What pregnant women won’t tell you. Ever.

Are you pregnant? Know someone who is? Might you become pregnant in the future? Do you have a uterus and engage in sexual intercourse with man(s)? Are you a man(s) who engages in sexual intercourse with uterus owner(s)? Are you exposed to people who engage in sexual intercourse? Have you ever seen or heard of a baby? Have you or any of your friends ever expressed interest in creating a human being from scratch?

If you’ve answered “yes”, “maybe”, “perhaps”, “I’d like to”, or “Does this site contain any content relevant to anyone anywhere?” to any of the above questions, this post is for you!

Behind the scenes at Skepchick, we’ve been brainstorming ideas and working hard at achieving our goal of getting more women interested in skepticism. Aside from blogging, podcasting, organizing conferences and panels and throwing skeptic parties, a few of us have also taken on the task of simply creating more women. Jen, Chelsea and I are Skepchick gardens… though, I admit, I missed on my first attempt and accidentally made yet another white male skeptic (fortunately, he has yet to grow a beard).

But while the human-baking process has been going on for like at least 6000 years or so, it’s hardly a process that’s been perfected. And shockingly, a good portion of the process is not discussed. Really. If you think that being pregnant is anything like what you’ve seen in the movies or heard from your friends or co-workers, you might be surprised to hear that normal uncomplicated pregnancies can suck.

So I made a list of things no one tells you about pregnancy until you’re already sucked in. Not everyone experiences all of these. Some women experience none of these. Some women experience all of these and more. And these do not include any of the things no one tells you about complications, miscarriages,  infertility or unwanted pregnancy. So this list is only for the lucky ones.


You Must be Happy

You’re pregnant with a baby you want and you and your husband planned for! Congrats! You must be thrilled! Everyone else is! Don’t you love being pregnant? Everyone else does! It’s magical! It’s wonderful!

Except… you’re not. Don’t try to talk about it with anyone. It’s like explaining mustard to a frog. Women who are already parents will explain to you that you’re just dealing with some stress, and that everything will be fine. Everyone who is not a mother will just be confused or think you’re joking.

Reality: Pregnancy is terrifying. You don’t know what’s going on with your body. No one tells you what’s normal and what’s not. And suddenly, no matter how excited and prepared you thought you were, you realize you are totally and completely not ready to be responsible for another human being. You’re filled with doubt. You’re sure you’re making a mistake… and you know what? You might be. No one will tell you that either (unless you’re not married, in which case you are not to be happy at all and any mention of being happy will be met with feigned congratulations and followed up with lectures to your face and whispers behind your back about how naive/stupid/irresponsible you are.) But really, parenting isn’t for everyone. And even if you once thought it was for you, it might not be. For you, it is entirely possible that you made a mistake.

But even if it’s not a mistake (BTW, it probably isn’t), it can sure feel like it. And it’s not only okay, but normal to feel overwhelmed and confused… even angry. On top of being one of the biggest life changing events you will ever experience, you’re uncomfortable and your hormones are messing with your mind… and your body. And on top of that yet is the fact that it’s hard to find sympathy from anyone other than women who are currently pregnant and women who are dealing with their newborns.

Morning Sickness

Ok, everyone talks about morning sickness. But I don’t think it gets proper credit for being as awful as it is. Somehow, barfing endlessly for months has gained a reputation as being a romantic rite of passage. It’s not. It’s like being hungover with the flu for 6 weeks – 9 months.

People will think they’re laughing along with you as you struggle to keep anything down. They will either be completely unsympathetic or think it’s an amusing practical joke to expose you to smells that will bring on your nausea. They will even insist that you’re wrong that the smell of chicken a block away will keep you sick for days because “but you love chicken!”

Then there’s the morning sickness fetishists. They love hearing stories about morning sickness because it means that your pregnancy is going well. It’s true, kind of. There is a correlation between the severity of morning sickness and pregnancy outcomes. But really, when you have 7 months to go, and haven’t held down more than water and saltines for weeks, you don’t give a shit. Also, morning sickness does not necessarily mean that you will have a healthy, full term pregnancy either. You can puke for eight weeks straight and still miscarry… which kind of makes the whole cheering thing kind of a dick move.

Don’t be fooled into thinking “morning sickness” has anything to do with mornings. Noon doesn’t change anything. “Morning” sickness is better termed “all the damn time” sickness.  It’s sweet that Hollywood is naive enough to believe that preggos throw up three times before 9am then go on to have a normal day. And by “sweet” I mean that it makes me want to puke.

Staying awake

The first trimester, it’s not even worth it to try. You will not stay awake. You can’t fight it. You can’t sleep your way into more energy. You will feel narcoleptic.

The second trimester you won’t be able to sleep. You will be full of energy. Anything that can be done, must get done now! Before bed! Who needs sleep! You will feel like a manic on meth.

The third trimester you will be motivated but exhausted. You will want to sleep all the time but will not be able to. You will not be able to get comfortable. Once you are comfortable and dozing off, your baby will decide that it’s time to throw a uterus rave. You will feel like a narcoleptic with a conjoined manic-meth-head twin.


Everything will hurt. Your head, your boobs, your teeth, your back, your belly, your thighs, your feet.

If nothing hurts, something is probably wrong.

If everything hurts too much, something is probably wrong.

If everything hurts the right amount, that is a great sign and it means that everything is going perfectly.

How do you know the right amount? You don’t. And every day, the “right amount” can change. Good luck. You can take Tylenol (paracetamol for the foreigners), but don’t expect it to work for anything ache-related.

Cervix Kicks

Oh your sweet little baby is healthy and moving around and kicking. You can feel him bumping around. It’s magical.


That? That crazy sudden pain that almost made you collapse? That feeling that someone just sent an electric fireball down your vagina and through your legs? That, my dear, was your sweet little baby kicking you in the cervix.

You can’t prepare for it. You can’t stop it. You can only hope that each time it happens, you are near something to break your fall. Or that you are in a place where no one cares if you scream.

Bladder Kicks

It’s probably unfair to say no one talks about this one. But I don’t think it’s talked about enough.

Once your kid starts kicking hard enough to feel it on the outside, it’s time to go to the pharmacy and pick up some Poise pantyliners. Do it. Do not be embarrassed. Do not wait to see if I am making this up.

At this point, your kid can kick with some force. Your bladder lives next to her feet. Think of your bladder as a crudely fastened water balloon. A quick punch aaaaand……hopefully you have access to new pants. Otherwise you have to start yelling at invisible people about Zeus to get away with walking around smelling like pee.

Gaining Sympathy

Don’t expect anyone to ever be sympathetic to any of the things you are going through. Maybe this is why no one talks about these things.

Your friends who want kids don’t want to hear this.

Your friends who don’t want kids will want you to shut up and snap, “You’re the one who wanted kids.” (Because wanting a family means that you want to be kicked in the cervix while urinating on yourself with a back that aches so bad you can hardly move… that’s what YOU GET!)

Your partner might try to be sympathetic, but is going through all this for the first time, too. He won’t have much advice, and will pretty much feel helpless.

With the exception of women with newborns, everyone who doesn’t fall into the first three groups just wants to tell you how great it will be when the kid comes out.

Yeah, it is worth it in the end… but that doesn’t change anything you’re going through right now.

Even though you’re literally never alone, pregnancy can be a very lonely time.

Swelling Junk

Everyone knows things swell when you’re pregnant. Your hands swell. Your feet swell. Your face swells. Your boobs enter a room 5 minutes before you, and 10 minutes after your belly.

But no one tells you that your genitals swell. No one. And once they start, there’s nothing you can do to stop them. And it hurts.

It feels like someone punched you in the crotch with brass knuckles. Sitting hurts. Standing makes the blood rush down. Laying down keeps the pressure off, which feels better, but also helps everything engorge for when you do sit or stand.

And as the baby gets heavier, it acts like a tourniquet, trapping your entire blood supply inside your labia. At some point, you may think you’ve grown giant infected testicles. Nope. Those are your girl parts.

At this point you’ll probably stab anyone who looks like they may even be thinking about sex. If you’re not ready to stab anyone, try having sex… a little more blood rushing down there will undoubtedly get you stabbing within minutes!


New moms always talk about how they want to get back into their pre-pregnancy jeans. This is their way of coping with the loss of every pair of shoes they ever loved.

By the middle of your 3rd trimester, none of your shoes will fit. Your feet will be swollen and all the muscles and ligaments in your feet will have relaxed, spreading your feet out. The swelling does go away once you’ve pushed your little doll out. The spreading does not.

I hope you didn’t buy your dream Manolos to celebrate your growing family. Now, the only place they’re going to fit is the donation bin. Bright side: some hobo out there is gonna look FABulous!


You will poop during child birth. There is nothing you can do about this. Pushing is pushing.

Your doctor and husband (or other coach) will tell you that you didn’t so that you’re not too embarrassed to keep going. You’ll assume they’re being honest. You’ll brag to everyone that you didn’t. Then your husband will get drunk a year and a half later and laugh at you for dooking yourself… then laugh at you for thinking you didn’t. You’ll punch him in the balls, but it won’t change anything because he’s right. You did.

You pooped your bed while a room full of people were staring at your bloody gaping vagina.

Bloody gaping vagina

Yeah. That’s where the baby comes out. People will be staring at it intently. I have nothing else to add.


If you choose not to drink alcohol while pregnant, be prepared for After School Special levels of peer pressure to drink. It is apparently unacceptable to say to anyone ever that you feel safer abstaining completely. You can argue whatever facts you want. Everyone has a sister/aunt/cousin who drank and smoked through her entire pregnancy and gave birth to a healthy 13 lb baby. Your friends, family and co-workers will be annoyed by the fact that you choose not to drink… because for some reason an increased risk of raising a child with ADHD is no reason to stop kicking back with a 6 pack once (or seven times) a week. You need to stop being such a pretentious sober bitch.

The people who applaud your choice to be a pretentious sober bitch will freak.the.fuck.out if anyone drinks in your vicinity. Do not offer to mix up some of your signature cocktail for everyone at a party. Forget it. You’re pregnant. For 9 months, the world is to act as if alcohol never existed. If you mention that you’re really missing margaritas, or take half a sip of one, your friends will call DCFS on you.

Using TP

After giving birth, you will be instructed to stop using toilet paper. Not forever, but for a while. You will be sent home with a little squirt bottle to use to clean yourself after you pee.

Eventually your doctor will clear you to wipe yourself again. But really, it’s not like the TP thing matters. You’ll be too bloody down there for it to really make a difference. Every time you pee, you’ll want to jump into the shower to wash your unusable bloody sexy parts… and your bloody thighs… even your bloody calves and ankles, too, at least for a few days.


Everyone you meet who has ever met another pregnant woman is an expert on your pregnancy. Everything they will tell you defies logic, and is likely the opposite of anything your OB would ever tell you. The longer ago and the farther away they gave birth, the more advice they will have and the more they will insist your doctor is wrong. Example: 95 year old woman who birthed her youngest 80 years ago in Siberia knows more than your doctor, and will terrify you while going on for hours about what the best way to be pregnant is (using vodka to douche every hour is important for a healthy fetus! You don’t need prenatal care! Birth defect screening is rubbish; try a dowsing rod for your answers! Pickled fish make the best pantyliners!). Your 25 year old friend next door with a 3 month old daughter will not impose her advice on you.

Your husband will give you advice based on what he remembers from his aunt being pregnant in 1989.

Everyone else will ask you questions, benign questions compared to the stuff I’ve listed here, and will be horrified by your answers. “OMG YOU HAVE TO DO WHAT ON THE PREGNANCY TEST STICK? OOOOOOOH YUCK!” “Transvaginal ultrasound? What’s that? OOOOOOOOH YUCK!” “They look THERE? On the BABY? To find out what sex it is? OOOOOOH YUCK!” “Wait, it’s moving right NOW? Like while we talk? OOOOOOOOOOH YUCK!” “Can you still have sex? OOOOOOOH YUCK!”

So there you have it. Everything you may or may not have wanted to know about being pregnant that no one would have ever told you anyway.

Now, I need to go ice my crotch and change my Poise pad.


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. You forgot the first post-partum poop, which is every bit as bad as giving birth, but you don’t have a team of doctors, nurses, and your husband standing there cheering for you. It’s just you and the pain, Sister, so buckle up.

    I recommend Milk of Magnesia. I had a fissure after my first child, used MoM (coincidence? Probably…) after #2 and did not get a fissure.

    Fissures? They suck.

  2. I’m a male, so I didn’t answer ‘yes’ to any of your target demographic questions. But I still found this article very interesting. Thanks!

    The main thing you taught me has nothing to do with pregnancy. I learned that people are somehow even more horrible bastards than a cynical misanthrope like myself could imagine. Laughing at a woman with morning sickness and intentionally making her ill? Pressuring a pregnant woman to drink? What the hell is wrong with people?!

    1. I think it’s worthwhile to say that noone really gives a shit and if your significant other is giving you a hard time you might want to give up on the pregnancy altogether. I mean ive heard men say that thats what women ate put on earth to do, and we should just suck it up.

      Im more pissed off at the fact that pregnancy is so long. I hope this experience doesn’t make me into a bitter person or hate my baby because thats the direction im headed.
      At least this article talks about how awful it is to be pregnant. Im f—— tired of the watered down comments about how wonderful it is. Lets face it it sucks.

  3. A colleague of mine gave birth recently, and I hesitantly commented that while I might like to have kids someday, the idea of having something growing inside me, Alien-style, freaked me out a bit. She agreed that it wasn’t much fun and said that if I decided to procreate that I should talk to her first because she had a lot of information to share…

    I guess this is what she meant. Oh dear.

    Out of curiosity, how well were you able to function in a professional/work capacity during the various stages of the pregnancy?

  4. Holy shit! Why the hell would ANYONE ever want to get pregnant?

    How the hell have hominids lasted this long?

    Goddamn fucking Nature– Sex has got to be the cruellest, nastiest, most dishonest and horrible bait-and-switch game in the cosmos!

  5. @delphi_ote:

    The drinking thing pretty awful, IMO.

    But I think the morning sickness thing is from the mischaracterization of it. And so many women suffer through it with a smile, never letting on, giving the impression that it’s not really so bad. I give people the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to ignorance.

  6. This article is awesome, Elyse, thank you! Some of these things I’ve actually wondered about but as you said, they aren’t really discussed. Also, I’m with @delphi_ote about what complete douche canoes people can be.

  7. i always get amazed about how i still find out more horrifying things about pregnancy. I did NOT know about the swelling labia and no toilet paper thing. Who does this twice? I”m reminded right about of this clip from an early season of scrubs that while a mock PSA, is probably one of the best PSA’s prime time tv ever did for america “The Truth about Giving Birth” :

    1. Hahaha. That WAS a good one (new link btw I’d already heard first-hand from a bunch of pregnant women/mothers of young children gossiping TMI at work a few years earlier about all the horrors of pregnancy and childbirth… it made my ears bleed, and my heart ache because I wanted a child, but not like THAT. Made that scene that much funnier though, lol!

  8. My favorite tidbit to scare my childless female friends is related to actual childbirth and it’s one word – stitches. Yes, there. Several of them.

    I’m pretty much okay with the idea of having another baby. I’m not, nor will I ever really be, okay with the idea of going through another pregnancy. It sucks. Maybe I’ll just steal a new kid.

  9. Hey, why wasn’t I hanging out with you when I was pregnant? *sigh*

    About “You Must Be Happy”, if you’ve gone through infertility procedures this lasts forever. When you get no sleep and turn into a cow-on-demand, you are not allowed to complain. When your teething kid uses your nipples for chew toys, you are not allowed to complain. When your much-sought-after spawn turns into a HellToddler, you are not allowed to complain. Why? Because, as everyone will tell you, “Hey, you wanted this!”

    That’s right, frickin’ irresponsible teenagers who get knocked up unexpectedly may complain at will, but you who planned and were sensible and then ended up having to save for IVF, YOU must be happy forever and never complain about the baby you so desperately wanted.

