I’m a happy mother of two. I always wanted at least two children. I figure children are like dogs: you need more than one so they can keep each other company. So even though I hated being pregnant the first time around, I forced myself to do it again for the sake of my poor, lonely eldest.



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But that’s it. No more. In my head I still fondly imagine a bigger family, chaotic and loving, just like my own childhood. But if making this daydream a reality means that I have to go through nine more months of misery and suffering, then it’s simply not happening.

Believe me, I am overjoyed with my children. I love being a mother. People go through unpleasant situations all the time in the hope of long-term happiness and fulfilment. That’s great – but it’s important to know what you’re getting into.

So to throw a dash of reality into the happy, la-di-da world of joyful, glowing pregnancy fantasyland, here are five reasons why being pregnant stinks.

1) Sensory overload

I never had much of a sense of smell. It meant I didn’t have to worry too much about my fellow man’s BO, or a long-forgotten container of leftovers in the fridge. But from the first month of my first pregnancy, all that changed. Suddenly I was privy to every unpleasant, malodorous emanation that wafted its way past my nostrils.

I honestly never knew the world smelled this bad.

2) Pregnancy, thy name is nausea

From six weeks in until the hour I gave birth. Do not believe them when they call it morning sickness. Do not believe them when they say it fades around week twelve. These people are LYING. Or blessed by spirits. Either way, it’s just not that easy for some of us tortured souls.

Unceasing nausea, for those who have not experienced it, wears you down. All you want to do is sit and wallow in silent misery. I tried everything. Eating frequently and not at all. Ginger. Vitamin B. Prescription drugs. Doing the Hoky Poky. Nothing helped. Throwing up didn’t help. The instant I got up from the toilet floor, bang! There it would be. Miss me?

People didn’t understand. They would pretend to throw up and laugh hysterically at my expression. Truly, I lost friends because of this.

Not because they were trying to be cruel but because, even after it was all over, I couldn’t find a way to forgive them for so thoughtlessly belittling my pain.

I remember exactly the moment my nausea stopped. It was the moment the midwife told me to start pushing. Frankly, I (almost) welcomed the pain.

3) Tiredness, lethargy, exhaustion

The number of illicit naps I took at work far exceeded the number of checks on my to-do list each week. I tried to keep up my yoga and martial art training, at least during the first pregnancy. But I couldn’t sleep a lot of the time, feeling uncomfortable, achy, huge. People oh so helpfully said that this was training for when I had a screaming baby to deal with every night. They were lucky my arms felt too tired to slug them.

4) Negative emotions

People will blame the hormones. But that’s only part of the story. A pregnant woman goes through a momentous emotional rollercoaster. Think about the feelings that run through your head when you contemplate changing jobs, moving house, getting married or separated, or any other major life change. Is it any wonder that pregnant women freak out a bit? At some point they realise that their happy, selfish lives are over and they will have to put another human being first forever. It’s enough to mess with anyone’s head.

Not to mention the physical discomfort, and the body image issues. Some women struggle with the knowledge that they are only going to get fatter. Not to mention stretch marks. It’s a big problem in this image-centric day and age.

All of this adds up to one great big mental ouch. I was angry for most of my first pregnancy. There were moments of incredible excitement and joy. But mostly I was angry: at my mother for not conveying just how awful pregnancy is. At my housemates for not reading my mind and anticipating my every need. At myself for feeling so weak and powerless. At other people for their lack of consideration and at other pregnant women for their smug, look at me, I’m making new life attitude (I may have been imagining this).

Don’t forget depression. In my second pregnancy, thanks to some serious work and finance related stress, I ended up with mild perinatal depression. Thanks very much, pregnancy hormones.

5) Birth

OK, I must admit that thanks to nine long months of constant misery, labour and birth did not scare me. How bad could it be? But both times I was unable to ease the pain with drugs as I’d planned, and some serious tearing went on down there. I told myself that it was just like going to the dentist. A bit of unpleasantness and it would all be over. And that was true. Except that I had to have the tooth (read baby) extracted with no pain killers.

Some people will tell you that it doesn’t really hurt. They’re LYING.

For some reason, we tend to forget the pain soon after the baby is out. Hormones again; we’re too busy being all lovey-dovey and bondy with our babies, and our heads just let the pain go. I told my sister during my first labour that if I ever decided to do this again, she must prevent me at all costs. A fact which she reminded me of many times as I stubbornly went about getting pregnant for the second time. How cruel nature can be.

Potential parents, I wish you luck and that you quickly forget all the pain in the joy of your new family member!

Did you enjoy pregnancy? SHARE with us in the comments below.

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  • I guess i was one of the lucky ones. I always delighted in being pregnant. I loved it.


  • I absolutely enjoyed to be pregnant !! I actually dare to say that the time I was pregnant was one of my best times of my life (and that while I also suffered some miscarriages).


  • I feel sorry for this person, someone who didn’t enjoy being pregnant :( I loved it, even the bad bits, because the good bits far outweighed them! I was sad when I realised I would never experience another pregnancy


  • I love babies and that proberly why I have 4 children but I hate pregnancy!! Although with the first I loved being pregnant with the rest of my pregnancies I couldn’t wait for them to be over and my beautiful bubs to be born.


  • Not ideal when you suddenly realise you can’t see your feet or where you are putting them any more. You drop something and can’t pick it up.


  • I loved being pregnant with both my babies, baby number 1 was probably the hardest, i broke out in rashes and had really bad braxton hix with her and the labour was horrifying (my bladder was out of me) it looked like a slaughter house, mind you i did this with absolutely no drugs whats so ever, even after all this i enjoyed my pregnancy, my 2nd was easy peasy, the only problem i had was my hind waters broke about 2 weeks before he was born and he was 10 days late. I experienced NO morning sickness at all with either of them.

