Pregnancy is one of those special events that only women can truly experience. We have all been the baby on the inside at one point but only pregnant women will ever experience what it is like to make and carry a baby. Most men are probably okay with this.
For the new mom out there wondering what to expect from her first pregnancy, trying to capture and explain exactly what being pregnant is like can be an exhausting quest. Other moms might be wondering if their experience is unique or similar to someone else’s and they are spending hours searching for the knowledge that they aren’t alone. And of course, there is likely a curious family member doing a quick Google search.
For everyone involved, here is a nice list of 20 real women’s experiences with their pregnancies. While their names have been changed to protect their privacy, their words ring true and should help paint a picture of what pregnancy is like without all the glitz, glamour and magical glowing. Okay, maybe a little bit of glowing.
Hannah says, “It was like the worst constant hangover. I was sick both times… high risk both times. I loved being pregnant though! The kicks and movement were my favorite.”
“Horrible. Fatigue. Nausea,” said Anna.
Veronica says, “I freaking loved being pregnant! Tight shirts and I rocked that bump! Finally, all the pressure to have a super flat stomach is gone, woo-hoo! I loved all the baby rolls, kicks, and jabs and was never really all that uncomfortable on a day to day basis. Though I did have a period of time when I was pregnant with my daughter where she would settle onto my sciatic nerve and I would be completely immobilized until she moved… still worth it. Oh, and it didn’t suck so much for me, but for my husband, I basically hate him whenever I’m in my first trimester. Like pure rage over absolutely nothing. Poor guy could do absolutely nothing right.”
Samatha adds, “OMG, I do agree with rocking the bump and the pressure of being fit just flown out the window! Was some great relief.”
Marian says, “I wanted everything I couldn’t have. Alcohol, raw fish, loads of caffeine and sandwich meat. I don’t even like sandwiches that much but when I was pregnant I would have killed to have a ham sandwich. Also, being 9 months pregnant in August is just about the worst thing ever. Half the places you are sweating you can’t even reach!”
“Something I will change next time I get pregnant is the timing!” Crystal said. “3rd trimester June, July, and August is so hot, SO SWEATY, so tired, and so cranky. Being pregnant overall was great though. I kept very active until the 3rd trimester so I was pain free. Not too much morning sickness in the 1st trimester (I feel very lucky) I quit coffee the first months, it just didn’t appeal to me (which is crazy because I LOVE coffee). I wanted what I couldn’t have. I actually ate a lot of Subway because I wasn’t supposed to have sandwich meat. Bad haha! Such a treat to feel little baby kicks throughout.”
Jill says, “For me it was like a rollercoaster of loving it and hating it. Morning sickness with both girls and I worked fulltime. With both pregnancies I worked up until I gave birth. With my second pregnancy I almost couldn’t drive because I’m short and my tummy was half an inch away from the steering wheel. Being tired all the time though, I think, was the hardest for me—along with being so uncomfortable when doing anything the last month of being pregnant.”
Karen comments, “Kinda magical. It’s an honor to have a little human growing inside of me, so many woman want that but aren’t able to. Feeling the kicks and (what feels like) ninja moves are a reminder that there’s a sweet baby on its way. And even the nausea, heartburn, feet/hip/back pain, fatigue, lack of endurance, poor memory—they remind me that there’s a precious life that I’ve been entrusted to carry. I will say, though, that being pregnant in the winter is a game changer compared to the woes of being pregnant in the summer.”
According to Ruth, “I had always thought that I would love pregnancy and be constantly glowing. Reality set in and it wasn’t what I had imagined. I felt like I had the flu, was nauseous all the time and very grouchy when I was hungry. I had sciatic pain, broke out in rashes and got carpel tunnel. Although, I loved having my baby in my belly and it was amazing watching him grow. It was all worth it but it was definitely different than I imagined!”
Tracey says, “Worst experience of my life! One and done. It was hard to adjust to losing your intellectual acuity on top of the ante-partum depression and physical limitations, especially for a type-A career-person. I love my baby more than anything and yet I can’t see myself doing that again anytime soon or ever. If Yelp allowed a zero star rating for pregnancy, that would be my review. I was very surprised as I’ve never experienced ante-partum depression before. The moment she was born it felt like a huge cloud lifted and I haven’t gotten an ounce of PPD. Post-partum has been fantastic!”
“Currently pregnant…. it’s exhausting,” says Mercy. “Emotionally and physically. More so this time because it’s my third so with two little ones, I don’t get the breaks that I got in my first pregnancy. That said, I have pretty smooth and easy pregnancies without a lot of discomfort or Pain, aside from feeling huge. I have a hard time handling other people when I’m pregnant. I hate when people comment or make jokes about the size of my belly as if it’s ok to comment on a woman’s body just because she is pregnant but the same sort of comment would never be socially acceptable outside of pregnancy. My favorite people are those who tell me that I look great and strong, rather than commenting on how big I have gotten. I hate when people assume that pregnant means I am broken or fragile. I had someone refuse to let me stand on a small step stool at my own house when I was four months pregnant because I could fall. Hey be shocked to see the things I do on a daily basis because pregnant or not, I am still a mom who has shit to get done. I ran on dirt trails until I was about 30 weeks and appreciate my friends who still treat me like myself, not some delicate flower.”
