While the miracle of pregnancy and the creation of life can be compared to none other and the impending arrival of one of the most important presences in your life brings unparalleled joy, for most women, pregnancy pretty much sucks rotten eggs.
Yes, you read that right.
While some women glow like fairies with a halo hovering above them, others bloat beyond recognition and can’t even get up from the couch without farting. Describing pregnancy as anything other than a deliriously wonderful experience is not something that’s regularly done because complaining about being pregnant is widely considered taboo, but, believe it or not, not everyone loves being pregnant.
“I hated being pregnant. I was sick every day until labour. I ached. I hurt. I felt awful that I wasn’t one of those women who felt wonderful. I only did it two more times (same misery) because I loved my kid so much and wanted more of that. Don’t feel ashamed if you hate being pregnant. You’re a host to a parasite that will become a piece of your heart that walks around. Your kid will bring your soul joy in the ways that you felt joy when you were a kid. Just don’t beat yourself up over hating having a human inside of you. It isn’t great for everyone. It’s kinda gross.” – Kelly Oxford
We’re going to acknowledge the elephant in the room (no pun intended) and give you 25 less-than-glorious things about pregnancy that you’re not meant to say, but we’re going to say them anyway.
You literally, for the love of God, no way in hell, can see your vagina without some sort of reflective or recording device. After a few months, you can forget about woman-scaping. Just forget it. The hospital staff will shave you when the time comes anyway.
1. “Vagina, vagina, where for art thou, vagina?”
Sneezing, coughing, laughing, breathing... all pee triggers. Hormone changes, as well as the added pressure to your uterus can cause urinary incontinence during pregnancy. It’s not known at precisely what stage your bladder decides to slack off, but unfortunately, it does so without warning.
2. “I think I just peed myself. Again.”
Really, how bad are adult nappies? Not for the occasional leak but for fully fledged peeing into because if you have to make one more trip to the bathroom, you’ll just resort to urinating on the floor wherever you are. In any event, as Chrissy Teigen recently found out after the birth of her first child, you’ll be wearing adult nappies for the first few days post-birth so you might as well get used to them.
3. “Diaper me.”
Be prepared to apologize to your nearest and dearest. A lot. Thanks to the increased levels of progesterone, the hormone that makes your muscles relax (including your intestinal muscles), your bum can not be contained. In addition, there is so much compression in your insides that you feel like a human pressure cooker so it’s impressive that you don’t shoot out whole poos at times. Perhaps those around you should just be grateful.
4. “I just farted. Again.”
Yes, unfortunately you'll find that it is. Between not being able to reach crevices you kind of really need to reach for hygiene purposes (“I can’t say with certainty that I sufficiently wiped my butt,”) to farting every time you move (see point 4), if there is an odd waft in your vicinity, it’s more than likely you emitting it.
5. “Is that smell coming from me?”
Not all the time. Only when you see them on Instagram in their full, glorious pregnancy glow, their dainty, retention-free ankles, flawless complexions, perfectly refreshed faces, sun-kissed hair and an inspiring caption about the miracle of life. Pregnant women who make pregnancy seem like a breeze can trigger serious eyeroll especially when your ankles have swollen to the approximate size of your thighs. However, it’s easier to dismiss glowing pregnant women on Instagram as liars, but seeing one in real life, let’s say, on a brisk jog, could be enough to send you over the edge.
6. “I hate other pregnant women.”
Although it could be both, it’s highly likely it’s a skin tag. What is a skin tag? You know those ugly hanging moles usually seen on the elderly? Congratulations! Thanks to your crazy hormone levels, you have them now. All over your body. Armpits, neck, under the boobs, eyelids, thigh joints, vagina (oh yes, there too) and generally any crevice... nowhere is safe. No matter how tempted you get, picking them off is never the answer.
7. “Is this a crumb or a skin tag?”
Nipples that have taken over the entire surface of the breast and become 8-10 shades darker? Check! We’re all for the ‘Free the Nipple’ movement but it would appear that we have no choice in the matter; the nips seem to take on a life of their own. In addition to larger and darker nipples, your boobs are now massive. This might have been a pregnancy symptom you were looking forward to until you realised that instead of growing forwards in a Kate Upton-esque fashion, your boobs have been spreading outwards under your armpits (think: sumo wrestler).
8. “My nipples look like UFOs.”
If this is your first pregnancy, you will ask every mother you know if breastfeeding hurts hoping every time for a different answer. They'll say the same thing every time; yes, it does hurt at first. You may even bleed and cry. So you'll just ask someone else and then someone else, until finally, someone lies to you.
9. “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do your nips hurt?”
Discharging discharge all the live long day does not a happy woman make. Although it’s a sign of a healthy pregnancy, you’ll find yourself wondering several times a day whether you peed yourself (again) or if you’re leaking amniotic fluid and should really call the midwife - until you realise that it’s just more discharge.