    Seriously, it took me over two years to finally be able to not feel guilty over getting pissed at my kid.

    Another side effect of infertility nobody will tell you about: it doesn’t matter how frugal and penny-pinching you usually are, once you have that kid you worked so hard for, you will want to buy them EVERYTHING. Everything that you think is remotely cool in any way is something you are desperate to give them. If, like me, you’re crafty and nerdy, you will feel the urge to stockpile craft supplies to the rafters and be tempted by every toy at ThinkGeek. It goes beyond usual consumption; it’s a biological need to give that precious child absolutely everything. It takes constant work and mental awareness of the urge to resist.

    And you want to talk advice? Hah! Try the advice that comes to you when you’ve got a fertility problem. Everyone you meet has a story of how someone they know finally got pregnant doing X, and X will come to represent the weirdest pseudo-science crap you’ve ever heard. Some of it is downright dangerous and toxic, and all of it is insensitive BS. And since every conceivable (heh) pregnancy aid has been used with someone who actually got pregnant – unlike with cancer, where spontaneous remission is rare, pregnancy happens on its own enough to validate every theory – you can’t ever hope to be openly skeptical without sounding like a downer (remember, BEHAPPYOMG!!, BEPOSITIVEALLTHETIME!!, STRESSWILLKILLYOURBABYAIIEE!!) or being accused of bringing someone else down and that’ll keep them from getting pregnant.

    So when you’re in that infertility support group and they bring up acupuncture, Chinese medicine, herbs, reflexology, or the damned pineapple juice thing again, you have to clench your teeth and BE POSITIVE or else you’re infringing on someone else’s space/voice/aura and that’s not allowed in the group!

  10. @Jen: yeah, me and my husband regularly discuss the merits of adopting straight out, which we have really good reasons for considering, but i LOVE to freak other people (especially my mom) by telling them that “Ryan and I just plan to buy our babies.”

  11. @Jen:

    Oh yeah! I always forget about the stitches since I’m a c-section birther.

    Birther? Is that the right word? Does that mean that I don’t think my son was born in the US? It was August, so it felt hot like Nigeria…

  12. Sex is fun. Sex is really fun. Sex is truly the most fun I have. It’s almost as if sex were any less fun, we (humans) wouldn’t do it.

    Our species continues because we are conned, often when very very drunk, by our genes and their hormonal helpers to have unprotected sex.

    When pregnancy becomes a virtue in the minds of a pregnant couple, it’s simply post-hoc rationalisation. Or Stockholm Syndrome.

    (full disclosure: my partner and I are unable to conceive and feel just fine about it, but our friends tend to be in their early 30s, while we’re in our 40s.)

  13. It is a uterus everyone thinks they get a say about what goes on in there. Everyone thinks they know everything about it. I’m pretty sure people care more about the uterii of the world (and if that isn’t the plural I don’t care) than the houses of government.

  14. OK, I am now terrified of having sex, for fear of afflicting this condition upon my lover. Contraception isn’t certain enough. I shall now join the Voluntary Human Extinction movement.

  15. ‘It’s like explaining mustard to a frog. ‘ Heh.

    Very interesting, I don’t want to have children but I am very curious about the whole pregnancy experience. You can now add ‘terrified’ of it to that.

  16. @kimberlychapman:

    My son was the result of a spontaneous pregnancy after months of failed fertility treatments… and my last month everything went wrong. I started bleeding the day after IUI.

    We actually agreed to stop trying for a while for the sake of saving our marriage. I never thought that trying to get pregnant would tear us apart.

    Yeah, meanwhile I’ve got everyone cheering me on when I miscarry (but you can get pregnant! That’s great news!). And giving me advice like “relax” and “try folic acid” and “now that you bought a house, your body knows it’s time!”

    Infertility is a weird moral, emotional and spiritual failing.

    Which is why I left that all out… but yeah, the guilt of hating pregnancy after years of going through all that to just get pregnant in the first place puts an incredible amount of pressure on a woman.

    With my first, I would drive around seeking out abortion clinics and coming home to seek adoptive parents online. I was sure, once I was pregnant, that it was the wrongest thing I could have ever done. And no one would talk about it.

  17. @delphi_ote: It’s all true, too. I am only 13 days past the Big Moment and can tell you that all of the snickering at how lousy I felt and pressure to do things I didn’t want to do while pregnant lasted until the very last days of pregnancy.

    I think it could easily be compared to the whole Freshman/Senior concept in high school. The Seniors pick on the Freshmen and make them feel terrible. Then when the Freshmen become the Seniors, they do the same damn thing to the younger kids because they had to go through it. I feel like a lot of women who’ve had children revel in the fact that the women going through it now “get” what they were complaining about and it gives them a hardon to watch it happen.

    1. OMG this is so true. I feel like my mother is watching with vengeful glee. And that a “baby shower” is just so everyone can come gloat over how fat you’ve become. Ugh.

  18. @Jen: Oh god, the stitches. I can proudly say that 2 days ago I peed without crying for the first time! How cruel is that biology? Making women pee through an open wound after pushing a human out of them. Ugh.

  19. @Rav Winston: To quote the “Shit My Dad Says” Twitter feed;

    “It’s never the right time to have kids, but it’s always the right time for screwing. God’s not a dumbshit. He knows how it works.”

  20. @Elyse: Based on what friends of mine who’ve SPAWNED MORE OVERLORDS have described, it sounds like morning sickness is one of those variable things like PMS and menstrual cramps, that varies greatly from woman to woman. One was only sick a day or two of the week, the other was sick in 2-3 week bursts throughout the pregnancy.

    Also, you’ve left a few off. Such as that you’ll give birth to a Conehead, or that it comes with a meat sack! Cracked to the rescue!

  21. That was the most disgusting, frightening thing I ever fell out of my chair laughing at.

    One of the reasons I’m not a father was because I was raised to believe that I should never abuse women.

  22. @Elyse: I really love your honestly, Elyse. It’s woman like you that make me proud to be a female Skeptic. I have no desire whatsoever to get pregnant, but thank you for being so honest about all the *negative* things that come along with being pregnant. I’m sure it’s not easy, but it’s important for the many women who have also been through it to know they aren’t alone. You kick ass.

  23. @marilove: I’m considering getting myself snipped because this doesn’t sound like anything I would want to ever subject another human being to.

    Sort of makes the cliche of the woman in the stirrups yelling “YOU DID THIS TO ME!” at her husband more reasonable compared to potentially more accurate statements such as, “I’M GOING TO TEAR YOUR BALLS OF SO THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN!”

  24. There is another side to the story. I think non-uterusians could tell you a thing or two as well. Like no matter how much you slave, hand over fist, to do every conceivable thing imaginable to make your lovely partner comfortable through all this, she will complain you aren’t doing enough. Even after the baby is born and you are washing, cleaning, shopping, bowing to every whim and more so the woman can rest, heal, bond, and even feed the baby, you will still be a worthless, lazy bum.

    You did mention the gaping bloody vagina, but for a man to see this object of womanhood that he caressed, cared for, stimulated, and loved (or at least enjoyed for a bit) all gnarling and gnashing its teeth at the universe, spewing blood and urine and fluids and finally a greasy, slimy, but strangely beautiful head and body, one has to wonder how he’ll ever be attracted to it again.

    And finally, as one who experienced childbirth twice, face first and up close (back then military hospitals gave you one doc and one nurse and encouraged the father to do everything from catching the baby to cutting the umbilical cord to washing the baby off before presenting it to mom) I can say you left out one very important detail. After the baby there is a second sort of birth. A horrendous, wet, bloody, glob of placenta that can catch you by surprise if you are not watching out for it and if you are lucky the doctor will offer it to you for examination, although I cannot fathom why. I know to some it’s sacred and in different circumstances I may have accepted it for examination, just not seconds after it squirted out of the woman I loved while she was screaming.

    Having said all that I must say that even though it was a thankless job being the one who waits while the woman was going through all these experiences, and even though it wasn’t very pretty and there was much fluid and semi-solid things being bantered about, it was still the most miraculous, beautiful, memorable, and life changing moments anyone can go through and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world and given the chance I would happily do it all again.

    1. i read your response to my husband and he wishes he could meet you in person lol.

      I was super SUPER lucky that within weeks of getting pregnant, i joined up with a group of amazing women all due within the same 2-week time frame as myself. It was beyond fabulous to have what my hubby termed: “my prego support group”. and he wished he had one with the dads called: “The Silent Sufferers” lol

      he swears pregnancy is just as hard on the male in the relationship as the female – only dads don’t get any credit (mostly b/c we, the ever increasing ones, are so damn miserable we can’t see beyond our misery to acknowledge y’all’s).

  25. OK, I have a couple of thoughts:

    Morning sickness and aches: What makes these even worse is that you’re restricted in the types of OTC meds you can take to relieve these symptoms.

    Cervix kicks: A few years ago I had a biopsy on my cervix, and that hurt like hell for days. I’ve never been pregnant, but I can sympathize with cervix pain.

    Pooping: I have an OCD-related phobia of poop, so I guess I better get treatment for that before I ever have kids, so I don’t have to deal with a nervous breakdown on top of contractions, labor, and a bloody gaping vagina.

    Advice: Both of my sisters-in-law were pregnant at the same time, and I was so tempted to give them advice and ask them questions, but I knew how annoying that was and I think I did a pretty good job of restraining myself.

  26. @Chelsea: I swear to god, I don’t remember anyone saying anything to me about the stitches until the doctor said, “I’m going to stitch you up now, there was a little tearing.” Even after just giving birth, and the sixteen hours of labor before it, I had enough energy to be horrified. It’s awful, I’m glad you’re finally healing. :)

  27. I have a question and I wonder if there has been any research done in this area. I’ve been taking birth control pills for over a decade, and I’ve never had the side effect of nausea. Since the pills hormonally mimic pregnancy, does this mean that I’m less likely to get morning sickness when I’m actually pregnant? Has anyone ever even looked into this?

  28. Having never been pregnant, I can still say that this all rings particularly true based on my observation of my lovely wife during two pregnancies.

    I give advice to expectant parents at work or socially on occasion, and the first thing I tell them is: find a damned good OB, and feel free to ignore the advice of EVERYONE who isn’t your OB, including me.

    What was right for their situation (or ideology, I’ve encountered plenty of single men with no medical background who are happy to pontificate on all things pregnancy, creepily enough) may not be right for yours. Every situation is different enough that outside of core advice (try to keep stress low, eat as healthy as you reasonably can, exercise some if you can, don’t smoke, don’t drink to excess, communicate fully with your OB any concerns, etc) there are no universals.

    Also: not only is pregnancy frequently miserable for many women, the first 6-9 months after delivery are no picnic for anybody involved. Expect them to suck 90-95% of the time. If they don’t then you’re presently surprised, if they do at least you were mentally prepared for it. My wife has severe post partum depresssion that was literally debilitating. Make sure you have as much help post-delivery as you can stand.

  29. @LtStorm: I’m sure you’re joking, but, to be honest, I don’t think this is the best way to handle things. Most women are WELL aware that pregnancy is a difficult process, and it should ultimately be up to them to decide for themselves if they want to get pregnant.

    This kind of sentiment makes me uncomfortable:

    “One of the reasons I’m not a father was because I was raised to believe that I should never abuse women.”

    A woman getting pregnant on accident (because of birth control failure or whatever, and not because of some kind of sabotage done by their partner (which DOES happen, believe it or not) or because of planning is not abuse. Honestly, I think it makes light of actual abuse.

    Pregnancy isn’t all peaches and roses, but that doesn’t mean it’s abuse or that you should be afraid to get a woman pregnant (if you want to have kids).

    Women are tough. We aren’t delicate flowers that need to be protected. We are more than capable of deciding for ourselves if we want to go through pregnancy. We really don’t need men to decide that for us.

    That said, I do think we need more honesty, Elyse-style, when it comes to pregnancy, so that EVERYONE understands more what it’s like, and then perhaps more people would understand why some women don’t want to go through the hell that is pregnancy.

    Also, some women do love to be pregnant. My little sister says it was the best 9 months of her life. Well, except for the last couple of weeks. She ended up missing her due date and got a C-section, because her baby was HUGE.

  30. Jesus Christ, Elyse, that was hilarious AND informative. I’m really glad I don’t get icked out easily.

    A friend told me when she was pregnant that the kid would kick her in the ribs. I did not even think that was possible.

  31. Also, the reason so many of us are willing to go through it again is because having kids, once they’re out, is really damn cool.

    They’re little scientists! And you made them!

    And watching them become real people is a fascinating process.

    And you love them like nobody’s business.

    Getting them, though… getting them is rough.

  32. @marilove: It’s a joke, yes, but I did specifically say “human being” instead of “woman” so the joke was suggesting it was torturous, but not that it was specifically abusive towards women.

    So yeah, it was a torture joke, not a misogynistic joke. Totally different.

  33. marilove: “This kind of sentiment makes me uncomfortable:”

    Okay, maybe the word ‘abuse’ was out of line. The point is that it takes two to create a situation where only one has to actually go through it…. ALL of it. It gives me a twinge of guilt just thinking about it.

    If I decide I want to have a kid, I’ll adopt. There certainly isn’t enough of that going on.

  34. Top-notch article, Elyse.

    After reading all this, and remembering what my wife went through to bring our two wonderful kids into the world, really, all I can think of is this…



  35. I loved being pregnant, and yet I agree with every single word of this post. Your next post should be “Night Sweats, Tears and Blood: What Nobody Tells You About Your Post-Partum Body.”

  36. @Starthinker:

    There is another side to the story. I think non-uterusians could tell you a thing or two as well. Like no matter how much you slave, hand over fist, to do every conceivable thing imaginable to make your lovely partner comfortable through all this, she will complain you aren’t doing enough. Even after the baby is born and you are washing, cleaning, shopping, bowing to every whim and more so the woman can rest, heal, bond, and even feed the baby, you will still be a worthless, lazy bum.

    That’s rather… sweeping.

    I think the problem you’re describing is not a problem with women but a problem with the woman you chose to reproduce with… twice.

    I’m sorry that her pregnancy was so much harder on you than on her.

  37. @swordsbane: Yes it does take two to create the situation, but that doesn’t mean women need you to protect them from pregnancy. We don’t need you to feel guilty. We really can decide for ourselves if we want to have a baby or not. If you want to adopt because you find adoption noble and because it’s right for you, that’s awesome. Please, do adopt! But if your reasons for adoption is because “I must protect my woman from pregnancy!” then that’s, quite frankly, awful and a rather sexist view. We really CAN decide for ourselves if pregnancy is right for us, and we don’t need men to protect us from it. Promise.

    @LtStorm: Well, since men can’t get pregnant… you were speaking about women. But yes, I was exaggerating a bit to make a point. I don’t think you were being serious. :)

    It just makes me uncomfortable that the first response from men when they learn that pregnancy is hell is, “Well then … I guess I must protect women from it!” That’s all.

  38. @Elyse: Beyond horrible. It had no beginning or end. There were some days when I would force myself to eat after each bout of morning sickness like a neverending sick cycle, hoping to digest just a little of the food.

    Then there’s the luxurious hair thing… you even grow the most beautiful eyelashes. It’s such a joy to watch them all fall out and be replaced by short stubbly ones after month(s) of little bald spots.

    Oh, and no one mentions that your nose grows or that if you had bad eyes, that growth will kick back in and your eyesight will continue to deteriorate. Hormones change permanently. You basically say goodbye to the body you knew and have to get acquainted to this new one while you’re learning to deal with the bitchiest new roommate ever.

    There’s a reason the one pregnant pic of me I keep on FB is me giving the finger.

  39. AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! *runs into the sunset*

    No, seriously Elyse, I fucking love you for writing this. People really need to talk about this BEFORE you get freaking pregnant!

    I got a little bit of the horrors at a baby shower a while back. Yes, a baby shower full of scientists and scientists’ wives is chock full of real pregnancy info, none of that cutesy stuff.

