my body, screwing everything up: squishing my organs, messing with my hormones, and causing me pain, sickness, and constant discomfort. It’s going to be growing in and feeding off my body. If I were to describe this situation to anyone and just leave out the single detail that it was a human baby, everyone would be disgusted and agree it’s something from a horror movie. But because it’s a human baby, most people seem okay with it and even celebrate it.
I can’t get past it. Just the idea of it sickens me. Of course there’s always the option of adopting, but that’s expensive and as I said before, I love the idea of biological children. Are there other people who have dealt with a fear of pregnancy, and if so, how did you get past it? — Kaela
How can I get comfortable with the idea of being pregnant?
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Comments on How can I get comfortable with the idea of being pregnant?
Would it help to hear that plenty of people have “easy” pregnancies? The symptoms I had were sensitive gums, falling asleep at the drop of a hat (but just for the first trimester), an aversion to spinach, and my feet swelled for maybe the last 3 weeks. I think everyone who contemplates getting pregnant or does get pregnant has a fear of it to some degree. It’s pounded into our heads as soon as we start health ed that getting pregnant is the worst of all possible things that can happen, and now all of a sudden we’re expected to change gears and welcome and love it. Not an easy task! Really, though the hype is just that. Nothing throughout the entire pregnancy and labor process was as terrible as it was painted by the “you’ll seeeeee!” crowd.
Unfortunately, while I know cognitively that this is true, I am of course positive that I will be one of the less-fortunate ones… Some combination of fearing for the worst, plus having a somewhat weaker constitution with lots of health problems in the past already. 🙁
But the fact that so many of you commented saying the same things does give me a little more hope that maybe it is more common than I think to have an easier pregnancy, though maybe you’re all self-selecting in the comments…? Haha.
I actually gasped, “There’s someone else who is scared of this?!”
I have felt so, so alone in being afraid of pregnancy.
Thank you for reassuring me that I am not.
I have chronic health issues that make the thought of carrying around another human utterly terrifying–I’m already in pain, every day, almost all day–and I know that pregnancy usually compounds these things. Also, my mom had severe post-partum depression–I don’t want to go through that.
I can acknowledge, logically, that I will probably be fine, and that pregnancy is just a brief span of time…but it’s that “probably” which holds my terror.
I completely sympathize with you. *Hug*
Have you considered adoption? The only reason that I ask is that so many children need a good home- and if you know that you want a child, but don’t want to go through pregnancy, it might be the choice for you.
Good luck, no matter what you do 🙂
In the last paragraph she explains that she has considered adoption, but that it is expensive and she likes the idea of biological children.
Adoption was something I had kind of planned on most of my life as a solution–that and/or foster parenting. Because there are a lot of kids without parents, and I could help them. But when I married my husband, I realized I wanted to have OUR kids, because I love the idea of their being the most adorable combination of all our best traits (and, of course, none of the bad…). But maybe adoption still ends up being the best option.
my complete phobia of pregnancy sort of sealed our decision to foster (and maybe adopt in the future). obviously not to discount your wanting something else (and we were leaning towards non-biological routs to parenting anyway). i couldn’t even deal with the idea of my wife being the one pregnant (which makes me wonder if this is something male partners sometimes have to overcome?)
that’s really no help, just a bit of “you’re not the only one”.
This is something that I struggled with a little, perhaps not to the same degree as you from what you’ve written, but I understand the feeling! I’m currently 14 weeks pregnant and I’m as close to coming to terms with all these changes as most people can be in a first time pregnancy!
I found it helpful to break it all down into “why?” questions and find out the answers – sure, your hormones may make you feel like crap, but why? What is the end result for you/the baby? Developmentally what do each of those hormones do?
Yes, your organs/ligaments/muscles are going to shift around a fair bit, but why? What does that movement do and why is it needed?
By breaking it all down to the biological elements of the process I understood what was going on to a greater degree and was happier accepting it all. I found a couple of text books on our library that were aimed at biology students/student midwives which have been far more helpful to me than anything I’ve found which is aimed at women during pregnancy!
Along the same lines, I think that comparing each one of these biological things that happen to other stuff that happens in your daily life can help. That’s what I think about when I’m feeling this same terror… Yes, you might feel ill sometimes – but you’ve been nauseous before and you came out the other side ok. Yes, your organs might shift around some, but if you do some particularly foldy yoga poses or carry something upstairs with it poking into your stomach, it’ll make your organs a little shifty too. Yes your hormones might get messed up, but that happens each month with your period (just to a big of a smaller degree), and most kinds of birth control also mess with hormones in various ways. Yes your stomach may have to stretch, but when you were having growth spurts as a teenager your skin also had to figure out how to account for the growth. Put all together, pregnancy is a crazy weird unprecedented thing. But your body is at least a little bit familiar with most of the components all by themselves.
Strangely, it was not humans who helped me figure my fear out. It was watching one of my female guppies get really huge and having to do research to figure out what was happening. It was very similar to human birth from the “what the…? Feelings” to the research and the “AHA!”, then getting the fish tank ready for the live birth of fry and hoping for her to birth healthily. For me, it made the idea of giving birth more real and less scary. Very connected to all of the other females on this plant and the males who birth too.
