If you saw the movie “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” then you may be familiar with the term ‘pregnancy unicorn.’ The movie sets a scene with a beautiful pregnant blond taking graceful strides in her 5 inch stilettos with her perfectly curled hair bouncing in the breeze. She’s teeny-tiny, and from the back, you would never know that she was pregnant. She’s avoided morning sickness, exhaustion, food aversions and weight gain. If you’re a pregnant unicorn – God bless you, you rock that glow.
I myself, am self admittedly the opposite of a pregnant unicorn. I’m not graceful, I’m not glowing and I most definitely am not prancing around in 5 inch heels.
Ladies, let’s be real – growing a human is hard. We selflessly sacrifice our body, mind, heart and spirit all for the purpose of creating a little life to love. Pretty bad ass if you ask me. However, as bad ass as pregnancy is, bad ass is typically not how we feel – yet, we are expected to be pregnant unicorns.
Once our bellies start to show we become a free for all. Questions, unsolicited belly rubs, advice from family, friends and even strangers, it comes at us in all directions. We are expected to smile, glow and embrace our swollen ankles and aching backs. Growing a child is a gift after all, and discounting that gift in any way possible is quickly frowned upon. Any doubts we have in the job we’re doing can sometimes cause something I like to call “pregnant guilt.”
The truth is, finding balance between being a mother and a human is a complex struggle. First, we are human. Our children will always be our top priority, but we cannot forget that although pregnant, we are indeed human. Pregnant women and society often forget that. We aren’t just an incubator or a uterus. We are a human being with feelings, needs and wants, growing a life who we love dearly without even meeting. Attending to the needs of our mental and physical wellbeing, along with protecting the little life we created can be demanding and tolling. It can also cause a tremendous amount of guilt.
Pregnant guilt is all too real for me and first hit me three weeks ago as I struggled to find an outfit for date night. While sitting at the end of my bed with my head buried in my hands, I cried. Partly because I felt “squishy” rather than sexy, but mostly because I felt guilty. It had only been a few weeks since my husband and I were transferred over to a high risk OBGYN at a local children’s hospital.
After making it through the crucial twelve weeks, with what felt like a never ending hangover (where all I did was complain), I finally began to enjoy the realism of my pregnancy. My excitement and optimism quickly came to a halt when an abnormality was found on our baby’s 12 week ultrasound. The wave of guilt that overcame me is something I’m still trying to shake.
Although I’m fearful for the wellbeing of my child, I need to constantly remind myself that I am human. I find myself at odds with balancing the hormonal and physical demands of my pregnancy along with the new emotional demands on my plate. That’s why I’m here being real and honest with you. Without the added pressure of family, friends, and strangers – pregnancy is hard. Each pregnancy is different, and each woman handles pregnancy differently. I’m here to acknowledge you for the sometimes difficult yet beautiful job you are doing.
Beautiful Momma’s, I encourage you to embrace your pregnancy and all its faults. I encourage you to feel and be human.