This post is in partnership with Hancock Regional Hospital as part of their empowering women and children site. All thoughts, experiences, and opinions are my own. Be sure to check out their site for additional resources and support.
A few years ago during Thanksgiving week I was in the grocery store with my future step-mother-in-law (SMIL for short here on out) when I received a text that a friend had just delivered her baby. I told my SMIL I was happy for my friend, then jokingly said, “Ugh I can't imagine being pregnant. I'm going to make an awful pregnant woman.” She stopped dead in her tracks, did a complete 180, and while wagging her finger in my face scolded me as if I was throwing an irrational temper tantrum in the store. She said, “Stop that right now, you need to chill out.”
Later that night she went to my future husband saying she was concerned about me becoming pregnant and my ability to handle it. It felt like such a sucker punch. I, like most women, have fears about being pregnant. Some of these fears are bigger than others, but as someone living with anxiety, they can feel like mountains at times. My husband has known about my fears for years. They're something we talked about before we got engaged and he has heard them a million times over.
But this exchange made me think, “how many other woman have these fears but feel guilted or shamed by others to stay quiet about them?” I wholeheartedly believe that every time we share a fear or struggle, its grip on us loosens a little bit. The weight of it disperses across others, making it a little less heavy on our soul, and becomes a little easier to cope with. Which is why today I want to share with you all my fears about being pregnant.Each time we share our fears, the weight of it is shared.Click To Tweet
I also want to preface the fears that will follow by saying: I know the ultimate goal of pregnancy is to have a happy and healthy baby. That is the most important thing. I know some of these fears may seem trivial or even selfish to some. But I think they are fears that a lot of us have and don't feel safe enough to talk about. Which is why I am writing this post. It's not easy and I hope I don't ruffle any feathers by seeming ungrateful or vapid. I know many woman who cannot get pregnant and would die to have these fears as part of their reality. So I guess we will start there…
9 Fears About Pregnancy:
I'm afraid I won't be able to get pregnant.
You see, I have no idea if I can or can't get pregnant because we haven't started to try. The following fears may seem inconsequential to me in the future, but today they are my reality. And while yes, I'm scared of all the things that pregnancy brings, I am also terrified of not being able to get pregnant. I want to bring kids into this world – and do believe that all the other fears I'm about to list are worth leaning into to hopefully bring a little piece of my husband and I into this world. My heart would break if I couldn't have kids. I've seen the pain that my friends have endured with IVF or not being able to get pregnant at all and my heart breaks for them… but I'm also inspired by their strength and courage as they've tried (and all have ultimately been blessed with beautiful families).
I'm afraid of morning sickness.
I'm prone to tossing my biscuits a little more often than the average person, maybe TMI? Sorry! Which leads me to being absolutely terrified of morning sickness. Whenever I have a bad spell, it wipes me out for the entire day. I have no energy, I'm groggy, and basically can't do much except take a bath, nap, and watch tv. I can't imagine having frequent days like that while trying to work (especially when I work from home and I'm sure my bed will look extra inviting!).
I'm afraid of not getting a good nights sleep.
I'm a back sleeper, which I know isn't recommended during pregnancy. When I sleep on my side, it gives me hip and shoulder issues and is generally uncomfortable for me. I'm nervous that I'll be constantly exhausted and also completely unable to sleep. Or that I will sleep, but it will be that irritable, cranky sleep.
I'm afraid of fainting.
I am also super prone to fainting! Fun stuff, right? For as long as I can remember my blood pressure has been on the lower side, which has led to a lot of dizziness and fainting episodes over the years. It's actually pretty common for woman's blood pressure to lower during pregnancy. Most women don't even notice a difference in how they feel when their BP lowers, but for me, I get nervous because of my history which is something I plan to learn more about how to handle if/when I get pregnant.
I'm afraid of feeling out of control.
Okay, I know I can't control all the things in life – but over the years, I've always felt comfort in having some sort of control over my body. The ability to take care of it, nourish it, and set boundaries around it has given me peace of mind. But when you're pregnant, the pregnancy controls your body. Everything from your emotions, to mental fogginess, to physical pain. That's going to be an adjustment for me.
I'm afraid of looking like a house.
Okay, I know the priority is a happy, healthy, baby at the end of the day – and I'm beyond excited to eat for two – but when my mother got pregnant with me, she was a puffy giant mess. I'm not just saying that, she was actually huge – like she gained way more than 60 lbs. For reference, a woman of average weight should gain about 30 lbs during pregnancy – a woman who is underweight should gain about 40. Which leads me to…
I'm afraid of what will happen to my career.
Again I know the ultimate goal is a happy healthy baby – but with the knowledge that I am probably genetically predisposed to put on more weight and puff up more than the average woman, I'm scared to think about what that means for the future of my business. It's part of my job to share photos of my life and create beautiful imagery for brands and more often than not, I'm in those photos.
I see all these cute pregnant woman who look like they just have a ball under their shirt and kind of know that's not going to be my reality. Is this a totally selfish and shallow fear? Possibly. But it's a real one for me and I'm sure other women too.
If we take a step back and think about gaining 60 lbs and going into an office where people start to judge you or think less of you because you're gaining weight and then ultimately because they find out your pregnant, we realize it's not that irrational of a fear. Many women go through it and it does impact our work and how others perceive us in the workplace, both during pregnancy and after. Whether we are in the social media lime light, or at a desk job in corporate America, which is a shame.
I'm afraid for my mental health and the havoc hormones will create.
At 17 years old I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I spent the better part of the last decade on medication, however went off it a few years ago. In the last few years, there have been times where I should've gone back on medication. However chose not to because titrating off was so difficult for me in the past and didn't want to go through that right before trying to get pregnant. I know how difficult it has been to cope at times during these few years, but I've done a good job learning to cope with my anxiety and depression without medication. However add unruly hormones into the mix? Well that's a pretty scary unknown for me. I'm afraid I won't have the strength to engage in the things I normally do to pull me back.
What if something goes wrong.
This is honestly my biggest fear. The rest is surface stuff that's easier to talk about. I know I'll conquer the other fears. But what if something goes wrong with the pregnancy? I've had a lot of failures in my life and try to always think of failure as a good thing – but I can't help but think what if something goes wrong – will I be the biggest failure? Would I feel like my body betrayed me? Would I feel like I wasn't destined to have kids and give up altogether?
I know these are all just anxious thoughts. And thoughts can change, evolve and grow. But they are thoughts I think plague us as women. I know that no matter what happens I'll find strength to overcome those thoughts, because I'm strong, and I've watched other women overcome them too. But they still linger so I am putting them down on the page so they can't gain strength in the echo-chambers of my mind.
Here's the thing:
Despite these fears, I know I want to walk through them. I know that I want to become a mother some day. Pregnancy is a temporary state, for the ultimate gift of life. I know these thoughts aren't rooted in reality and I could love the feeling of pregnancy! I won't know the truth until I go through this next stage of life.
If you're dealing with these same fears talk with someone about them, because you aren't alone and should never feel ashamed. I believe when we talk about our fears we lessen the grip they hold on us. I believe that it's important to check out sites like Hancock Regional Hospital's, and learn about what the experience will be like and to get support as we go through these changes. If your fears or anxiety persist, I encourage you to seek support groups or talk with your doctors or a counselor. Know that it's normal to lean on others for support.