I bred dogs, and I really felt like that ‘normalized’ birth for me. And ultimately convinced me to home birth. Might sound strange but my dog was my pregnancy role model. My pregnancy was incredibly uneventful. My only symptom was strange and vivid dreams. And then swollen feet for the last couple weeks.
I grew up on a farm and we always had a cat pregnant or having babies. I’ve witnessed countless births this way! Really, what a learning experience.
Perhaps the OP could volunteer at a vet clinic or shelter when there is a birth happening? Or, you could go even further and volunteer at the hospital with the delivery ward? Part of fear/phobia is an irrational fear, of not knowing what the future holds. So I believe that the more you educate yourself, the less fear you will have.
Part of my fear started in like third grade on a school field trip to a museum about the human body when I watched a video of a woman giving birth. And I always get weirded out in movies whenever there is a birth scene, no matter how warm and fuzzy they try to make it. I’m worried going and viewing more of that in real life would only make things worse…? But it sounds like you guys disagree. Something good to consider.
Movies lie about birth. Do not take seriously ANYTHING you see in a movie regarding pregnancy or birth (unless it is an educational film about those subjects). They always base the pregnancies on stereotypes and make them look far less pleasant than the average normal pregnancy, and the births are always much shorter, sudden, and traumatic than the average birth (even when they try to make it warm and fuzzy — because a real birth doesn’t fit into a convenient movie package. It’s the difference between a news report on the Olympic marathon, and actually participating in a marathon).
Honestly, I’d suggest avoiding popular media depictions of gestation/birth while you’re working through your fears of pregnancy.
While learning more about the pregnancy/birth process may help, it also may not.
I grew up in a farming community and assisted with calving regularly. I’m now in biomedical science and know all the ins and outs of human reproduction/hormone levels/changes/etc and am still TERRIFIED. I almost feel like the fear comes from knowing too much in my case. But if it’s something you have had little exposure to, maybe it’s worth a try?
I plan on watching the comments of this post, because I could have written your question….its almost a direct quote of something I said recently. I’m SO ready to be a mom and take care of a new human and raise them to be awesome, but the idea of MAKING that human makes my stomach turn and my heart race…..
I have to agree with you…I’ve done lots of research and tried to rationalize everything so that when the time comes for my husband and I to start trying, I’ll be okay with it. But I just can’t convince myself that it’s some beautiful blessing that society makes it out to be.
I’m so glad that I found this post, by the way. Because I really do want to start a family of my own with my husband, but that fear sets in and makes me want to run away from the entire idea.
I second that.
I’m a veterinarian, so we deal with reproduction quite a bit (esp in large animals). It helps to view it as a natural process and know what is happening to your body, and also to see how animals rely on instinct alone and don’t over-think.
On the other hand, this way of thinking has completely taken all the “magic” out of pregnancy and childbirth for me. Often it seems like I’m expected to find the process “spiritual”, and a lifetime experience. But I just don’t feel that way…
males do not birth. nothing with a y chromosome can birth.
Oh, I hear you! I had a lot of the same thoughts and feelings before and during all three of my pregnancies. For the most part, I kept it to myself, for fear of being judged. I now have two beautiful children, and I love being a parent. If your end goal is to be a parent of biological children, keep your focus on that goal. I also tried to just focus on the positive – how cool it was that my body could grow another human, how nice it was that strangers catered to me, and that my hair looked awesome. If I was starting to feel freaked out or depressed, I would make a conscious effort to refocus. I remember the first time my son was kicking, my heart started racing with anxiety and I needed to go for a walk. I don’t know if any of this helps, but just know that you’re not alone. Wishing you all the best.
A lot of people love being pregnant, I’m not one of them. I’m two weeks away from having my second child, and it’s no better for me the second time around. I know some women feel their most “womanly” or even feel euphoria when pregnant. That could certainly happen to you, and you could end up loving it. You won’t really know until you are there. And even though I’m not a fan if pregnancy myself, I just keep reminding myself that it doesn’t last forever! Soon the payoff will be a little baby. And as odd as the whole “grow a human inside my body” thing is, it’s also a bit amazing too – like, wow. I look at my daughter and I think, holy cow, I MADE you. How crazy is that?? Anyway, just know that there are others out there who feel/felt the same and we made it through 🙂
I agree with this. I didn’t “enjoy” being pregnant. I had medical complications that made it even less enjoyable, and 2 labors which because of my condition were not ideal. BUT, I made a freaking HUMAN BEING….TWICE! I gave them everything they needed to become a person for 9 months and it worked!
It’s just a matter of perspective I think. You have to find the thing that will help you shift that perspective. Maybe that is watching someone (human or animal) give birth, maybe it’s talking it out with a therapist. Instead of thinking that they are TAKING, you have to get into the frame of mind that YOU are GIVING.
