what to do when you don't enjoy being pregnant
December 15, 2016 12:37 PM   Subscribe

I am 4 1/2 months pregnant and I sort of hate it. This was all very planned, so I am feeling extra awful for feeling this way. Can you help me figure out strategies for dealing with these feelings for the rest of my pregnancy?

My husband and I have been working with a fertility clinic for the last year, and in that time I went through a lot of diagnostic tests and two IVF cycles. So I spent a lot of the last 12 months taking various medicines that made my body feel pretty uncomfortable and getting poked and prodded by a lot of doctors.

And now here I am, pregnant, after all of that work and struggle and worry, and I hate it. I was nauseous all day, every day for the first three months. That’s gotten better, but my body still feels foreign to me—all of a sudden my boobs are huge and I’ve had random belly pains since the 5th week. And my belly is already uncomfortably big and it’s not even that big yet! The baby has also started randomly kicking me and even though it’s not very hard yet, it still feels deeply weird and alienating.

The kicks are also reminding me that the end result of all this discomfort is going to be a baby, and that makes me anxious. I’m excited to have a kid, but I feel like I have absolutely no idea what to do with babies. I don’t dislike babies. They just seem so fragile that I’ve always been a little scared of them, because I’ve been scared of hurting them. I am comfortable with kids once they’re old enough to walk. But newborns freak me out, and as long as everything goes okay, they’ll be sending me home with one in May.

My husband has been great and supportive through all this and I have an OB/GYN who I like and trust. But this whole process is freaking me out, because I feel like I’m supposed to be excited and glowing about this pregnancy and our coming kid, and instead I’m just worried and anxious and physically uncomfortable. It doesn’t help anything either that no matter how great and supportive my husband is, the fact of the matter is: it’s my body and I’m the one who has to deal with all of this and go through labor at the end of it.

I could use some advice from moms, dads, or other pregnant ladies for how to manage these feelings.
posted by colfax to Human Relations (53 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I have a one-year-old.

I hated being pregnant. I hated basically all parts of it. I felt tired and sick (which got progressively worse throughout my pregnancy - no 2nd trimester respite for me) and was constantly in pain. I had no stamina and I couldn't walk the mile to work without collapsing or make it through the day without napping.

And although the baby was planned and wanted, I was still unsure about the whole thing - I wasn't one of those people who was sure I wanted a kid (my husband was) and although I certainly wanted to do it and was excited for it, there was also a lot of fear and anxiety and ambivalence.

A few things helped:
- Anti-anxiety meds, and doctors who were OK with me taking them through my pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones messed me up enough, with them I am not sure I would have made it through without them.
- An incredibly supportive husband who understood that I wasn't going to talk about being happy about how things were going and who was willing to make me dinner and rub my feet.
- Preparing, because that's what calms me down. Reading the books and the sites and buying the things that need buying and telling my family what I needed from them.
- Splurging on things that made the pain less. This meant good prenatal massage (find a place that's good at it - lots of places would barely touch me), and I also spent time in float tanks, which in my 3rd trimester were literally the only times I wasn't in pain - the pressure they took off was enormous.

But also, the knowledge that I was gonna make it through, as many women had before me, and it was going to be over and everything was going to be OK.

Please feel free to memail me if you want to talk. I had a lot of trouble finding a like-minded community of pregnant women who weren't, well, excited about the whole thing. But you'll make it!
posted by brainmouse at 12:46 PM on December 15, 2016 [21 favorites]

To soothe the anxiety, sign up for an infant care course and an infant CPR course. Does it help any if I say that infants are not as fragile as they look?

On the discomfort, it helped me A LOT to do some exercise every day. It helped me be more aware of how to use my body even as it changed, and kept me feeling like my body was still *mine*. I really liked Suzane Bowen's prenatal workout dvds, which are just 20 minute segments (and I think that having exercised regularly helped the birth go more easily).

Also, if you can find an online due date group where you like the women, it's super helpful to have people at the same stage as you to commiserate with.

For what it's worth, I found pregnancy much more enjoyable during weeks 20-40 than I did the first 20 weeks, which were... weird and nauseating.
posted by Kriesa at 12:49 PM on December 15, 2016 [8 favorites]

Well, if it helps at all to know this: these feelings are all quite normal (which isn't to minimize or say they aren't important and causing you legitimate distress). I did not enjoy being pregnant one bit. At various points, I completely hated it. At others, I was just mildly uncomfortable and annoyed. At no point could I describe my feelings in a positive way.

Neither I nor my husband had extensive baby experience before being sent home with one. The feeling that someone somewhere has made a tragic clerical error resulting in you being sent out the door of the hospital with a tiny defenseless newborn is something someone should probably make greeting cards regarding.

We also had a long road getting pregnant and it is kind of expected by others that you just be 100% walking on rainbow sparkle clouds for 9 full months once you actually manage to do it, but not feeling that way does not mean that you will not be excellent parents once baby hits landside. It doesn't mean you've made a mistake. It means you're a complicated human being with a ton of biological and psychological processes happening simultaneously. It's rough.

How to manage? Well, I ate a lot of ice cream sandwiches in my third trimester. Speaking to someone about medications that are safe for pregnancy that can take the edge of some of the hormonal fallout from pregnancy, which is probably at least a small part of the dysphoria and anxiety you are feeling.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:50 PM on December 15, 2016 [11 favorites]

I absolutely hated being pregnant. I had two miscarriages before I had my son and had to see a reproductive endocrinologist and have tons of tests, and ultrasounds and it just sucked. I wanted to love it! I wanted to be all glowy and madonna-like and revel in MAKING LIFE AND GAEA AND EARTH MOTHER AND LOVE.

Yeah, no. I was miserably anxious almost the entire time. Miscarriage! Ectopic! Downs Syndrome! Preeclampsia! I had weird physical symptoms, intense food aversions, carpal tunnel, weird leg numbness, pelvic pain. An acquaintance of mine lectured me that I "wasn't enjoying this at all!" Uh, yeah, I wasn't. My mom hassled me about my lack of enthusiasm for a baby shower or decorating a nursery. I actually went back to a counselor I'd seen in the past for a few sessions to manage my anxiety. That helped.

But honestly, pregnancy sucks. It doesn't make you a bad mom to hate it. I hated it and I try really hard to be a good mom. My kid loves me. I love him. Do what you can to mitigate the troublesome physical symptoms and just give yourself permission to hate it. I don't actually know ANY glowy pregnant ladies. Everyone I know thinks it sucks. IT SUCKS. PREGNANCY SUCKS. I laid in bed for most of my third trimester drinking lemonade and watching HGTV because everything hurt and pregnancy sucks. In some ways, you just have to put your head down and ride it out. It doesn't last forever. THANK GOD.
posted by Aquifer at 12:52 PM on December 15, 2016 [9 favorites]

It's totally normal and totally okay to be feeling like this. I don't think pregnant women get told that enough: IT'S OKAY TO FEEL WHATEVER YOU'RE FEELING. Really.