10. “I’ve sprung a leak in my vagina.”
Constipation is a common side effect of pregnancy thanks to — surprise, surprise — progesterone. Due to its relaxing effect on smooth muscles, this handy hormone makes the passage of food through the intestines much slower than normal, increasing water absorption from the bowel, resulting in constipation. Feeling constantly backed-up can make one rather grumpy to say the least. It also gets you thinking, if I can't squeeze out a sausage sized morsel, how the hell am I going to get a 7lb baby out?
11. “I can’t poop for the life of me.”
With all that straining and squeezing thanks to constipation, felicitations are in order; you now have haemorrhoids. As opposed to some of the other thrilling side effects on this list, haemorrhoids or piles are unfortunately something that can stay with you long after giving birth. Thankfully there are treatments available but until they are gone, they are a literal pain in the bum.
12. “My butt is falling out.”
No matter how flexible you are, cutting your toe nails by yourself while pregnant is damn well near impossible and if you do somehow manage to do it, you'll almost certainly need a nap afterwards. If you don’t have anyone to cut them for you, you may be tempted to just leave them and see how long they can possibly get. And you know what? We won’t judge.
13. “How long is too long in relation to toe nails?”
Heartburn is now part of your daily life and you are hard pressed to remember what life was like before it. Acid reflux feels like a volcano erupting inside of you with gulps of lava stinging your insides on the way up and down. “Can you overdose on heartburn tablets” will be something you’ll have googled more than once.
14. “I do acid on the daily.”
Sure, a cute little tiny baby, your baby, that you made, moving from inside you is nothing short of miraculous, but come on, baby kicks aren't always pleasant. What's so great about being kicked in general, never mind from the inside out? One woman’s foetus actually cracked her rib from the inside with a powerful kick, and if that doesn’t convince you, just wait till you get “lightening crotch” – being kicked by your unborn baby in the vagina from the inside. Fun times.
15. “Am I supposed to enjoy baby kicks?”
For some reason, during pregnancy your feet hurt even first thing in the morning before you’ve got out of bed, when you’re supposedly fully rested (ha, ha, “fully rested”), and a pair of Crocs will quickly become your best friend. There’s no point in trying to avoid it. Yes, they are ugly, but when your feet have made their very own built-in flip flops from the hard skin on the soles of your feet thanks to all that extra weight you’re carrying, you’ll wish you discovered them sooner.
16. “I love Crocs. YEAH, I SAID IT.”
Swollen ankles, swollen breasts, and of course, swollen belly. But have you heard of swollen vagina? No? Well that’s a shame because your vagina now looks like it’s been inflated with a bicycle pump. Your body is producing more blood than ever before and a lot of it is going to your nether-regions. The lips, both outer and inner can get extremely puffy and unsightly, so it’s a good thing you can’t really see your lady bits from where you stand.
17. “My vagina resembles a bouncy castle.”
Your belly bumps into everything. You're afraid you'll give your baby a concussion before it's even entered this world. You feel like a terrible mother.
18. “I may have just knocked the baby out.”
You don't talk or read to your unborn baby as much as you thought you would, opting instead to give in to the insatiable urge to constantly sleep. You feel like a terrible mother.
19. "I'm ignoring the baby"
When your unborn baby is on the move, your whole belly can literally move side to side, change shape, and resemble something from the movie Alien. More often than not, no one can see this but you, unless you bring their attention to it. That won’t stop you, however, from being paranoid about it when you’re in line at the supermarket or post office. They can't really see it. Can they?
21. “Excuse me sir, can you see my belly moving?”
You know you’re pregnant, and you know that you’re eating quite a lot, but it all happens so quickly that you could be left wondering why even your emergency granny knickers don’t fit you anymore. Let’s be honest here; “snacking” in between meals is just eating full meals in between full meals. You constantly feel hungry, and let’s not even discuss the fact that if you don’t get some food within a few seconds of feeling the hunger pang, all hell will break loose.
22. “I eat five to six
small regular-sized meals a day.”
You will have contractions. You won't be giving birth. You'll just think that your giving birth. They’re called Braxton Hicks contractions and you might have them every single day of your pregnancy. Thankfully, Braxton Hicks don’t hurt as much as real labour contractions but that doesn’t exactly make them pleasant.
23. “I know it’s way too early, but am I giving birth? ‘Cause I feel like I’m giving birth.”
A pregnant woman being horny and having sex? Shock, horror! Yes, when you’re pregnant, the horn monster is very much alive and well but confused as hell. On the one hand, your libido is through the roof and you want sex badly and on the other, you feel the least sexy that you've ever felt in your whole life, what with the swollen vagina and the haemorrhoids, etc. (In the end, the horn monster always wins.)
24. “I could do with a shag.”
N.b. Kat de Naoum is a new mother who had all of the above symptoms during pregnancy and more, including hyperemesis gravidarum. In spite of this, Kat is grateful for all of it and wants lots more children.
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