I Never Read the Warning Labels

I have a confession to make:

As badly as I wanted to be pregnant, I was absolutely not prepared for pregnancy. Not one bit.

It’s mostly my stubbornness to blame. It’s not like people didn’t try to warn me that pregnancy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. They did. I just didn’t listen. (Really though, when you want a baby so badly, are you even capable of being rational about it? I think not.)

They tell you there will be morning sickness. You think you understand, but quickly realize that you absolutely did not understand. You had no idea that the 24/7 nausea would render you useless and miserable. You had no idea that you could sustain yourself for SO many weeks on a diet of sugary beverages and food with no color in it.

They tell you that you’ll be tired. Of course you’ll be tired, you think to yourself. Growing a human is hard work. But tired can’t be all that bad, right? And then the next thing you know you’re breaking a world record for most naps taken on a single Saturday.

They warn you of impending moodiness as they glance knowingly at your poor, unsuspecting fool of a partner. You think, yes, yes—hormones. DUH. Then suddenly, you are angrily hurling laundry at that poor, unsuspecting fool of a partner as you run out of the room and throw yourself on the bed sobbing. You barely even recognize yourself. Your partner has no idea which of your moods is coming or going. You are either madly in love with him/her or you are blinded with (temporary) hatred because of the way they swallow their oatmeal.

And then there are the things that no one really warned you about. The headaches. (Not everyone gets them, but I sure as hell do.) The constipation. The hair—OMG, the hair. Clearly the bearded ladies of circuses long past were all just pregnant. And let’s not forget the sleeplessness!

Sometimes, it’s all a bit much. I had to lie down after less than an hour of light work in the garden yesterday because I was suddenly so sore and crampy. Last week, I had to stop and rest on a neighbor’s retaining wall 20 minutes into an evening stroll with Catch and the dogs. I constantly have to force myself to be even vaguely productive. I have no desire to see friends or do—well, anything.

There are these moments, though. Like last night when I was curled into Catch as she absentmindedly played with my hair and our baby girl was kicking away inside me. Or when my mom excitedly told me how the wall that she’s never been able to find artwork for has officially been declared the grandbaby wall. It’s those moments that make me wonder if there is any better feeling in the world.

Sometimes, I look at pictures from a year ago when I was running like mad and drinking wine with abandon and I crave that life like a pregnant woman craves donuts. (Trust me—I know.) On the surface, all of those photos look so idyllic that they can almost fool me into believing that the girl holding that glass of wine while the sun shines in the vineyard isn’t actually sadder and more desperate than she has ever been in her life. But I know the truth.

Now here I am—miserably and blissfully pregnant with a pounding headache, a wiggling baby girl who just reached viability, and a heart more full than it has ever been. And I’m glad I didn’t really pay attention to all of pregnancy’s warning labels because I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world.

(Although having said that, will you hold it against me if I trade the headache for a couple of Tylenol?)

21 thoughts on “I Never Read the Warning Labels

  1. DONUTS! Don’t even get me started! I’ve ate one too many since becoming prego. I love this post. It totally speaks to me on so many levels. I also didn’t expect to feel this crappy, but I keep reminding myself the end goal will be MORE than worth it.

    • I told my mom I wanted a donut cake for my baby shower and she thought I was kidding. I wasn’t. 😉 And yes, you’re right–the end will be totally worth it!

  2. I love that you mom has declared the wall the grandbaby wall!! And even more, I love that you are happily miserable while experiencing all the downsides of pregnancy. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (because I apparently want to be a broken record) – pregnancy is hard and no-one ever said it was easy, and I respect that you give yourself space to enjoy and despise it at the same time.

  3. I was just saying this to DW the other day… That while I knew what pregnancy was gonna be like, I had NO IDEA how intense it was gonna be… And I’ve only just gotten started! But honestly, we’ve wanted this for so long, and I am willing to suffer whatever it takes to have a healthy baby in our arms.

  4. So well written and I shared your sentiments when I was pregnant. Pregnancy is the pits and there are so many downsides that people just don’t warn us about! I suppose some things are best left to be discovered on our own. lol

  5. This is so perfect. A perfect summation of pregnancy. The misery and the bliss. And the hurling laundry and sobbing on the bed. I spent an hour in the bathroom at work crying yesterday because my bastard of a husband dare suggest that I would want to spend time with the babies rather than start my maternity leave early. The NERVE!!

    Take the Tylenol. Definitely take the Tylenol!!

  6. My mom told me that all of her pregnancies were TERRIBLE (thanks mom!) and now i’m really nervous to carry, but it’s so good to hear that it’s all worth it. Not that I didn’t know that already, but Callie didn’;t really experience any of those things, just the uncomfortability of being so huge on such a tiny body. She had an enviable pregnancy, but I doubt i’ll be so luck! This is great! And i hope your headaches go away…

    • There is absolutely nothing to be nervous about. (Aside from ALL THE THINGS!) (Um… ignore that.) No matter the misery, it’s still an experience like no other. I’m not going to say that I’d do it again in a heartbeat (that’s still up for debate), but I will certainly NEVER regret it. The lows are lower than I imagined, but the highs are higher, too. It all balances out. You will love it. And hate it. 🙂

  7. Great post, thank you. So many crazy symptoms and complications with pregnancy, but hey, you have a baby girl. That is the bottom line, right? And holding her will be even more incredible.

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