I really think the only way to deal with all of this is just to get through to the other side. My pregnancies were hell and the only way I could not go completely insane was to remember that there was an end date. No matter what, at the end of it, it would be over, for good or for bad. That thought got me through each day.

Babies are really not as fragile as they look, I promise. Both of my kids rolled off the bed or the couch when they were infants and they were totally fine! Nothing broke! They really are much more resilient than you would think. And the scary, floppy part doesn't really last all that long.

But yeah, what you're feeling is not out of the norm.
posted by cooker girl at 12:52 PM on December 15, 2016 [4 favorites]

I have never made it through a full pregnancy but i have done many IVF cycles and can identify with the feeling of alienation from your body. It's now six months after our last cycle and my body is only recently starting to feel like mine. I can wear my clothes comfortably and I'm not breaking out in pimples all the time.

Coming off IVF into pregnancy is HARD. I'm making big assumptions here, but you're probably already emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted and now you've got four months of pregnancy hormones on top of all the artificial ones you've been pumped with.

I don't have any suggestions but i do want to let you know that what you're feeling is understandable. Infertility and fertility treatment itself have been shown to be traumatic, both physically and emotionally. So no wonder you don't feel like you're glowing!

And finally, from my own briefexperience and that of friends, pregnancy is not fun. Your body and psyche are having to make huge adjustments.

Hang in there and feel free to memail me if you like.
posted by prettypretty at 12:56 PM on December 15, 2016 [4 favorites]

I'm currently 35 weeks pregnant with a very wanted pregnancy and struggle every day with the gap between how I imagined/expected pregnancy would be vs. the reality and also with my own guilt over not being able to enjoy it more.

Under the best of circumstances, pregnancy still involves a degree of loss of control and autonomy with respect to your body. Sure, you can exercise and eat right and do your best to sleep well, but there still might be blood pressure or thyroid or diabetes issues. You probably never have gone to so many doctor's appointments in your life. You are suddenly open to people willy nilly offering opinions and asking questions and reminding you that your life will never be the same.

It's totally normal for all of this to freak you out and make you question what the hell you got yourself into. I think talking about it all as much as possible to other people helps, and also doing as much as humanly possible for yourself right now - massage, pedicure, solo vacation, yoga classes, cooking classes, whatever your thing is - DO IT.

In the scheme of things, this 9 months is a short period that no matter how long it feels, will bring you life-changing happiness. I am choosing to firmly believe that even while in the midst of also firmly not loving being pregnant.
posted by DuckGirl at 12:58 PM on December 15, 2016 [4 favorites]

Hi! I'm you, two months ago. I'm in my first trimester and I'm barfy all the time and I hate it. My body isn't even that alien yet, but I can't eat—
Sorry, had to run to the bathroom for a minute because NAUSEA. Yeah, alien. I usually have a pretty strong stomach.

I just wanted to say, you're SO not alone. Mainly I'm dealing by (on the advice of a mom friend) being nice to myself. Tons of extra sleep. Telling myself it's okay to only eat cereal or yogurt or whatever else is the one thing I can handle.

Be nice to yourself.
posted by sockity sock at 12:59 PM on December 15, 2016

The first thing to know is that these feelings are absolutely normal because being pregnant SUCKS and holy shit do I never want to do this again...
Your body is being injured and damaged to make room for another little body inside you. It's a war between the foetus and you over nutrients, room, etc. Hormones are riding you. @Of course you hate it!
The good news is, your body will heal. It won't be the same again but it also won't feel like a broken mess forever.

Being scared of baby challenges is also normal. Once you have a child you'll see that the lows are lower but the highs are also higher than you've ever had. It will be hard. But you will also experience success like never before.
I always told myself "dumber people than you get kids all the time. You've got this." And it's true for you, too.

You've got this, momma.
- Don't worry about the future baby too much. You'll weather the challenges and find unexpected solutions once you're there
- Find support from other moms, online or for real. They'll keep you sane
- Get as much practical help as you can, from family to paid cleaning services
- watch out for POst Partum Depression. Get informed and get help immediately if symptoms apply
- if you have the choice between natural birth and caesarean, choose caesarian. Natural birth is way overrated. (I had one of each and still get angry that I fell for the propaganda of how a Real Woman gives birth like the cave dwellers before her.)
- NEVER LET ANYONE MAKE YOU FEEL GUILTY OR BAD FOR YOUR CHOICES. Because believe me, the whole world is going to criticize you for what you eat and do and later for what you let your baby eat and do. it's a national pastime. And it's a major source of unhappiness for moms. Don what you like and cut right through that crap. You've got this.
- really, just find other moms to kvetch to. It's the best antidote.

You are awesome and strong amd you've got this. We've all been there. You're part of a strong sisterhood of women who have all hated being pregnant and we are all rooting for you!
posted by Omnomnom at 1:02 PM on December 15, 2016 [8 favorites]

Second cooker girl...babies are not as fragile as the look. It's easy to get freaked out even putting a shirt over their head cause ACK! Tiny! ACK! What about their little neck!? It's helps to remember that babies are built to literally be squeezed and pushed and withstand the force of child birth. If they can do that, they can handle the occasional bump and bruises that come with being a baby.

This is the time to spoil yourself, pedicures, massage but don't forget to exercise as you can. Gentle yoga can help the tummy pains.

Also, as others have mentioned, talk to your health care team. They are here to support you.

Hugs and best of luck!
posted by MandaSayGrr at 1:02 PM on December 15, 2016

I feel like I’m supposed to be excited and glowing about this pregnancy and our coming kid

Welcome to being a mother, where everything you are *supposed to* feel is writ large in big bold letters and anything off-script that you *really* feel makes you feel like a bad mother! The truth is that what you feel isn't abnormal at all, or wrong, or related in any way to the love you have/will have for your pending kid.

Lots of women hate being pregnant and are very good mothers. Lots of women love being pregnant and are shit mothers.

You're going to feel like this when your baby won't sleep, throws tantrums, can't grok shoe-tying, breaks yet another plate, lies to you, wrecks the family car, etc. And the secret-secret truth is that you're going to feel like this when your baby is an absolute angel.

The best thing that you can do for the alien parasite taking over your body for the next few months is to take care of yourself. It sounds like, for you, that might include finding other honest pregnant people online or in real life to talk with and exchange info/support. Look for the honest ones though, not the mommybloggers.
posted by headnsouth at 1:02 PM on December 15, 2016 [16 favorites]

I hated being pregnant, and I've had two kids. There's no reason for us to pretend that pregnancy, in itself, is anything other than incredibly uncomfortable at best. Being pregnant suuuuucks, even with the most wanted of pregnancies. It's okay -- thinking that doesn't make us bad people or failed mothers.

I hadn't held a newborn before I held my own, and I'd barely held a baby, so I know that feeling of "what am I going to do with the thing once it's born? And how is it going to get out, anyway?" One thing to keep in mind: you only have to know what to do with a newborn, at first (answer: feed it, change diapers as needed, snuggle it). You don't need to know what to do with a two-month-old until it's two months old, you don't need to babyproof until it's crawling, etc. You can take things slowly. It's all on-the-job training.