It’s great to hear from people who had/have the same views as me but still think it’s worth it in the end. That gives me hope. 🙂
I agree with the ladies above. I HATED being preggo. I didn’t have the best pregnancy either. I didn’t really expect to because I don’t have the best luck when it comes to medical stuff. Ultrasounds were a big odd part for me, it was good to know that he was in one piece and doing good, but it was odd that I had this thing IN me. The best part was accidentally blurting out “Its a boy. It has a penis and I made it myself” when my mom asked what the baby’s gender was.
Don’t let anybody make you feel bad if you do decided to get pregnant and hate it. Everybody is different and everybody deals with it in different ways.
I know this sounds flip, but I really mean it: just don’t think about it. The nice thing about human sexuality is that making a baby and growing a baby and having a baby are really nothing alike. So when you decide that it’s time, just start having unprotected sex (and make it good sex – babymaking doesn’t have to be boring. Make it exciting enough that you AREN’T thinking about babies).
Hopefully you’ll end up pregnant. And then when you are pregnant, try not to think about the squicky parts too much. Don’t forget, those changes are pretty gradual. If you get morning sickness, you’ll deal with it the way you deal with the flu. At the end, when everything is squished and you feel the baby move around, either you’ll be less weirded out or you won’t be. I never liked being pregnant (and I have two kids). Even when they kicked it was kind of cool but mostly gross. I survived by cultivating a sort of detached indifference to my body. Honestly, I was thrilled when they stopped nursing because I got my body back.
All that said, now that my husband is infertile, I know that I would do it again in a heartbeat if it meant another awesome kid. Just remind yourself that pregnancy is finite: parenting is the part that lasts forever.
I think this post makes an excellent point about pregnancy and parenthood in general: you don’t have to do it all at once. Each challenge will come up on its own and you can deal with them, and pregnancy doesn’t last forever.
Also, for the OP- have you spent time around pregnant people, face-to-face? Most of us haven’t, since families are smaller and more spread out than they used to be. And seeing things through the filter of the internet amplifies both the good and the bad. Maybe it would be helpful to visit a pregnant friend or cousin or something if you can.
This is a really good point. The same way people don’t grow old all at once but rather experience a gradual slowing-down process so it’s not as traumatizing. Definitely something to think about–or better, as jane said–not think about.
I live in Utah, which has one of the highest birth rates in the country, so I see pregnant women everywhere I go, and I always think, “You have a THING feeding off you and you must be so uncomfortable and how are you doing that??” Not too many close friends who have gotten pregnant, though. There was one person I knew who got pregnant, and I saw her growing a tiny bit of a bump, but then there was a two- or three-week gap to when I saw her the next time, and she had grown so much in that tiny period that I about had a panic attack on the spot, haha. She also had a difficult pregnancy and was really, really sick for the first part and ended up on bed rest for the last part, so probably not a good person to help with my phobias. I guess I need to go make friends with more pregnant people like you guys who have it easier and then spend more time with them…
To piggyback on this idea, the same will happen as a parent. Even within that first year there were stages and changes where it seemed as soon as I got used to something, it changed and we just had to go with the flow and figure it out. Some were harder than others, but like every stage of parenting (and life) nothing lasts forever. Pregnancy is really a short amount of time when you look at the big picture, and even within that period there are so many small gradual changes that you hardly realize it until you look back.
I remember as a child thinking how terrible it would be to have to walk around with a huge belly for 9 months (!). I had this idea that a woman has a gigantic belly for the ENTIRE time of her pregnancy. Thankfully for us that is not the case 🙂 I didn’t even show until I was well past 6 months (common for first pregnancies). I was another one who had a really easy pregnancy, but even friends of mine who had some complications (and ongoing morning sickness) tell me that it was well worth it and those difficulties pale in comparison to the wonderful children they got out of it.
And if this helps, I always thought it was weird & gross & alien-like when I heard other moms talking about (or showing me) their babies moving in their bellies. Totally not weird when it happened to me. Well, weird but in a fascinating sort of way. Sort of like any other bodily function… when it’s yours, it’s not so bad. But how grossed out are you by the thought (or sight, or smell) of anyone else’s?
This gets at it really well. My first (failed) pregnancy I was a big wad of anxiety, and it was awful, even though the physical aspects of it weren’t bad at all. This one, I’m much calmer, and I think a lot of it is taking it one day at a time.
It is a _weird_ process, no doubt about it, and sometimes an uncomfortable one, and at the moment I don’t feel a particular need or desire to attempt it a second time (I’m in my 40s so it’s not likely in any case). But most days, I feel like me, albeit sometimes a tired me, or a me with a strange awkward lump that gets in my way, or a me who wonders how it was that a person who gets panic attacks (with unusual bodily sensations being my primary triggers, no less) has managed to get used to the weirdness that is involved in hosting another live creature inside me.
It’s weird and tiring and strange, but also sort of cool at times too – you’re your own science experiment! – and it isn’t forever.
At least, this is what I tell myself when it gets frustrating (which has been less than I thought – I frequently wonder if this baby is pumping out mellowing hormones or something, in fact.)
