Pregnancy Doesn’t Suck, Part 3

31st January 2007

Ever since you can remember, whenever pregnancy comes up, someone offers a worst-case scenario. Women terrify you with tales of endless nausea, constant irritation, ballooning, swelling, facial skin discoloration. They proffer a string of “just you waits.” You begin to seriously consider adoption.

When you get pregnant, the stories only intensify. Disfiguring stretch marks, preeclampsia, debilitating mood swings.

You wait, and wait, and wait. None of the things you’ve always dreaded actually come to pass. The things that kept you awake at night, things that cost you hours and hours of worry, none of it happens. In fact, to you, pregnancy feels pretty natural.

You find these women, the women who needlessly terrified you, and beat them senseless with your handbag.

“I’m so sorry,” you say afterward. “I’m suffering from debilitating mood swings.”

67 thoughts on “Pregnancy Doesn’t Suck, Part 3

  1. Lisa

    The only thing that could possibly have made that story better was if your handbag were filled with jars of nipple cream. Hooray for happy pregnancies, and hooray for you!

  2. You can call me, Sir

    I honestly can’t remember an experience that was nearly as bad as my imagination (or other people’s) promised me it would be. We’re consistently our own worst enemy, in that regard; the perfectors of own anxiety, as it were. As for other people and their input, well, they generally just suck.

  3. dani

    ha! Just another way we women are meanest to one another. I did have a debilitating craving for pie and ate it every night my last 3 months. Come to think of it… I miss that.

  4. slouching mom

    I will go on the record and say that I experienced two terrific pregnancies, although both times I felt so guilty about the fact that I didn’t tell any of my female friends.
    I enjoyed pregnancy so much that I’d almost have a third child just to go through the wonder of pregnancy and labor/delivery again (and I even had 2 C-sections!). Almost. What stops me is not knowing what I’d do with the baby afterwards, because hell if I’m going to raise another to adulthood. The two I’ve got keep me plenty busy.

    So there. Pregnancy can be positive. Especially if you burn your copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Talk about sucking all the joy out of pregancy…

    Glad you’re having an easy time of it, too.

  5. Lily

    Yay Maggie! Glad to hear that you feeling well.

    Thanks so much for sharing your not-so-miserable pregnancy. It makes us women who are trying to conceive for the first time excited about the future!

  6. elayne

    Maybe the key to a happy pregnancy is not to have anyone tell you horror stories? Because no one told me any horror stories, and my pregnancy/delivery… ::eyeing your handbag:: well, never mind. (c:
    Glad yours is going so smoothly!

  7. Jill - GlossyVeneer

    Thank you for sharing that. Some people have told me such horror stories that I’ve seriously considered not having children at all, despite my mother’s reassurances that pregnancy wasn’t awful. I always figured she said that just to get grandchildren. It’s nice to hear an account from someone else that it isn’t the most terrible thing that could happen to a woman.

  8. Tammy

    I loved, loved, loved being pregnant! I’m glad you’re enjoying it too.

    I have to admit to feeling a tiny thrill when all my friends are complaining about their stretch marks and I mention that after three kids I still don’t have any.

  9. Hippittee

    Here! Here! for happy delightful pregnancies! like Tammy and Slouching Mom, I had terrific pregnancies – and for the only time in my life, felt comfortable and proud of showing off my belly! We’re done adding to our own family, but I seriously contemplate surrogacy just to experience it all again!

    Hope motherhood is just as good to you!

  10. anne

    Pregnancy is amazing and no matter what you go through – good or bad – it pales in comparison to the undescribable joy that comes afterward…(wait, and lack of sleep, more dealings with various boidly excretions that you could ever want, sore nipples…but that wasn’t my point). It is an unbelievably joyous time…the waiting and expecting…and I’m so glad you are loving it. It is awesome. Happy pre-baby tidings!

  11. Maggie

    As a fellow Maggie and fellow pregnant woman, I completely agree! Why oh why do women feel the need to try and freak me out? How do they think it is going to help? (I carry a large purse, and I just may use your brilliant idea next time someone offers up an “I knew a woman who….” story.) ThankS!