I took a Baby 101 class at the hospital while pregnant, which was reassuring: how to change a diaper, how to do CPR. I also went to a few La Leche League meetings while pregnant, so I'd have some resources if I needed them later, and to meet other pregnant women -- I'm still friends with a woman I met at one, 15 years later.

I had pre-partum depression. It doesn't sound like you're asking about that, but I like to point it out because some people don't know it exists. For me, antidepressants were great.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:08 PM on December 15, 2016 [5 favorites]

This sounds so familiar to me! I have a five-month-old baby and at least twice a week I think "I'm not fucking pregnant!" and it fills me with joy. I go up to random people at work and say "yeah, everything is shitty, but at least I'm not pregnant right now! Not being pregnant feels so good!" I hope it's helpful to see how normal these feelings are; pregnancy is unpleasant and uncomfortable and just weird and much as my husband and I deeply, deeply wanted a kid I couldn't wait to evict it from my body (and I had a super easy pregnancy with no morning sickness or anything, I just really didn't like being pregnant). There's no reason you need to be "glowing", all you need to do is avoid some stuff (alcohol &c.) and take care of yourself. If taking care of yourself means giving yourself permission to curl up on the couch and cry about how much you hate being pregnant, that is totally valid.

In terms of the stuff about babies, I was also 100% in your boat. I love kids but I was terrified I wouldn't know what to do with our little kraken before she could talk, and it turns out it's fine. I had no idea what to do with babies and it turns out that the reason for that is that there isn't really much you CAN do with babies; they just are kind of boring at first and then when they get more interesting you can play with them! You will be very tired which is normal because you won't get enough sleep but babies don't take that much active parenting. Even now, when she's so much more interactive, we mostly sing to her and read her books which she can't understand and wave toys in her face and stuff. You have to provide for all of their basic needs but don't worry about them being insufficiently fulfilled or whatever because emotionally what they mostly need is to be held and loved. I was also terrified of holding the baby and possibly breaking her but 1) it was easy to be gentle 2) she was sturdier than I expected.

Bottom line: these feelings are super, super normal and healthy and okay. Please please if there's anything I can do to be helpful don't hesitate to let me know!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:08 PM on December 15, 2016 [15 favorites]

> I have a five-month-old baby and at least twice a week I think "I'm not fucking pregnant!" and it fills me with joy

I thought that in the hospital within minutes of my first kid being born. So glorious.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:10 PM on December 15, 2016 [26 favorites]

You're (almost!) half way there!! I know it probably still seems endless, and in a way it is, but also- you're doing it!! It is so much work to grow a HUMAN BEING, and women are not given nearly enough credit and validation for what that entails. Women should be treated like godessess all the time :-) but especially when we are pregnant and post partum. It is SO MUCH WORK on the body and mind.

I didn't care much for being pregnant. I had a high risk pregnancy, and hated having to go to the doctor once or sometimes twice a week, and just felt like my body/life had been invaded by a little alien creature.

I hated the worry, and feeling "monitored" both by OB's and just by... the "what ifs", the hormones. I felt, not like myself. Just so of fuzzy and blah.

I started doing accupuncture 2 x per week towards the end of my pregnancy (3rd trimester) and that helped a lot, just everything felt better. It felt like I was doing something for my health AND it actually helped w the anxiety. I went to a sliding scale clinic so it wasn't too expensive, and it was just wonderful to do that much self care. Wish I'd done it sooner in the pregnancy. So some ritual of body care (yoga, swimming, something) might be useful.

Also, just to let you know, I am 1.5 years Postpartum like I have "me" back mostly- my body, for one - I'm working out more than I ever did, having better sex, not breastfeeding much anymore - it feels great. It even feels nice to have my period again, because, that's what I'm used to and it makes me feel like "me". Also my mind is back! YES.

So, you will change through this, inevitably, but not being pregnant anymore is a huge perk of having the baby! Just like overnight, bam. NOT pregnant! The recovery is a different beast, and can also be hard, but I honestly would be thrilled never to be pregnan. So hang in there. There really is an end in sight. I felt like the last trimester was actually my favorite, because I felt like I'd made it/was on home stretch, and got more and more excited.
posted by Rocket26 at 1:10 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have a five-month-old baby and at least twice a week I think "I'm not fucking pregnant!" and it fills me with joy

I thought that in the hospital within minutes of my first kid being born. So glorious.

I said it OUT LOUD in the operating room while they were closing me up. We are not alone!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:13 PM on December 15, 2016 [23 favorites]

I'm a very good mom by all accounts, and crazy about my kids, and BOY did I hate being pregnant*. And giving birth. And nursing. And the whole "fourth trimester" ie the zombified no-sleep part afterwards.

My recommendation is to keep in mind that nobody in their right mind thinks these are the high points of parenthood. I'm potty about my kids, really irrationally adore them, they are my little sunshines... but that feeling, that they are assets rather than liabilities, didn't start til they were a few months old. What you're doing now is the hard work. The rewards do come later.

And, treat yourself. And for the love of God don't read What to Expect, especially its grotesque and ridiculous "what to eat" chapters. Eat whatever you want. Exercise if you can. Get to the pool just to float around. Foot massages.

And also, strongly recommend a post-partum doula to help you through that fourth trimester. I really wish I'd done that.

Good luck, and whatever you're feeling, know that it's fair - what you're doing is SO HARD - and par for the course.

*I had symptoms you haven't even mentioned yet. Not that it's a competition, but do you stink? Because I did! Ugh the whole thing was so gross.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:18 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I said it OUT LOUD in the operating room while they were closing me up. We are not alone!

I had a c-section and I was literally up and walking around the next day because not being pregnant filled me with so much glee and energy that I felt like a superhero. Even the need to recover from major abdominal surgery couldn't bring me down from the high of being DONE WITH PREGNANCY! It's totally okay to think pregnancy sucks! It does not make you a bad woman or a bad mother, it makes you someone with a body that's committed to months and months of doing something that makes it feel crummy.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:19 PM on December 15, 2016 [4 favorites]

Kim Kardashian wrote a glorious screed about how much she fucking hates being pregnant while pregnant a couple years ago. I can't find it (on my phone) but it was laugh out loud funny in parts and made the rounds all over my friend group which was having a baby boom at the time. It's worth looking up.

Fwiw, I believe the traditional thing to do if you hate being pregnant is to not try to pretend you like it and demand all the special treatment you can get while grumping at everyone from your comfy recliner with your cool drink. I'd just run with that and forget what you're "supposed" to do.
posted by fshgrl at 1:21 PM on December 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

I am 34 weeks pregnant and the reason I know that is because I'm counting down the days until 42 weeks when I know for sure this will be over. I loathe and detest being pregnant. I spent every day from when I suspected I was pregnant up until 22 weeks wishing he would die so that I didn't have to be pregnant any more.