    Also, my mom is incredibly realistic, and I know she’ll give me the dirty, dirty details before I dive in. Hell, not a family visit goes by without her reminding my younger brother that she almost DIED pushing his 11lb 7oz toddler sized body out of her without pain-killers… did they not have C-sections in the 80s?

  40. @marilove: Right, I could’ve been more clear that I meant I wouldn’t visit that sort of torture upon a man or woman, I suppose it is assumed that I just meant women without that qualifier.

  41. @Nicole: Yes, they did have C-sections in the 80s, though they were probably less common. I was born in 81 via C-section, because either me or my identical twin sister were turned the wrong way or something. I believe my younger sister was also born via C-section because back then, it was rare for a woman to give birth vaginally if she had already had a C-section.

  42. You forgot boobs! Everyone told me before I got pregnant how much I would love having big boobs. They forgot to mention that growing three sizes in one month leads to boobs that look great from the outside but feel like someone is giving you a permanent titty-twister. Then when you think they have stopped growing and they start to resemble normal squishy boobs instead of rocks they start leaking. First it’s cool because the fact that your body can make milk is totally fascinating but then you realize you have to go out in public with boobs that spontaneously soak your shirt.

    Best post ever by the way! I really appreciate the part about not being excited to be pregnant. Everyone thinks because we tried so long I must be excited. Honestly, I’m tired, sore and scared shitless.

  43. @Starthinker: Unless you’re a single mother. How nice of you to assume every woman who gives birth has a man around to take care of her. And that all women who do have that are so ungracious about it. Simply not the case, my friend.

  44. It’s like being hungover with the flu for 6 weeks – 9 months.

    With both of my pregnancies, I thought I was going to DIE of morning sickness during my first trimester. I felt like my stomach had turned inside out, and if I ever see another saltine again it will be too soon. (Same goes for bananas and ginger ale.)

    And my feet are both permanently a half-size bigger – I’m pregnant with #2 right now and if it happens again I’m going to have to buy all my shoes online. NOBODY EVER TELLS YOU ABOUT THE FEET.

    I just hope babies appreciate how lucky they are to be so damn cute. (They don’t. And since both of mine are/will be boys, they’ll never know what I went through to bring them into existance. Oh well.)

  45. @Elyse: You do realize that somewhere, someone is telling someone else about you, their friend, who finally got pregnant when she “stopped trying so hard.”

    Isn’t it oh-so-comforting to know that all you had to do was [insert whatever coincidentally happened when you got pregnant] all along?

    I’m totally gonna make a zillion dollars one day with my self-help infertility book called “The Power of Negative Thinking”, because after 5 years of everything from clomid to IUI to IVF, I was ready to wrap it up and call it done when my husband talked me into one more FET, since we had so many Grade A embryos frozen. I told him, “Okay, but when it doesn’t work, you agree to go to the adoption center the next day.”

    So through every procedure I had no hope, no wishes, nothing. I took it all as bad medicine. That drove everyone NUTS and they’d tell me how I had to be positive, but I remained firm in my belief that it wouldn’t work.

    Then it did. So clearly, the Power of Negative Thinking is a proven-true method.

    Wanna be a co-author with me? Money will rain on us like so many April showers!

  46. @Elyse: Aww thanks. Yeah, she rocks. I knew where babies came from when I was 6, thanks to her. I’m also reminded of the forceps they used to turn me around… it’s amazing I don’t have head-dents.

    @marilove: Okay. I had no idea when they were developed. According to her, the doctor also wandered off to do something else while she was critical, so he was kind of an ass.

  47. Thanks Elyse. This was great. I didn’t enjoy being pregnant and really didn’t enjoy giving birth. I am, however, very proud to now have two teenage skepchicks!

  48. I’m going to have to say that it’s a good thing that women are the ones that get pregnant because men wouldn’t put up with that stuff.

    In fact I’m fairly certain that if was a girl, after my first period I’d have gone “Oh hell no.” and gotten a hysterectomy.

  49. @Starthinker:

    as one who experienced childbirth twice

    Um…no. Your wife experienced childbirth. You WATCHED.


    Maybe, maybe not. The hormone levels in BC pills are *very* low compared to the levels you get during an actual pregnancy. (Kind of like vaccines.)

    1. amen!

      i’m so thankful that i’m married to such a wonderful and supportive and understanding man. And STILL, it’s been hard (gave birth to our first on 9/24/12). We’ve had fights b/c we’re both exhausted and clueless… but there’s still someone there to help.

      i called my momma after the first two weeks crying and asked her how the EFF did she do this not once, but TWICE – SOLO?! She had my brother… than, 2 years later, here I came along as an “oops”. and by then she was single – now with a toddler in his terrible twos and a newborn. YIKES!

      she stated: “you just do what you have to. I had my mom (my grandma) and sister who would help me out and give me a few hours break to keep my sanity. and i won’t lie and say there weren’t times I felt like y’all would be better off without me – but I kept reminding myself it wouldn’t always be this way.”

      so from the other side of the life-changing experience line…. I can say I don’t know how the single moms and dads do it… b/c i don’t think I could, but y’all are my heroes.

  50. a few of us have also taken on the task of simply creating more women

    I am always surprised to see so many skeptical women not speaking out against having children. Giving birth to a child is by a wide margin the single worst thing the average person can do for the environment. Hopefully the ‘horrors’ described in this post will convince a few more women not to contribute to overpopulation.

  51. @marilove: I think you’re exaggerating my point just a little. Would it have helped if I put smileys all over my comments?

    I’m not trying to protect women. I don’t believe that you shouldn’t hurt women specifically. I prefer to believe that you shouldn’t hurt PEOPLE. To make a special exemption for women is to be chauvinistic and perpetuate the idea that it’s okay to be a violent douche-bag as long as you never slap a woman around.

    Perhaps someone will convince me it’s worth a try to have a kid. Maybe she’ll even use your arguments. Who knows? If I do decide to become a father the “traditional” way I would hope that it’s because both me AND my wife/girlfriend/whatever want to.

    Having kids is messy, scary, painful and yes.. dangerous, and most people (women and men) go through it without knowing what the hell they’re doing until it’s too late. Unfortunately, having a kid isn’t always a question of wanting one. Not everyone is pro-choice and accidents happen. If something like this will make me (or others) try a little harder not to become a reluctant father, or worse, turn someone else into a reluctant mother, then I think that’s a good thing.

    and for the record… I KNOW women aren’t delicate flowers. They are generally tougher than us males. I have the rug-burns to prove it. :)

  52. @Jen:

    Yeah… What @Nicole said.

    I remember the first 6 weeks home with Moose. I never even had to deal with PPD, but I sat there, nursing him, crying, trying to figure out how single mothers do it.

    People think I’m kidding when I say this, but taking care of a newborn is easily 3+ person job. 2 is not enough. 1 is super human.

  53. As a man I have to come at this from a third-person shooter vantage point.

    Two that my wife had that you could add are gestational diabetes (fun, fun, fun) and when the La Leche League nazis came in to “help” with breastfeeding and, when it didn’t work, made her feel like the worst mother in the world. Jebus Christ people, not everyone is perfect!

    That last one had me sending a strongly worded letter that got the hospital to stop “inviting” LLL to every birth. (I don’t hate LLL, really.)

  54. “(Because wanting a family means that you want to be kicked in the cervix while urinating on yourself with a back that aches so bad you can hardly move… that’s what YOU GET!)”

    *rolls eyes* No, we just genuinely don’t want to hear about it. Just like the pic you posted for emphasis. We’ll probably give you the same blank reaction when you try to tell us about babyshits, projectile puke, and potty training as well.

  55. I had recently drifted from ‘ambivalent’ to ‘yeah, sure, we could have a kid in a couple of years.’ Thanks for pushing (violently shoving) me back to the other side. For now.

    My philosophy towards pregnant women is that they are always right and the rest of us do not disagree with them and do whatever possible to make them comfortable. My husband made Tres Leches the other day and invited our neighbors over for some. Neighbor said his 8+ months pregnant wife had had a doctor’s appointment that day and didn’t really feel like it. My husband couldn’t figure out how a doctor’s appointment would impact your willingness to go next door hours later. I told him it doesn’t matter if it makes sense, shut up and put a piece of cake in Tupperware.

  56. Don’t get me started on gestational diabetes. I had to give myself injections twice a day for 8 weeks. And i had to be on a really strict fucking diet (NO CAKE) while my shit ass husband (i love him, really) would eat ice cream in front of me. And I had to keep exercising to help with the diabetes, even though my legs had become tree trunks and my ankles had been sucked up and were just, poof, gone.

    What’s really strange is after 4 months of bed rest, 3 months of dealing with gestational, a c-section when they told me that my ultimately 6 pound child was “just too big…that’s gestational babies for you”, now, 17 months later, I’m CRAVING another child. I can’t wait to be pregnant. Even though no one is going to let me bitch and complain about how much it sucks to be me while pregnant.

    1. I understand how terrible it must be to have a husband who eats ice cream in front of your face while you can’t eat cake.
      I also wish people would stop and think about how crappy it is for people who have to live with it every day. Especially when you don’t get it until you’re 12 and have had sweets before and love them and miss them and aren’t supposed to be eating them for the rest of your life.
      Life sucks.

  57. Wow. This was my pregnancy. My son is awesome and I like him a lot but yeah–pregnancy sucked. I’m pretty open about that with my female friends; I don’t want them to feel as duped as I did when I was puking and getting kicked in the cervix simultaneously.

  58. Random comments:

    But the fundies say it’s just an inconvenience; who am I supposed to believe?

    I knew half that stuff and am horrified at the idea (never had any).

    She’s describing a ‘normal’ and wanted pregnancy.

    “Looked like a wet St Bernard trying to get through the cat door.”
    –Jeff Foxworthy

  59. After infertility problems, my wife became pregnant in December. She’s a type A personality, so she’s reading everything she can. So my question is, should I even send this to her? She hasn’t had any rough symptoms yet (just some slight fatigue).

    It was quite informative and funny though. And to give my own quick story on people saying/thinking unbelievably stupid things, how about combining pregnancy with death?

    My younger brother, 38 and in excellent shape fitness-wise, died in early January of a massive heart attack. As you might guess, this was devastating to the entire family. Two weeks after he died, we found out that my wife was pregnant. When my mother returned to work and the news got out that my wife was pregnant, one of her co-workers said, and no, I’m not making this up, “That’s great, the baby will take the place of Jeremy.”

    Ho Lee Shit.

    1. i say, show this to her IF she starts to get some of these signs/symptoms…. so that she doesn’t feel alone or like a horrible freak.

      I read “belly laughs” with my hubby in my second month and it was AWESOME b/c, like this article, it helped mentally prepare me for some things, and then others that i didn’t get (engorged lady bits) i was SO thankful! lol

      it helps to have ppl be honest who have recently gone through it or are currently when you’re pregnant b/c not every pregnancy is textbook or similar – even in the same woman – so it is nice to know you’re not the ONLY woman in the world to feel like this.

  60. @Elyse: @Jen: The single mom gig is unbelievable but full of win. Back when I had my daughter, I was taking care of her dad’s mental illness (sparked by the pregnancy for sure) and my newborn single-handedly. I’ll never forget wishing I could just focus on her. And once that wish came true, I realized that even though challenging I wouldn’t trade it for having a screwed-up dad in the picture.

  61. I didn’t think it was possible for me to want a child any less (and as a male I was born uterus-free).

    Still…shouldn’t evolution have made this process better? A lot? Isn’t this process pretty much *key* to evolution?

  62. Zoltan: “Still…shouldn’t evolution have made this process better? A lot? Isn’t this process pretty much *key* to evolution?”

    When you realize that however hard childbirth is the Earth is still critically overpopulated, we should be thankful having a kid isn’t a picnic.

  63. Ahh the memories. The thing is, as soon as your body gets back to as normal as it’s going to get you find you’ve completely forgotten most of that. Must be a hormonal brain wash. That’s why some of us do it over and over again.

    @Jen: My doctor tried to tell me I couldn’t possibly feel him stitching me up until I counted the jabs aloud.

    @Elyse you forgot the gravity drop the first time you stand up after birth. All your innards had been shoved up out of the way now drop back down where they belong. Weirdest feeling ever. Or was that just me?

    My 2ndSon is 24 and I still vividly remember the agony of the needle in the middle of my back for the spinal. That was worse than all three of my births.

  64. @Mr. Funnypants:

    Sorry to hear about your brother. Some people say some breathtakingly stupid things to grievers, just like they do to pregnant women.

    This all ties in nicely with PZ Myer’s post today about “RQ” and people who just aren’t aware of their own ignorance. Hmm…I wonder if RQ is correlated with EQ?

  65. So I’d have to say I agree with delphi_ote, I am also a guy, I am yet to be married (only 18) but I find this type of information extremely helpful. This type of info will mold & shape my interactions with women who are pregnant, helping me to sympathize with them.

  66. Oh. My. Gawd. I may never have sex again.

    Just kidding! And I love you Elyse! I’m gonna bring you some ice and I will help chase your other kid around while I’m visiting!

    (but yeah, I really wasn’t kidding…I may never have sex again.)

  67. very funny article — just one bit of optimism to inject for all of the now terrified never-been-pregnants: it’s highly likely that you won’t experience ALL of these symptoms, but you also might instead have some that were missed here.

    i never needed the poise per say, but i did feel like i had to pee all the time. i started waking up in the middle of the night to pee before i even knew i was pregnant and this continued the whole pregnancy — i rationalized it to be my body’s way of preparing me for 4 – 6 months of sleeplessness that was to come after. (that lasted more like two years)

    i experienced only one single instance of nausea-from-a-smell – it passed quickly and was the only time i ever felt sick during pregnancy — right up until transition — during birth and right after pooping myself.

    (i’m curious about the supposed correlation between morning sickness and the outcome of the birth – that almost sounds old-wives-tale-ish)

    i also never experienced the cervix kick, but i had a helluva bad pain at the bottom of my rib cage on one side which lasted for two months straight, day and night (from 6 – 8 mos).

    i ripped from stem to stern during the pushes and i often wonder if the male doctor (it wasn’t my OB, she was out of town when i went into labor prematurely) didn’t sew me up a bit more tightly than i even was before since there was so much pain during sex for *months* after giving birth.

    (( i never did take the pain pills they gave me – too worried about doing that while nursing – so my husband took them instead. oh wait, that’s illegal, so JK :) ))

    if you’re older when you get pregnant, good luck losing the weight.

    the boobs are not only bigger, they sag forlornly once you stop nursing. when to stop nursing or to nurse at all is another can of worms in the mommy world. i lasted for 5 months or so.

    in starthinker’s defense, i did enjoy having my husband’s having to clean the kitty litter for 8 months straight — and he did coddle me quite a bit (though he really didn’t seem to mind) and watching him bawl more than the baby when he was first holding our son was priceless.

    once they get here, it does make the other stuff seem kind of far away. only not far enough away for me to ever get around to doing it again :)

  68. @mrmisconception: Two that my wife had that you could add are gestational diabetes (fun, fun, fun) and when the La Leche League nazis came in to “help” with breastfeeding and, when it didn’t work, made her feel like the worst mother in the world.

    THIS! I have never felt so guilty in my entire life then when I was trying to breastfeed with the lactation consultant. I should have known she was a little too pushy when she tried to tell me that breastfed baby’s poop doesn’t smell bad — WTF?!

    Finally, after much trial, tribulation, crying, guilt and baby torture I switched to formula and had a big mental FUCK YOU moment to lactation consultants everywhere.

    Nobody is perfect and trying to force new mothers and their newborns to breastfeed even though it’s putting stress on both is cruel. I mean, we feel guilty enough as it is feeling like biology just won’t work for us and that we aren’t enough to sustain our child :-(

  69. The UK has a major teenage pregnancy problem.

    I am going to forward this post to every teenager I know. That’ll sort it. Elyse, do you want to do a school tour?

