Sunday, January 10, 2010

Things that suck about pregnancy

Here's what I think: I think that mothers have been in cahoots to keep many of the secrets of pregnancy from non-mothers, just to be mean. Just so that we are tricked into going through the same misery. My theory is somewhat flawed because I have no motive for such cruelty; I actually believe women are pretty good people. But all I ever used to hear is how great pregnancy is. Then, after I am pregnant, everyone is suddenly acknowledging the misery. Interesting.

I just want to know how I got to be 35 and never had any clue about so many of these things. I now want to share with the world the suckiness of my first trimester. It may be that I want to whine now that my pregnancy is no longer a secret. But more than that, I just think people deserve to know.

I'd like to start by saying that in my "normal life" I am totally healthy and free of aches and pains. I almost never get sick. As a matter of fact, the only real ailment I have is headaches, but even those mostly went away after I replenished my vitamin D levels. So please understand that I'm not a negative person or a sickly person. I'm in great health and I'm in good shape. Sometimes great shape, sometimes good shape, but I'm never overweight or anything.

But since getting pregnant, these are some of the joys I've discovered:

1. Morning sickness: I had it better than most people - just two weeks and no barfing. But IT WAS AWFUL.

2. Major, debilitating headaches:
In a way, it's like, "what else is new?" I mean, I've always had headaches, but now I get three-day headaches and I can't really take anything but regular strength Tylenol. Any experienced headache sufferer laughs at regular strength Tylenol. It's about as effective on a debilitating headache as a Tic-Tac.

3. Sciatic nerve inflammation:
In my old, Jewish lady voice, "Oy vey, my sciatica is acting up again."

4. Muscle pain:
I woke up the other day and felt like I'd run a marathon. My legs were so sore, I walked like a 95-year-old. Getting up the stairs took forever. And I didn't not do anything strenuous the day before. Actually, I have not done anything strenuous in weeks ... see No. 5.

This one deserves all caps. If you've never been pregnant but have heard that one may be tired during this time, well, you have no idea. You cannot grasp the meaning of tired until you spend three months creating a placenta. For me: get up after sleeping for 10 hours, eat breakfast, wash the dishes, check my e-mail, return to bed for a nap before work.

6. Food Aversions:
Please don't ever show me a vegetable again.

7. Weird Pelvic Pains That Are Apparently Normal But Scare the Crap Out of You Every Time Anyway:
I guess the uterus has to stretch and everything, but you still think "Miscarriage!" at each pang.

8. Ridiculous Emotions:
I cry at everything. Everything. "Desperate Housewives," commercials, a billboard for a fertility clinic that shows one set of hands handing a baby to another set of hands. "It's a Wonderful Life," which I can't even stand but am forced to watch by my husband every year. Even a news story at work about some people who beat their 3-month-old to oblivion for "entertainment." Ok, that one deserved some tears, but usually I'm pretty good at not crying at my desk when reading horrible news stories. It's my job, after all, to read horrible news stories.

9. Bloating:
From the moment I conceived, my belly got big and puffy. I was sure everyone at work was playing "Is she fat or pregnant," but after I told them, nobody seemed to have had any clue. Or at least they were polite enough not to say, "Ohhhh. I was wondering why you looked so dumpy and plumpy."

10. Digestive Issues:
I won't go into detail, lest my mother torture me with prunes as she did when I was a kid. A friend told me yesterday that a pregnant friend of hers once said, "Nobody told me I wouldn't shit for 9 months!" That really says it all, people.

11. Boobs:
OK, so they got bigger, and that was cool, but you know when you have breast tenderness right before your period? Imagine that times 10,000 and for three straight months or more. My cat has a real knack for using my chest as a thoroughfare when I'm sleeping.

Before this, I always thought, "If I'm ever pregnant, I will eat super-healthy and exercise every day. Because that's what a good mother-to-be does."

Now I know what a complete idiot I was. Between nausea and food aversions, you're lucky to eat at all, and thanks to the exhaustion, going upstairs was about all the exercise I could handle in a day and still make it though work that evening.

By the grace of God, or good genetics, I only gained 1.5 pounds in the first trimester. It was certainly no thanks to any effort I put in. I basically had to eat whatever appetized me at the moment. Mostly I find it unfortunate to have to deal with food at all, because even post-morning sickness, I generally don't find that food sounds very good. I don't really feel normal hunger, I just feel sort of sick when it's time to eat. Like my blood sugar dropped and I'm sort of headachey, maybe nauseated, and nothing sounds good.

Oh, but if you think this sounds bad, or that childbirth sounds bad, I hear that those are a fun day at the park compared to breast-feeding.