The things that helped a bit for me were:
* Finding out the gender early (12 weeks via NIPT testing) helped me feel like I might actually be growing a human rather than a strange alien
* My partner promising that he would love the baby twice as much just in case I didn't
* Meeting my sister's newborn and then spending time with her over the next 4 months. Makes the point to all of this a bit more concrete
* Finding other people that loathe(d) being pregnant and talking about it. I was doing quite a lot of feeling guilty for not being happy after two years of trying but actually that's really common, and people still love their children afterwards
* Careful choice of how to educate myself about pregnancy and childbirth - I have chosen not to massively research and prepare because that makes me more anxious. The antenatal class I chose was all about talking through options gently with lots of reassurance and no judgement
* I went to pregnancy yoga and personally I found it a waste of time, but during one relaxation the teacher said something like "you are growing another human and it's not surprising you don't have as much energy, it's not surprising you can't do everything you want to be able to" and that made me cry and give myself a bit of a break, which helped

Otherwise, grit your teeth, endure, and don't feel you have to look happy for the sake of other people.
posted by kadia_a at 1:33 PM on December 15, 2016 [6 favorites]

Have you tried meditating? Try Sharon Salzberg's Real Happiness which comes with a CD of guided meditations that are about 15 min in length. I've been trying to practice lovingkindness meditation and it has helped me to forgive myself for my feelings, no matter what they are. I feel like you could benefit from her guided meditations.

One is focused on breathing - roughly 15 min, and it is the one I listen to when I'm feeling anxious. It's very centering.
Another focuses on lovingkindness, and practicing it teaches you to direct compassion to yourself and others. This is the one I'd use to remind myself to be kind to myself.
Another is a walking meditation, which is useful, but I tend to like the sit/lie down ones.
And the last one is a meditation on emotions. Instead of pushing away and being anxious about what you're feeling, just try to feel it, look at it, and observe it without judgment.

I want to hug everyone in this thread. You're all heroes. I love you, and I say this with my IUD proudly in place. Thanks to you, our species will survive.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 1:39 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

"I feel like I’m supposed to be excited and glowing about this pregnancy and our coming kid, and instead I’m just worried and anxious and physically uncomfortable."

There is SO MUCH they don't tell you before you have a kid. I feel like everyone kind of secretly suffers behind the scenes and pretends everything's unicorns and sparkledust, until occasionally you break into a little secret enclave like this ask (and the Asks of 189347543764321987 other newly pregnant and new parents) where all of a sudden you discover NUH-UH ACTUALLY THAT ISN'T HOW IT WORKS AT ALL.

Being pregnant sucks at many times and in many ways. I had parts of mine that I enjoyed, but my first trimesters were full of misery and bone-crushing exhaustion and food aversions and bleeding and fear, and my third trimesters were really hard for other reasons.

Being the parent of a newborn sucks in many ways. I was not prepared for how hard it is to be woken up every two hours around the clock every day for weeks. Breastfeeding was great eventually but the first weeks were.... hard. I may have, at points, sat on the couch and sobbed "Can we please just send it back? Please? Just put it in a box and send it.... somewhere?"

BUT: Pregnancy is temporary, the fourth trimester is temporary, and the period where you're zombied out with WTF JUST HAPPENED AND ALSO WHICH END DO I PUT THE DIAPER ON? coincides beautifully with the baby's needs consisting entirely of snuggles, milk, and occasional ass-wiping. By the time the baby wakes up a bit and needs to be intellectually stimulated, you'll be finding your sea legs, and you'll be much more confident.

Look: Your life is about to change completely. You'd be ABSOLUTELY BATSHIT CRAZY if you didn't have at least a smidgen of trepidation about that. You have some significant challenges ahead, with the end of pregnancy and the beginning of a newborn (after that comes potty training and lice and please and thank you and for the love of god stop pulling your brother's hair, so it is always something) BUT your life will be richer in ways that you never imagined and even though it isn't all rainbow sparklebutts, it is awesome. I PROMISE you that as your child starts to discover things about the world, you will be in awe right along with them, and "what to do" will become more self-evident as you see them discover each thing. Your baby discovers she has a hand - you'll stick a toy in it and see what happens. She discovers there's a baby in the mirror - you'll instinctively make faces at that baby and see what happens.

You'll figure it out, and the parts you don't figure out, you'll come here or to wherever your other outlets are, and ask around, and we'll be here to help.

FINALLY, just because you hate parts of it doesn't mean that ultimately the whole thing won't be as rewarding as you were promised. It's just that it's rewarding and amazing and totally shitty all in one gooey messy package. I spent a lot of time terrified that because I was miserable at times, I was Doing It Wrong, but that isn't actually true. The bits that suck are temporary and ever-changing; the parts that are awesome grow and develop over time. Hang in there!
posted by telepanda at 1:40 PM on December 15, 2016 [6 favorites]

Nthing what everybody else in the thread is saying. Being pregnant was terrifying and awful and uncomfortable and wretched and humiliating and filled me with active resentment against everyone and everything. "Hurray, surprise indignity!" could basically have been my pregnancy memoir.

I hated being pregnant, but I love the hell out of my kid and am, if I so humbly suggest, a pretty great mom.

(Side note: having somebody to no-holds-barred complain about every shitty pregnancy thing was huge. Like that friend who was a couple weeks further along, and who TOTALLY GOT ME when I was complaining about how everytime I sneezed, I peed myself a little? YEAH.)
posted by joyceanmachine at 1:40 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Pregnancy is a good time to try out all the self-care stuff you can think of, in part because it might help and in part because it's much harder to do those things once you have baby in hand.

I did acupuncture during my pregnancy, in part because I'd started early as part of my fertility treatment. Mine happened to be covered by my insurance, but it was a good way to relax and get in touch with my body. I also did yoga until I couldn't anymore. I also just slept and ate a ton.

Understanding that it won't last forever is helpful for the newborn phase as well, where every new stage is like 40 hours long and then you're onto the next thing.
posted by vunder at 2:04 PM on December 15, 2016

Being pregnant is terrible and it's OK to hate it. I'm only at 10 weeks and every day I'm asking myself why I thought it would be a good idea to go through this for a second time. I tell my husband, it's like puberty. My body is changing and my hormones are at crazy levels and I just don't feel like myself in so many ways. But when I get worried, I look at my amazing, difficult, loving three year old son and I know that I can get through this. After all, I come from a long line of women who had babies that made it to adulthood and had babies of their own.

We get so much media crap about how beautiful it is to be pregnant and to have a new baby. You have to counter that by seeking out stories about what's real. Some things that have helped me are reading lots of books, listening to One Bad Mother, and the Alphamom Pregnancy Calendar.

Also give yourself permission to take it easy. If you need to spend all your free time laying on the couch reading fanfiction, you won't be the only one.
posted by beandip at 2:07 PM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hi, my pregnancy was also terrible. I just had my first baby 3 months ago and I want to second everything everyone else has said about the indignities and discomforts of pregnancy.

It was like having the flu for 9 months. I felt better within hours of delivery and by 2 weeks, 95% of the ailments I complained about for literally all of 2016 were gone.