I honestly can’t help with the fear of pregnancy thing. It’s something that I want to do more than almost anything. If it didn’t involve being a mom afterward, I would have already been pregnant at least once.
I’m commenting, however, to point out an option you didn’t mention. You may already know about gestational surrogacy, but you may not. You can actually harvest your own eggs, fertilize them with your husband’s sperm, and hire a surrogate to carry said child. Way more expensive and complicated than carrying your own baby, but it is an option. You would have your own biological children, and you’d get to skip the pregnancy part. Just something to consider.
How do people feel about surrogacy? This is probably the space where people would be most open to it than in society in general, but I almost feel like that’s one of those compromises where no one’s happy. The plus of adoption is that I help other kids out and don’t contribute to the world’s overpopulation problem. The plus of pregnancy is that I get that bonding with the child (or so I hear) as it grows inside me, and it gets to know my voice and that bond is so much stronger. Surrogacy is the inbetween that doesn’t accomplish either of those, and is much less (I believe) socially acceptable (or at least less common) than the other two options.
What are all your thoughts on surrogacy? Would you do it, and what are the pros/cons?
Just wanted to point out that for female-female couples, surrogacy can be an amazing option — one mom can use her egg and the other can carry the baby! Then both parents get a chance to have a physical link to the child. That’s just one scenario, and I know it’s not your situation, but I wanted to make sure that you understood why surrogacy is nothing to be dismissive of — it helps people every day.
Surrogacy, for you, potentially could give you a biological baby (which you said that you want) without you having to be pregnant (which you don’t seem to want). To me, that sounds like it would “accomplish” both of your goals! And yes, it may not be very common (likely in part because of the cost of the process), but less socially acceptable? I doubt that. People have had decades to come to terms with children born through assisted reproduction techniques; in my neck of the woods, at least, I’ve never heard a single bad word about it. Not that anyone’s opinions matter but your own and your husband’s, but I think most people just care about the family that’s created at the end of it all — are they healthy? Are they happy? Great! Case closed.
I am hardly a surrogacy expert, but I do know that it’s in tricky legal territory (whose baby is it if the surrogate mom decides to “keep” it?) It’s also super duper expensive. I would strongly advise seeing a cognitive-behavioral psychologist or someone who does work with relaxation hypnosis and working on your fear of pregnancy before going this route.
It’s no different than having your own children, in overpopulation terms. In fact, people who hire surrogates are much less likely to have four, five, or six children because of the expense. And it does accomplish giving someone else a job, which shouldn’t be discounted. I’d be willing to guess that the bond would be similar, too. Maybe the baby isn’t inside you, but you still get to see the ultrasounds, see/feel it moving, and hopefully have a relationship with the surrogate. Some parents get that when they adopt, but not many, I’d guess. It’s a much more unsettling experience to adopt, I bet.
“If it didn’t involve being a mom afterward, I would have already been pregnant at least once.”
This is SO not the direction I expected from your comment! I’ve never heard anyone say that before, but I love it. Even though I feel like I could have written the original post myself, haha.
I’m very Child Free, but I do and always have wanted to be pregnant. I want to be a surrogate. So. Fucking. Badly. Unfortunately, I can’t. So yes, I would do it. It’s a great option for a bunch of people. Obviously gay couples who have to jump hoops to get pregnant benefit from it. Infertile people benefit from it. And people like you, who are afraid of growing a child, can benefit from it too!
Don’t worry about what people say. It doesn’t matter. If you choose to go through surrogacy, no one will know after the baby is born. I promise, you can’t look at a five-year-old and go, “Ooooh, yeah, that one was definitely born via a surrogate.” If you don’t want people to know, don’t tell them! Only the people around while your surro mom is pregnant have to know that you didn’t carry your child.
The cons are somewhat lengthy. It costs more, obviously. It carries more risk. Your doctor will implant more than one embryo in the surro mom’s womb in the hopes that one will stick, but more than one could stick, leaving you with twins or triplets. It could take several tries. There are a lot of doctor’s visits and drugs (though less for you than the surro mom, I think). There are contracts and lawyers involved. There are probably more cons than I know of, since I’ve never done it.
But in the end, you’ll have your baby. I know there are quite a few guest posts on here about surrogacy. Give them a read. If nothing else, you’ll know more about another option.
Thank you for your insight. I used to be uncomfortable with the idea of surrogacy because I didn’t think that women could separate being pregnant with being a mother. Obviously, not all mothers were pregnant, though, so I guess the reverse makes sense also when you think about it that way.
If it puts you at ease at all, many women can have easy, uneventful pregnancies. I’ve had 2 and neither involved any morning sickness, crazy rashes, bruised organs, etc. The wort I had was mild sciatica. And my labors were both quick and relatively painless with no medication. So it’s possible. But I have known women to be terrified of pregnancy that became pregnant, and for the most part, they adapted to the change and thought of it pretty easily. Perhaps we loose out fear of it once it happens…the body and hormones do wondrous and crazy things lol. There is also the option of a surrogate mother if that’s allowed in your area. The baby can be biologically yours, but someone else carries it. Not always a cheap option tho, but an option, along with adoption. But sometimes leaving things up to Mother Nature shows up we can handle a lot more than we think we can. Good luck!
