I do not enjoy pregnancy.
I truly do not. This has been hard on me emotionally, psychologically and for obvious reasons, physically.
For some who follow me, this may be the first time you are hearing of my pregnancy. I’ve kept it pretty low key. I did at some point want to share it here, but I didn’t think it would be like this. However, this is where I find myself and I want to be real and honest about my mental health always.
I’m sharing this not to receive a flood of comments and well wishes, but to instead offer a real perspective of what it’s like for those that aren’t (and I truly hate this word) “glowing” or enjoying the process. I’m here for the outcome – our baby. But the journey to get there has not been smooth nor easy.
Some have said to me: “I’m sorry it’s not what you expected”.
Actually, it’s as I expected to a degree. I never imagined I’d be one of the people who loved it. I didn’t actually ever think from the first hand accounts that I heard and the friends I saw throughout pregnancy that it looked overly enjoyable. But I probably didn’t think I would find it quite so hard.
The illusions of pregnancy that we see most often are in movies, tv shows, some books and now perpetuated on social media with the rise of the influencer. That glowing image of a woman looking down at her belly, bursting with pride in awe of this new life inside her. The image of a mother to be – anticipating this new role with blissful joy.
Well I call bullshit.
1. Because I’ve now experienced it firsthand and although there are some (fleeting) moments of joy, anticipation and excitement – there’s a hell of a lot of discomfort, unpleasantness and at times even distress.
2. I’ve heard firsthand from medical professionals in my care that some of these very same people posting the images are coming in distraught, disheveled and truly loathing the process. Suffering and unhappy, but then turning around hours later to post another “glowing” image.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Why do we perpetuate the myth that everything about pregnancy is beautiful and wondrous.
It makes it so truly challenging for people like myself who are saying “I don’t like it.”
“Oh … what don’t you like about it?”
Why am I the exception?
Why do I have to explain myself?
Why do I have to feel – other?!
Why then must there be this perception that women are this virgin like symbol of hope and joy when pregnant?
Why can’t we let women, especially ones like myself, feel and experience this massive life change that places stress and strain on the mind and body, as it truly is – for us. Whatever that journey may look like. Beautiful, ugly, happy, sad, smooth, bumpy, easy, hard or otherwise.
I understand that there are women out there who truly love it. Who truly revel in this time and savour every moment. And to those women I say congratulations and I truly wish you all the best on your journey. I am genuinely happy for you that this is the experience you’re having and that you want to have.
But can we please stop accepting this as the norm. There are so many women out there like me, some who never speak up and suffer alone in silence.
I’ve been very vocal to friends and family about my pregnancy and the fact that I dislike it, but honestly at many times – hate it. I do not feel myself. I have no control over my body. My mind is in friction and battle most days.
The emotional and psychological toll is not discussed nearly enough and it leaves women with an unhealthy expectation that they need to be “enjoying it” “loving it”, when actually, perhaps they just need to be getting through it, almost “surviving it”.
I haven’t shared very publicly about my pregnancy journey – for some this might be the first you’ve heard of it. I do not enjoy discussing it and do not welcome conversation. I’m blessed to have wonderful support in my friends, family and the medical professionals that I can reach out to when I need.
This is my journey. And that’s ok. I’m not asking anyone else to have the same one. But I am asking those around me to honour and respect my experience. I’ve chosen to write about my experience here, in the hope that it helps those around me to understand where I’m at and to give me the space I need.
(Please note – this is most certainly not an invitation for advice, discussions and comments – as above, I’ve got incredible support which I continue to seek out as and when I need it).
I’m also writing a book about MY experience. Written from my perspective, if not for anything else than a cathartic process to help me stay calm and be able to cope throughout.
Each woman’s journey is so unique and individual. Let’s allow pregnant women to tell us what they want, what they need and how they’re feeling.
So if I ask only one thing in writing this, I ask that you please lead with the woman first.
I am NOT a pregnant lady.
I am Emma. And I happen to be pregnant.
Please continue to treat me as the whole and wonderful human that I am, in and of myself.
And when my baby does come earth side, please give them the love and respect they deserve to be the unique and truly individual human that they will be. That we all are.