  12. Kyran @ Notes to Self

    The worst pregnancy symptom I had was fatigue. And the occasional leg cramp. Oh yeah, and having my ass fall out. But somehow it was all romantic and new the first time around. It gets old the second and third go around. Also, the last two weeks of gestation. It all gets old by then. It should. Something needs to motivate you to push that baby out.

    I am guessing you have been staying fairly active, physically. That can make a big difference, even when it seems exhausting just to bend down and tie the laces of your jogging shoes.

  13. eva

    Right on! My pregnancy was great too – I loved it. Especially the little kicks and wiggles in there. So special. I was horribly swollen from the knees down during the last two months, but guess what? Still loved being pregnant. How many times in your life do you get to experience such an amazing thing?

    As for the “just you wait” nonsense: They’ll come at you from all sides once the baby’s born, too.

    “So how’s parenthood?”
    “Great! We love every minute of it!”
    “Ohhhh, just you wait!”


  14. Tammy

    Ha! Yeah, I honestly don’t know what people are thinking. Between you and me, I had a good pregnancy, a textbook delivery, no stretch marks, and after 20 months of breastfeeding, my boobs look pretty much the same as they did pre-pregnancy.

    I say this not by way of bragging, but just to say my experience is totally in the realm of normal. As my awesome doctor kept reminding me every time I expressed surprise at my “good luck,” we’re designed to do this, after all.

  15. Sarah

    Gosh, I totally agree. My pregnancy was so great. I felt like I was an exception or something. LIke others, my body is back to normal, I am still breastfeeding at 13 months and it is working out great, and I would get pregnant again if it wasn’t for that whole having another-baby-too-soon-for-my-insanity-level thing.

    I felt the best in my life when I was pregnant…is that how you are supposed to feel?

  16. Sara

    Before I was pregnant and WHEN I was pregnant, one of my coworkers in particular would tell be horror stories about pregnancy and labor. Yet somehow SHE chose to have five pregnancies, all planned…. hmmm.

  17. Fiona

    I’m in my 2nd trimester, and I have had a completely trouble-free pregnancy (aside from falling asleep constantly in my first trimester). Now I’m just hoping that the delivery doesn’t make up for it–but can’t do much about that!

  18. Dawn

    I’m glad to hear you’re doing so well! I’m in my 2nd trimester and have heard some horror stories but haven’t gone through them myself. I admit that the first trimester sucked, with the all-day queasiness and fatique but I am absolutely loving the 2nd trimester, superwoman thing I’ve heard others describe.
    Good luck to you in your final weeks!

  19. jessica

    I heard so many horror stories about labor and birth through-out my prgnancy. The one that stuck with me the most was the one that was about “a friend of a friend’s aunt’s sister’s third cousin’s grandma, but it is TOTALLY TRUE! who pushed so long and so hard, let’s just say she never fully regained control of her bowels again, not even now late in her life.” I guess hormones took over my brain and I believed what this person was telling me, and I kid you not, the entire time I was pushing, I was looking at the clock and thinking “I gotta get this kid out in less than an hour to save my bowels!” Even the doctor asked why I was chekcing the time; I told him I had a hot date when I was done birthin’.

    An hour and forty-five minutes of pushing, and I have the most beautiful baby girl, and my bowels are just fine, as is the rest of me. It’s amazing how people can’t just let you enjoy living in the moment. they have to take away your moments and fill your brain with bizzare fears and worries.

    I’m so happy your pregnancy is going well, and i adore your “pregnancy doesn’t suck” series, such a fresh, happy view of this time. It’s almsot over, so try to enjoy these last few weeks! But I will admit, it’s even better once the baby is on the outside.

  20. Amy D.

    ahahahaha….have you seen the Target handbags that have a light on the inside? so you can find your keys, or, maybe aim it correctly at a head in the dark!