I am pregnant with my second son and even though I love being pregnant I think almost every mother has fears, this done mean it is something you can’t accomplish. I also think that both pregnancy and child birth are often talked about is a very negative way, this can lead to even more fear. I often hear things like “I bet you can’t wait to be done with this” and “I bet you must be miserable in the heat” and for a moment maybe I think they’re right. But they are not right, they are just saying empty words.
Pregnancy is magical for some mothers, tolerable for others and for a few, it is just a sacrifice you must make to have a family.
First, realize that you CAN do this.
Second, find an amazing support team. Women who understand your fears but won’t let you drown under them.
Third, keep your eyes on the prize. In the grand scheme of your life, it’s not that long.
I always got the “I bet”s too! They were always wrong.
“You’re huge! I bet you must feel pretty uncomfortable!” Was what I got in the last 2 weeks. Actually, I felt fine.
I am not a doctor, but it sounds like this is more than just nerves over the unknown. Tokophobia impacts quite a few women, and it may be that your fears are closer to a phobia? Maybe you have already looked at that and dismissed it, but it was a new term/idea to me last week, so maybe not and I thought I should throw it out. There are a few support boards for people with tokophobia, and it may be that they would have some advice for you too.
Haha, I had never heard that term, but I just looked up the wikipedia of it, and that is TOTALLY me. I have said almost verbatim all the statements they say usually describe the sentiments of those with tokophobia. Thanks for the tip!
I totally feel you on this one. Let me preface by telling you that prior to my getting pregnant, probably from ages 11 to a solid 24, the idea of pregnancy was far worse than death to me. Even when I did get pregnant (it was a surprise – my husband & I had JUST started talking about maybe trying and then had a ton of unexpected expenses, including buying a car when BOOM, “hey, I’m already knocked up. Whoops!”) I cried. And cried and cried. Because I was terrified of what would happen to my body and decades of negative emotions toward the very concept of being a breeder.
And then I started the research. Because I was never very science-y minded. There was a cute boy in biology who liked to distract me, sorry. So I educated myself on what was happening and why and felt better.
And you know what? I LOVED being pregnant. I turned into a full-blown proud WOMAN sometime between conception and birth. I appreciate and respect my body so much more because it’s awesome the things it can do.
I had always felt awkward and more like a tomboy prior to becoming a mother, and of course I was scared and nervous at points – and you have every right to be. But it goes back to basic biology – your body was created to do this. Is it weird to have another human inside of you? Totally. But also really, really cool. And it’s temporary. You’ll look back and realize that 9 months of your life is such a very short time and then you have a perfect little person. So completely worth it in every way.
Yay! This makes me so happy to hear. I had one pregnancy scare, and I did cry and have panic attacks for a full two days before I finally got up the courage to take a pregnancy test and get a negative. I’m glad it was such a positive transformation for you.
I agree with others that are saying a good chunk of pregnancies are easy and uneventful. Mine being one of those. In fact, it’s so uneventful…it’s boring! My midwife appointments are so short because there is nothing to discuss (unless I have a question, or a “event” is coming up…like a test or discussion about a particular topic). People are always asking me how I’m doing, how I’m feeling or how the pregnancy is going. And I have nothing to tell them…just, “Fine”.
My “worst” symptoms of pregnancy were 3 weeks of on-an-off nausea/morning sickness, falling asleep at the drop of a hat, and not wanting to eat meat during the first trimester. Nothing during the second trimester (felt completely normal). And the third trimester has been little bit of swelling and getting a little winded walking up many flights of stairs. Oh, and gas. I’ve been very farty throughout my entire pregnancy. Hahaha!
I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the idea of being pregnant either (it didn’t scare me, but it also didn’t make me want to do backflips of joy either). The thing I found that helped me a lot was to look up what was happening with the baby each week. The first few weeks were weird with things like, “Oh this week your baby’s tail is slowly disappearing and looking less lizard-like!”…which definitely made the pregnancy feel very alien. But then it turned into things like, “This week your baby can blink it’s eyes and may start sucking it’s thumb!”…which gave everything a more human quality.
It also has helped me approach everything with a sense of humour. That way, everything feels less serious and dramatic.
I read this years ago http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/mar/04/i-have-phobia-of-pregnancy Tokophobia is a real thing. I’m not saying you have this, necessarily but counselling could help. I too was creeped out by the whole thing. I found reading one of those pregnancy day by day books was helpful. Also, as mentioned my pregnancy was pretty uneventful and now I have one of those blonde ringletted cuties! Good luck!
Those day-by-day books could be really helpful for someone with a phobia. It could help you to focus on the present, and educate you about what’s really going on inside your body. Focusing on the present and education about the reality of something is power against irrational fears.
That article is spot on, but initially I was reminded of General Anxiety Disorder. It’s probably my biggest hurdle to things like having a baby or… riding a bike.