Things that helped:

Visiting the community pool every weekend for a 90 min float/swim. Floating in water was literally the only time I was not in pain after month 6. Do whatever you can to find something to swim in: water parks, community pools, hotels with pools, maybe a gym membership if the place has a pool and the initiation fee isn't nuts. This was money well spent (and no, I didn't look great exploding out of my bikini, but it was worth not caring in exchange for some sweet, sweet pool time).

Filling the bath tub with hot water and laying down in it. I had a rotation of Metafilter, Reddit, Facebook to read on my phone while I laid (as best I could) in the hot water. I was too big to be more than 50% submerged but it helped with the constant pain in my hip joints.

Napping a lot. Laying down was painful and caused my legs to go numb, but once I managed to fall asleep, it was a decent way to pass the time.

I brought a chair with me to things that I'd normally stand up for (meetings at work, happy hour at work, company picnic, etc)

Lowering my expectations. I chose not to care if someone else ran a marathon at 9 months or had things set up for the baby before baby arrived. I made several meals out of Cheetos when they were all I could tolerate. I let just about every household chore slide in some way or another.

Daily treats. I had a can of soda pretty much every day and I very much looked forward to it. I also bought myself a Nintendo 3DS to play with when I couldn't do anything but lay in bed. I let myself read a lot of Reddit and Metafilter.

Distractions. Pokemon Go was huge in my 7th month. We played it for weeks, sometimes from the car because I couldn't walk much. I used to watch TV once or twice a week, but we started watching shows 1-2 episodes a day. Anything to avoid just laying there miserable.

Bigger treats when you can swing it. My partner and I took a trip to the beach to make sand castles and float in the hotel pool. Simple, but I loved it so much. Our hotel was right on the sand and I had no expectations of myself other than to do whatever felt good. Don't go somewhere where you have to 'get the most for your money' or try to see all the sights in a limited amount of time; just go somewhere where you can be lazy.

Ice packs for hip pain and the rib I dislocated throwing up in the 7th month.

I thought it wouldn't end (and I went 4 days into overtime) but it did end - and I felt better within hours of her birth. I had my doubts I would ever feel good again (or that I ever felt good in the first place) after being so sick and in so much pain for 9 months, but it did end.

Each day will pass, and May will get here just as September got here for me. Keep yourself comfortable and endure. Good luck.
posted by paris moon at 2:12 PM on December 15, 2016 [6 favorites]

I hated being pregnant, I thought I knew what I was doing because I'd babysat babies when I was a teenager but I still had to have the home visit midwife show me how to put the diaper on correctly so my kid wasn't constantly peeing all over herself (FLUFF THE GUSSETS), and yeah, it freaked me out how frequently I would wake up one day during pregnancy and my body was suddenly doing something ridiculous/in a lot of pain someplace/otherwise behaving out of my control. To some extent this is common and just not well talked about. Beyond that, if it's causing you real anxiety/worry/keeping you up at night, it's worth looking into therapy. Like someone above said, pre-partum depression is totally a thing, as is post-partum, and you should not be afraid to ask for help.
posted by olinerd at 2:13 PM on December 15, 2016

And joining in: ain't no feeling like that DONE BEING PREGNANT feeling!
posted by olinerd at 2:13 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

For the fear of having a newborn aspect: even if having a newborn isn't as glowy for you as it feels like it is for other people, a) rest assured, there are a lot of people right there with you* and b) while it feels like an eternity at the time, the newborn phase is actually pretty short (I'm saying this now because you will hate people saying that to you when you're in the thick of it, possibly).

posted by freezer cake at 3:01 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

My advice is that the best way to manage these feelings is to allow yourself to have them. It's ok to feel frightened. It's ok to feel less confident than you usually do. It's ok to feel overwhelmed.

People will give you tons of advice. See above comments for a litany of it. You could take all of it or take none of it and either way at the end of your pregnancy you will have the exact perfect baby for you. You and your baby are on a great but scary adventure and you'll learn what to do and how to cope together, at your own pace, gradually, over time.
posted by bimbam at 3:17 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have a seven month old. I didn't love being pregnant, though I enjoyed some parts of it more than others. For the most part, being pregnant made me feel anxious - sometimes excited but more often anxious. I remember thinking how strange it was that they did so few ultrasounds and saying, there is a person in there and I'm worried about them and it seems like no one else is.

I completely empathize regarding not really knowing what to do with a baby and being worried about hurting the baby. The thing I've found is that while fragile, they're heartier than they seem. I took a baby class that helped. I think the thing that was really helpful about it was seeing there were people there who knew less than I did.

I strongly encourage you to try not the tell yourself how you should feel or are supposed to feel. You feel how you feel and that's okay. You're doing something hard and while other people have done the same thing, they haven't done it in your body at this point in your life.

I also remember feeling annoyed by people who kept asking "how are you FEELING???" like I was supposed to have some clever or more interesting answer.

I understand that it's hard but try to find pleasure and happiness wherever you can during this time. Find some maternity clothes that you don't hate. Overindulge in whatever your stomach can handle. And don't tell yourself how you should feel.
posted by kat518 at 3:34 PM on December 15, 2016

I just have to chime in with everyone else who chirps at bad news with "At least I'm not pregnant!" It's been almost 5 years since I've been pregnant and just remembering that I'm not pregnant can lead to me skipping around with joy.

Pregnancy is no picnic. It's not easy. I know exactly one women out of hundreds who adored being pregnant and found it easy. Everyone else has shared some of my experience of feeling like you're walking through a 9 month long horror film.

So please don't feel like you're alone or "doing it wrong". It is seriously okay to feel what you're feeling, all of it, no matter what.

And the secret about having babies is that by the end of the 3rd day you're pretty much a baby expert - you've changed diapers, kept the baby fed, snuggled for 72 solid hours of on the job training - boom, that's it. That's babies. Have a baby with colic? Put on hearing protection (I like the kind with a built in radio) and hold the baby stomach down across your arm while walking around. Not getting enough sleep? A lot of parents find trading off nights so that you get at least a couple full night's rest every week works better than taking turns each night (I did not have help and had two babies at the same time and you know what? We all survived and I didn't go insane and I didn't hate every minute of it. A LOT OF MINUTES of it but I loved a lot of it too).

It's okay. Sometimes the best thing to remember is that it will be different every five minutes. Everything in pregnancy is about rapid change, which is REALLY TERRIFYING and a lot uncomfortable but there's a deadline where it will all be over, and the miraculous thing is that you get an adrenaline boost and a hormone drop after birth that makes you feel like you're walking on air. It really feels so much better immediately after the baby is born.

All those happy glowy pictures of dazed moms smiling with their babies in their arms? They're 10% thinking "wow, look at this new person!" and 90% thinking "HALLELUJAH I'M NOT PREGNANT!"
posted by annathea at 3:34 PM on December 15, 2016 [4 favorites]

I think it's totally normal to hate the physical feelings of being pregnant! Your body is uncomfortable, feeling weird, and changing rapidly. I'm sure most people hate the physical sensations (my pregnant friends all have). People just don't always talk truthfully about how they feel- pregnant people are supposed to feel excited and happy, so people emphasize those feelings. But my close pregnant friends have always confided that their bodies feel alien and they're terrified and anxious... because they're doing a huge thing by making a human = another totally justifiable feeling. I think it's totally ok to feel how you feel.