  21. crankybee

    My best friend is a nurse. Which seems to make her more of a target for horror pregnancy stories, which she didn’t really need to hear. You know how women are mean to one another and say “Well JUST YOU WAIT UNTIL…”? Apparently Nurses are 100000% worse. So Pip developed a technique. When anyone started to say something – She would say loudly “SHUSH!” and hold out her hand. “STOP. I don’t want to know!” If they continued, she would stick her fingers in her ears, and be just as rude to them as they were being to her…

  22. maura

    How bad does it have to get before you seriously consider, oh I can hardly bring myself to say it, adoption?

  23. Julie

    I think some women are just built for pregnancy. I have an aunt who was miserable and horribly ill throughout both of her pregnancies. My mother had three children and she LOVED being pregnant. Of course she had morning sickness and once got stuck on the floor trying to do a situp while she was eight months pregnant and my little brother and I had to help her up BUT STILL. She still talks about how much she enjoyed it.

  24. Julie

    I should have qualified that by saying of course ALL women are built “for” pregnancy to some extent, just that some are more predisposed to handle it better than others. I haven’t had coffee yet! >__

  25. Chiyiyite

    I’ve liked your site for the six months I’ve been reading it. But now? Now I’m in love. sigh.

    I’ve never been able to figure out if pregnancy was truly easy for me, or if there are just lots of whiners out there. My mom always says she’d rather have a baby than go to the dentist. I used to agree with her, but now I’m not so sure. My new dentist is pretty cute.

  26. Alexis

    Thanks for the positive outlook on pregnancy! I was starting to dread it after many horror stories.

  27. mihow

    I’m sorry, but I find it hard to believe that any woman out there actually LOVES being pregnant. Sometimes, sure, but come on now, I just don’t buy it.

    I don’t walk around and complain about it to other women (well, to close friends I do) but it’s not something I would say that I love them either.

    Guess I’m having as hard of a time believing that as I am believing the ones who say it’s horrible.

  28. Cindy

    Awesome post! Hooray for easy pregnancies! I, too, am happy to report that I enjoyed an uneventful, problem-free pregnancy. Which led to a textbook, routine labor and delivery with no pain meds. And resulted in a happy, easy baby girl who is now two months old and sleeps through the night. I don’t have much to contribute to the conversation when I meet up with other moms but my hubby and I are both having a fantastic time. Of course, now everyone seems obliged to remind me that my baby won’t always be this easy, she won’t always sleep so well. Sure, no child is perfect but I’d rather enjoy each magical day as it comes than let people scare me about the future. I loved being pregnant and I love being a mom!

  29. Lawyerish

    Thank you, Maura.

    I hate to be preachy. I am not a preachy Internet person. But I have to chime in here. I tried to just let it go, but I couldn’t. I guess I’m a small, petty person. So here it is, my little sermon:

    I’m sure it goes without saying, but the casual allusion to adoption as (1) a last-ditch resort, and (2) something done by women who simply want to avoid pregnancy, is…well…come on, now. I’m sure I need not mention that lots of people, myself included, adopt as a first choice, and not because they’ve heard horror stories about pregnancy. Nor is it necessary to point out that for a large number of women, pregnancy isn’t an option, and their choice to adopt shouldn’t be tossed aside so cavalierly, either.

    So yeah. It wasn’t necessary to point out those things, but I just did. Oh, well.

    (I’ll save for another time my comment about how plenty of women really do have tough, even debilitating, pregnancies and aren’t just inventing scary stories to haze newly expectant mothers — nor are they somehow inferior beings, nor are they “whining”, good Lord — because…well, I’m sure that goes without saying, too.)

    {going back to lurky, non-preachy status}

  30. Stephanie

    Congrats to everyone with the wonderful pregnancies but please don’t let this get back to my husband. I am an in-between, all day nausea but at least no throwing up and now I am the most picky eater ever. But sometimes my husband is convinced this is a great conspiracy to get sympathy from husbands and I want to make sure that none of you super happy pregnancy ladies has any contact with my less than sympathetic hubby.
    That said I am happy you guys have all had great pregnancies and I feel blessed that mine is closer to happy than horrible.

  31. Head Squawker Michele

    Not only did I get all those stories, a womon also loaned me her copy of “Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy” which was filled with more horrifying stories … all of which never came true. What makes people do/say these thing?