    • Ooh you lucky thing (well, regarding the morning sickness, I certainly don’t envy you the bladder situation!). It’s amazing what we put ourselves through really, but I’m so glad you enjoyed it overall.


  • You know, I think there are enough negative things for new parents to be overwhelmed about without listing them all here in one spot. To be honest, I experienced a lot of the things listed above but I coped with them. It was articles and friends/family members who would tell horror stories like badges of honour that made me very nervous and worried about things I didn’t need to be. Let’s just remember that everyone has different comfort levels, coping levels and not everybody experiences all these things. It would be nice just once to read some positive things about pregnancy and childbirth without perpetuating all the negative things and boost up a new mum’s confidence rather than dragging her down. There’s enough of that to come with feeding, weaning, schooling and anything else associated with kids!

    • Thank you for your comment and for standing up for how you feel about this issue – you have a very valid point and the last thing I want is to make a soon-to-be mother feel nervous or bad in any way. I was thinking of the many mothers I know who felt unheard about what they went through (including myself). It’s interesting that you wish for more positive messages about pregnancy where I wished for more of a reality check. I guess there are plenty of both kinds of messages out there, but we don’t always find them when we need them.


  • Thanks for sharing your exoeriene with pregnancy mine was very similar had morning sickness for nine months.

    • Thanks for commenting. What a shame, I really feel for you. Thank goodness it’s in the past! Do you ever get flashbacks if you put on a certain item of clothing? I had to give away some pants and tops because I wore them while pregnant and just the sight of the make me feel sick!!


  • Wow, you poor unfortunate thing. What a miserable experience.
    But future mums please know that not all pregnancies are like that. Mine were hardly like that all, yes I glowed and bloomed but yes I had morning sickness.
    I was not debilitated and yes I have 2 kids.
    I would say I actually mostly enjoyed both pregnancies.

    • That’s good to hear, and for sure, not every pregnancy is awful. Still, I certainly felt very unprepared and unaware of what pregnancy could be like, having not really encountered any accounts of unhappy pregnancy, though there were plenty of ‘happy, joyful experience’ type articles. So I wanted to correct the balance.


  • Your post was intriguing to me – I can understand your pain as I have had others express the same thing to me, not in such a comical way, though. I only had morning/evening sickness with one of mine, and never felt all the pains you have experienced. Just pain during the birth and as all the births were very quick – none lasted an hour, I guess that’s why I ended up having four beautiful children. I must admit I have been blessed and I’m so happy I had all of them.

    • I always expected I’d have a huge family and even now I would love to have more children. But I know I can’t put myself through it again. Thank goodness for women who can sail through multiple pregnancies though – without them, those who need a surrogate would never be able to have children.


  • My pregnancy went well but it was afterwards that was the problem – postnatal anxiety.

    • Oh dear, indeed the post birth time can also be a lot harder than you might be led to believe. Stress, lack of sleep, anxiety, depression and the smack in the face when you realise your life will never be the same. It’s so important we really stop and listen and accept people’s experiences for what they are and not what we think they should be.


  • Sure, being pregnant and the birth of a child is not all roses and moonshine, but I see it just as part of life. For me it doesn’t outweigh the blessing of getting and having children !

    • That’s really beautiful..thanks for seeing the glass as 1/2 full.

      • Agreed. And despite my moaning, I love my darling children more than words, and don’t regret either of my pregnancies. I just wish people had been clearer about what it could be like and how it might disrupt my life physically. Being prepared is important.


  • Don’t forget the leg cramps and constipation! The calve cramps were the worst…who needs an alarm when your calves go off in the morning. And it burns for days after! And if I walked/stood for too long in flats with little padding, my feet and toes would start cramping but these were bearable and easy to get rid of.

    • Oh my word, how could I forget the leg cramps! So long, sleep! I know some women have a terrible time with constipation and hemerrhoids (I know that’s spelt wrong!) as well. The fun never ends!


  • I’m so glad to read this article. I’ve been feeling like no one understands how unhappy I am during this pregnancy. Not to mention the odd looks when I try to verbalise how much I hate it! Good on those people who love being pregnant – I am just definitely from a different school of thought.

    • Well that’s what inspired me to write this one. There’s a LOT out there on the joys of pregnancy, and if symptoms are mentioned they’re often glossed over. For some, it’s just too physically uncomfortable or outright painful to be a joyful experience. That doesn’t mean that we regret it, or love our babies any less. I feel it’s important for people to understand that it really can be a difficult time, and not to be surprised or feel cheated if theirs turns out to be less than perfect.


  • Nope, not at all! My pregnancy was absolutely horrible! I, like you, was sick right from the get go and had my last chuck just before my daughter was born. I was either in hospital or bed throughout my whole pregnancy. I lost an incredible amount of weight and literally thought I was going to die and very nearly could have lost my baby a few times. I was 5 days overdue and more than over it when my little precious decided that it was time to vacate. I remember laying in the delivery room after an hour thinking omg, it could be hours even days before this kid gets out. That was a frightening prospect as I was so blimmin exhausted it wasn’t even funny! But little did I know, 2.5hrs, a 3C tear and lots of stitches later, I would be holding my gorgeous girl :) I would really love another baby but the thought of having to do that all again, this time with a child to look after, is very very daunting!! Lucky they are so worth it though!

    • Ooh, yes when my first went overdue I was ready to pull my hair out! It seemed so unfair to be put through one more unnecessary day of pain! I’m so glad your birth was nice and quick in the end! Tearing notwithstanding! (I’m with ya there..!)


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