positiveDavid was washing the dishes and I was two sips into my glass of wine and I knew I was pregnant. All of a sudden. Bam. I knew.

The wine tasted a little funny. Not bad. Just wrong, somehow. I was warm and tired, and instantly I just knew I was pregnant. Even though I hadn’t missed my period yet. Even though I wasn’t nauseous or sore. I knew.

So I did what I often do when I’m on the cusp of something huge; I tried to talk myself out of it.

I spent hours dithering over whether or not to go out and buy a pregnancy test. I’d taken them before, in recent months, when I’d convinced myself that I felt nauseous, or fatigued, or any of the other entirely vague symptoms that can indicate early pregnancy. And all of them had turned out to be negative, and I was never really surprised.

In the end, I knew I was pregnant this time. I just knew. So David and I piled into the car and drove down to CVS to buy a test (digital; I was not about to panic over whether a line was faint or not really present, thanks), all the while I kept up a constant stream of chatter about how I was putting us through all this for nothing, because I probably wasn’t even pregnant.

But I was.

Once we had the test in our possession, I felt better. I also waited at least two hours before taking it, much to David’s dismay. Instead I left the test in my bag, put on my pajamas, and got on the couch to read. I read for a long time. Finally, David nudged me and asked if I would please, please go take the test so that we could go to sleep already. So I did, and it turned positive almost immediately.

Shaking, I capped it, washed my hands, and carried it wordlessly out to David and shoved it in his hands.

The first words out of his mouth were, “I can see your pee.”

Then we cried and laughed and kissed and were deliriously happy for the next two weeks.

At which point my symptoms kicked in, and pretty much everything since then has sucked.

I despise being pregnant. It is nothing like I imagined it would be. I feel so angry and sick and sad. And ashamed of myself. Because we want this little baby so very, very much. We will love this baby so fully and fiercely when he or she gets here. And yet I am so furious about everything that’s happening to me right now. I don’t know how to hold such powerful and conflicting feelings inside of me simultaneously.

Today I hit 13 weeks, which is considered the second trimester by almost everyone (if you’re one of those people who claim the switch doesn’t happen until 14 weeks, don’t talk to me).

I am still sick. I have been sick for seven straight weeks now. My best friend has a chronic illness. She’s been some level of “sick” every day of her life since she was about 12 years old. Although she experiences discomfort or pain almost constantly she’s learned to adapt, and she has a fulfilling, adventurous, amazing life. And even though I know she doesn’t mind, that she would never dream of comparing the two situations, I feel like a jerk when I complain to her about how pregnancy is destroying me. How I am sick every day, and can barely leave my bed, and can’t remember what it’s like to feel normal. Compared to some women, I’m not even that sick. I have never needed to be hospitalized for dehydration. I have so far resisted prescription medication, though it’s been offered to me (and at this point, honestly, I’m probably going to give in). Intellectually I understand that there’s the possibility that it could be so much worse.

It helps that I have an amazing support system. David is incredible. He comes to every prenatal appointment with me, holds my hand and never, ever laughs at me when I cry while getting blood drawn. He runs all the errands, does all the chores, brings me food (assuming I can actually eat) and glasses of water and hands me things that are on the far end of the coffee table when I am lying on the couch in agony and cannot fathom leaning forward to reach for them myself. He reads aloud to me until I fall asleep, rubs my back, leaves me little love notes around the house to cheer me up. He tells me I am doing a great job. He acknowledges that my pain and fears and sadnesses are real.  He makes me laugh even on the hardest days. He reminds me–simply by his constant, generous presence–why I wanted to have a baby in the first place. And I could not ever imagine doing this without him.

But there is an element beyond just the physical, for me.  At my last appointment, my midwife asked how I was handling things, emotionally.

“It’s been…rough,” I admitted. And then tears just started leaking out of my eyes. I have been crying a lot since getting pregnant. Several times a day, often inexplicably. I feel a lot of stress and anxiety about leaving my apartment and seeing people who are not David. I get nervous that I am going to start feeling horrifically sick in public, and will start lashing out at people if they try to help me. I have no reason to think this is going to happen. I’m not usually the lashing out type. But at the same time I feel lonely. And just sad. Really sad, a lot of the time, with a large dose of frustration. And while there’s something to be said for the fact that my hormones are 100% haywire right now, I am also just having a hard time coping with all the rapid changes going on in my body and in my life. So my lovely midwife referred me to a therapist, and I have my first meeting next week. This, more than anything else, has actually made me feel better.