Anyway, if the OP, or anyone else reading this who is super adverse to pregnancy like she and I, is able it might be worth visiting a mental health professional. Even if a disorder/phobia isn’t exacerbating the distaste for pregnancy it might help to talk out some concerns with a neutral party. Special bonus if you like your MHP: They can guide you through pregnancy by treating any anxiety or mental health issues. And they’ll be in a great position to guide you through any post-partum depression because of your long history together.
Great suggestions in this thread. Thank you!
I can relate. For me, I had spent half my life focusing on NOT becoming pregnant, because that would be horrible and have disastrous consequences that I was not prepared for. I never got excited about the idea of being pregnant. But, I got to a place where I could be okay with it. I could feel neutral, like it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world (I mean this literally) and I wouldn’t completely freak out if it happened. Even after I made that decision, I still got moments of panic, but they passed. I figured that once I got pregnant, it would be too late to change my mind, so it was really only a few months that I needed to allow myself to be okay with it.
I ended up enjoying most of pregnancy a lot more than I thought I would, but I was okay with that not being the case.
“For me, I spent half my life focusing on NOT becoming pregnant, because that would be horrible and have disastrous consequences that I was not prepared for.”
Totally! I think a lot of us spent our younger years trying not to get pregnant. Probably much longer than we entertained the idea of being pregnant. It’s a huge shift in perception.
Pregnancy is totally weird. It’s also totally normal. And when it happens, you will feel totally weird and totally normal. I agree with an above commenter who said it made her feel like she had come into her womanhood it a real way. I have never been in more awe of my body and more happy with what my body could do.
And while pregnancy totally does move your internal organs around, and make you feel a little strange sometimes, it’s really fascinating to learn about. Your body was built for this. It is totally your choice whether or not you will choose to utilize that function, but nevertheless, it’s something your body was meant to do. Once your pregnancy is over and your baby is outside ready to cuddle, your body will readjust and normalize again. It’ll be a new normal, but again, your body is resilient and this is what it was made for.
Wasn’t there a post on here recently where someone used the term parasite as a term of endearment? Like “our little parasite”
I’m in very much the same situation as you. Here are my hangups: I think I want to have biological kids with my husband. I also want control over the pregnancy, at least the aspects you CAN control, like what you eat and drink. But part of my brain still believes that a baby is the worst possible outcome of sex, and after years of extreme caution with birth control I am having problems reconciling that sex makes babies. And that people get pregnant ON PURPOSE. I feel like it should be a medical procedure instead. Did I mention that I am a scientist? And giving birth….gah. NOPE. Are we actually sure that the stork can’t bring babies?
Thank goodness I have a couple years to figure all this out.
Hahaha totally. I love everything you just said.
Ha! Me too, although I’d like to control the parts I know I can’t, as well. We just pulled the goalie, and having unprotected sex freaks me right out. I’ve been doing a lot of reading though, mostly from books recommended on this site. Lets Panic About Babies has been the best one, actually, because it forces me to lighten up.
OMG, yes to “Let’s Panic About Babies!” Husby is actually reading portions of it out loud RIGHT NOW.
Although it doesn’t have anything beneficial inside… well, except for a sense of humor. Which is pretty important.
I totally Facebook announced my pregnancy by saying that the doctor found a parasite with a 9 month prognosis.
I’m about 7 weeks from giving birth with my first child and, as another commentator on here said, I’m as close to coming to terms with being pregnant as I’m going to get! One of the hardest parts about being scared about pregnancy, and about not liking it so much, is that it is often scoffed at by people who really don’t understand the fear- hence the reason I’ve sought out websites like this one and Alphamom. People here don’t judge when someone says “I hate being pregnant” or “Omg this sucks” or what I think which is: pregnancy to me (after 7.5 months) still feels like an out of body experience. It hasn’t been awful, I haven’t felt horrible or great or any of the things people say about being pregnant, I’ve just felt kind of unable to talk about the fetus as something I’ve bonded with (because I haven’t really). It’s inside of me and it kind of upsets me some days to think about something living in me. We didn’t find out the sex of the baby, partially because I thought that thinking about it as a boy or girl would upset me more (I’m afraid to think about the fetus as an actual baby but I’m working on that!) Here’s the thing: It’s totally doable and through forums like these I’ve found other women who don’t dig being pregnant and especially women who don’t necessarily like babies. I thought I was a freak! I’m excited about having a baby- I’ve always wanted children- and I hope I’ll love the baby the minute I see it (and I have liked it a little more the last couple of weeks). But I still feel apathetic and slightly upset about my pregnancy. You’re not alone and there’s nothing wrong with feeling odd about pregnancy!
I just wanted to add another recommendation for Alphamom and especially for their pregnancy calendar. So funny and down to earth! What good is it to be a bloated and gassy pregnant lady, if you can’t make at least a few fart jokes?
Seriously though, I read the whole thing before I was pregnant because it was funny and it was super reassuring when I was pregnant.
