I wish it didn't have to be this way. Nine months is a long time to keep a deep, dark secret. But if all the pregnant ladies and soon-to-be pregnant ladies have learned anything from the latest Kim Kardashian media storm, it's this: The general public doesn't take kindly to a pregnant woman who doesn't like growing a baby.
"But, maternal instinct!" they cry. "I'm not sure why, but it feels like this must be child abuse!" they type furiously on their keyboards.
Here's something very important I would love to explain in my official Pregnancy Public Service Announcement: It's possible to hate being pregnant and to still love your baby. In fact, women carry babies in their bodies all the time, all the while resenting every moment of the swollen-footed experience. But before Kim K. called her second pregnancy the "worst experience" of her life, there weren't too many of us speaking up about it.
I was pregnant twice and have two beautiful sons to show for it. In both of my pregnancies, I couldn't wait for the nine long months to pass. I was fortunate not to have any health complications, but that didn't change the fact that I was sharing my body with another person. I had a hard time with all of the pregnancy clichés that so many women act like they enjoy — the frightening transformation that included watching my body blossom out of control, cutting back on my beloved coffee and booze, monitoring the "bad" foods I ate and getting dog-tired just walking up the stairs in the morning.
Much of my pregnancy annoyance had to do with the control factor. After peeing on a stick and spending a few months prepping the nursery and creating a registry, I wanted to get to it already. I wanted to meet my baby, start bumbling through parenthood and get comfortable in my new role as a mom.
The nine-month wait was at least eight months too long.
When all the other mothers on the BabyCenter boards were waxing poetic about only having two special weeks left to bond with their unborn child before their due date, I was out there jogging and eating pineapple and bouncing on a birth ball to get my son out of me. And when friends told me that they loved the months spent sharing their body in a way that only a mother and child can, I smiled and nodded. I had no idea what these friends were talking about, but gee, their pregnancy experience sure did sound lovely.
Hating pregnancy and loving your kids are not mutually exclusive. And what may shock the world to hear is that the vast majority of pregnancy-haters are loving moms. We aren't dead inside. Many of us got pregnant on purpose because we so desperately wanted to start a family. We just didn't like the whole uncomfortable rigmarole leading up to the main event, which, let's admit, is really a means to an end.
While no one would accuse Kim Kardashian of being a role model, she's really on to something with her honest contribution to the pregnancy conversation. You don't have to love being pregnant, no matter what the other moms at your birthing class are saying. You don't even have to like it (or lose one minute of sleep feeling guilty). It's OK to hate one nine-month stretch of your life that drudges on like an acceptable form of torture. It doesn't mean you love your kids any less.
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