I am not a monster. I am freaking the hell out, but that’s because I’m pregnant and that’s actually really chaotic and enormous and a lot to deal with. I am inundated with a lot of complicated feelings, and I need to sit down with someone who can help me sort that stuff out. I think until my midwife responded to me as though the way I’m feeling is 100% ok, and understandable, I believed that there was something deeply, fundamentally wrong with me. I am not a glowing, benevolent, serene pregnant woman. I am a weepy, terrified, pukey pregnant woman. Apparently that is actually totally fine. I wish someone had told me that months ago.

Real talk: while I think therapy is going to help me tremendously as far as sorting out the way I’m feeling, I don’t expect to miraculously begin loving the experience of being pregnant. It’s weird and uncomfortable. I’m only 1/3 of the way through, and already it has lasted way too long for me. I pretty much expect that I will continue to hate the whole thing (heartbeat via doppler and seeing the ultrasound was magical and amazing and the only exceptions I’ve found so far. But as soon as the screen went dark and the picture faded, the magic was over and the misery was back). But at least I no longer feel like something’s wrong with me for not enjoying myself.

Anyway, that’s why the blog’s been dark for so long. Family and friends and the internet have known about the pregnancy for a while, now, but I just couldn’t summon the energy or the courage to write anything. With any luck, this will get me back into the swing of things.

(If you’re a woman who loathed being pregnant, I would love to hear about it. Solidarity! If you’re a woman who loved being pregnant, I envy and admire you. Yay for all pregnant women!)

About Kelly

Kelly grew up in the suburbs of Boston, mere minutes from the Atlantic ocean. For several years she lived in New York City where she found the two loves of her life: Publishing and David. She moved to the Twin Cities for her husband, and eventually managed to pick up the pieces of her career as well. Although she’s learning to appreciate lakes, she misses the ocean ferociously.

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19 Responses to Pregnant.

  1. Rachel July 3, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    My mother was in your boat. She absolutely hated being pregnant and described it as her body being held hostage for a year.

    I can’t offer any commiseration or understanding because I just have NO IDEA what this is like, but I do want to say that we are listening, and I am sending you good vibes. And that based on what I know of you, I think you’ll be a phenomenal mother.

    That and, hormones doth suck mightily.

    • Kelly July 5, 2013 at 8:35 am #

      Honestly, just knowing people are listening is a huge help. Not to mention, it’s a good reminder to speak up when I might otherwise lock things up inside.

  2. Mom July 3, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    I’m so glad that you’re taking care of yourself physically and mentally. Midwives are great, and it’s really good that you are devloping an honest relationship with yours. I hope you feel better soon.

    • Kelly July 5, 2013 at 8:35 am #

      Thanks, mom. <3

  3. Heather Evans July 3, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    This is one of the most courageous blog posts I’ve ever read. That fact that you have put yourself out there so transparently with what’s going on inside is testament to your ability to be present with even the most challenging of situations. And that’s why you are going to make an amazing mother.

    • Kelly July 5, 2013 at 11:01 am #

      Thanks Heather. I don’t know how courageous it is, but in the end I decided it was more important to talk about it than to keep it inside.

  4. Bri Johnson July 3, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    this was a beautiful post, Kelly, and very brave of you to write about. * hug *

  5. Heather July 3, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    This is beautiful and took so much courage. I don’t think I could ever grow a whole life inside me. And we don’t have any plans for kids so I won’t ever be able to relate. But, I know you and I know your only true weakness is how little you know about your extraordinary strength.

    • Kelly July 5, 2013 at 11:00 am #

      Thanks, dear. <3

  6. Amy Monticello July 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm #


    I’m just exactly where you are, both in terms of my pregnancy and my complicated response to it. In the past three months, I’ve come to believe it’s essential for women to speak honestly about pregnancy and parenting. Forcing ourselves to adhere to the glowing Madonna stereotypes does us no favors politically, and fuels the vicious, shameful behavior between women over subjects that actually require nonjudgmental support.

