Pregnancy is not beautiful.
Babies are beautiful. Hearing the heartbeat on the monitor is beautiful. Feeling those first flutters of movement is beautiful. Coming up with the perfect name, decorating the nursery, finding out the baby’s gender, looking for family features on the 3-D ultrasound photos… all beautiful.
But pregnancy—not so much.
And I will never understand the backlash for admitting this fact. The entire pregnancy and birthing process is a 9-month torture meant to remind us of the sins of Eve. Guess what people—it isn’t sunshine and daisies and rainbows! It’s uncomfortable and embarrassing and hideous, just as it was designed to be.
Now, there are women who will go to the grave claiming that they loved being pregnant, insisting it was the best time of their lives, and that anyone who doesn’t think pregnancy is simply amazing is a horrible shrew who doesn’t deserve to even have children. Go ahead—post a pregnancy complaint on Facebook and see what happens.
It is my opinion that those people are ridiculous. And really, the memory of the whole pregnancy experience becomes a little blurry after that beautiful baby is born. So if it's been more than 24 hours since you were pregnant, you have relinquished the right to judge.
Here are just a few reasons why I don’t buy into all the “beautiful” spewed by no-longer-pregnant mamas:
1. Pregnancy body changes are not beautiful. Sure, there’s that cute little baby bump, although I’m pretty sure even that is really only fun for skinny girls. I had not been skinny for many moons prior to becoming pregnant, so it is less exciting to watch my big gut grow even bigger. But no matter how great someone might think that weight gain is, I doubt many women get excited about those elephant ankles or the feet that have outgrown every single pair of shoes in the closet. Then you’ve got the painful cantaloupe boobs, swollen fingers, broken hair, weakened abdominal muscles, and the infamous stretch marks. Plus, if you get to experience a C-Section, like I have, you get the extra joy of 3-inch scar. I would bet that even the takers of the 40 weeks-worth of the notorious sports-bra-and-low-rise-yoga-pants belly pictures don’t enjoy all those extra perks. If they did, we would see weekly photographic ankle/boob updates.
2. Insomnia is not beautiful. Not only are the big, purple circles under the eyes not the most attractive, but neither is the psychotic woman who emerges due to sleep deprivation. You can blame many of the sleep issues on all the physical changes mentioned above. But let’s not fail to mention the addition of nighttime baby gymnastics, bladder pressure, and, my personal favorite, HEARTBURN. I am convinced that if a person could die of heartburn, I would be in the grave. And this is not the kind that can be cured by popping a couple of chalk tablets. This is a whole new level of Hades that makes me feel like puking my guts up. But Heaven forbid I actually give in to the gag reflexes because vomiting produces more… you guessed it! HEARTBURN.
3. Pregnant noises are not beautiful. The irony of pregnancy is that when I do finally manage to overcome the insomnia, I just wake myself right back up again with my supersonic, run-away freight train, could raise the dead from their graves SNORING. Seriously, I don’t know how the neighbors aren’t banging on the door and begging me to keep it down. The only positive is that pregnancy is the one time that I can get even with my husband, who not only snores like a freight train himself, but also wakes me frequently with his sleep-walking. It might be petty, but I get a small bit of satisfaction when he has to ask ME to roll over.
4. Pregnancy smells are absolutely NOT beautiful. Seriously, I toot more than my toddlers do, and they have no qualms about it. I, on the other hand, spend 90% of my time out in public squirming uncomfortably and BEGGING God to protect me from the embarrassment of being pin-pointed as the culprit. On the up side, my prayer life has increased ten-fold.
5. Having the physical energy and abilities of a 90-year old quadriplegic stroke victim is not beautiful. Never have I had to take so many rest breaks during the day. Never have I been so powerless to shave my own legs or cut my own toe nails. Never have I moved so slowly yet been so out of breath. NEVER. Regular fatness and out of shape-ness do not even begin to compete. My body has lost all flexibility and endurance. It is absolutely disgraceful. But even more disgraceful—I can’t find it in me to care. All I care about is sitting down, propping my feet up, and catching my breath. So what if my toe nails are ten inches long, my legs look like a yeti, and in 8 hours I only managed to wash one load of clothes? I’m pregnant, for Pete’s sake! Go ahead and judge me for being in complete physical disarray and for living in a messy house that’s unfit for trolls. I do not care. I. DO. NOT. CARE.
But despite my distaste for most of pregnancy, and my refusal to refer to it as “magical” or “beautiful”, I am obviously overjoyed that I will soon have another little one running around my house! So allow me to give credit where credit is due:
Thank you, God, for the sweet beauty of babies! If You didn’t make them so cute, no one in their right mind would go through pregnancy more than once. The post-pregnancy mind swipe is a nice touch, too. Very well-played.
And thank you, Eve, for the role you played in drawing the baby-growing process out for a full 9-months and making every second of it such an adventure. You’re a real peach.