  70. @spellwight: The gravity drop, for me, led to a massive blood clot evacuating itself into the toilet and me passing out so hard that I turned grey and it took 6 nurses with 3 smelling salts to bring me back to consciousness. Funsies!! My poor husband. Our daughter had been taken to the NICU minutes before for antibiotics and screening and he looks over to see me with no color except blood gushing out of me. Ugh.

  71. Oh, and Elyse — you forgot the hemorrhoids. Those were a BLAST! Especially the huge one that errupts AFTER pregnancy from all of the pushing.

  72. @Chelsea: Oh no! They suck royally but mine did eventually go away. I can tell what what worked for me if you want to know (I’ll avoid posting such TMI advice on Skepchick, lol)

  73. I can already tell I will be the angriest pregnant woman ever. I already have little patience for bullshit and fake “kind” advice… every time a former pregnant women tries to tell me that the pain is not so bad and the hemorrhoids don’t last that long and that this should be the happiest time ever – I WILL KNOW SHE IS LYING AND WANT TO KILL HER.

    I think, when I am pregnant, it will be best to surround myself with skepchicks and have a buffer for communication. “What would like to say to Amanda? You want to give her pregnancy advice? Go away.”

    I learned many of these things from reading and some related “mommy blogs”. I’m not a huge fan of mommy blogs in general, but Kristen Chase is funny and honest and puts herself out there. Also, while she initially struggled with things like vaccines (there is a lot of scary misinformation out there), she ultimately decided it made more sense to vaccinate and I commend her for being honest about her hesitance.

    There are some moms who tell the truth, and I am very thankful for those people (like you!). I think the pressure to be falsely “feminine” during what is certainly the most feminine stage of a woman’s life is ridiculous. If I stub my toe or slam my hand in the door, I’m going to scream. Likewise, when my menstrual cramps hurt so bad I can’t stand, I have no qualms telling people that’s why I’m in pain.

    Anyway, thanks for this. I simultaneously laughed my ass off and remembered it’s time to go to the gynecologist to renew my birth control prescription. :)

  74. @Elyse: LOL! I don’t care about myself, just didn’t know if Chelsea wanted me to put all of that out there. If I get the ok from her I’ll blab up a storm! :-P

  75. @relativelyme: I sympathize, although at least my husband was very, very, very good about it and changed his diet to suit mine. He made a lot of barbecued steak for me that summer. Steak and broccoli, that’s all I ate.

    It was my pregnant friends laughing about eating entire pints of ice cream on their blogs that made me want to lose my pacifism!

    Or the perinatologist’s nurse who told me my blood sugar was still too high and to eat less, and then when I burst into tears and asked how much less than nothing did they want me to eat told me off for not eating because that’s bad for the baby too. At least that got them to believe me…she confessed later that they assume everyone is cheating on their diets because apparently most people do. Then she said I could have a single piece of cake at my baby shower or something like that and I cried more because I had no female friends and no baby shower and I was convinced if I ate so much as an ounce of chocolate my baby would die, and I thought geez, how much would life suck if you killed your baby with chocolate…

    Logic is not a big part of the pregnant woman’s mind, regardless of how logical she is in the rest of her life.

  76. Great article. My wife and I talked to birth doulas and direct-entry midwives and did a bunch of reading before trying to procreate, specifically with an eye toward the physiological and emotional changes and challenges we might face. I highly recommend employing a doula or midwife to complement your OB. The OB typically will have far less time for you and will be focused primarily on clinical monitoring of the baby and is far less likely to have even been through the experience first-hand (because doulas and midwives are almost all women, whereas many OBs are men.)

    Doulas and midwives have a very keen sense of what is normal and what to expect, and they have a lot of techniques for coping with challenges and discomfort.

  77. I was trying really hard to stifle my laughter reading this at work. :) There were a couple of other things that didn’t get mentioned that I found out during the whole process of producing my own spawn. My mom was thousands of miles away and I had no women around to help me figure it out. My poor husband was out of his depth.

    Nobody tells you your kid might not breastfeed. At all. So you’re sitting there spewing milk out of horribly swollen breasts crying on the edge of the bed worried the little monster keeping you awake all night crying constantly is also going to starve to death. Mine is 9 now and she is an awesome person but that first couple of years was a special kind of hell.

  78. @The Skepdick:

    Please tell me you’re joking.

    I’m going to assume you are. Either that or you didn’t read the article.

    Because any other assumption I make means you are, to put it as kindly as I can, completely unequipped for human interaction.

  79. @amichaels: Priceless!

    @gabesmall: ” Doulas and midwives have a very keen sense of what is normal…”

    Sorry that seems like an absurd notion that borders on some form of naturalistic fallacy. Just because someone has more time for you or can make you feel more comfortable that has no connection with their clinical skills. Compared to experienced birth center nurses and medical doctors the majority of doulas and midwifes have less experience, less education and fewer skills to deal with birth issues or any emergency. They do often have more inaccurate agendas concerning the wonderfulness of a natural birth and all kinds of other non scientific woo.

  80. Am I so realistic that, even before me and my ex started to make babies, we knew all that. We knew it wasn’t going to be much fun. A friend gave us a book of which the title translates as “Pink cloud? My ass!”. Fun book.

    It is rough, don’t sugarcoat it. Human childbirth is about the most hazardous variation amongst mammals.

    @Skepdick: do you say that the soldiers that volunteered into the army and tell you it’s rough out in the field, especially under fire “Why, then? You obviously decided the result was worth the inconveniences of getting there. Why are you complaining so much?” Please, please, please say that to a special forces guy. Or to a mother that has just given birth. I’d take my chances with the former, as the latter gives you a 0% chance of survival.

  81. @James Fox: Your sweeping generalizations about doulas and midwives aside, you’ll notice that I suggested employing one as a complement, not a replacement. The ones I have met have been very grounded and very respectful of modern medicine and recognize its value to pregnancy and birth. The advantage they have over the OB is that they tell us things like my wife’s vulva will swell as her body’s blood supply increases, and it might be uncomfortable, and here are some things you can do for it.

    Don’t make the mistake of dismissing all non-medical pregnancy care as woo.

  82. @Chelsea: GREAT! Ok, so I have no idea what yours is like since they can differ (like annoying little snow flakes!) but towards the end mine were external and would literally pop out every time I sat on the toilet (even just to pee!) AFTER labor it was freakin HORRIFYING! I kept bringing it up to my doctor and the nurses and they never seemed to take it seriously (because it was normal, I am assuming) and would just tell me “Oh, just use preparation H!” Oh, really? Preperation H is going to take care of this gigantic pulsating vein that is creeping out of my rear end like the Sarlacc?

    Eventually I just had to research it myself and yes, Preperation H helps but what helps the most is to just make sure to put as little pressure on it as possible. This means, try to keep things “going” with fiber etc. This is easier said than done sometimes, I know but it is what it is. That being said — do not sit on the toilet if you aren’t 100% positive you have to go. Only then do you do your business but try not to sit (this is a pain) squatting works better (I would grab onto something and just lean over, LOL. It was easier that way :-P) This sounds ridiculous but it made sense to me and all I kept reading was “Ease the pressure!” So that’s what I did. Eventually, by doing those things it cleared up rather than getting worse. Who knows if it would have went away without me doing those things (especially since I didn’t have a baby pressing on anything anymore) but there ya go.

    I think the most frustrating thing was being freaked out about it with everyone else just blowing it off (and my nurse in L&D commenting: “Oh, looks like you have a nice little hemorrhoid going there”) Really? REALLY? I had no IDEA it was there. Just had to poke it back in everytime I had to pee, thanks!

  83. I just thought of another question. I know what the cervix dilates to a diameter of 10 cm. What is the average diameter of a newborn’s head? I know it get squished a little coming out, but it still seems awfully big to fit through a 10-cm hole.

  84. total agreement! I remember people telling me that morning sickness was all in my head. Right. Pass the saltines.

    Even more myths after the baby comes home. You are supposed to bond and you and baby are happy happy every minute together. When my husband would walk in the door I would throw the baby in his general direction (hey he played football in high school, he can run to make a catch) and go for a WALK. I remember going to the store all by MYSELF without the little ID (we called Evelyn “ID” as it was all “mememememe”). Once when she was 3 weeks old I looked down in her crib and said “If mommy doesnt get some sleep soon, she will die, you dont want mommy to die right?” No, she wanted me to die.
    Recently a celebrity new mom was on tv and she said “for the first 2 months I wanted to chuck the baby in the pool”. We do love them, but sleep deprivation is a bad bad bad thing.
    You feel guilty saying “I’m so freaking tired” when this is supposed to be your time of greatest joy. Eventually they do grow up, but anyone that says they are yours for only 18 years hasnt met my kids!

  85. Thanks everyone for twisting my words and making me feel like an ass. I was just giving you my experience (and from what I’m told I’m not alone) just as Elyse was doing. If you think I implied men had it worse, you are wrong, I was just giving you the other side of the coin. I worshiped my wife and made sure she had the best possible of everything and busted my butt for her because I knew it wasn’t easy for her. For you guys to crap all over my dedication really made me feel great, no really. All joking aside, as I stated in my post, these were the best moments of my life, and I thank and praise my wife for going through that and giving me some great kids. Please forgive my flippancy and I shan’t darken your doors again.

  86. @kittynh: This is so true. I once caught myself in shock (I had had 0 sleep for what felt like a month, I had the baby blues and she just kept crying and crying and crying) because I had called her “a little bitch.”

    I was mortified and I seriously didn’t know what was wrong with me — turns out it was sleep deprivation and stress. Eventually I relaxed, she’s now 5 months old and she steals my heart everytime she smiles at me. It still has its rough moments but boy do I love her like nobody’s business. Now I love just walking around with her while she tries to suck my chin as I sing songs from Sleeping Beauty.

  87. Ok, a couple things here. If we are really concerned about teenage pregnancy, print out this post on poster-sized paper with letters 1″ high and tape it to the wall in every middle and high school sex education classroom in the country. This was brilliant writing Elyse!
    Now, you do realize that all these problems are the direct result of being a child of Eve right? I mean, you are the ones who offered us the apple…wait…Elyse, put down the 2 x 4…Elyse! Calm down, I was just kidding…

    Message to Board:
    Denver7M will not be posting on Skepchick until he learns to type with a pencil between his teeth…

  88. @gabesmall: I have not dismissed non medical care as woo nor did I make that assertion, non medical care is just that, not medical. I did say, “They do often have…”, and I’ll stick by that assertion as accurate and not sweeping. Also your statement about midwives and doulas having a keen sense of what is normal still appears a fallacious notion to me.

  89. @Ashley.Ele: Thanks, that was sweet of you. :)

    @James Fox:
    My experience has shown that it can actually be hard to find a doula who will do the stuff some of us skeptics might want (the kind of general mama’s assistant sort of stuff from laundry to sitting with you when you cry for no good reason) without imposing naturalistic beliefs on you. The few I have found have been expensive and overbooked, for good reason. The others I spoke with were um…let’s just say not entirely supportive of my legally-required hospital birth (NV at the time didn’t allow planned homebirths for high-risk pregnancies and gestational diabetes is considered high-risk). I got told off severely and kicked out of a so-called support group for saying that having my daughter in the hospital was a positive experience for me. Several midwives, doulas, and other associated folks jumped all over me and said I should have used some experimental techniques they’d read about and defied the government to have my baby at home. I was told I had denied my daughter a “proper” entry into the world.

    So your assertion rings true in my experience. I love the idea of home birth, but a lot of the “natural” childbirth industry likes to make it seem as if any of us who use a hospital are some kind of misguided slaves to the patriarchal medical establishment (just as some in the medical world think that all homebirthers are patchouli-scented hippie freaks, which is also not true, and you didn’t say it…but there are many oversensitive people who will read that erroneously into your words).

  90. You forgot to mention preggo-brain! Where once stood an eloquent, well-spoken woman is now a blathering idiot who can’t remember the word for that thing with the wheels.. that you ride around in… you know, the CAR!

  91. Um, I’d like to say that I’m just glad I’m a guy, so I don’t have to deal with all that, and I’m glad I’m gay so I won’t have a wife to deal with that crap, nor will I deal vicariously through her. I don’t understand how you do it. Props to you girls.

  92. Great article and some of these things I had no idea about!
    I will say – it makes me even happier that we’ve decided to not have children. The description sounds truly awful and I wouldn’t want to go through that for anything!

  93. @kimberlychapman: My experience has shown that it can actually be hard to find a doula who will do the stuff some of us skeptics might want (the kind of general mama’s assistant sort of stuff from laundry to sitting with you when you cry for no good reason) without imposing naturalistic beliefs on you.

    I think there is good and bad in every profession. My wife and I got far enough down the pregnancy road to do the research. One of our best friends is a nurse and she recommended two doulas. Both were completely non-wooey. Both were accepting of whatever the mother wanted: home or hospital, drugs or no drugs. What she or he would be there to do is just be there the whole time. We were told the doctor wouldn’t be there until the end and the nurse would likely have several patients to look after. The doula was nothing more or less than an experienced hand, someone to talk to, someone to advocate for you, and someone to tranquilize the husband if need be. I was initially skeptical, but became quite attached to the idea. We didn’t make it to the finish line so I can’t report on that.

  94. Well, crap. Literally. My body hates me already, I don’t want to go provoking it any time soon, now.

    But really, thanks. I can’t wait to share this with my husband. And maybe I’ll use it to remind the poking mother(s-in-law) just how grody it can be, when they prod me along.

  95. @Paisley5381: One of my professors admitted that she had no memory of writing or grading exams during the last months of her pregnancy.

    She said that, in the delivery room, her husband said ‘Breathe’ and she howled back ‘I know how to breathe – I’m a fucking PhD!’

    OTOH, one of my classmates in law school had her water break during the torts final. She finished the exam and got an A. Labour, she said, like imminent death, concentrates the mind wonderfully.

  96. @ eblonk having been in the military for 10 years. Yes, you hear all the time “stop complaining”, “stop being a baby”, “You signed up for this”. And if I heard a SF guy complaining, I would tell him to shut his yap and drive on. The mission comes first, you will have time during the AAR to complain, a soldier is a soldier first.

    And watching my wife give birth to three kids, it was great. And, from what she says it was worth it. On the last one we filmed it and showed the other two kids, even made popcorn. Close ups and all. After handing our beautiful baby girl to my wife. I asked her if she still would want another one. I get a exhausted lop-sided grin and a “you betcha”, “but three is enough”. (living in Japan, three is a go)

  97. @kimberlychapman: Apparently there are vast regional differences in the doula/midwife communities in this country. Here (suburbs of Philly) the midwives regularly visit the area hospitals to review their practices and maintain relationships with their obstetrics staff. They recognize that 10% or more of their clients who intend to have a home birth will end up giving birth in a hospital due to one or more risk factors. There is no stigma on this group. In fact, one of the well-regarded midwives who is very active in the national direct-entry midwife community ended up requiring a (non-emergency) hospital C-section for the birth of her own child. Emergency transfers are extremely rare here, but the midwives work out ahead of time which hospital to transfer to, and they alert the hospital team when the mother goes into labor.

    Doulas here routinely work within hospital settings and are trained according to DONA guidelines, whether as a birth doula or post-partum doula. Non-judgment about the parents’ choices is pounded into them. They are trained to tailor their services to the needs of the parents without trying to push a philosophy on them. They are taught a lot of information and given a lot of resources to help parents with things that a lot of parents are looking for help with, such as breastfeeding, but if the parents have chosen to formula feed, they are not supposed to discourage them from doing so. Literally every doula we have met here has fit this bill.

  98. You forgot to include “Hot Flashes” into your list. When it first happened to me a few weeks ago (at 32 weeks) I said, “What the hell is this?!?!” So I asked a nurse. “Oh yeah” she said, “that’s just your hormones changing”
    Really. I am amazed by the crap that continues to happen to me, and I’m still 5 weeks away from giving birth!