    Thank you for so thoughtfully and honestly sharing your experiences. My friend Marissa Landrigan (who’s well-acquainted with my own pregnancy woes) passed this on to me, and I’m so grateful to her for doing so. Serendipitously, my husband and I will soon be moving to Eau Claire, WI, just a hop and skip from the St. Paul area. I’m looking forward to seeing the Twin Cities. If you ever want to grab lunch or something, I’d be happy to exchange contact info privately.

    Much luck to you as your pregnancy progresses. What you’ve written here is a service to us all.

    • Kelly July 5, 2013 at 9:17 am #

      Amy, thanks! In the few days since I’ve published this post, so many people have reached out to me. It’s been wonderful, and so unexpected and overwhelming. We do not benefit from keeping silent about the unpleasant and difficult parts of life.

      Eau Claire is indeed close by! I’ll email you my contact info. I’d love to get together after you’ve settled in.

  7. Erin Cyr July 3, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    One thing that you need to know is that pregnancy is not about feeling maternal or how strong your maternal instinct will turn out to be. I know so many moms who have been pregnant 2 or 3 times, some more, and they hated every moment. For whatever reason it is difficult, a difficult pregnancy has no bearing on mothering, yet it often brings about the first time feelings of mom guilt. Going to a therapist is a WONDERFUL idea ( I love mine), and it’s really smart to establish a relationship with one now because new motherhood is a little easier when you know you’ve got someone impartial to talk to.
    I wish you the very best of luck. Having been a mom for 4 years now I can tell you that (while I loved mine) pregnancy is just a drop in the bucket when it comes to being a mother and soon enough you shall see this little bumpy patch on your path is short in hindsight.

    • Kelly July 5, 2013 at 8:37 am #

      Thank you so much for this important reminder. I don’t even think I’d realized how much I tied my feelings about being pregnant together with my fears of being a mother. You’re right; the two things are separate and one does not need to inform the other.

  8. heather kirn lanier July 4, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    Great post! A friend of mine shared it. I’m holding my 5 week old as I type and have recently started a long, long list with my husband called, “Things That Are Awesome About Not Being Pregnant.” I’m so glad not to be pregnant. I too enjoy the first two weeks of knowing, and then, as you say: “At which point my symptoms kicked in, and pretty much everything since then has sucked.” I just wanted to add, though, that with both of my pregnancies, things got A LOT better after the initial weeks. For baby 1, I felt much better after week 16, and with baby 2, week 12. So you might actually enjoy the second trimester, and part of the third. Good luck!

    • Kelly July 5, 2013 at 11:00 am #

      That list sounds incredible! I can’t wait to make one of my own.

  9. Juels July 5, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    Kelly, as someone who also has a chronic illness, I know exactly how tempting it is to compare yourself to someone else. Here’s the thing though, just because your level of “suck” is not as bad as someone else’s, doesn’t take away any of your pain or feelings. There will always be somebody out there that has it worse than you. It doesn’t make your suffering any less.
    What works for me (sometimes) is trying not to focus on how much better or worse I am, but just focus on how to help myself that day. Maybe that means leaving the dishes for another day, calling a friend to come over and vacuum the house or going out to get a pedicure. Let’s be serious, sometimes it’s just giving yourself permission to stay in bed all day and not feel guilty. Do what helps you get better, don’t worry about everyone else.

  10. Alloallo July 10, 2013 at 4:25 am #

    Here from apw and just to say I relate to a LOT of this. I was miserable physically and emotionally through my entire pregnancy, puking for 16 weeks, preeclampsia and general hugeness at the end. It wasn’t just the complications tho, as you say, as much as the process of taking it all in- and this is after a serious and complicated infertility journey! I’d like to say it magically all changed for better after my twins arrived but there have been some ongoing struggles too. That said, giving up my crazy steuggle with twin breastfeeding and getting a little childcare a few hours a week so I can leave the house on my own (and sit on cafes reading blogs for a few minutes!) has helped a lot.

  11. Kasey July 22, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Oh my gosh! First of all, congratulations! Second, my goodness the fatigue sucks beyond all belief, I can’t imagine being sick on top of that. Good luck and I really hope you feel better!

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