  32. Cecile

    OH you totally rock! I am 35 weeks pregnant myself and have been horrified by people who NEED to tell me awful stories about the woes of their second-cousin’s-sister-in-law’s-neighbor’s-aunt.

    I volunteer in my city in a women’s organization and last night at our weekly session, one of the gals announced she was 4-months pregnant and immediately, the horror stories began. The leader of them a woman who gave birth to her second child only a few months ago. I was so appalled! The look of terror on the new mom-to-be’s face was so apparent, but they obvious didn’t notice it or care. I finally stood up, pointed at my belly and said, “ENOUGH!” One woman was bit miffed at me, but my fellow preggie stopped me on the way out with a hug.

    Needless to say, if I would have been closer to my handbag, I would have whacked them all with it!

  33. Torrie

    You are so right.
    People are always telling me horrible stories.
    I don’t get it. Even my mom does it. She says things like “Doesn’t it freak you out that there are fingernails and toenails growing inside of you?”
    And I’m like “Now that you mention it- YES.”
    It’s like some sort of weird hazing.
    We are now part of the club.

  34. HDC

    Pregnancy didn’t totally suck for me but I didn’t really enjoy it either. The last month was a drag but not lamentably so. Now parenting on the other hand is an everyday challenge. But in contrast parenting gives you positive feedback regularly. Pregnancy had little upside other than it does have an end!

  35. Bookratt

    Ah, finally! Someone who feels the same way I did. I finally sold all my horrible “must-have” parenting books on ebay, just so I wouldn’t have them in the house to frighten myself to death with, as I had done with all the pregnancy books I had foisted upon me by “well meaning” people.

    From the episiotomy disasters to the c-section fiascoes, to the cerebral palsy and genetic mutation and health nightmares, and especially the story of one woman who said “You’ll never REALLY want to have sex with your husband again, it will never be the same, your body won’t be the same and your life won’t be the same and you will have lost yourself along the way”—to her and to all of them, I say—–pffffttttt. I was just soooooo sick of hearing it.

    Yes, I was 36 when I had my son. Yes, I knew I was “old”. Yes, I knew I’d be ready to retire when he was graduating college, that I might never see any grandchildren if he waited as long as I had to have my first.

    I was a nervous nelly type already and had a friend who lost her first to placental abruption at 39 weeks. I didn’t need one more “friend” scaring the crap out of me with these birth stories, most of which I was sure were so exaggerated as to be mostly untrue. WHY did they do that? WHY?

    It reminded me of high school. The “let’s make someone else miserable so we forget how miserable we really are” mentality. I worried so much during the pregnancy and birth that I short changed my son, my husband and myself.

    Next time, if there is one, I make a solemn vow that I will do what you suggest. And if I see some poor woman in the same predicament, I will be the voice of reason that says “Give it a rest, ladies. Let’s talk about the fun stuff, too.” Thanks for the motivation!

  36. poptart

    I’ve never been pregnant. My friends who have been had no problems what so ever. You are a rock star and the rest of them are jealous and that jealousy rears its ugly head in the form of junior high maliciousness. Enjoy your pregnancy!

  37. JewJewBee

    Well, I admit to being one of the women who has (on occassion) talked about her negative experiences — I had hyperemesis (so bad I needed anti-vomiting medication) and PUPPPs (which didn’t go away until after my son was born and then surged again when my milk came in)… On the bright side: I absolutely adored the way I looked when I was pregnant, enjoyed watching/feeling my baby move within me, had a great/fast/natural/drugless delivery — with not a stretch mark in sight, and picked up breastfeeding like it was my calling. I guess what I am trying to say is that some women have all the luck, some get a few breaks, and some were just plain handed the crappy end of the stick. Sorry if I am one of the people who has scared you with negative stories… That is never my intention when I talk about pregnancy…

  38. mamie

    my fave so far. i cannot believe some of the things women say when speaking of pregnancy to a pregnant woman. it seems the stories are even worse with twins, and the endless amount of times i heard the line ‘you cannot be having twins, you are so small’ argggggg. don’t other women know that is not a compliment to an expectant woman. so far this has been a great time in my life; i have gained weight but lost cellulite in fabulous areas (my thighs look college size again), my boobs are big (too bad husband cannot touch ’em), and i get to lay around all day (bedrest does not totally suck). so, it is all how you look at it. sure, i wish for certain things to go away, but heartburn is not a nightmare. we should do more to promote the positive side of pregnancy, spend a little more time thinking about what we say to those lovely mommy-to-be’s and embrace the all natural, been doing it for eons changes that occur.