  99. @James Fox: Perhaps it was I who made the sweeping generalization when I didn’t include the qualifier “experienced” to describe the midwives and doulas or the phrase “among the common complaints of pregnant mothers” to clarify the what of “what is normal”.

    The women we have talked to have each attended hundreds of births, each one representing dozens of hours of consultation during pregnancy. They are rich resources for illuminating what we can expect over the next year or so.

  100. Yes!!!

    And no one tells you that labour can be so long and so painful, that it feels as much like you’d imagine true torture might feel — ie, excruciating pain that you can not anticipate nor control. After 2 solid days of painful labour, I found it difficult to enjoy my baby — I quite seriously felt like I needed some kind of torture debriefing counselling. I thought about it a LOT, and nobody wants to hear about it or talk about it, because there is a NEW BABY! YAY! etc.

    I honestly don’t think that one does a PG woman any favours by telling her that labour wasn’t so bad and it might have hurt “a little” but it’s “so worth it”, and all the other BS that mothers tell you. They are trying not to scare you. But what happens is, when you feel the true pain of labour, you think that something is really, really wrong. And that maybe you really, really CAN’T do this after all.

    I would have liked some warning. I think it wouldn’t have been so traumatic if I would have known that it’s possible to think you are going to die for 48 straight hours.

    Oh, and that was WITH a doula. :)

  101. you know guys, i haven’t been able to get this off my mind all day. i’m horrified.
    The *Christians* encourage their people to spread forth and MULTIPLY. How are we supposed to outnumber the Christians if you keep spreading truth like this?
    :) <3 you!

  102. After reading this I am filled with an urge to say (even more vigorously than I already do) to people who believe in Intelligent Design: “FUCK YOU!!!”

    Elyse, you are awesome for writing this.

  103. @Starthinker: Nobody twisted your words…

    “I think non-uterusians could tell you a thing or two as well.”

    That is a very condescending way to start off any point.

    “You did mention the gaping bloody vagina, but for a man to see this object of womanhood that he caressed, cared for, stimulated, and loved (or at least enjoyed for a bit) all gnarling and gnashing its teeth at the universe, spewing blood and urine and fluids and finally a greasy, slimy, but strangely beautiful head and body, one has to wonder how he’ll ever be attracted to it again.”

    Guess what – the female genitals serve two functions! Hooray! Let us not forget that it was all the loving and caressing of those genitals that got you to the spewing a baby part.

    “Having said all that I must say that even though it was a thankless job being the one who waits while the woman was going through all these experiences…”

    Many mothers find it a thankless job, as well. Have you thanked your wife today?

  104. Also, the comments on this thread about not complaining – the nerve! Like you’ve never complained about something in your life!! A stubbed toe? A lost job? A broken heart? Shit happens, and we talk about it.

    Something hurts. It is unpleasant. I’m supposed to just sit and bear it? Does that somehow make me a stronger person? Whining I cannot bear, but complaining is simply saying, “man, this sucks” and there is nothing wrong with that.

    Besides, being honest about something that many people experience (sometimes over and over again) and are often DISHONEST about is not the same as complaining. Saying something does not hurt when it does is not the opposite of complaining. It’s lying.

    Get. over. yourselves.

  105. @“Other” Amanda:

    Nevermind. Don’t bother. I laid out in the post that one of the reasons no one talks about these things and that pregnant women feel so alone and scared is specifically because of the “don’t complain it’s what you want” and “in the end you’ll be so happy” attitudes.

    But you’re also dealing with the mentality that complaining is the best way to describe bringing up something that no one talks about to help women feel more aware and help them get through a time in their lives when nothing seems to make sense.

    It’s not really worth trying to deal with anyone who thinks that women should continue to be left in the dark about what really goes on in pregnancy because in the end it will be worth it.

  106. @gabesmall: It’s entirely possible that geographic differences apply.

    I just found it very telling to be thrown out of the Nevada network for daring to say that not all hospital births are evil. I also heard too many horror stories of doulas in particular who claimed to be non-judgmental only to start snarking and/or lecturing women in their delivery rooms. One of my good friends was made to cry by her own doula and then the doula wouldn’t leave when asked, claiming that the mother-to-be would calm down soon and was just being irrational. Her husband had to get security to force the doula to leave.

    I want a doula if I manage to get pregnant again, but I’ll need to have one that has a recommendation from another skeptic because I will almost certainly have GD again and thus almost certainly have to have a hospital birth and I don’t want to spend one second paying someone and having to justify that to them at the same time.

    So if anyone has a recommendation in the Austin area, let me know! I wouldn’t even bother to ask if we still lived in Nevada.

  107. You’re the one who wanted kids. Don’t complain; it’s what you want.

    I honestly can’t fathom why anyone would choose to do this to themselves, or to their lovers. Pregnancy and parenthood are glorified by the church and the media, but personal accounts from friends make me cringe in terror. Why would any couple want this when they could just enjoy their lives with each other?

    “The *Christians* encourage their people to spread forth and MULTIPLY. How are we supposed to outnumber the Christians if you keep spreading truth like this?”

    That’s exactly what the Christians say about the Muslims and Mexicans. “We gotta outbreed them before they outbreed us!” With 7 billion people on the planet in the next few years, do you really think that’s a good strategy?

    Besides, religion isn’t passed on in DNA, believe it or not. Your kids could end up Scientologists, no matter how well you think you’ll raise them.

    Children instinctively follow their parents’ teachings in youth, but when they grow older they develop minds of their own. My parents are fundamentalist Christians, but I’m an atheist. If you really want to have an effect on the number of non-religious people in the world, become a teacher.

  108. @Chelsea: “The Seniors pick on the Freshmen and make them feel terrible. Then when the Freshmen become the Seniors, they do the same damn thing to the younger kids because they had to go through it.”

    That’s the most fucked up instinct our species has. Vividly remembering a painful situation and intentionally making it worse for some else is the height of sadism. I just can’t relate at all. When I was a senior, I felt bad for the freshmen. Because I remembered my own experience, I tried to help them.

    Why the hell do people still have these stupid inclusion rituals? Are they terrified the rookies are going to show them up? Is this some kind of trust display to earn in-group membership?

  109. No one tells you that your lady parts get darker while pregnant and then they stay that way after the baby comes. Even the bhole gets darker.

    Hemorrhoids. If you have never had one get ready. You will get them now.

    I had morning sickness, all day long for the first 12 weeks of all of my pregnancies and lost two of those to miscarriage. The third went to term. So I felt like I was on chemo for 36 weeks out of 18 months for one child to be born. She was worth it ya’ll.

  110. As for the “hey you wanted this” comments, I gotta agree with them. Sorry guys, but didn’t your mom ever tell you how much of nightmare having you was (and didn’t you find it totally bitchy and irritating when she used it to gain the upper hand in arguments?)? Oh but you just couldn’t give up the fantasy of dressing them up in little clothes and cleaning up their assorted body fluids and getting calls from the cops when they’re 16 because the got caught drinking? Considering all that and that they could grow up to live in your basement forever even if you do everything “right,” what makes it worth it?

  111. Never heard about the swelling labia thing or not using TP. My first was 8 weeks early and so I did not have any slicing and dicing of those rather sensitive parts since he was only 4lbs. My second was 6lbs. 14oz. and I got to experience it then and it was not fun. No one told me that it takes 15 to 20 minutes for the epidural to work which is an eternity when you are having back labor. Also, no one told me that breast feeding hurts like crazy for weeks and that you hair will fall out about 4 months after the birth. Fortunately, I had no morning sickness. All my problems came at the end when my blood pressure to crazy and I start contracting at 32 weeks.

  112. Wow. Hubby and I had infertility (and got all the “advice”), did IUI, IVF and FET but no baby. We were deciding between another round of IVF or adoption to create our family. I decided that I wanted to be a mother much more than I wanted to be pregnant and give birth. This is total confirmation that I made the right choice! Well this and the little boy sleeping in his crib two floors above me!

  113. @bug_girl:

    “Watch the baby disappear!!”

    Bug_girl has my COTW nom nom.


    Thank you, Elise, for that little trip down memory lane (it’s been more than 5 years for me)… You mentioned “hungover from the flu,” but really morning sickness makes you groggy, disoriented (dehydration), and exhausted JUST LIKE being drunk/hungover… That’s the real reason it shouldn’t matter that prego’s don’t drink, isn’t it?
    We skipped the fun part, straight to the throne.

  114. I don’t want to have my own biological children, but now I REALLY don’t want to have my own biological children. I am now in awe of anyone who has decided to have kids.

  115. *giggling* Yeah, a couple of my parent friends and I were talking about some of the basic things that happen when you’re a parent and the childless folks at the table kind of blanched…..and that didn’t even include the normal pregnancy stories.

    Pregnancy is terrifying, but that terror is a good warm-up for the terror of being a parent. You have this little person who doesn’t know much about the world and is so dependent upon you for a long time. When they’re tiny you still don’t really have your own body to yourself, either.

    If it helps, later on you do sort of repress some of those memories so they’re not as raw.

    What always got me was the way other people treated me when I was pregnant and as a new mother. I know I’d repurposed some brain cells, but really, I am an adult and get annoyed when people baby talk to me as if I were an infant.

  116. My Grandma on my Mom’s side had 8 kids: on my Dad’s side had 14 (since my Dad was youngest, I guess I’m lucky she did). Gotta wonder, though, what the hell they were thinking. Other than, y’know, “Let’s do it!”

  117. Just showed this to one of my friends (big time member of sex-positive dyke community) who said “Everyone in the sex-positive community said I’d have it easy cause I loved fist fucking. Well, I ended up with a bunch of stitches in my vagina anyway, so much for that!”

  118. As someone who is currently 33 weeks pregnant with the first (and only), I am laughing hysterically at some of these. And contemplating crying hysterically at the thought of things to come.

  119. @The Skepdick: Because laughing at and with is what makes pain bearable, and Elyse is good at making people laugh.

    I realize that your species is different from ours, but as you spend more time with humans, you may learn to at least recognize–if not respond to–humor.

  120. Normally I love reading this blog: question everything! don’t believe the hype! but really, didn’t you guys read any books before/during your pregnancy/ies? are you actually telling me you didn’t hear from ANYONE that went through ANY of this? Seriously. Pregnant women/mothers LOVE talking about all this stuff! Look at the responses to this post! Do people actually
    a) think that a massive change in their body like pregnancy isn’t going to inconvenience them in any way;
    and b)think that it’s ok to be surprised when it does?
    I’m surprised. I mean, by all means be open about the bad stuff, but don’t think that you’re the first ones to do so! this book, for example (first published in 1999, yes, more than a DECADE ago) is read by pretty much every pregnant/pregnant wanna-be woman in Australia
    These symptoms are not pleasant, but they don’t need to be a shock when/if they DO happen.

  121. More things to know:
    –Your baby may shift positions and give you the lovely sciatica, which is back/hip/nerve crawling down the leg pain, for which the only remedy is delivery. You will walk like an old woman. You will not be able to find a comfortable position in which to rest.

    –You may deliver more quickly than anticipated, thereby missing the chance for epidural anesthesia. There is a common perception among medical professionals that baby #1 takes a long time to deliver, but sometimes that’s not the case. Do not let significant time go by without an assessment by an experienced nurse or your OB; I have friends who were delivered by nurses because “it’ll be hours before you’re ready to …. whoopsies, you’re ready!” I was one of those; I delivered baby #1 only 5 hours after I got to the hospital, and didn’t labor at home at all.

    –If all went well, you will have irrationally warm feelings toward the doctors and nurses in your OB practice; when your 6 weeks postpartum visit is over, you will feel a pang of loss at not seeing those folks again for many months.

    –This is the care package I send to all new moms I’m very close to:
    1. Tucks, for the itching of the stitches as well as the possible hemmorhoids.
    2. Stool softener pills, which are mostly psychologically helpful, because it’s hard to envision pushing anything out of your nether regions ever again.
    3. Hospital-grade lanolin ointment for the nipples, because even a champion nurser is going to hurt you like HELL until you toughen up a bit.
    4. A hemmorhoid cushion or doughnut ring to sit on. You are sore for days afterward; finding ways to sit without putting pressure on your parts is crucial. And nobody told me to CLENCH your butt when you sit down–that really helps.
    5. Sleepy Time tea, though nothing really works in the sleep department.

    I await with baited breath your follow-up posting on the craptacular world of new parenthood, when the cute, adorable baby has just shat upon the sweet outfit you put her in 10 minutes ago, doesn’t feel like nursing right now even though your boobs could serve as floatation devices for a large sailor, and has decided that the morning nap shall not happen today. But no whining! You wanted this to happen!

  122. This is but one reason I am so glad I got a vasectomy at age 27. I never have, nor ever will, cause a woman to go through this kind of hell.

    Staying childfree is simply great.

  123. The image you used in the “Using TP” – the one with the illustration of cartoon toilet paper? You should think about buying it rather than placing it, watermark and all, into your post. See that giant white watermark that says “iStock” on it? Yeah, that means iStock owns it, that it’s illegal to use it without paying for it, and that in general you’re a shitheel for stealing copyrighted artwork for use in your blog.

    Even if you don’t want to/can’t afford to pay for the images you use, at the very least use Creative-Commons licensed images from Flickr that allow for free use. Don’t steal artwork. Just because you can find an image with Google Images it does not mean you have legal rights to use it.

  124. Oh, yes, hair growth. Lovely thick long hair growing lushly on your head. And your armpit hair. And your pubic hair, and areas of your body where you never even thought you had hair. Suddenly you are growing hair like men wish minoxidil did.

    I’ll also concur with the no sleep in the later stages of pregnancy. All day, as I was up and about the baby would snooze, and right when I was ready to sleep, that’s when she’d wake up and start dancing. Oh, and if I wanted to sleep on my side, there was only one side she would allow me to lie on. If I tried to roll over, she’d kick me until I rolled back. Both kids did this.

    And don’t forget swollen legs. Toward the end of my last pregnancy mine puffed up no matter how much I put my feet up. And I managed to get a bruise on one of my legs that I still have more than 11 years later.

    Oh, epidurals. I remember how I got spasms in my back as the doctor tried to put the needle in. Just reflexes, but it took way longer than it should have to get it done. And I remember feeling that even though getting the epidural in was miserable, I was so happy to have it, because that pain paled in comparison to the contractions.

    But – the best part of epidurals – if they do it just right you can still tell you are having a contraction but it no longer hurts. You can chat, relax, even get some sleep, and still know when it’s time to push at the end. To heck with natural childirth, bring on the drugs!

    And the first few weeks of nursing can be agony. Just when you need to rest and heal, now you have this squalling infant who has the instinct to suck unbelievably HARD, and does this every two to three hours day and night. When they do this, you are in pain. If they don’t do this for too long, you are also in pain from the pressure buildup. There can be a great payback for enduring the first few weeks of nursing, though. Once you are past the painful stage, nursing brings on a hormone rush, and it’s wonderful. I nursed my oldest for 9 months, and my youngest for 19. In each case they weaned themselves, because I was ready to keep going. And they’ve been remarkably healthy since.

    My girls were definitely worth it all. But reading this article and remembering all these annoyances, both major and minor, reminds me of how glad I am not to be doing it again, ever.

  125. (Nervous new Skepchick here, sidling in) And the Guilt? The Guilt? Because if there are any of these symptoms you don’t have, it’s Your Fault and you Ought to have had them? I didn’t have swollen feet in either of my pregnancies – possibly because my first pregnancy gift from my husband was a pair of Doc Martens. He knows about workboots, it wasn’t a… well, a… it wasn’t, OK? And I didn’t have morning, afternoon or evening sickness either. I’m not claiming that I was anything other than damn lucky, but did I ever get guilted out by anybody who had EVER had a baby! ‘Not sick? Ooooh, I was so sick every day, lost 10% of my body weight in the first fortnight…’ with a heavy undertone of ‘so you can’t be PROPERLY pregnant, not like I was…’

    No. I wasn’t sick. I was angry. Hormonal, much? I didn’t have food cravings, I had violence cravings. I got up in the middle of the night, not to eat coal and pickled onions, but to watch Robocop and Terminator. The pregnancy cds in my music collection were the sort I now want to forbid my teenage son to buy.