Some thoughts that may or may not help:
Pregnancy is something that your body is DESIGNED to do. You’ve got a special little pocket in your belly for it and everything. It’s something your ancestors bodies have been being designed to do for millions and millions of years, since your fore-mothers were scurrying little shrew-like critters living in a world populated by dinosaurs. And before that, their bodies were designed to make and lay eggs, which is similar.
The thing in side your would not actually be alien to your body. It would be half YOU. Half of it’s DNA would be yours (slightly over half, actually, counting mitochondrial DNA.) Assuming you don’t have an identical twin, it would be more closely related to you than any other creature in the universe (Except your own mother, because that is the same relationship in reverse.) And the other half would all be from your husband, someone you likely exchange body fluids with and let inside your body on a regular basis.
Reading about pregnancy might help with your fears. Or it might make them worse, that’s something you’ll have to gauge for yourself. It helped for me. I didn’t have the kind of horror of pregnancy that it sounds like you have, but I certainly had anxieties about it and having more information, even information about the unpleasant parts and things that could go wrong, helped me feel more prepared and in control and less anxious.
For you, at this point, it might be more useful to research the mechanisms of pregnancy on a more abstract, scientific level than to read the more practical sort of “what to expect when your expecting” stuff. Learning about all the nifty adaptions the female body has to make this process work might help it seem more natural. Plus it’s neat stuff.
(Why yes, I do have a distinct interest in biology. Your mileage my vary on that.)
Lastly, spending more time around and talking pregnant women might help to desensitize you. Particularly women who are having easy pregnancies or who love being pregnant (Which I have found to be surprisingly separate categories). Or pregnant animals, for that matter. Getting to the point where you aren’t freaked out by their pregnancies is a step toward not being freaked out by your own. Limited, incremental exposure in a safe environment is one of the common treatments for various sorts of phobias, so it might help here.
My pregnancy was an oops… And I had a lot of anxiety about pregnancy as an abstract idea. The stuff that you mentioned – it was hard to think of it as something which could be pleasant because the people who have good pregnancies don’t talk about it as loudly as the ones who have terrible ones do.
I was pleasantly surprised to find I experienced no morning sickness, my pregnancy was by the book and uneventful and I felt fine. My pregnancy was really easy. I could forget I was pregnant, easy. Maybe your experience could be similar? It’s not guaranteed to be awful at least.
Before getting pregnant my fear was about giving birth. I was terrified, just terrified of labor (and felt that way up until I actually pushed the kid out). But I knew one thing: I would go to hell and back to have my husband’s kids. I wanted his genetic material continued, and I wanted to mix mine with it. And so I did.
For the record, I super duper loved being pregnant, and even though my son is almost a year old there basically hasn’t been a day that has gone by where I haven’t had a moment of missing it. I also had a physically easy pregnancy, and didn’t throw up once. Towards the end I got really into swimming, and swam laps for an hour up until the day I went into labor, which I think helped ease discomfort. So another voice for easy pregnancies being possible.
Also, being pregnant was amazing for me on an emotional level. You are your child’s home, their world. My son would change his movements based on how I was feeling. He literally felt my feelings. That is a level of intimacy I have never had with anyone else, including my husband. I would sing to him and tell him stories and feel him dance. It was awesome!
Your fears and concerns are totally valid, I’m not saying they’re not. But, once you get pregnant, you might be surprised by some really positive feelings about it.
Well, I’ll be honest here and say that I expected to have an easy pregnancy, and to love being pregnant. I’ve always known I wanted to have kids, and have equally always known that I wanted the experience of being pregnant. I’d always thought that if I was unable to make my own eggs, I’d go for egg donation before adoption, just so I could experience pregnancy.
Actually being pregnant was rougher than I expected. (I’m 6 days away from my due date, still pregnant.) I’ve always been a wimp when it comes to throwing up, and I had some pretty killer morning sickness for the first 16 weeks – longer than average. Although, I can say two things – I’m no longer a wimp when it comes to throwing up, I can totally deal, and I’m very fortunate I didn’t get hyperemesis gravidarum. I have two friends that did, and whoo boy it definitely could be worse. Now, in my last month, I have swollen feet like crazy and hip separation pain that makes turning over in bed absolutely excrutiating.
I will never be one of those women who says, “I love being pregnant, I could have a million kids!” BUT, I am absolutely 100% glad I can say I had the experience. And I do plan on doing it again at least one more, maybe two more times. It’s rough, but if you educate yourself about what to expect and plan what kind of care you want to receive from the medical industry, it doesn’t have to be terrifying. It is totally worth it – feeling your baby move inside you and being able to bond with your baby before he/she even leaves your womb is truly amazing.
If you really want a biological kid, I promise you will get through being pregnant. Ignore all the “you’ll-see-ers” about how bad it can be – they all survived and so can you. And it will be worth it. FWIW, I actually received very few “you’ll sees” throughout my own pregnancy – if you carry yourself with confidence, most people will accept your choices and let you do your own thing.