When I feel emotions I'm uncomfortable with, I try this little series of questions (here is mine today):
How do I feel?
Anxious. (naming an emotion makes it feel better)
Why do I feel this?
Because I am starting a new job tomorrow and I feel unprepared and afraid I won't do well. (this is a reasonable justification for nerves!)
What's the worst case?
I do a bad job and the workflow is slow and I don't get asked back. (that's not the end of the world).
What's the best that can happen?
I do such a good job that they are happy they hired me, ask me back a lot, and I have a great new job that pays well.
How can I flip the odds in my favour?
I will prepare carefully tonight, eat well tomorrow, stay as focussed as I can, and be friendly.
What can I do RIGHT NOW to help the best-case scenario happen?
Well I'm hungry so I can eat something healthy, and maybe pick up a healthy snack for tomorrow.
Go do that! (then you feel productive which chases the demons away a bit).

Good luck!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:39 PM on December 15, 2016 [10 favorites]

I hated being pregnant all three times; it was miserable and I loathed it and it just got worse every time so by the third time I was just basically enraged for nine months. The only way through it for me is remembering there's a definitive end point; it can only last nine months. I went to therapy the third time just because I needed somewhere to roar out my rage about the whole thing. I'm a great mom, all of my kids were desperately wanted, but OH MY GOD I hated being pregnant. And some people are okay with that -- especially if they didn't like being pregnant either -- and other people have a really hard time coping with it, either because they idealize motherhood or because they struggle seeing you uncomfortable. Both my husband and my dad were really taken aback and upset by my rage-level about being pregnant, partly because I was so miserable, partly because I'm not usually a very angry person and I was just furious all the time, and partly because they couldn't really understand (being men who had not been pregnant). "But Eyebrows, you'll be so happy when the baby comes! You really want this baby!" "Of course I do," I snapped, enraged, "I just don't want to be pregnant to get there."

Every single delivery I was like, "haha, this is the best day of my life, I'M NOT PREGNANT ANY MORE!" It's also absolutely normal for women who had any trouble getting pregnant to feel guilty about resenting the process of pregnancy. But dude, it's a miserable, mammalian process even if you really struggled to get there.

"But this whole process is freaking me out, because I feel like I’m supposed to be excited and glowing about this pregnancy and our coming kid, and instead I’m just worried and anxious and physically uncomfortable."

I actually did my masters thesis on pregnancy in the western liturgical tradition and just as a datapoint, the Bible is often has women who are super-happy they're pregnant but way more often, and sometimes at the same time, FUCKING TERRIFIED AND MISERABLE. "Wow, this awesome thing is happening, and yet I am worried and anxious and physically uncomfortable," is pretty much the entire attested history of pregnancy.

You will be kinda freaked out when they let you just TAKE YOUR BABY and LEAVE THE HOSPITAL. That part's just kind-of mind-blowing. But you will adapt really quickly and you will have countless resources -- pediatric nurse lines, books, ask metafilter, friends, relatives -- who know how to deal with diaper rash or give a bath or do about colic. My favorite book was "Heading Home with Your Newborn" which covers the special questions and concerns of the brand new parent for the first 16 weeks or so, which is when you have a LOT of questions about specific newborn things, and it stops right about the time you start being like, "Oh, sure, I've got this, I am a diapering champ/I can bathe this slippery octopus/I know when to call my pede" and don't need so much hand-holding and start to feel confident. So it's not as overwhelming as a "first year" book, but it's very detailed on those early questions. (I also found it calm and reassuring and accepting of various parenting styles, rather than the sort of high-strung uber-parent perfection some books go in for.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:25 PM on December 15, 2016 [8 favorites]

Both of my kids were surprises, doubly so because I'd been told several years before my firstborn that I'd never be able to have children. So they were my "miracle babies," as people kept reminding me, and I was supposed to be excited and grateful and happy and on and on. I really, really wasn't.

Both of my pregnancies were absolutely freaking miserable. I had morning sickness around the clock the entire time. My everything hurt. My mental health went down the drain. Every medical issue I have went into overdrive. I cried when I found the book Pregnancy Sucks: What to Do When Your Miracle Makes You Miserable. Finally, someone admitted it! Having this parasite invade your uterus and take up residence for 10 months, sapping your energy and sucking up your nutrition and brain cells both, sucks! The author also has a blog called Sucks and the City, and has written numerous other books about things that suck.

A few highlights for you:
* I was pregnant with my son on 9/11. I sobbed for days about what kind of world was I bringing this kid into.
* My son broke one of my ribs. I'm extremely short-waisted, so there was no freaking room for him to go anywhere.
* Both kids did a number on my bladder. After about 28 weeks with my son, I was using incontinence pads. I could barely move without peeing on myself.
* My daughter wanted to GET. OUT. NOW. I went on bedrest around 30 weeks. That was fun. Miserable and I couldn't move.
* Baby girl still came a month early. A whole new level of terror, that.

Babies are resilient. My son rolled over for the first time at the doctor's office, when I'd taken a single step away from him to grab the diaper bag. Right off the exam table. 3.5' fall onto linoleum. Not a mark on him. My stepson accidentally dropped my daughter when she was a month or so old. Not a bump or a bruise on her either. You're not going to break an arm putting a onesie on the little one, no matter how much it feels like you're about to. Their butts don't get sores when you have to use half a box of wipes to scrub poop off them.

One big thing that I think might help you deal with these feelings: Let go of "supposed to." "Supposed to" is crazy-making. Who says you're "supposed to be excited and glowing about this pregnancy and [y]our coming kid?" If someone is actually saying those things to you, that person deserves to be flogged with a dirty diaper. Look at what is. You're "worried and anxious and physically uncomfortable." That's your pregnancy experience. And that's ok.

And I'll give you my pro tip for child rearing. Let go of "supposed to" there, too. Well-meaning people, people who love you, people in authority, they'll all tell you what you're supposed to do, what your baby is supposed to do, what's supposed to happen. Supposed to is great in a perfect world. But out here where the rest of us live, it's just another way to make us feel like crap about ourselves. You're the expert on your kid. You're the World's Greatest Authority on babyfax. Trust yourself.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 5:06 PM on December 15, 2016 [7 favorites]

I love this thread!
Basically everything I would say is already said, but it's the first time I've hear so many voices saying it, and though my girls are 23 and 18, it's still empowering to hear it said. There are so many expectations and myths around pregnancy, it's intimidating. I always thought I'd have four children, but when the second time was as terrible as the first, I decided it's not for me. I love my kids, though, and they and everyone else claim I've managed motherhood just fine.
The hospital had an introduction to parenthood class which my husband hated, but I really learnt from. The teacher showed a video of a gorilla nurturing her child instinctively, and told us that we should trust our instincts, because we haven't evolved as a species significantly since the stone age. This was extremely comforting to me. I guess my husband wanted to feel more evolved - we divorced. Anyway, it has worked for me to this day.

