When Pregnancy Doesn’t Make You “Glow”

Whelp. I’m officially in the second trimester. Four months pregnant, past sixteen weeks, past that awful first trimester horror show of nausea and exhaustion.

Except I’m not.

Yup, still nauseous. Still exhausted. Still throwing up regularly. Still feeling like I want to pass out by 9pm every night and take a nap every afternoon. My pregnancy “glow” is a face full of acne worse than any I had as a teenager. I have horrid sciatic pain that strikes me at random times and can make me stumble. My hips ache constantly and it is impossible for me to find a comfortable position to sleep in.

At my doctor checkup last week I heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time (Awww!). It was good and strong and slightly slower than both Zoey’s and Eleanor’s were, further cementing my belief that this baby will be a boy. I’ve also felt the first small kicks every day since that visit. So the nugget/parasite/baby seems to be doing just fine.

I, on the other hand, am literally being eaten alive. At last check, I’m eight pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m also mild- to moderately dehydrated. While the Zofran makes getting through the day possible (most days), it does not completely erase the nauseous feeling nor the sudden urges to vomit after eating. There are days I do just fine and there are days that I can’t even keep water down.

Honestly, I’m not trying to complain here. I know there are women out there who have this far worse than I do. Women like Kate Middleton suffering from hyperemesis gravidarium. I have not yet needed IV fluids to stay hydrated. I do not have a PICC line in my arm. I do not have a feeding tube. I do not weigh eighty pounds and have organs that are failing from lack of nutrition and hydration. My heart goes out to these women. While I hate the nausea I endure with pregnancy, I know that it could be so, so much worse. I am grateful it is not.

I am grateful that my little parasite has a strong heartbeat and nudges me every day to let me know he is doing well. That said, I feel it is important to speak honestly about my experiences with pregnancy. Because honestly? It sucks. I am confronted right and left by moms telling me how much they loved being pregnant. They talk about how they never felt better, how they miss it, how it was the happiest time ever for them. When you are miserable for forty weeks straight, you start to think things like What’s wrong with me? Why is this so much harder for me than it is for everyone else? Am I not supposed to be a mom? Am I not meant for this? Do I not have what it takes? 

We all know parenting is hard. Like, really, really hard. There is joy and laughter and love like you’ve never known but there is also a whole hell of a lot of exhaustion and confusion and wondering whether you’re doing the right thing or how to do anything. If you start out motherhood doubting your abilities before your baby is ever even born, well, that quickly becomes a very deep, very dark hole to try to climb out of. I’ve been in that hole. It is lonely and scary and no new parent should have to be in it. I am fortunate to have an incredible village helping me through this parenting thing, and they helped keep me from digging a deeper hole. Hell, they tossed me a ladder and a light and said, “Come on up! We’re waiting for you and you belong here with us, in the sun.”

So yes, I talk about how hard pregnancy is for me. My intention is not ever to whine (although many see it that way and yes, I’m sure sometimes I DO whine. I am human, after all). My intention is to share my reality. Just in case some other mom feels the same way and happens to hear my story. Then she’ll know she’s not alone, she’s not broken, she just got dealt a crappy hand when it comes to pregnancy. It is NOT a predictor of the kind of mom she is or will be.

To those moms who loved being pregnant I say, “Keep sharing your stories. You earned those stripes and you deserve to remember and share a part of your life that was so beautiful.” To those moms – like myself – that loathe pregnancy and find it a horrible test of endurance I say, “Don’t be ashamed to share your story too. You are suffering and no one should suffer alone. You are not the only one.”

4 thoughts on “When Pregnancy Doesn’t Make You “Glow”

  1. I feel bad for daughter who loves sooo much being a mom. To have to have such negative pregnancy and birth experiences is hard. You are a beautiful, strong, loving person with so much to give, but it is okay to stop. It is okay to say this is my last child and not feel guilty about it. Taking care of yourself so you can share the joy of life with others should be a priority.

  2. I am sorry you are not “glowing” and still feeling awful in the second trimester 😦 I hope it will get better soon. How were your other 2 pregnancies? I think I had the “glow” with my first pregnancy, a little nausea in the first trimester, then it passed and then my only problem remained to the end: reflux. Then second time: alot more nausea, no reflux, almost had pregnancy diabetes, lots of pain in hips, spine, back. it was no glow 😦 Keep hanging in there, only 2 more trimesters to go 🙂 xoxo Fanni

    1. Thanks Fanni. I have definitely never had “the glow.” I was so nauseous with Zoey that I lost 10 lbs, then my spine and hips got twisted out of position and I has in so much pain I couldn’t walk for a week. Horrid sciatica and reflux. With Eleanor I still had tons of nausea, gestational diabetes and reflux. With both girls I started getting really strong, regular contractions at 18 weeks whenever I was on my feet and had to go on “light duty” at work. So…yeah. I pretty much hate being pregnant. Which sucks because I always imagined myself as that glowing woman who just loved being pregnant.

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