    And then you decide on doing it all a second time, and you think ‘I know this stuff. I know how it works. I know that this and that will happen. I am Prepared.’

    No. You’re not. Second time round is different. Second time round, husband ready with new dvds of violent films and… I cried. All the time. I cried when people were nasty to me and I cried when they were kind. I cried at sentimental songs on the radio. I cried at sad novels and I cried at happy endings. And second baby isn’t the same as first so all your carefully learned techniques to persuade Baby 1 to feed/sleep/whatever are no use at all with Baby 2 and you might as well be a first time parent again, only this time your health visitor’s notes say ‘experienced multigravida’ which means that you ought to know what you’re doing, you shouldn’t still be winging it.

  126. Dads, listen up.

    1. The boobies. They will be spectacular. And while they remain spectacular, you will not be permitted to touch them. It’s like having someone eat Cadbury Creme Eggs in front of you while you’re committed to a no-sugar diet. Or like being trying to watch The Great Escape with someone babbling at you the whole time. You have no idea just how horrific it is.

    2. Do not – under any circumstances – allow the children into the marital bed. They.will.never.leave. Never. Mine are 4 and 2. Guess where they sleep. Go on, guess.

    3. A big offroader pram/stroller/walker with Ferrari or Jeep on it is great. But you’ll forget how cool it is long before you’re sick of hauling the damn thing out of the car. Get a sling. Then when they can walk, make ’em walk or put ’em on your shoulders.

    4. If there is any way you can be at the birth, be there. If you are able to be there and you choose not to, you are a douche. Really. Man up, catch that sucker as it comes out, cut the cord (it’s like trying to cut through a finger – don’t be shy) and put the baby on your partner’s chest. May as well give the birth canal a little wave while you’re down there, you won’t be seeing it for a while.

    5. On the topic of being at the birth, you .will. be kicked in the shins during a contraction. Or in the nuts. The nuts actually hurt less. True story.

    6. You will come to .loathe. the Wiggles, yet you will occasionally find yourself singing their songs with nobody else around.

    There is nothing in the above list, or anything else, which makes it not totally utterly worth it the first time it falls asleep on you, or draws a picture for you, or tells you that Star Wars Episode V is the best and Jar Jar is stupid.

    Just some little tips from me to you.

  127. To think my grandmother put up with all this five times (and with twins no less for the fourth time), my mom four times, my sister twice, and my other sister.

    Now I’m definately not going to make a woman go through all that!

  128. Elyse already mentioned something like this in the comment thread, but it seems to me that the message to take away from this is not really “don’t have kids” or “don’t put your partner through this.” I understand most of those comments are tongue-in-cheek, plus there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making that particular decision for yourself. But, really, this post is a great argument FOR kids – because if there’s something in the world that can cause you this sort of pain and trouble and still make you feel unbelievably happy and lucky to have it, that’s a pretty fucking amazing thing. And that’s how amazing kids are. Amazing enough to make up for all this and more.

    At least, that’s what I get from this post. :)

  129. @decavolt: Yeah, that means iStock owns it, that it’s illegal to use it without paying for it, and that in general you’re a shitheel for stealing copyrighted artwork for use in your blog.


    God, copyright Nazis make me tired. Seriously, it’s a fucking watermarked comp image on a blog with no advertising revenue stream. A case can easily be made that this is fair use. In fact, if there weren’t a watermark on that image, it would be a much, much bigger deal.

    Get a life.

  130. @Grand Lunar: Now I’m definately not going to make a woman go through all that!


    I have two kids. I can say without any question that I did not “make” a woman go through pregnancy. You may not be aware of this, but women have agency: they can decide whether or not they want to have children, they can read books and talk to other women who have been pregnant, and they can decide whether or not to have unprotected sex. It’s a whole new world.

  131. Thank you so much for sharing this, Elyse. I’ve linked to this on my blog, along with some of my own thoughts.

    My wife and I had to go with IVF for her last pregnancy (twins), and it surprised people when I explained that it didn’t just involve masturbation and a turkey baster. For me, it wasn’t so difficult. Giving some blood, and finding something that could stimulate me enough for my contribution were the most difficult things. For my wife it was much worse. Some of the needles she had to deal with were much larger and they didn’t go into her arm.

  132. @Dongle: I’m sitting here holding a damn good reason to put one’s self through it: my 2-week old daughter. She’s in the process of learning to smile right now and, in all honesty, the world has never seemed like a better place than when she’s laying in my lap, gazing up at me.

    The great thing about reproduction? It’s optional. Telling parents they aren’t doing anything positive for the world because they aren’t necessarily employed as teachers (which, by the way is incorrect – parenting, when done right, is teaching) just because you choose not to endure pregnancy or plague a partner with it is counterproductive. We shouldn’t have to spend our baby-energy explaining to jerks that if your parents hadn’t reproduced you wouldn’t be here to look down on us.

    Shouldn’t it be viewed as a good thing, rational minds molding young ones? No, of course I’m not going to force any specific concepts or beliefs on my daughter. But I will teach her to look at the world rationally and utilize her beautiful brain for critical thinking.

    I don’t see anything negative about that. Yes, pregnancy did suck. And I will never lie and say it was wonderful. But my daughter is.

  133. This article really made me angry. Was this supposed to be funny? Because it wasn’t.

    Yes, pregnancy can be difficult, painful or even dangerous SOMETIMES, but the vast majority of women don’t experience the seeming hell on earth that the article makes it out to be. Hey, some of us enjoyed being pregnant despite the discomfort and didn’t focus on the negatives because we were looking forward to having our baby. And the first weeks of nursing were no picnic either, but hey, that’s life and you learn to deal with it or switch to bottles.

    What disgusted me the most about this depressing article was that several young people I know who read it were freaked out and are now thinking they don’t want to have kids. Way to go, Skepchick!

  134. My ex did not poop during the birth of our daughter. She was in labor for about 24 hours (heavy labor for 8 or so hours). Fortunately, the actual pushing was only about 20 minutes long and, voila!, baby and no poop.

    My daughter has made up for it by peeing and pooping on us and in the bath on multiple occasions.

  135. Can we take as a given that those of us who have chosen to be parents love our kids and think they were worth the trouble? And that pregnancy != parenthood and that we’re all just bitching and venting here?

    @olly polly:

    (i’m curious about the supposed correlation between morning sickness and the outcome of the birth – that almost sounds old-wives-tale-ish)

    Since morning sickness is caused by the hormones flooding your bloodstream (until the placenta takes over, which is why for most women it’s a 1st-trimester thing), a lack of morning sickness can *sometimes* indicate a lack of pregnancy hormones, which means things aren’t progressing as they should.

    There’s not a 100% correlation (some women with perfectly normal hormone levels just don’t get sick), but that’s the science behind the old wives tale of “morning sickness is good for you.”


    Once when she was 3 weeks old I looked down in her crib and said “If mommy doesnt get some sleep soon, she will die, you dont want mommy to die right?” No, she wanted me to die.

    Heh – I’m pretty sure this is why humans evolved to start smiling at 6 weeks old. Just when you’re at that “GIVE ME ONE REASON I SHOULD PRIORITIZE KEEPING YOU ALIVE OVER GETTING SOME FUCKING SLEEP!!!” stage, BOOM, social smiles. You win this round, babies!

  136. @amerrickangirl:

    I’m sorry this blog post made you sad.

    And I’m even more sorry that you think that because you enjoyed your pregnancy, every other woman in the world should also enjoy hers and keep all the unpleasantness to herself. No one wants women to feel informed or not alone while undergoing the biggest life change she will ever go through.

    But mostly I’m sorry for being single-handedly responsible for the demise of the entire human population by writing a single article about a handful of rather typical pregnancy problems that occur in normal healthy pregnancies.

  137. @amerrickangirl: I think that’s wonderful that you enjoyed your pregnancy. That is very fortunate for you and I don’t mean that to be at all condescending.

    Some of us however, did not and it’s nice to know we are not alone. Especially around women who say they enjoyed their pregnancy — it’s very easy to feel alone, guilty and like something is wrong with us for letting that overshadow any happiness or excitement we feel for the coming baby.

    Some of us even had a really rough time when their baby arrived (like myself). It’s really, really horrible to have that new baby in your arms and wonder why you aren’t bonding immediately. Or elated, or calm/relieved that she is finally here. I don’t think I was post partum but I deffinitely was depressed in the beginning and I felt like a horrible mother. Pile difficulty breastfeeding, lack of sleep and hormonal/physical recovery on that and it was easy to fall into a black pit of dispare.

    So I ask that you step outside for a minute and reread Elyses blog, take it lightly and as a comiserating tale between mothers who had a rough time.

    As for the people on this board who are saying they are never having kids because of this blog — honestly, people who say that usually don’t want kids anyway or are joking. I seriously doubt, if one really wants kids they are going to get scared by pregnancy. It’s nine months versus a life time and the desire for kids usually trumps the idea of pregnancy.

  138. I’m half way through my first pregnancy and as much as this is all so very true (and it’s only half of the crap that happens), I still think that it’s so worth it! I’ll hapily go through another round of torture for another child in a couple of years. But, I think it’s important that people know the reality

  139. Elyse, thank you for sharing this with us. No, honestly. I have to admit, that some parts of your description are terrifying but it’s a lot better to be informed *before* getting pregnant. I think it helps that everyone’s mom also went through all this stuff. I still think that I’ll want to have children of my own at some point, and that stories about poop or stitches or morning sickness or placentas wouldn’t change that. You’ll be responsible for that thing that pops out of you for the next 10, 20, maybe even more years and if one’s decision whether or not to give birth to a child depends on whether or not one’s going to poop during the process, one maybe should consider to think the whole thing through again.

    I don’t know whether I’d want my partner to be there during the birth and to have to see all that, though. Do men get over that and manage to have sex with the mothers of their children again? Do they still find them attractive afterwards?

  140. @asteroid54: I don’t know whether I’d want my partner to be there during the birth and to have to see all that, though. Do men get over that and manage to have sex with the mothers of their children again? Do they still find them attractive afterwards?

    I told my husband not to watch because I was afraid this would happen. He told me I was being silly so I let him watch everything in all the gorey details. It hasn’t affected him at all, let me tell YOU. lol

  141. @asteroid54:

    I don’t know whether I’d want my partner to be there during the birth and to have to see all that, though. Do men get over that and manage to have sex with the mothers of their children again? Do they still find them attractive afterwards?

    Given all the dads out there with multiple kids, I’d say so!

    My husband watched the whole thing… poop to c-section. And the 6 week postpartum sex ban was hell on him. All he wanted to do was get back in there.

  142. Yeah. A couple thoughts.

    Nicely written. Lovely descriptions and snark. A pleasure to read.

    One paragraph out of fifty or so, contains two sentences of disclaimers that this may not apply to everyone.

    Then in response to the article, there are no less than 16 replies where people are either swearing off sex, pregnancy, now getting sterilized, and even a couple advocating using this article to prevent teen pregnancies.

    Not a word from the skepchicks until reply number 170 when Jen brings up the idea that that wasn’t the purpose of this article. Up until then it was all fun and games as long as the posters were going along with the spirit of the thread.

    You ran starthinker off for having the gall to post his perspective.

    I showed up and ask a reasonably simple question to the tune of: You chose this, why all the complaints?

    For this I get told I’m “unequipped for human interaction”, a “tool”, and “as you spend more time with humans…”.

    There’s very clearly an in-group here. It seems anyone who dares not kissing the ass one of the skcpchicks isn’t in it.

    My wife and I have two young boys. I didn’t just fall off the fucking truck yesterday and sit around making shit up to think of ways to piss people off. Her and my experiences bear very little resemblance to what Elyse describes in this article and some of the posters describe in the comments.

    What of it? Did you see me here flinging crap because of it? I made some mention of anyone else being lesser people because they had a different pregnancy experience that I missed?

  143. @The Skepdick:

    Perhaps you are unaware of the way that comment came across. I did not read it as a “reasonably simple” question, but rather a suggestion that these things are not worth discussing and parenting is great so STFU. It came across as being incredibly condescending. Especially since I talked about that exact response in my post.

    I apologize for giving the impression that every single woman will have a pregnancy exactly like the one I described and that there is no other way to experience it. Perhaps I should have put several disclaimers in there, but I sort of thought that most of the people reading this article would see the “this doesn’t apply to everyone” and sort of assume that, you know, it doesn’t. They might also assume that there are benefits to bearing children since people keep having them. I guess I’m just not cynical enough.

    And the post was not full of complaints. Just because I brought up things that are unpleasant does not make them complaints. These are realities. Things that happen to many women. And no one discusses them beforehand. And no one is willing to discuss them while it’s happening. It’s isolating and it’s scary.

    What doesn’t help is this exact attitude that you wanted this so you have no right to talk about anything unpleasant regarding it. That’s not how people work. Wanting a child does not mean wanting swollen, painful genitals or having a backache so bad that you have to call into work. Or driving around looking for abortion clinics because you’re sure this baby that you’ve been planning for years, and dreaming of during fertility treatments, suddenly seems like the biggest mistake you’ve ever made.

    Maybe it’s not a big deal to you, and I’m glad you and your wife never had to go through that, but marginalizing pregnant women while society pretends to put them in a special citizen category is kind of shitty. Not everyone is happy that they’re pregnant. I think it’s time we start discussing it more, and stop belittling women for having the nerve to bring that up.

    Also, I took the “ZOMG GETTING STERILIZED!” and teen pregnancy comments as being snarky, humorous responses to a description of pregnancy that is less than fun. It’s the same response people give whenever someone mentions something unpleasant about parenthood. “I just got covered in baby puke!” “This is the 30th diaper I’ve changed this morning.” “My kid just colored on all the walls.” What do people say, “Wow! I’m never having kids!”

  144. @The Skepdick:

    Considering my first post here got me into an argument with Rebecca, and I’ve always posted what I thought regardless of what everyone else here is saying, maybe you’ll place more weight on it when I say:

    Your comment “I showed up and ask a reasonably simple question to the tune of: You chose this, why all the complaints?” shows an incredible divergence between my perception of the point of Elyse’s article and your perception of her post. Unless you weren’t commenting on her article, in which case you set yourself up for a misunderstanding.

    The point, as she has made very clear, was to raise awareness and talk about the reality of pregnancies. The only possible area of misunderstanding, I think, was in the fact that this was somehow a suggestion that pregnancy wasn’t worth it (though that has been addressed several times).

  145. And, it seems I may very well be one who doesn’t always “get” the humor as it is intended.

    I’ve taken no issue with your views on the marginalization of pregnant women, the isolation, or lack of knowledge about it.

    Clearly, I for one, did not see your article as you intended it. This can’t be the first time that’s happened to you as an author of so many articles.

  146. @The Skepdick:

    Not everyone gets my humor. I’m sorry you didn’t. I’m sorry you didn’t understand the article.

    No, you’re not the only one. Plenty of people out there hate this article. So far I’ve been accused of exaggerating or outright lying, among other things. So maybe we need to be discussing these things a little more.

    Reading through the comments here and about the internets, as well as the emails sent to Skepchick and to my FB and Twitter, I’m happy to report that it looks like most people do get it and do appreciate it and are relieved and happy that someone is talking about this openly and honestly.

    It’s not that the information isn’t already out there somewhere. No one is reading it, and no one is talking about it. So I can put together a dry, nothing but the facts, report complete with statistics and excerpts from medical journals that no one wants to read (and I know no one wants to read it because no one is reading it now), or I can write like I do. I’m snarky. I’m a little irreverent. I’m conversational. I’m even a little funny. You know, it seems to be working as this is now the third most read article ever posted on Skepchick.

