Friday, September 13, 2013

I Like Babies, But Not Pregnancy

When I was pregnant with my first child, I felt horrifically guilty for being so upset I was pregnant. And there was room for repentance there, as Christians believe children are a great blessing, and that God has the right to give you one when He wants (since he's the only one who can put a soul in a being anyway). I did not want a child then, and I really wished I could end his life. That was wrong, and evil.

But there's another aspect to not liking pregnancy that I think is not so much evil as human. Pregnancy is difficult, and annoying. It just is. And no one gains by lying about that. Right now I'm near month seven for baby three, and I do not look attractive in just about anything I wear. I look rotund because I am rotund. It's frustrating to be a 26-year-old young woman who is used to being skinny but really can't possibly look decent no matter how much makeup I apply, especially when my job involves lots of public presentations and interviews in which it is quite helpful to look at least not-hideous. As I have grown older and shared pregnancies with friends and been able to talk to more women about it, I have learned something that has made me feel a lot better: Lots of women don't like being pregnant, and lots of women are annoyed when we get pregnant, and we typically just get over it (right about when the baby stops being a bloodsucker and becomes a milksucker, and you can kiss his squashy little face and ditch the fat pants).

I used to think—based on the fairy tales culture tells us about children, same as it does about weddings and marriage—that pregnancy was supposed to be so special, so fuzzy and heartwarming, and the expectant mom is just supposed to glow with happiness the whole time. Writing that sentence just made me laugh out loud. And because I have never felt that way about being pregnant, I'm just a bad person. (Well, I am a bad person, but I never genuinely believe that even though it is true.)

But I was talking with an older friend a few days ago, and she told me she hated being pregnant, too. And she has five kids. So I've decided it's ok to dislike being fat, having joint pain, having a hard time standing up, being impossible to dress, and gaining thigh fat to source future breastmilk.

She also said something I thought incisive. The main reason she hates being pregnant is control. She can't control anything, and everything in her body is going nuts with really no remedy until that baby comes nine months later. The main reason I hate being pregnant is the ugliness. Some people think pregnant moms are cute, but I don't. My hips get a weird angle to them and I have to wear clothes three sizes too big, besides the obnoxious obnoxious obnoxious belly. Those pictures women post to Facebook with their bellies turned to the side are ugly. Sorry, moms. I don't want to see mine, and I don't want to see yours.

To put a wholesome spin to this rant: Despite its difficulties, nearly everyone recognizes that pregnancy has its own beauty, and I don't think it's because fat, distorted bodies are beautiful. It's because in pregnancy otherwise pretty women are wiling to let their bodies distort and go crazy for a while for a greater good of creating a human person. Pregnancy is a sacrifice, and sacrifice is beautiful.

Image by Kelly Long.


  1. Sing it! I seriously dislike pregnancy, too. And no belly shots of me, not ever. I do think some women look cute while pregnant but I am not one of them.

  2. Amen Joy! I like belly shots, but I am definitely in the realm of disliking the lack of control over my body. What is this WATER RETENTION you speak of?? What the heck, indeed. And nausea. And pains. Et cetera.

    I love your last line - because I know it is all worth it. :)

  3. When you all said "belly shots," I immediately thought of something more Animal House like "jello shots flipped off someone's belly" rather than "pictures of pregnant women's bellies."

    1. Ha! That didn't even occur to me. Clearly, I don't do enough shots. ;-)


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