Here's a nice anecdote: when I was pregnant with no. 1, I was at a huge Christmas party, and apart from the fact that I was drinking milk while everyone else was drunk, I had to go to the bathroom to throw up all the time. Early in the evening, when I had given up and was on my way home, but couldn't find my husband, I run in to a couple we see on and off. I say I am on my way home because I'm pregnant and not feeling well. She says this mean nicety: OOOH dear, congrats, but when I was pregnant, it was the best time of my life. Then he says something I have never forgotten: Well Mumimor, think about it: would you rather have 9 amazing months while you are pregnant and live the rest in misery, or have 9 months of misery, and 90 years of happiness?
Oops. Good thing she was drunk and he is a loyal and faithful husband.

Also, I ate a lot of ice-cream. Judging from the comments above, it seems to be a universal cure. I preferred nougat and raspberry gelato.
posted by mumimor at 5:06 PM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

My IVF baby is hitting two months old on Saturday. I just want to say, the hormone are a real thing. I didn't even realize how badly they were messing with my mind until about 12 days postpartum when I woke up and felt magically better. I later read that all the mood swing hormones peak about 10 days postpartum.

I really cannot emphasize enough how big this was. I had assumed that the problem was with me. I was not trying hard enough to use my CBT techniques. I was not doing a good enough job being mindful, focusing on the positive etc. And the whole time, it was something biochemical going on. It wasn't my 'fault' at all.

Also, due date boards (e.g. at websites like The Bump) are fantastic. It's so reassuring to compare notes with others are similar stages.
posted by ficbot at 7:45 PM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Self-fulfilling prophecy. No one wants to clue you in on what "might" happen, so you get the spiel about how you will be Earth Mother and Superwoman all rolled into one. Also, hormonal swings that make talking to a pregnant person like sticking your hand into a dark hole - nuclear explosion or a bag of feathers? Or both?

Lot's of good advice on the above. Seconding what Mumimor said. There is no way to predict what comes with any pregnancy and delivery. I wish someone else had chimed in about how different two pregnancies can be for the same woman.

And I'm that unicorn that had two delightful pregnancies. One bout of morning sickness with the eldest, none with the youngest, no pregnancy woes... but the eldest was two weeks and two days late ("I'm a whale. I'm gonna be pregnant forever." Pro tip: never laugh when the wife says that.) And the second was a week late, a breech birth, and I still have complications 28 years later.
But they were both perfect. And I still clearly remember wanting to get them from the nursery and take them home RIGHT NOW. YMMV.
Best wishes to all the moms and dads and no-by-choice aunts and uncles.
posted by TrishaU at 7:47 PM on December 15, 2016

Look, I strongly feel that there are no women in this world who actually enjoy being pregnant. Thy just lie and talk about how gloat and wonderful it is the same way people post things in instagram. It's not real, at all - no matter how much they want you to think it is.

I hated being pregnant every second of it. I love my son dearly, but the actual growing of him was a nightmare. For me, I had a lot of cognitive reframing about being tired and feeling disgusting and spontaneous vomiting. I called my first trimester my "3 month free trial period of bulimia." Every time I would puke I would say to myself "this is because if the hcg, which the kid needs to grow - it is a good thing I am puking". It works pretty well with every symptom. It didn't make me physically any less miserable, but at least it helped give me martyr status in my own mind.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 7:56 PM on December 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Another thing to keep in mind is that different stages of pregnancy can be quite different. It's reasonably likely that you will have an easier slot coming up soon. If not enjoyable, it will at least be different.

Signed Another one here, fwiw, who is also basically just waiting out the pregnancy.
posted by jojobobo at 10:50 PM on December 15, 2016

Response by poster: My dear lovely people, I am laughing and crying all at once. Thank you for your reassurance from the bottom of my heart, and thank you for all of your good advice.
posted by colfax at 1:49 AM on December 16, 2016 [4 favorites]

I hated being pregnant, hated hated haaaaaaaated it. I was sick from before the positive pregnancy test to the day after the baby arrived, and I was so scared and anxious, and I had a lot of other life stuff going on which made the whole thing harder, and it was just such a miserable time.

It doesn't help that what you see of other people's pregnancies online is so often this carefully-curated, glowing, overjoyed and excited picture of someone else's life. For me this made the whole thing even lonelier - I didn't really have a community of pregnant friends in real life to share experiences and support with, but the pregnancy/baby communities online had so much kind of "Here's a sneak-peek preview of our gender reveal photoshoot!! #teampink #teamblue #nottellingyetlol" with these lovely professional photos of some woman with perfect makeup on cradling her bump, with her George-Clooney-lookalike husband and affectionate Labrador by her side.

(I used to cheer myself up by imaging what my equivalent photoshoots would be like. Artfully-shot photo of me crawling from my bed to the bathroom when I was too sick to stand, tagged #soblessed. Me and husband lovingly staring into each other's eyes in the airless hospital waiting room where we'd been waiting for a medication review for two hours. Instagram-filtered shot of our damp second bedroom full of packing boxes and Doctor Who magazines: "Nursery all ready for baby!" Photo series showing our reactions as we opened the latest letter from my employers about the maternity pay they didn't want to pay me: "Here's our Employment Law Reveal Photoshoot! #teamindustrialtribunal".)

Anyway, you can get so far by acknowledging to yourself (and to everyone around you who you trust to hear you) that this is hard and you are miserable. Just being able to say that is a big thing. But what also helped me was finding a counselling service that specialised in helping pregnant and postnatal women. I don't think I ever fell quite into depression, but I was skating very close to the edge for a while there, and having that space to talk to someone who got it was so, so helpful at keeping me from falling in.
posted by Catseye at 2:59 AM on December 16, 2016 [7 favorites]

Nnnnthing that what you are feeling is not only very normal for many of us, but (even better, because who cares about normal?) totally appropriate! And unlike just about every other major life change, society expects you to be a radiantly happy glowing goddess throughout it!

To be honest, I have to credit starting therapy with a wonderful therapist (along with support from my now-husband) with getting me through pregnancy. I had an clear case of pre-natal depression -- which you may not have, but it does sound like talking to a professional talker might be of some benefit. The biggest thing I wish I had known then is that pre-natal depression and intense dislike of most of pregnancy, in my case, did NOT mean that I would have post-partum depression. Yeah, I had baby blues when my hormones hit the next phase of the roller coaster and I was terrified and sleep-deprived and going back to work was brutal and eventually spawned new non-partum-related issues, but honestly...the depression evaporated over my maternity leave, when I had been bracing for horrendous PPD. Hormones are powerful and mysterious.

Also: the advice above about preparing is sound. But if the preparing winds up generating more anxiety, you have the right to change your mind. Newborns do not do much, and in most cases they really don't need nearly as much as the baby-industrial complex would like us to think. The days are likely to feel pretty endless once you're in the fourth trimester, and there is time to ride the learning curve then, when you are (oh, bliss) NOT PREGNANT.
posted by LadyInWaiting at 3:29 AM on December 16, 2016

You're not alone.

