FFHQ Pregnancy Expert and midwife Avril Flynn reveals that she hated being pregnant and discusses why it's okay to admit it.
For the majority of women, uncomfortable symptoms aside, pregnancy is a time of real happiness. Particularly if you have struggled to conceive or suffered a pregnancy loss. More than just being a time to be happy, a lot of women absolutely adore it. They feel special, they feel the blossoming life within them and experience real connection, hope and contentment.
However, not everyone feels like this and it can be a really difficult thing to admit, that despite being delighted at the prospects of a new baby – you are not enjoying the pregnancy one bit. Worse than that, you intensely dislike it. To my utter surprise, that was my experience and I’m here to tell you that it's ok! You are not alone.
I love pregnant people. I spend my life around them and I’m passionate about making pregnancy a positive, life-affirming and joyful experience for anyone I care for. I believe there is nothing more beautiful than a pregnant person. I think the awe-inspiring act of growing a human is singularly the most miraculous thing in our biology.
I can, and love to, talk about pregnancy. I can and do all day long- and yet when it came to my own, I have zero shame about saying that I didn’t enjoy it at all.
In fact, I hated being pregnant and it was one of the steepest learning curves of my life.
I got pregnant in fantastic circumstances. I was in a stable relationship, married to a man I loved, I had a home, was financially okay and had good supports. It was a much longed-for pregnancy.
I suffered a pretty horrific ectopic pregnancy just months prior, and I had endometriosis, my periods were non-existent, and I thought I might have to undertake fertility assistance or treatment and then BOOM - totally unexpectantly I got pregnant all by myself. Well not all by myself, my husband was there too but you know what I mean.
Initially, when I found out I was thrilled, and I really thought I would just absolutely love it. But that’s when the expectations and the reality separated entirely. Instead of breezing through the pregnancy I felt terrified. I was anxious, stressed, scared and in all the ways that I thought I would adore it, I just didn’t.
There were multiple reasons for this, and I really struggled internally with the ‘shame’ of not loving my pregnancy. I didn’t tell many people how I really felt and when anyone asked or complimented me, I was quick to change the subject.
But not anymore! It was one of the drivers in me setting up my business because understanding that some people just don’t like being pregnant, gave me a unique ability to empathise with clients in this position. It also enabled me to tailor various programs that I teach and different techniques I have learned that can help some women enjoy their pregnancy more.
Instead of breezing through the pregnancy I felt terrified. I was anxious, stressed, scared and in all the ways that I thought I would adore it, I just didn’t.
At the very least, I can help people feel comfortable with how they feel and give them permission to talk about it with zero judgment. In the end, my own feelings turned out to be a real gift as prior to this, I would never have understood how you can want something so badly, a beautiful perfect baby and feel so grateful to have been given the gift of getting pregnant, but not enjoy the journey at all.
If this struck a chord with you, then I want you to know I know how you feel. It’s ok to say that you hated being pregnant. For others, perhaps don’t assume that a prospective mother will automatically feel that she is ‘blooming’ and in love with her pregnant self- give her the space to feel her true feelings and support her regardless.