Celeste says, “I had my baby three weeks before my fortieth birthday. She was the miracle I thought would never happen. I got pregnant for her faster than any woman my age would. Morning sickness, I learned is rough. I was nauseated every other day through my entire pregnancy. In my 3rd month, when I wasn’t sleeping, I was throwing up. Emotionally, I loved being pregnant. Physically, it was a nightmare, most likely due to my age. While I thrilled with every bump, kick, punch, jab, my body let me know I was no spring chicken. As I advanced along in my pregnancy, I found it harder and harder to walk. I guess she was really low. My doctor was always telling me to rest. And rest I did. As I got into my third trimester, I had a hard time sleeping. I got one of those long body pillows and it worked for awhile. In my third trimester, I could only sleep on my left side. To this day, when I go to sleep, I have to be on my left side.”
Mary explains, “I was so incredibly thankful to be pregnant, but I was anxious the entire time. We are one and done. Not necessarily by choice. We tried for seven years for my rainbow baby. We did four years of fertility treatments (two IVF’s, five transfers, embryos genetically tested) and had multiple miscarriages. While pregnant, I had heavy bleeding until 16 weeks, a large fibroid that was very painful at times (thanks IVF’s meds for that!), and urinary retention. I was told baby had genetic abnormalities so I had to get an amnio (baby was fine!). I also excessive amniotic fluid and probably more that I blocked out. BUT I would do it ALL over again for my little guy. He is my heart! As for future kids—this mama is old. I’m turning 40 next week. I don’t think my body could physically or emotionally handle it!”
“Honestly I loved being pregnant,” Ashley remarks. “No nausea or anything for all four kids. I’m truly blessed. Especially since my sister tried for so many years and could never have kids so they adopted which was awesome. I did have two miscarriages in between my 3rd and 4th kids, which was so sad. But for me it was super easy to get pregnant and very easy pregnancies.”
Melissa says, “I thoroughly enjoyed my pregnancy! I luckily wasn’t hit too badly with morning sickness—nor did I experience back pain. Really, I was just uncomfortable with how big my baby was! But honestly, pregnancy made me feel important and beautiful and excited!! I was eager for each new milestone in baby’s development in the womb. I really looked forward to doctor appointments and absolutely loved feeling him move! I didn’t sleep the greatest though which was probably the hardest part for me—not being able to get comfortable and constantly having to shift position. He also got the hiccups on cue every night as I was lying down to go to bed (lol), but overall, I loved it and can’t wait to have more!!”
Amethyst writes, “I am currently pregnant and so far it has been pretty uneventful other than the extreme fatigue which let up a bit after my first trimester. I love not having to worry about my figure as much and it has been fun reaching the little milestones on my pregnancy app, such as “baby now brain waves” “baby can hear my voice” “baby’s taste buds are developing so he/she can taste what I eat” “baby can suck his/her thumb” etc. I honestly hardly feel pregnant if it weren’t for the ultrasound pictures showing me a tiny human inside. The worst part so far has been the extreme food aversions/cravings that are constantly changing and the crazy amount of indigestion. Other than that, nausea has been to a minimum and aches and pains were rough in the beginning but have decreased as my pregnancy progresses. Can’t wait to meet our tiny human!”
According to Bridget, “My pregnancy was filled with its challenges. From morning sickness so bad I had to be on meds, gestational diabetes, Charlie horses, stretch marks, etc. All is forgotten and gone (except those damn stretch marks) and I now have the best reward ever.”
Caroline says, “Each time was different; lots of nausea for all three but only heart burn for the last one. My favorite was lying in the bed in the morning and feeling them move and wake up with me. I was starving the second I woke up and eating helped with the nausea. It was really amazing to see and feel them grow and I definitely liked being pregnant more than giving birth—that’s a whole other story.”
“I loved being pregnant!” Nicky writes. “It was the most exciting experience of my life coupled with the fear of possibly suffering a miscarriage. I didn’t know what was going to happen or what my baby would like when he arrived. It was all worth it—now with my three month old baby boy I can’t wait to do it all over again.”
Barbara says, “I’m sure you’ve heard it before that every pregnancy is different and it’s so true. My 4th pregnancy was much more different than my first, 2nd and 3rd—apart from it being a boy and the rest being girls. I wasn’t sick at all; my feet and ankles didn’t swell, I didn’t have the ‘nesting’ sensation and was three weeks overdue.”
Sally exclaims, “Talk about body change!! Went from a size four to a size thirteen back down to an eight! Nothing fits and I have a whole new body shape to try and figure out how to clothe and look good in.”
Jenny writes, “The best piece of advice I can give you is something I head about six months in: it is that the birth is not the worst part—it’s the first three weeks afterwards! It may not sound like it, but hearing this actually helped me a lot.”
“The best part about being pregnant is shopping for the baby clothes!!! Love the shopping!” Said Casey.
Martha says, “To feel your baby moving inside you is so surreal, feeling it hiccup and laugh and jump when it’s startled. And then getting to see those same movements when it’s been born—just amazing.”
Emily writes, “I really enjoyed watching my body change throughout each of my pregnancies. Prior to getting pregnant, I had a poor body image. As I watched in real time as my body created and carried this tiny new life inside, changing to adapt and provide for baby at each step of the way, I found myself loving my body more and more. I’m proud of my stretch marks; they are badges of honor that I earned.”
It’s a beautiful thing to see how variable women’s experiences can be, and that the love of our children doesn’t make even the most wary of us hold back on having another. What was pregnancy like for you? Did you get that progesterone-induced rage Veronica did in her first trimester that made you not-so-happy to be around your partner? Or was it complete bliss? Perhaps most of us fall somewhere in between?