I expected pregnancy to be easy and fun and it was not. It was almost worse emotionally than physically–I really like feeling in control of my body, and although I know I’m not really, most of the time it’s pretty easy to pretend I am. While pregnant, I was not. My body needed to sleep at certain times, eat certain things, not eat other things, and there was absolutely no room for negotiation. That freaked me out way more than I expected. Physically I had a relatively easy and healthy pregnancy, and I still dread getting pregnant again.
On the other hand, I loved giving birth. Like, actually loved it, if I could skip pregnancy but give birth I would do it in a second, I’m genuinely looking forward to giving birth again some day. Early labor was tough for me, again for not-being-in-control-of-my-body reasons, but active labor felt much more like DOING something than the rest of my pregnancy. Physically harder, but emotionally easier. There were long term and short term goals–“get the baby out” and “get through this next contraction”–and specific things to do to help each goal. Pushing was amazing, I felt like my husband and my baby and I were working together as a team for the first time ever.
And there were definitely parts of pregnancy that I loved. Feeling the baby kick was fantastic, better than a smartphone for entertainment while waiting for something or in a long meeting. Never being alone, always having someone I already loved with me.
I’d recommend reading Ina May Gaskin’s books, and Birthing Without Fear. They’re more birth-focused than pregnancy-focused, but still… I think they have a much more realistic and women-friendly focus than certainly anything in popular media. This is maybe a bit ranty, but I think pregnancy and birth in popular media are shown as something that is DONE TO women, rather than something women are active participants in, because popular media doesn’t show women as active participants in anything. But pregnancy is not something done to you by a parasitic fetus. It’s YOUR body growing the fetus, your hormones and your blood and your nutrients. You are an active participant.
Oh Goodness thank you for this comment! I too dislike pregnancy because of that “out of control” feeling about my body. I’m a long distance runner (or at least I was until I was 22 weeks along) and I spent so much time before I got pregnant working on my body and learning to understand what it needed to make it through races, etc. I planned to work out and be soooooo awesome during pregnancy and then I hit road bump after road bump- exhaustion, hunger, ligament pains, etc. Not horrible pregnancy symptoms, but I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. And that has just gotten worse. I have to eat certain things and not others, sleep certain ways, etc. and everyone has an opinion. The inability to “control” my body has been emotionally hard for me. But I am totally looking forward to birth and reading your comment really cheered me up (I have a month to go) because it makes me realize that maybe I’m just a person who likes to focus on tasks and get through things! I did read Ina May’s books and they also calmed me down a lot. Thanks! Your comment really calmed me down!
I HATED HATED HATED being pregnant. Hands down it’s the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. It was worth it for my son though, and it was a planned pregnancy, but I would never do it again. I was squeamish about it going in so all the complications made it worse. Plus I had to hear from everyone, even my partner that it wasn’t possible that I couldn’t hate it that much and that I was just exaggerating (who would willingly choose bed rest and severe bleeding? Really?). Not a single person validated my experience or feelings and I was left very isolated, depressed and hating my body and what was happening to me. If one person would have validated my feelings then my pregnancy might have been tolerable.
I had 3 miscarriages before I got pregnant with my son. The miscarriages were easy and not so bad until the end. Being pregnant with my son was awful though. I had hyperemsis gravidarum to the point I was on fluids for 3 days when I was 9 weeks along (the hyperemisis continued until I was 7 months pregnant), had gestational diabetes even though I was on a strict diet, had 2 placental abruptions with a large amount of bleeding, went into pre-term labor twice (once at 21 weeks and again at 23 weeks), ended up losing a significant amount of weight from the hypermemisis and had to have weekly hospital visits and dietary supplements, was put on bed rest from 20 weeks to 34 weeks and then had complications during labor as well. My son was worth it, but I’ll never willingly go through that again. I feel like because the pregnancy was so rough, that’s why I haven’t been able to bond with my son until last month (he’s 3 1/2 months now) and why we have had so many issues breastfeeding.
For the women who are afraid of pregnancy I wish someone would tell them that things like my story are a possibility but if they survive it, it will be worth it.
I really feel for you OP. I feel very much the same way and I stressed SO much when I first found out I was expecting. My biggest issues were actually related to not wanting to feel helpless or “on show” for the world. I hated the idea of people staring or touching me or feeling like an alien was inside me. But, what I learned was how much slower and more gradual the process really is. I had some sleepiness during the first trimester but I didnt even notice much in the second. The third was where I got bigger but besides being awkward, it wasn’t all that traumatic because I had built it up so much in my head. If you do get pregnant, you’ll be surprised by how much life goes on. It’s 9.5 months and you’ll still have to go to work, go to the store, and focus on other things. Movies, TV and the internet will make it seem like the moment you get pregnant you are just an weird human incubator with emotional problems and pain. That’s stupid. You are still you and life will progress. Birth is however you want it but usually the body knows what it’s doing. I won’t lie and say that it’s super pleasant (any of it) but it is super temporary. Pregnancy is not the rest of your life. It’s less than a year to have a child who will be part of your life until your death. If you really have a phobia, it might help (as others have said) to get some professional help and guidance. Good luck! I wish the best for you!