Pregnancy is supposed to be a 'magical' + 'wonderful' time of a woman's life, and while it may be for some, my experience teeters into the shadow;
I am failing to meet the 'standard expected emotion' a woman 'should' have.
I am not gushing over the baby growing in my belly, I do not feel emotionally connected, I have been sicker than I have ever been in my life. I don’t care to post baby bump pictures, or plan a nursery. I’m not rushing to the store for cute baby stuff, nor do I find any form of solace in the week-by-week-app-updates that tell me how bing this foreign invader in my body is.
My reaction to this new’s - after being 6 days late for my expected moon blood, and even though this was a thing I wanted and we had in fact been trying for - was one of fear, instant regret, overwhelm, and panic.
A baby? Me, a Mother? How in god's name will a baby fit through my vagina? And what about my life…. is it over?
I thought it was meant to be a time of deep joy?
I thought the tears after seeing the “yep, you’re pregnant” on the pee stick would be tears of great relief, enormous excitement - after-all, this was planned, this was what I wanted.
Why was I so filled with emotions that mismatched the ones all the world always told me I would feel?
Instantly, from the moment I reacted the way I did when i saw the pee-stick-results, I felt as though something was deeply wrong with me. I felt uncontrollable shame + guilt.
2 days later pregnancy symptoms hit me in ways I could have never prepared for. I was bedridden. I was too sick to eat, but too anxious not to eat. The panic I felt was indescribable - not panic about having a baby, but baseline anxiety panic, like the sensation of depression, mental illness, insanity. I was unable to leave the house alone due to crippling anxiety, constant nausea, and the feeling of the worst flu I had ever had. It took me until last week to even be able to enter a grocery store due to the intense smells, all of which made me gag.
I could find almost zero resources that normalized how I felt, that acknowledged the pain I was in. Thank god for my best friend, she went through this very thing, and so I knew deep down I was not alone. But, I also ‘knew’ (because the world insisted to me that this is a magic time) most women - although ‘morning sick’ - continue to work and uphold their daily responsibilities - there was no way in hell I was capable of working, absolutely no way, which made me feel even more guilt + shame.
I am 17 weeks and 1 day pregnant and I still feel horrible. I can not eat vegetables, I am raging with hormones causing shocking waves of unpredictable emotions, I am watching about 5-8 hours of netflix/day, and only last week was I able to start going to the gym. I feel insane, emotionally unstable, unable to get through a day accomplishing any form of ‘normal tasks’, and I’m struggling deeply to find the magic in this all.
It’s been hell.
That’s the truth.
I struggle to find the space to voice these opinions, I struggle to find women who share this experience - and yet, every time I post about it, each time I voice it, women write to me and they say “me too, thank you for sharing, I was too afraid/could not find the words”.
There is just so.much.shame directed at humans for not experiencing life in a way that society says we ‘should’, and this reaches far beyond pregnancy. Life is not black and white, we live in a grey zone and our lenses and experiences vary from human to human - and all of it, every experience, every viewpoint is valid.
I’m here on my blog to document this experience, 1st and foremost because it is healing for me to give it a voice, it’s helpful for me to name my emotions, write about them and place them into the universe. 2nd, I write because I know I am not alone.
I am blown away by the pressure from society that tells women that pregnancy ought to look one particular way, and if we fail to fit into that box, our voices are shamed and shut down.
“Just enjoy it while it’s here” negates another humans experience, shaming the use of statements like “I hate this experience” diminishes another human beings journey. Can we not just find it in ourselves to sit back and curiously, and compassionate hold space for the wide array of human emotions + experiences to be shared, experienced, and communicated?
Pregnancy is not my jam, it’s been one of the hardest experiences I have ever had. But that does not take away from the amount I know I will love this baby, it doesn't make me less of a woman, and it certainly doesn't rob my abilities to be a good Mother. Just because my experience has been dark does not mean I am not also in gratitude, grace and acceptance. My truth, my shadow experience, simply doesn’t make me less than - it’s just an experience, thats all.
Not all experiences are wrapped neatly in a tidy bow; human’ing is tough stuff, and it's dark, and messy, and wild. It doesn't only have to look like rainbows to be valid - shadows, nightmares, discomfort is real, valid, and just as magical as the flipside.
I can't find the resources to normalize my experience, so I am making one.
I know I am not alone.
I am sharing - with radical transparency - what this journey is for me, I am voicing the shadow, breaking the stigma, making room for authenticity.
Thank you for being here.