A Gentle Reminder to Rejoice Pregnancy
I’ll never forget being 7 weeks pregnant with my third son when my friend asked me, “So how are you feeling?”
During that specific day, I was barely able to step foot near food without gagging, fighting bouts of puking every other hour, and feeling so exhausted I was desperate as I tried to make it through my work day. So I answered her, “Not good at all. I feel so sick.”
And then she looked at me and said, “Well try and keep a good attitude about it. Because you are blessed.”
I have to admit, her comment rubbed me the wrong way because in that moment, while feeling nauseated and tired, I wasn’t wanting to be told how lucky I was, I was wanting empathy for how sick I felt. But I have to admit, I couldn’t stop thinking about her words for the following few weeks. Little did I know, my friend’s sister had just lost her second baby to miscarriage.
It may seem like a benign word, but just ask women and men how they feel about it and you will find that this word is often paired with strong emotions and reactions.
For some, this words evokes joy and gratitude. For others, this word evokes embarrassment and fear. For others, this word represents frustration, hurt and disappointment. And for some, pregnancy is just a synonym for sadness. All in all, the meaning of pregnancy is diverse in the hearts and minds of women (and men).
When I am pregnant, I like to kid that the one and only thing I enjoy about being pregnant is that I get a baby. And that and that alone is what brings me joy when I am fighting nausea and gagging during the first part of my pregnancies and swollen and unrecognizable in the latter half. And while some women feel beautiful and glowing while pregnant, I feel the complete opposite. I gain tons of weight, experience back pain and have a whole slew of other unpleasant symptoms that I will leave to your imagination. But they are not glamorous.
However, I’m also aware that my pregnancy trials are nothing compared to some of my friends and acquaintances’ experiences. I’ve had friends who threw up every day until delivery, friends that lost 35 pounds due to extreme nausea, friends that were hospitalized to receive IVs because of their dehydration from illness, and friends who were on bedrest from 14 weeks on while trying to raise other children.
These stories and experiences are proof that pregnancy can be incredibly trying and arduous for many women. And it seems unfair to tell these women to be grateful when they are sick in the hospital receiving IV fluids, which brings up two important questions for women to consider from both sides of the pregnancy experience.
- Does a women verbalizing the difficulty of her pregnancy unknowingly disrespect those who so desire to be in her same shoes?
- And if it does, it is right for this woman to feel guilty when she admits she is not enjoying her pregnancy?
It seems many women wanting to get pregnant and struggling to do so find it hard to be around pregnant women let alone those who are complaining about their pregnancy. And while a pregnant woman may assume she knows whom she can complain to, it seems many women experiencing infertility are staying silent about their struggle but grieving nonetheless.
So “What is the best way for a mom to rejoice in her blessing, acknowledge her difficulties without guilt but be sensitive to those who want to be pregnant around her?” Well I think remembering the experience of those on the other side is the best place to start.
First, do not assume the woman you are talking to does not want a baby herself. However, do not feel that saying you are having a hard time means you are not grateful or that you should know she is trying to conceive. You are not a mind reader.
Secondly, remember you have a right to acknowledge your pain too. But in doing that, try to keep gratitude close by when at all possible. Because while pregnancy may have a set amount of time of uncomfortable symptoms, there is an end in sight that gives you a BABY! But with infertility and miscarriage, there is no end in sight to the pain or understanding to the struggle they are experiencing. And that reality is hard.
For strength in staying positive while feeling so sick, I recommend separating out your symptoms from your baby. Simple statements like, “I feel sick, but I know that my sickness means a baby is growing inside of me” or “I feel fat, but I’m grateful my body is making room for the new life inside of me” are helpful in keeping you positive as you find yourself over the toilet each morning or night. The more we train our mind to think positive thoughts, the more we begin to feel them! And that can help when we are feeling less than in love with our pregnant selves.
Cheers to Gratitude for New Life and Sensitivity toward those who Seek To Be Pregnant.