There are definitely people out there who are glowing and happy and all that jazz. And if you watch TV or read magazines they're pumping you full of that kind of image of pregnancy. But like a lot of things on TV and in magazines, that's kind of bs. You're full of hormones, your body is being co-opted by an alien parasite that is steadily shoving your organs out of the way so it can grow, you can't breathe, you can't sleep, you feel terrible a good percentage of the time, you're dizzy and nauseous, and people keep telling you how you should be feeling. Those people are jerks. (or just ignorant)

I have psoriasis and during the third trimester it went into overdrive - horrible itching, flaking, cracking and bleeding overdrive. Something that didn't abate until I stopped breast feeding after the second nipple got psoriasis plaques on it.

Something that I think it was helpful to me: every pregnancy is different. Every baby is different. You're going to get a lot of advice for both and it helps to know that almost all of this advice is good - just not necessarily good for your pregnancy or your baby.

The other thing you can see here is that there are a lot of people who didn't enjoy pregnancy. When people suggest that you should be glowing, just be honest. Let people know that you're struggling and while there may be a few judgmental jerks, you'll likely find a bunch of people who understand and just talking about it can help.

Big hugs.

I have a ten month old little pain in the neck. And people have started asking me when I'm going to give him a little sibling. I do not understand why this is a question and why people won't take no for an answer.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:33 AM on December 16, 2016

Look, I strongly feel that there are no women in this world who actually enjoy being pregnant. Thy just lie and talk about how gloat and wonderful it is the same way people post things in instagram. It's not real, at all - no matter how much they want you to think it is.

Well, I did love being pregnant from weeks 20-40, although I didn't make a big deal of it. Although I felt pretty terrible for the first half of my pregnancy, I was one of the lucky ones whose morning sickness and fatigue vanished sometime around week 18-20, and once we had a good anatomy scan and I wasn't trying to conceal the pregnancy at work any more, it was pretty great. The hormones were good to me.

So while it's normal to feel like pregnancy sucks, it's also normal to not feel that way. Not everybody loves it, but not everybody hates it, and just because you don't like the first trimester doesn't necessarily mean that's how it'll be the whole time.

It may be similar to instagram in that the more noise someone makes about the wonders of pregnancy the less you can trust that they're telling the truth.
posted by Kriesa at 6:22 AM on December 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hi! Welcome to the club - I too hated it. I currently have a 2 month old. Being pregnant sucked. Which I know you've just read a lot of these comments, but want to also say that if reading baby books or anything else like that also causes your anxiety to spike, you don't have to. I read a little here and there before labor, enough to feel somewhat informed but not over the top that would trigger an anxiety attack. So I really recommend the Pregnancy+ app, each week you get an update on your baby (size / development) and daily there is a blog with good and timely information. Enough to not be overwhelming. Then I really recommend having the American Academy of Pediatrics Birth to Newborn book (sorry on mobile can't link but memail and can send later) and have that with you at the hospital and the first two weeks at home. I learned best while living it and reading it as opposed to reading it in advance. So I read through it as baby slept, and would pop it open to reference as needed. After a couple of weeks you get a better handle on things you won't even need it.

Stay strong, and the one thing I read that helped me through the end of pregnancy and the first weeks of baby is that every single day is completely different, take it hour by hour.
posted by xicana63 at 6:25 AM on December 16, 2016

Thank you for posting this. I'm currently pregnant, going into my third trimester. I don't always hate it, but at the very best I feel just ok. And a decent amount of the time, I hate it.

It was harder when I was trying to act breezy about everything. Now when people ask me how I'm doing I say "well, I have to carry around a special donut cushion to sit on..."
posted by ewok_academy at 7:15 AM on December 16, 2016

!! MeTa !!
posted by sestaaak at 8:15 AM on December 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

When I saw my SIL in the hospital after her twins were born, following a labor and two deliveries that were craptastic, the first thing I said was "You're not pregnant any more!" I think that should be how we greet new mothers.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:29 AM on December 16, 2016

I remember just feeling like every month brought a new insult -- not just weight and aches, but weird skin things, and hair falling out, and who knows what craziness. I actually made a blog called Now What?! just to make myself feel better, and it may or may not be fun for you to read about what somebody else experienced on a montly basis... (and a couple of views from After).

Anyway, hang in there. And be prepared to feel clueless the whole time you're a parent -- after all, you have essentially a new kid (new issues, new stages, new fun) every few weeks, so you can never master it. Parenthood is a dance, not a hat, and part of the steps is looking like you know what you're doing, even when you're makig it all up. You'll be fine, or you'll find some help in figuring it out.
posted by acm at 8:31 AM on December 16, 2016

oh, another concrete suggestion of What To Do: make sure you have comfortable, pretty maternity clothes. Even if it feels like a stupid waste of money. It isn't. You need to feel as good as you can. (And honestly you may need the stuff that flows easily over a tummy for a while after you give birth, too. Postpartum is hard and decent clothing is a huge part of self care.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:36 AM on December 16, 2016

Look, I strongly feel that there are no women in this world who actually enjoy being pregnant. Thy just lie and talk about how gloat and wonderful it is the same way people post things in instagram. It's not real, at all - no matter how much they want you to think it is.

That's pretty patronizing, don't you think? I dunno, I felt pretty great pregnant and though I experienced minimal specific discomforts, a lot of annoying stuff that I was experiencing before pregnancy went away. I was lucky, I knew I was lucky, and every pregnancy is different. It's not necessary to assume that other people are lying just to normalize the experience of discomfort, anxiety and dysphoria.

I feel like this same thing plays itself out throughout the whole experience: some people have some things easy and some people have some things hard. That's just how it is. This is also why I always recommend a new mom's group because I think the benefit there isn't just the specific support and empathy you get from other people, but I think it's helpful to see the range of experiences. Plus you get to recognize the stuff that IS going well and I think that is helpful.

One thing we talked about in the group was that most people don't get it all easy. We kind of divided the experience into 4 phases: Conception, Pregnancy, Delivery, Newborn. I had a very bad time with conception, an easy time with Pregnancy, a relatively traumatic Delivery (placental abruption, emergency C-section), and a fairly easy time with the Newborn stage. I know other people who had different experiences. You could easily further break down the Post-Partum/Newborn Stage into things like Feeding, Sleeping, Maternal Recovery, Mood, etc.
posted by vunder at 10:13 AM on December 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Couldn't read all that came before me but I have my 2 cents too!

1) I had an easy pregnancy. Very. But the moment I gave birth (via c section with catheter) was the first time I didn't feel like I had to pee in 9 months. Hallelujah.

2) I am WILDLY uncomfortable with newborns. No mother in history was more uncomfortable holding her newborn for the first 24 hours than I was. It was weird. It felt even more weird that anyone felt natural holding such a tiny baby in the first 36 hours of his life without fear of screwing up somehow. I remember marveling that within 1 week, my husband and I could pass him around like a football.

(I still don't feel comfortable with babies, but I distinctly remember that one time in my life when I did with mine).

Good luck!
posted by murrey at 8:12 PM on December 16, 2016

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