  39. Amy D.

    fingernails growing inside you! hahaha…comment sections like this are why, everytime I walk into a talkative ladies’ room, I leave laughing. You hear the best stories!

  40. anon

    sorry to leave my name anon, it’s just i havem’t yet announced i’m pregnant on my blog yet, so…

    …i really do hope there are positives, i just came down with a bad bad cold and have been sick all week. the morning sickness has taken such an evil turn and will make me go even on an empty stomach. tell me it gets better!

  41. TB

    I’m finding it’s the same with the actual childbirth part. I don’t NEED to hear your horror stories or all the reasons my choice of birth plan is all wrong.
    My pregnancy has been so easy compared to the complaints I’ve heard from people… I imagine the labor part will be too.

  42. patricia

    Hahaha! This is my first comment here…so hello! This totally made me laugh today. After two normal pregnancies I’ve heard it all…so so true. I loved being pregnant. I won’t say I didn’t have my small ‘pity party days’ but that’s about it.

  43. liz

    Well said- my pregnancies go pretty well.

    Don’t forget to swing by all the people who told you- on the flip side- how EXCITED they were for you to have a baby.

    I don’t think I have had a single EXCITING day since giving birth. It’s the last word I would tell someone about what it is like to be a mother. There are a lot of good and hard things about it, but exciting it is not so much. Especially those initial nights, every single face popped into my head and I wanted to throw heavy books at each of them.

  44. minda25

    First, Stephanie, I’m sorry you have such an unsympathetic husband! Even if the nausea were part of some conspiracy to get sympathy (which I know it’s NOT), it’s still quite uncomfortable being pregnant, not to mention extremely restrictive. Perhaps it would help if he had a bit of perspective – I say take everything you can’t have out of the house, and always announce when the baby is kicking your bladder or punching your stomach. Harrumph!

    Sorry, got sidetracked there. Mighty Girl, I agree, although it wasn’t so much the horror stories from Moms but the overly alarmist books and websites that are all the rage right now, that got to me. I had plenty of terror during my pregnancy, but no real problems. Most “authorities” forget to mention that many problems that they talk about in depth and very frequently are also quite rare. Buttholes.

  45. King_Carmen

    *indeed*, mightygirl! i do believe that there are women out there who have terrible pregnancies, but there are also at least a many who don’t. nevertheless everybody’s ‘expected’ to suffer. it drove me nuts when i was pregnant… i must say that i found it particularly annoying when *boys* told me it was going to be horrible. what do they know?

    have a lovely rest of your pregnancy!

  46. Roo

    My mom and my sister not only enjoyed pregnancy tremendously, but even loved GIVING BIRTH. Seven drugless labors between them. (!!!!!!!) I said once, “Come on, mom, but it was painful right?” She said, “well, YEAH, but it felt like a different and completely manageable pain because it was so wonderful to be bringing this baby into the world.” I KNOW that’s FAR from every woman’s experience, just saying, you know, it happens. (Also, there is some stat about women experiencing orgasm-like sensations in giving birth, but what do I know? I haven’t gone down that road yet.) Anyway, best wishes for the best-possible labor!

  47. Beenzzz

    I had worse case scenario pregnancy. Sucks for me, but I know there are women out there who don’t go through all that. I’m glad you’re having an easier time. That’s awesome!

  48. Stephanie

    Thank you for shining a light upon that whole “let me tell you what happened to me…” senerio.
    Every single person who has had a baby since we’ve been together has had some horrific story to tell enough to make me double-think ever having kids.
    Way to buck the system.

  49. brunette babe

    This is such a great conversation…

    I’ve immediately sent it to one of my best friends who’s pregnant for the first time and who people feel needs to hear what a horrible time they had during pregancy/childbirth/breastfeeding!