    Perhaps you perfer your information delivered to you in a more formal manner. That’s fine. There’s certainly a place for that. You’re just not going to get there by traveling through my head.

  147. Elyse, then we’ve both learned a bit about the other. I am hoping you understand I was not suggesting that those things you wrote about are not worth discussing and parenting is great so STFU.

    Had I meant that, I would have surely said it plainly.

  148. All of this is appalling and sobering. Unfortunately there are enough extraneous circumstances that it doesn’t make me much more sympathetic, retroactively, to “HONEY, I KNOW you’ve been at work all day around full time college classes, and if I stopped to think about it you’re probably exhausted, but I’ve been on bed rest all day and my feet hurt SO BAD…”, to shouting me down singing “River Lullaby” from “The Prince of Egypt” every time I suggested adoption justaposed with extended self-pitying rants post-delivery that essentially boiled down to “*SOB* NO ONE EVER SAID PARENTING WOULD BE HAAAAAAAAAARD!!!!!!”, or to the eventually-pieced-together lies through her teeth about the circumstances of conception. (It’s orthogonal to the subsequent passionate affair with bottle after bottle , to viewing our autism-diagnosed child like a defective product that couldn’t be returned because the receipt had been lost, and to stealing and pissing away the entirety of said child’s college savings account, of course).

    I forget where I was going with this. :/

  149. This post was spot on.

    My wife had other problems during pregnancy, though. Mainly, it had to do with random strangers touching her belly. We’d be in the grocery store minding our own goddam business when WHOOSH!, out of nowhere comes what can only be described as the ultimate manifestation of a crazy cat lady, who immediately begins pawing at the goods and asks when she’ll be due. This happened nine times. :/

  150. Thank you for being so frank. I haven’t had a baby yet, but I hope to one day, so thanks to you I’ll be a little more prepared :)

    (Never thought about being kicked in the bladder.)

  151. I love you forever for writing this. It’s all so so so true. Especially the part where no one cares. Pregnancy was the most miserable living hell I’ve ever been through, and then people would say stupid crap to me about how much sympathy I must be getting, in some grudging tone of voice that suggested I didn’t deserve it, or they would make jokes every time I frowned about how “emotional” I was getting.
    I’m fixed now, and sometimes I feel like falling to my knees and saying hallelujah when I think about not having to go through that living hell again.

  152. Thanks for this article, Elyse! What’s really great is that it’s one I can link to my non-skeptic (yet!) friends.

    I’ll probably always be terrified of pregnancy, but in the end I don’t think it’ll stop me (, dammit!), and more power to all the moms out there for getting through this stuff :)

  153. @catgirl: Just for the record – I took BC for the past 3 years, just went off and got pregnant. My morning sickness is all day, every day and thank God my doctor gave me amazing anti-nausea meds that have made my days more bearable, although not all together nausea free. Overall, I don’t think that it matters how long you are on BC, morning sickness will either find you or it won’t. It found me and has made my first trimester miserable. I am hopeful that at 11.5 weeks mine is almost done and over.

  154. Wow, incredible article Elyse! I was certainly lucky throughout most of my pregnancy – no morning sickness, no foot swelling or cervix kicks or anything serious – just a lot of peeing and hey, my acne even cleared up! But the end wasn’t as pretty. 10 hours of back labor, 2 hours of pushing (with poop, which I happened to see when the nurses graciously propped up a mirror for my viewing pleasure) episiotomy (sp?)and pretty much your whole paragraph of the after birth experience consisting of blood, pain and squirt bottles.

    And of course, those hemorrhoids, such a nice parting gift. Thank you for your post SurlyNymph :) Also, I too went through the nursing struggle. I finally gave in when my daughter had jaundice from not eating enough and was screaming. I wanted to die, it was so stressful to not be able to feed my starving child. It was bottle feeding from then on, and it’s totally fine.

    Had I gone through every horrible symptom though, still totally worth it.

  155. I haven’t seen anyone mention that they’ve mostly forgotten about these sad facets of human-making. Not only did I find Elyse’s post well-intended for the sake of bringing up topics most people avoid or lie about, I appreciated the reminder that I DID experience many of those things, and lived through it.

    I’d like to note that it’s very common to hear people swear off sex or children when they hear complaints about pregnancy and parenting. I didn’t perceive any of the comments here to be serious sentiments that resulted from this single article.

  156. @The Skepdick: I showed up and ask a reasonably simple question to the tune of: You chose this, why all the complaints?

    For this I get told I’m “unequipped for human interaction”, a “tool”, and “as you spend more time with humans…”.


    Yes, but that’s because the fact that you think that’s a perfectly reasonable question impies that you’re a tool who is unequipped for interaction with humans. Don’t shoot the messenger, dude.

  157. @The Skepdick: There’s very clearly an in-group here. It seems anyone who dares not kissing the ass one of the skcpchicks isn’t in it.


    You should spend more time reading the comments before you make a judgement about what’s clear. There are many epic disagreements on this blog, both between skepchicks and commenters and between commenters.

    The problem here isn’t that we have an “in” group, and that you aren’t in it. The problem here is that you don’t understand why people make jokes. That’s not anyone’s fault, and you shouldn’t take it personally when I point it out to you.

  158. @asteroid54: Do men get over that and manage to have sex with the mothers of their children again? Do they still find them attractive afterwards?


    Yes. We do.

    Although I will say that that was the weirdest fucking thing I have ever seen in my entire life.

  159. @alterjess thanks for that info, but i’d still like to hear from the author about how morning sickness supposedly affects the outcome of labor. cause i’m skeptical like that.

    i didn’t have morning sickness at all and by kid is…well….really smart, is intelligence something that a mother’s morning sickness supposedly affects?
    @starthinker (and any other guy who is somewhat offended by the somewhat extreme stance by a few of the commenters here) For you guys to crap all over my dedication really made me feel great, no really. All joking aside, as I stated in my post, these were the best moments of my life, and I thank and praise my wife for going through that and giving me some great kids. Please forgive my flippancy and I shan’t darken your doors again.

    i totally did get your flippancy. i got it 100 %. i’m a woman, and i had a kid, and i don’t think you were trying to put me down or put me in my place.

    i think some people here were mistaken with their interpretation of your post. i thought you were trying to be sarcastic and funny, just like the author.

    i didn’t take offense at your post, and i think anyone who did needs to have a beer or not be pregnant or something. :)

    i’d still love to see the science behind the author’s “morning sickness = labor outcome” postulation.

  160. @sethmanapio:
    “You should spend more time reading the comments before you make a judgement about what’s clear. There are many epic disagreements on this blog, both between skepchicks and commenters and between commenters.”

    Sure. The trouble with this one was I didn’t disagree about shit.

    “The problem here isn’t that we have an “in” group, and that you aren’t in it. The problem here is that you don’t understand why people make jokes. That’s not anyone’s fault, and you shouldn’t take it personally when I point it out to you.”

    I see. And I suppose the fact that none of you saw my simple question as the simple question it was absolves you of calling me other than human for not “getting” something you thought was funny. It’s somehow my fault that the communicator’s message wasn’t received the way she intended it by absolutely everyone?

    That shit cuts both ways.

    I asked what I asked, it meant nothing more than what it meant. You, along with others, assigned meaning to my question that wasn’t there, and threw a few ad hominems at me for asking it.

    I know exactly where this is going, because in your mind, it’s already half way there. Let’s get this straight now. Again. As I said to Elyse directly, I take no issue with her message. Pregnant women need not be isolated, alone, or scared. Knowledge is indeed power.

  161. Yes, you must have a sense of human to go through this process but it if this article is the experience of 1 single woman, I can old say, “sucks to be you”. I didn’t have any morning sicknes in 2 pregnancies, or unbearable aches OR stitches. Maybe as the daughter of a woman who had 6 kids, I was born to breed. The kicking parts are all true and you develop extra-sensory-perception in seeking out toilets for your thousands of toilet visits a day. Sadly, the world is full of women who LOVE to brag about this and say, “oh but you forget” while their children are actually college age. I once told off a woman in a cafe who boastfully described her delivery as “two words…ANAL-TEARING.” I was 35 when I garnered the strength to go for it and it was fine. In fact, I was healthier than usual, had thick and shiny hair, long nails, clear skin , felt great for the most part. I felt great after the delivery and wanted to go home right away. I was also allowed to use toilet paper!!!!!!! It’s the weeks after delivery no one prepares you for. Your body is recovering froma form of chock and all of those people who come to visit your new baby covered in cologne, cigarette smoke andwith runny noses are enough to make you go Animal Planet on their ass.

    I also have the fortune to live in one of the top 6 countries with the greatest healthcare in the world for pregnant woman and children: Sweden.

    So I don’t dare feel I have the right to really bitch about my suffering.
    Good luck to all you pregnant mladies out there!!

  162. @The Skepdick: I asked what I asked, it meant nothing more than what it meant. You, along with others, assigned meaning to my question that wasn’t there, and threw a few ad hominems at me for asking it.
    No, I really didn’t. I didn’t assign any meaning to it at all. I pointed out that the question itself illustrated that you have no conception of humor. It isn’t a matter of “getting it” it’s a matter of recognizing the existence of humor and understanding its purpose. I didn’t find the post laugh out loud funny either, but I do at least realize that if someone says that you have to “start yelling at invisible people about Zeus to get away with walking around smelling like pee” there’s probably a joke there somewhere.

    Also, you made a rookie mistake in your use of the term “ad hominem”. An ad hominem is an attack on an argument. If I said “Skepdick is an alien with no sense of humor, therefore his argument is invalid” that would be an ad hominem. Merely pointing out that you appear to be an alien is an observation.

    Finally, I never claimed you disagreed with anyone. You claimed that kissing ass was necessary to becoming part of the in group, I corrected your mistaken impression by pointing out that there is neither an in-group nor is it necessary to kiss ass in the comments. The disagreements I alluded to are an example of why you are mistaken.

    I hope this clears my position on your comment up for you.

  163. @olly polly:

    No one knows much of anything about morning sickness, what causes it, or what causes the severity of it.

    One thing it does not do is predict labor outcomes. It also doesn’t predict how smart your kid is.

    All it says is that your kid is more likely to be born. Since a few studies have showed a correlation between morning sickness and reduced risk of miscarriage.

    That doesn’t mean that if you don’t throw up your kid is going to die.

  164. Wow, I was one of those women that didn’t experience most of this. Morning sickness? Nope, maybe puked a total of 6 times. Maybe. Junk swelling? I never even heard of that one. However, I was incredibly horny and turned into a sex fiend while pregnant. The only downsides to being pregnant (for me) were the peeing all the time thing, a staggering case of heartburn in the 9 month that left me screaming on the floor many times and also continued post-partum because my guts were all stretched out (FUN), and I suffered from pregnancy brain. I love it when people tell me pregnancy brain doesn’t exist because I became a little old man with dementia unable to remember appointments, unable to remember simple words, unable to find anything especially if it was in my own two hands. Other than that I must be some kind of freak because the pregnancy and the labor was not that bad, and I went around telling everyone that it wasn’t that bad. However, my best girlfriend has been vomiting all day for 9 months, and I feel soooo bad for her.

  165. Reminds me of something I’ve talked about with a co-worker who is currently pregnant:

    We want to make a maternity t-shirt. It would come in a variety of colors, but it’s main features would be a legend. It would say “I am having a _____ and am due in ______.” She got sick of people asking her if they knew the sex of the baby, and when she was due.

    My other thought was to put a cartoon-style thought balloon on the belly with the caption “My mommy is gonna punch you if you touch me.”

    I advocate all pregnant women learning how to throw a flat-footed elbow, so you can discourage people who touch without permission.

  166. What surprised me most about this article wasn’t the painful pregnancy details (worse than I expected, but not shocking), it was the description of cruelty and callousness from friends. Was it literal?

    I don’t think any of the commenters found it implausible. Do most people have social lives like that?

  167. There’s another instance when you are absolutely not allowed to be happy under any circumstances and receive lectures to your face and whispers behind your back from family and friends:

    When you’re pregnant with a child that will be your third or more. These days big families are so uncommon, people think you must be stupid or crazy, and NO ONE seems to be able to imagine that you’re *gasp* choosing to have so many.

  168. One other thing: you know those postpartum contractions you get when the baby is nursing? They get much more intense after the second baby. Some were as bad as labor contractions, and you can’t really take pain relief for it because you don’t know when it is coming.

  169. @Mark Hall: That’s a good idea :). I managed to survive my whole pregnancy without getting manhandled. I even did the grocery shopping until like 38 weeks all by myself and pulled it off! But it was one thing I was fully prepared for and had read a lot about on message boards.

    One story that stands out in my mind was a woman who said some lady just walked up and held her belly while asking her a million questions, so she smiled, reached up and grabbed the woman’s boob. Haha. I think that’s the route I would’ve taken.

    The fill-in-the-blank shirt is an especially great idea because that’s impossible to avoid. Everywhere I went I was asked “Awww, how far along are you?” and when I would reply further along than they thought, they would question whether I was sure or not because I “carried small”. I was also informed by every single person who spoke to me that I was having a boy. I particularly enjoyed this after 20 weeks, when I was fully aware that I was having a girl. Not a single stranger guessed correctly out of a 50/50 chance.

  170. @Nancy Lebovitz:

    “What surprised me most about this article wasn’t the painful pregnancy details (worse than I expected, but not shocking), it was the description of cruelty and callousness from friends. ”

    People say the most god awful, atrocious, horrible things to pregnant women. I went home to lock myself in the bedroom and cry my eyes out any number of times, and it wasn’t just because of hormones. People took it upon themselves to tell me every labor horror story they’d ever heard, and several men made jokes about “how much screaming I would be doing” and then make fun of their exes and how loud and obnoxious they got during labor. Forget alcohol – people scolded me for drinking a diet coke, or eating a piece of candy. If I dared complain about having problems once I got huge or if I expressed anxiety about impending labor, I got some dismissive stories about how primitive women in such and so far away place work right up till they give birth, drop the kid out, strap it on their back and go right on working, so clearly I was just being whiny. And then after all that, people would believe I was getting some extra special nice treatment because I was pregnant and grumble about it.

  171. I was fine reading up until the part about cervix kicks. Then I had to walk away lest I faint.

    I don’t know how my mom did it. My twin and I (#4 and #5) each weighed 7.5 lbs, and my twin was born breech (no painkillers). If they tried a CC, or tried to turn her around, it would have been too late and she wouldn’t be here. My mom is amazing. I don’t know if I’ll ever be that brave.

  172. I love it when people tell me pregnancy brain doesn’t exist because I became a little old man with dementia unable to remember appointments, unable to remember simple words, unable to find anything especially if it was in my own two hands.

    From what I’ve read, the supposed negative effect of pregnancy on mental performance is kind of like the effectiveness of homeopathy: it’s easy to find anecdotal support for it but methodologically sound scientific studies come up with nothing (“Christensen, H., Leach, L. S. and Mackinnon, A. Cognition in pregnancy and motherhood: prospective cohort study. British Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 196, February 2010, pp. 126-32.” Is the study cited).

    On the other hand, recent research has found that women who believe they’ve been given testosterone, whether or not they actually have, behave more aggressively and selfishly, apparently due entirely to a sort of placebo effect (whereas those who’ve been given it but don’t think so tend to be less selfish). If you went into pregnancy convinced that it would disrupt your thought processes, perhaps expectancy effects (no pun intended) made it a self-fulfilling (no pun intended) prophecy?

  173. @Azkyroth:

    Purely anecdotally, with my first kid, I joked about the baby eating my brain for months before I realized that it was actually a real thing that happens fairly often.

    While I’m sure that there is probably nothing neurologically that happens that actually impairs women, I do wonder if the tests that conclude that there’s “no such thing” are somewhat flawed.

    It leaves me pretty torn though. I like the idea that it’s not a permanent physical thing. Women don’t suddenly become dumb because they’re reproducing. But on the other hand, if you have experienced it, you can’t help but feel like no one is taking you seriously. It’s certainly not fake.

