Things You Can’t Say When You’re Pregnant

*There is a trigger warning on this post for prenatal depression*

Writing gestates and is a birth for me.

I’ve been all-day sick during this pregnancy. I haven’t handled the relentless nausea with much grace, and have pushed aside the complex emotions I’ve been dealing with.

I stopped speaking. I stopped writing beyond a few sentences at a time. Allowing my blog to languish and my writing ambitions to fade has been fairly easy, which was a surprise.

Twitter on my phone has been my lifeline to the outside world as I attempted to parent huddled in a blanket on my bathroom floor.

This baby is wanted and loved. But, my feelings about this pregnancy are complex and I didn’t feel like I could speak about them. Until I did, in this series of tweets at 14 weeks pregnant. It broke the silence. I’m beginning to feel alive again.

Things you can’t say when you’re pregnant: This was a mistake. I’m wrecking my family. My marriage. I can’t take care of my family or myself.

Things you can’t say when you’re pregnant: I’m sick & sad. It’s too hard. It’s isolating to not be happy all the time as expected.

Things you can’t say when you’re pregnant because if anything bad happens you’ll know somewhere deep inside you made it happen.

Things you can’t say when you’re pregnant because if everything turns out alright, you’ll always know the shame of this part of you. Always.

Things you can’t say when you’re pregnant because if you do, you’re a bad mom. Ungrateful. Undeserving. Inhuman. Dangerous.

20 thoughts on “Things You Can’t Say When You’re Pregnant

  1. Thank you for saying these things. I feel that our culture gives mothers permission to complain about the physical discomforts of pregnancy but not to voice ambivalence or stronger “dangerous” feelings–it’s supposed to be all so sweet and worth it. Although I would say, in the long run, that my son is so wonderful that the months of nausea and dizziness were “worth it”, it’s also true that feeling so rotten for so long TOTALLY SUCKED and I would much, much rather not have experienced it!!!

    And then when my surprise second pregnancy gave me 4 weeks of debilitating nausea, only to wind up dead because it literally had no heart, honestly I was furious. That wasn’t “worth it” in the slightest! I seriously considered asking the surgeon to try to remove the embryo intact so that I could rip up that ungrateful creature myself; I didn’t because I was afraid of what he would think of me; I had to release those feelings in other ways, and it took a long time. Simultaneously I felt guilty that I was so much enjoying the immediate relief of nausea after the D&C. Aargh,

    • Becca, I’m grateful for your beautiful honesty here. There are so many emotions during pregnancy and loss. Anger and real grief are often not “permitted” but it’s so important for our mental health to have them. You’re right, it doesn’t feel good while it’s happening. And afterward, we may not feel that what we went through is worth it.

      But, we as people (and as parents) are worth it to value the experiences we have every time.

      Thank you again for sharing your feelings here. I’m honored to be able to read them.

  2. Zoie… please express, express, express. All of our emotions are valid…doesn’t mean they are right, but they are valid. They all need time to come out into the open, be processed and fade by the wayside or evolve into more empowering emotions or actions.

    Speaking of action, do all you can to feel your best, even if it is only mental…even if your body feels not so great, project the sweetest sense of gratitude and affirmations about your life, but also have awareness and acceptance in the darkness. Sometimes when we are birthing new light into the world we get a glimpse into the darkness that we’re taking out. Without darkness there can be no light, and vice versa.

    Trust in your heart and your body and repeat the mantra I’ve been sharing so much lately “I am nourished in the divine”… you are a vessel of divinity and you mirror the universe…full of darkness and light… bursting and empty at once. Dangerous and full of serenity. Allow the darkness to connect you to the bliss within.

    Maybe find a new way to express creatively? I know when I’m not well I put on some music and sing with my girls… its something I can do pretty easily and they feel like I am connecting with them even if not physically.

    ((Love to ya Mama!)) You are supported, you are understood, you are validated…

  3. I’m 12 weeks now (I haven’t announced it yet on my blog) and I’ve been sick all day all night, every single moment for the last 7 weeks. I can’t believe it’s only been 7 weeks, it feels like a lifetime. It’s absolutely debilitating and it is so hard not to think those thoughts when you are feeling that way… My kids have been pretty much looking after themselves, but what I found really surprising is how happy they are anyway, and they’ve have understanding that I never expected to them to have at their age.