    Keep it to yourselves, people…

    Hugs to you Maggie, and all the best for the home stretch

  50. Janet

    the only real issues I had with my two pregnacies was getting the flu both times. Well, that last month is absolutely miserable, but the labor and delivery totally made up for it, it was so awesome! (no epidural for either, and completely drug free the second time)

    Jacuzzi’s are wonderful in labor! And being able to move around is way better than just laying on the bed.

    Good luck!

  51. miss k

    I always wanted a family, but never wanted to be pregnant, never wanted to give birth, never wanted strangers to touch me or ask me personal questions. I’m 8 mos now and even with 8 weeks of morning sickness, a life-threatening complication and hospitalization at 25w, I can honestly say I really like being pregnant. I’m going to miss feeling the baby moving around in there, the kicks, the hiccups. And of course, eating as much chocolate as I want is good, too.

  52. Lisa

    People tend to do this for anything. If I mention cancer someone has a horror story that usually ends with their spouse/friend/twice-removed-acquaintance dead. Thanx for the moral support meany heads! I should use your tactic there as I carry heavy purses. :)

    As for pregnancies I had four and four healthy babies. I LOVED being pregnant and only had morning sickness with the first. Even labor and delivery wasn’t bad as the reward was great. The shortest labor I had was 13 hours but who cares. I would be pregnant all the time if I could as I felt so happy feeling that little one move and grow.

    My oldest is pregnant and will be popping my grandchild out anyday now. I have tried to be encouraging to her – no horror stories. I remind her the reward of holding that little one she feared she would never have (she has PCOS) will more than wipe away her current misery.

    Anxiously waiting your baby news, lisa

  53. Anna

    Hear, hear!

    I have also been having a rather symptom-free pregnancy, and have been continually frustrated by the individuals with the horror stories. They can all take a flying leap. Pregnancy is awesome!

    That being said, I’m ready to evict my kid. Just over 2 weeks to go! :)

  54. Robin

    I had a so-so pregnancy that wasn’t terrible nor was it trouble-free, and it always relieved my anxiety to hear other women talking about their experiences, and to know that my symptoms weren’t uncommon. Count yourself lucky that you are having a good pregnancy, and try to take the charitable view that the “horror stories” are actually a way of expressing empathy.

    Before my son was born, I’d heard plenty of “horror stories” about pregnancy and childbirth, but not so much about the first few weeks of motherhood. After having a few hard weeks post-partum with a slightly underweight premature baby who did NOT want to eat, plus a bad case of mastitis, I was on the verge of losing it, when my mother had a friend’s daughter call me and tell me how hard it was for her, too, when her daughter was a newborn. Just that one phone call and knowing that my situation wasn’t so unusual helped me more than I can say.

    Anyhow, I guess what I am trying to say is that sharing our experiences, good and bad, can be incredibly helpful for those who don’t have such an easy time of it, and it can also help the lucky ones know just how good they have it!

  55. Jeanne

    I think these are women’s war stories. I expect it’s also part of the grieving process for those who had hard times. This is what we go through and what no one really listens to unless you’re with a group of women with a range of experiences. Congrats on the smooth pregnancy! And have compassion for those of us who didn’t and feel compelled to tell the tale over and over. :)

  56. ozma

    I’m glad it was easy for you.

    I did have debilitating mood swings. But I had this same experience with the baby part. It was the baby part everyone kept freaking me out about. I dreaded the colic or whatever other horrible thing would happen to me. The lost of sleep! The horror! The horror!

    So then I had the baby and it was the most wonderful, amazing thing ever and I was a little irked at all those people and the terror they struck in my heart.

    Except. In a way, I may have enjoyed the experience more. The pleasant surprise thing.

    And I realize now those women were telling their own story and I was mostly extrapolating. scared the HELL out of me, for example. But it was just Heather and what happened to Heather.

    But I know pregnancy is different. Man, at the end people were stopping me on the street telling me how to push and describing the nightmare that awaited me. There’s a bit more of that teling you that what happened to them will happen to you.

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