Lisa said...

Ok, you know how you thought that you would do this or that or when you were pregnant, or, you would NEVER do whatever fill-in-the-blank? It goes double for parenting. LOL! Like just as a very generic example, I NEVER thought I would be the mom with the kid who got candy in the checkout to shut him up... and, yeah... well, I get myself some, too.

I hope that it gets better for you. I had hideous, miserable pregnancies and hated every minute of it. (They do say that morning sickness is a sign of a "well-implanted fetus", so that's a good thing!) It WILL end someday! It has to. :0)

Emily said...

Well, that sounds like a blast to non-mommies like myself! I can't wait to jump on the bandwagon now!!! Ha! Well, I hope the 2nd trimester is a walk in the park compared to the 1st!

Kerry said...

see, this is why I would/could never, ever reproduce. If I really wanted to raise a child, adoption would be my only method of acquiring said child.

Funny you mention the breast tenderness..I went on the pill when I moved in with Andy and after 24 hours I had gone up a cup size and was in so much pain it hurt to wear a light t shirt. I stopped taking the pill after 4 days but the symptoms returned every month for 2 weeks at a time for 3 months. I was relaying my story to my mom who responded with "are you sure you're not pregnant?"

I was in so much pain from that one episode that I ended up trying acupuncture, which made the issues go away. But until then I had to literally wear an Ace bandage wrapped around my boobs as tight as I could get it for 2 weeks a month.

There's no way I could endure that plus all the other stuff for 9 months.

And did I mention my chronic sciatica? Well, it gets pretty bad sometimes, and I suffer from Sacroiliac joint dysfunction. My chiropractor once advised me against having children, because he feared the force of having to blast a 6+ lb fetus out of there would blow the joint apart such that it would never go back to a normal position.

Have fun...I'm glad you're shedding light on the shit show otherwise known as pregnancy instead of being all hearts and flowers about it.

Marissa said...

Trust me on this one...once they clean off that 6-8 pounder, bundle it up in a blanket, and hand it to you, you forget ALL that crap.
Then they grow up and tell you they hate you because you make them shower every day. Wait, don't read that yet!
The second trimester is better. You'll eat again. It'll be stuff you don't like, but you'll want it anyway.
Wait 'til the second one. You're so sleep deprived and distracted with a toddler yelling 'NO' all the time, you don't even know you had sex...and then you get to go through this all over again with a 2 year old hanging off you.
But, you've gotta be good to them. They'll be the ones to pick out your nursing home when you get old.

Amy said...

oh god, i love this post. yes, yes, a THOUSAND times yes. i felt the exact same as you - why the hell does nobody tell you this stuff?! in particular i agree with the exhaustion. for me the exhaustion was more unbearable than all the other symptoms put together. till the end of the third trimester that is AHAHAHA oh no worries i'm totally kidding. no, really! the third trimester is a cinch! i promise! what, you think i wouldn't tell you if it wasn't?!?!

Mommy said...

OK ladies, this is Robyn's mom. Either you'e the whiniest lot on the planet or I just forgot all the discomforts of pregnancy. I'm pretty sure I have forgotten, which is good news for you. This misery does drift away into the mists of the years. In fact, your discriptions brought back a few things I had the exhaustion. I remember not being able to believe women had to work during pregnancy, not to mention hoe the fields, drop the baby and then go back to hoeing.

And about not shitting for 9 months. Eat your prunes (which I have ruined for you for life) and your veggies and you'll be back in business.

And by the way, did I tell you how grateful I am to be getting a local grandchild. Thank you dear daughter. You're the best.

Amy said...

Ooh, Robyn, your mom just reminded me. Metamucil was my best friend when I was pregnant. We're still close to this day, in fact! Get the orange kind, and never EVER buy off-brand. Learned that the hard way.

kim said...

This post brought back a lot of memories. I can't believe that nobody has mentioned the HAVING TO PEE CONSTANTLY issuse. I worked right up to my labor and, I swear, I would have to go to the bathroom right after returning from the bathroom. It was really embarrassing. I would have to alternate bathrooms in the building so that I wouldn't keep passing the same people. And, going to a movie - forget it.

But - as Robyns mom points out, these discomforts fade away to be replaced by much joy (and many other discomforts). I've found that being a mom is tough sometimes - and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Emily said...

Hey, I know you're way tired and feeling crappy...but I nominated you for an award at my blog! If you're not feeling up to it, though, I will not be offended! Take care!!

Mrs. Haid said...

Oh, no way on the breastfeeding. That was a walk in the park and still is compared to the 8.5 months of puking and the epidural that didn't work!!!!