    I hope the sickness clears soon for both of us. I know for some it doesn’t, but I don’t even want to think of that possibility… another 6 months!

  4. First, congratulations on your pregnancy! Second, I’m so sorry you are feeling so awful. During my first successful pregnancy I was so sick I had to check in to the emergency room to get pumped with fluids. No fun, and I didn’t have any other children to care for.

    Apparently I never got the memo that you’re not supposed to feel or articulate negative thoughts during pregnancy. My first blog was a pregnancy blog that I started for the sole purpose of venting about how horrible I thought being pregnant was. Actually, my friends and family really appreciated it that I had actually written what they had felt but not dared to write. So, I say, let it out. You may be surprised with just how many women can identify with those feelings.

  5. This says everything I’m terrified to voice 😦 Thinking it is bad enough but actually saying it outloud scares me so much I wind up saying nothing at all.

    Thank you for giving voice to the voiceless ❤

  6. Love to you. {{hugs}}
    I was so sick during my 4th pregnancy that I convinced myself that I was not going to carry to term because I didn’t think I could love a child who would make me so sick. Your honesty inspires and humbles.

  7. First, congratulations on your pregnancy! Second, when I was pregnant with my third and in the first trimester, I felt very down and depressed and didn’t know why, as the baby was so badly wanted. I was lucky to find an online community (a breastfeeding while pregnant group) that was incredibly supportive in validating my feelings and sharing that many of them had similar emotions, stemming from those potent hormones! It does get better, and you will get back to writing!

  8. Things I couldn’t say when I was pregnant with my third: I’m not ready for this baby. It feels like a parasite. I’m depressed with exhaustion.

    Words can be very healing. Keep writing, even if it’s just your own private pregnancy journal. The pregnancy journal I kept with my third is an amazing journey through shock, despair, acceptance, self-awarness, exhaustion, chaos and then… new life, miracles and beauty.

  9. Love, love, Zoie. Thank you for speaking your truth. It is invaluable and precious, even when it’s difficult. I hope the sickness passes soon, and that you get to feeling better in all ways. I know your littles are feeling your love and mothering warmth, even when you feel like you’re not giving it your all. Please let me know if I can help in any way. ❤

  10. Oh lovely one. As much as anyone can, I understand. I was so very wretchedly ill through pretty much the whole time for 3 of 4 babies. So many times I had the same thoughts.

    I was actually hospitalized the first time and still feel the shame of it, even though I know I should be proud that I asked for help.

    You CAN do this. We all love you. Keep the words coming lovely one. We are here, listening and supporting you.

  11. My mother-in-law tells how her second son used to pet her and try to say soothing words to her while she was bent over the toilet, sick during her third pregnancy. While it wasn’t what she’d hoped for her time parenting her second child, the result was a closer relationship with this son. Relationships are complex, and our feelings about our children and our families and ourselves as parents are complex. The goal of families—if it can be called a goal—isn’t perfecting our child-rearing skills. It’s relationship. And relationships are built on give and take. Even on my best days, it’s difficult to remember this, but I still believe that it’s true.

    That being said, it can be so hard to feel like there are things we need to say but we oughtn’t. I’m glad you’re feeling like you can speak again. I’ve missed your words.

  12. I love, love, love you. I wish I could do something to ease your days during this time.
    Being sick all the time is just plain lousy. I only had one pregnancy and it was so much harder to be sick while simultaneously having and wanting to take care of that life above and beyond my own comfort. And that was without other children to care for!!! What you’re doing is huge, but it will pass, Sweet Zoie.
    My mom was very sick with her later pregnancies… I’m number 3 of 6. I can tell you from that experience that I don’t remember her being sick or unavailable. She had migraines for so long, most of my childhood. She has told me that she would just have to close us all in one room with her, and she would lie on the floor while we just crawled all over her.
    All I remember is her love, her touch when I was sick, and how much I trusted her.

I love comments and try to reply to each one. I look forward to connecting with you. Namaste

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