  174. Elyse: Considering how many things are happening to our minds and bodies while pregnant – well the exhaustion alone from disrupted sleep can cause inability to think clearly. So it may not be anything specifically about pregnancy doing something to the brain, but just the cumulative effect of all the lack of sleep and general physical stress.

  175. @Elyse: Plus there’s a lot to be said for feeling stupid, even if you know you shouldn’t be. Just being groggy after a bad night of sleep can make a smart person feel dumb and there’s obviously no major neurological change there. When it happens for an entire trimester it drives you crazy.

    It’s like with the smell thing…my whole pregnancy I *swear* I had wicked BO, even a few minutes after a thorough shower. It drove me batty. I showered several times a day and practically painted my underarms with deodorant. *Nobody* else could smell me, even people I knew who would be honest when I asked. So yeah, it was probably that preggy-women-have-elevated-sense-of-smell thing (is that even true?), in which case I wasn’t actually stinky but I *felt* stinky and really, that was sucky enough.

    It doesn’t matter if my intelligence really dropped either; it felt like it did, and it was no fun.

  176. No one knows much of anything about morning sickness, what causes it, or what causes the severity of it.

    One thing it does not do is predict labor outcomes. It also doesn’t predict how smart your kid is.

    well, good to know — cause you stated in your article that There is a correlation between the severity of morning sickness and pregnancy outcomes.

    so i just wanted to make that one less thing that all of the poor scared-shitless skeptical women who now don’t want to breed have to worry about.

  177. @catchyseachild

    When you’re pregnant with a child that will be your third or more. These days big families are so uncommon, people think you must be stupid or crazy, and NO ONE seems to be able to imagine that you’re *gasp* choosing to have so many.

    well, there are TV shows presenting the idea of having many, many children as OK and almost something that will earn money via TV– ( – john and kate — multiples all of a sudden were worth money on TV — 19 and counting — sorry, i just don’t get it. say no and close your legs or take the pill — octomom — need i say more)

    if you think about it, the idea of having lots and lots of children is pretty backwards. this could start a new conversation, but i’m just sayin.

  178. @olly polly: if you think about it, the idea of having lots and lots of children is pretty backwards.


    Yeah. When I think “Brad and Angelina”, I think, “hick.”

    Although when I get past my initial prejudices about the kinds of ignorant yokels who have lots of kids and think about it skeptically, I really think it’s more of a lifestyle choice than anything else.

    It’s a problem when people, for religious reasons, have more kids than they want or think they can care for, but I don’t really think it’s a problem or a sign of backwardness if people have the number of kids (say, 0, or 2, or 10, or whatever) that they want and think they can care for.

  179. @olly polly:

    I’m not really all that worried about the women who no longer want to breed being worried about morning sickness. The problem sort of takes care of itself.

    But the point still stands – there is still a correlation between morning sickness and positive pregnancy outcomes, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to be a huge asshole about it by cheering it on.

  180. How I wish there was honest talk out there like this when I was pregnant since from family all I was told was information that was outdated by the 70s or the pregnancy is the most magical time with rainbows and unicorns.

    Even just knowing that morning sickness can potentially last all 9 months would’ve been helpful. With me it was so bad that despite doing my damnedest to eat I couldn’t keep anything down and was losing weight in my first trimester. As it was, having gestational diabetes and being borderline preclampsic in both was more than enough to deal with.

    One thing I went through that I’ve not seen mentioned yet is the commentary that happens when one has a vaginal birth after a c-section. For me since both kids were huge and my internal design narrow, while my first was a c-section, due to a major clusterfuck at the hospital my second who was supposed to be a c-sec as well ended up being a vaginal birth that resulted in my tearing from stem to stern even with the episiotomy and requiring a blood transfusion.

    Having gone through that, for everyone who blithered about how ‘beautiful’ it was that I had a vaginal birth after a c-section made me want to beat them severely about the head and shoulders. Granted for some it’s a good thing but to presume it’s that for others…bleh.

  181. @M_Sinistrari: Even mentioning VBAC amongst the holier-than-thou “natural” birthers is enough to start a flame war, pretty much for the reason you describe. It’s yet another part of childbirth that’s highly politicized and a lot of people think they have the right to spew a lot of garbage at you over it.

    And I’m very sorry to hear about the awful time you had! It sounds awful. My sympathies!

  182. I’ve seen pregnancy as proof that evolution always picks the lowest bidder. Yeah, it’s a dirty, painful, sometimes dangerous process, but it results in a net increase in human beings, so it’s still in use.

    A big thing no one will say is that there really is no way to control or predict how easy or hard it will be. You can eat nothing but organic foods, meditate, exercise, live your entire life in a perfect enchanted meadow, and still end up with gestational diabetes, placenta previa and premature labor. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people (and a lot of “alternative” health care providers) who believe you can, and will try to make you feel insanely guilty for everything you do, like that your baby was breech because you didn’t do reflexology or sprinkle the special flax seeds over everything.

    This also comes from other mothers, and also with respect to parenting. I think some of it is wishful thinking, like how people so often think bad things can’t happen to them because they’re doing the “right” things. People will say that you’re having morning sickness because your pregnancy wasn’t planned and the baby feels unloved. And they’ll also claim your toddler’s tantrums are a result of insecurity at her parents not being married.

    It does help to think that it’s very rare someone experiences every bad part. Most people get some, some have just a few, and there are some women who have barely a symptom (just as there are toddlers who’ll potty-train themselves in one day and never have accidents…and if the universe were fair, the symptom-less pregnancy women would never get those toddlers.) Yes, hemorrhoids suck, but it also sucks when your neighbor has no idea what those are because she felt perfectly fine after giving birth, went home from the hospital wearing pre-pregnancy jeans and six weeks out actually pouts that she can’t find any sign at all in her body that she was pregnant.

    Oh, and for the subject of men and post-birth sex, I do recall one good piece of advice I got. It was that men don’t need mystery so much as they need availability.

  183. This was an awesome sharing. My male friend linked me today and it was great knowing Im not only one who feels half of this stuff applies to her. Especially the liquor thing, giving up drinking was damn hard and it didnt help when everyone is like, A* glass is ok here, A* glass is ok there… well when I have my alcoholic baby are you going to watch her? Nope I dont think so. Therefore, Ill have a nice shirley temple- which I got carded for at the bar about a month ago. Go figure! And I forgot about the horrible squirt bottle Im so glad someone mentioned it so I didnt end up in a depressed state post baby!

  184. Marilove @ 36

    I object to the double standard there. LtStorm made a comment about getting snipped and your response is that would deny a woman the decision to become pregnant? No, it won’t. It just means he wouldn’t be the one supplying the sperm.
    If a woman decided she wanted to tie her tubes, would you argue that she was denying a man the opportunity to become a father?
    Hell no. You, me, and the majority of this thread would be shouting from here to the rafters if anyone made that argument.
    Deciding to have sex is a two (or more)-party decision.
    Deciding what to do with your own body requires no second opinion.

    swordsbane @ 82
    Childbirth is not just “not a picnic,” it is something that was/is one of the most likely causes of death for women without access to modern medicine. Being thankful that childbirth is hard to the extent that it is seems badly misplaced.

  185. Also, Elyse?

    You have both terrified me and convinced me that my wife is brave beyond my comprehension.

    I showed Emily that post and asked her if she wanted to make adoption Option 1, and she said “No, that is still our backup in case we can’t conceive.”

    I’ve been in awe of her bravery for some time, but my level of awe just increased once again.
    She can’t look at injections or incisions, but she will hold my hand when I donate blood- and now she reads through that list and is willing to undergo that? Including the possibility of an injection of anesthetic directly into the spine? Or incisions to make a larger exit for the baby’s head?

    … damn. She and all of you who are willing to go through that are courageous and I can’t think what else can be said.

  186. I agree with about 85% of what was in the article. My man is very great during the pregnancy of our 3rd. (22 weeks now). As he was during the other pregnancies. The one thing that no one really warned me about were the CRAVINGS. Not for weird food, but case-in-point. 2 weeks ago I wanted chinese food, could not get chinese food. I saw a sitcom where the man was eating out of a chinese food container and I burst into tears. I just wanted it. A week later, I ordered it, took 2 bites and was done. No more cravings for that. It is insane just how powerful they can be!!!

    I do suffer from horrible pregnancy brain and with an 8 year old honor student (girl) and a 13 month old baby (boy), that’s rough. Sometimes I forget if I have fed them snack….. We’ve come up with some clever things to remind me if I have or have not done most things – but that’s all that I wish I had back right now. As we wait for the birth of our newest little one due on Fathers Day (girl). Ok. Yes, I’m lonely without any friends in the state. So I tend to babble. ;-D Have a great day everyone.

  187. Elyse and co. (Marilove, Jen, Alterjess, “Other” Amanda): You need to back the hell off of Starthinker. Much as this post was intended to bring into the open some less-known aspects of pregnancy, Starthinker’s comment was a look into what nobody tells you about what it’s like to be the partner. He was honest, funny, and insightful — you can’t ask for more than that. It was a real dick move to pile on him like that.

    I quote Elyse:

    I think the problem you’re describing is not a problem with women but a problem with the woman you chose to reproduce with… twice.

    I’m sorry that her pregnancy was so much harder on you than on her.

    Seriously? It takes two to tango. And don’t act like women have a monopoly on pain, discomfort, and fear during and after pregnancy.

    You should have invited him to guest post about “The other side of pregnancy.” Instead, you shat all over him, and sat back while the other commenters followed suit.

    My only complaint about his comment was the bit about repulsion at his partner’s body during childbirth. He should have followed that up with how his perceptions changed again over time. (I hear that sexual attraction quickly returns to normal.) I know that’s a hot-button issue for a lot of pregnant women, and I have to wonder if that sparked some of the anger.

    In any event, belittling the struggle of dealing with someone in hormonal flux is not gonna improve male-female relations on the topic.

  188. I’m now 3 months pregnant and the entire time I feel like I’m being tortured. The all day nausea, extreme fatigue and all the other symptoms makes me terrified for what’s to come.

    Smells and nausea go hand in hand, everything smells bad and everything triggers nausea. Then there is the severe mood swings and panic attacks…oh and getting up 3 times a night to pee when you are dead tired.
    Other pregnant women can sympathize and relate but everyone else doesn’t care or doesn’t want to hear it and just doesn’t get it.

    Feeling like having a bad flu for 6 weeks straight is torture..some days I don’t even want to get up.

    At the same time I did it for a reason, I can’t wait to meet my child, hearing the heart beat was special, makes up for a bit of the bad feelings.

  189. Thank you. Thank you so much. As a pregnant woman in her third trimester who has mostly been feeling utterly miserable the entire time – it’s nice to finally have those feelings validated. You are so very right on every point – though I have one to add, or rather, to elaborate on. The idea that pregnant women should be thrilled. Pregnant women are also supposed to be completely, deeply and madly in love with their little embryos from the get go. If you are not, there is something wrong with you. You are possibly a bad and heartless person. You may not deserve this baby, you will probably be a bad parent. You should love your baby that you might not even be able to feel – or who causes you to feel extremely uncomfortable. Despite not being able to see, smell or really interact with your baby in any way, you are a really terrible person if you don’t swoon with joy and love at the thought of him/her/it/spoon. Right? Not really. I’ve come to believe that at least half of the women swooning with love over their tiny, multicellular organism are probably doing it because they think they’re supposed to – not because they actually do. Faking it until they make it.

    As with many other things in pregnancy and raising children, people who feel strongly about ANYTHING may be so used to defending their beliefs that they’ll attack anyone who believes differently. One woman believes in exclusively breastfeeding. You can’t/don’t want to do it? You terrible, horrible person.

    Its this behavior that leaves so many women uninformed about their bodies and their pregnancies and too fearful of judgment to ask questions which might change that. It’s a vicious, awful cycle.

    Most doctors and books that you’ll find about pregnancy actually disagree with most pregnant women on this matter in particular. Don’t love your fetus? You’re just normal. In fact, it’s normal for women not to have any positive feelings AT ALL for their baby until several weeks AFTER the birth.

    I just thought I’d add that little piece. It has been one of the biggest hurdles for me during my pregnancy. …well, that and the feeling like someone stabbed me in my vagina.

  190. I want kids more than anything. I will admit that when someone I know complains about being pregnant all I can think is “well…I’d give ANYTHING to have that to complain about”

  191. I’m ten weeks now. This probably sounds a bit crazy, but I actually feel somewhat comforted reading this. It’s horrible and scary, but it makes me feel that much more… “prepared” isn’t quite the word I’m looking for, but at least aware of what I can expect.

    No one told me about the fatigue. I wish someone had. I was sleeping 15 hours a night, plus all the times I just fell asleep at my desk or in meetings. For a while, I was literally falling asleep every time I blinked, and startling awake when my eyes opened back up. The morning sickness hasn’t been so bad, though. I’m queasy pretty much all the time, but there hasn’t been any throwing up.

    And here here for husbands willing to wake up, get out of bed, and go to the 24/7 store to buy me macaroni and cheese when I absolutely, absolutely had to have macaroni and cheese!

  192. Honestly, I dont have kids. But whats 9 month compared to 18+ years? …Yea they might be the worst 9 months of your life but how many woman do you know that have said it was never worth it? Aside from those teenage girls who dont deserve children.

    I think its safe to say anyone with a right mind knows that they can never prepare themselves for pregnancy, yea you can gross yourself out about it, but it will always be a new experience. (New DOES NOT mean good!)

    I did “Stumble” upon this page and i did go through all the trouble of registering to comment, but i think that honesty like this can do a lot of good for us younger minded people.

    My Point is….Things like this SHOULD be told, if you are pregnant use it! Tell people what your going through (by people i mean our younger generation, like myself ). I think brutal honesty will save this world!

  193. Two Spawns to our credit… the best advice I got was “your wife is going to be miserable. She will take it out on you. Don’t take it personally.” At the time I though this seemed horribly unfair but after watching what she had to go through on a daily basis (all of the above) I thought maybe, just maybe, she deserved a little venting.

    Both kids were c-section. I wish someone had told me “don’t peek past the drape.”

  194. I read this article because my husband of 8 years and I have decided to starting trying to get pregnant. This is a horrifying article but I suppose I needed to read it. No need to think it is all sunshine and rainbows. Thank you for your honesty. :)

  195. lmao, it’s really not that bad. it all sounds horrible but really it’s not that bad until you are like 8 months. I am pregnant right now with my 3rd and I guess I’m tough. my son was 10 lbs 3 oz, normal delivery, had an episiodemy, had stitches. did I mention I was only 17 and I survived. I was also only 5’1 and 115 lbs pre- pregnancy. my daughter was 6 lbs an hour after delivery I was up showered dressed, hair and make- up done asking to go home. I was only in the hospital for 1 day after delivery. while there is some gross shit that happens (you forgot to mention hemorrhoids) it’s all what you make of it. I had preeclampsia with my first 2 pregnancies, now with this one I am on blood thinners due to blood clots. so add giving yourself a shot in the stomach daily to the list of things that blow during pregnancy. it is all worth it, but idc I will complain as much as I want no matter how much I planned my last two pregnancies because I earned the right to. when you go through pregnancy, labor. delivery, the newborn stage, the infant stage, the terrible toddler years, and everything in between you earn the right to complain.

  196. And no other pregnant women seem to mind the boredom of being sober…no drinks, no sigs, no spliffs…therefore no going out, a decrease in going out…I am going off my head, I so badly want to get drunk, but I am only 34 weeks and then there is breastfeeding. Some folks I know are still breastfeeding when their kid is 2 y.o., when questioning them, they say they’re FINE with having ONE drink a week. When talking about it, I get weird reactions from people, telling me that 9 months can’t be that hard. All you can do is eat, to compensate, making sure of course that you don’t put on too much weight. Honestly, I take no pleasure whatsoever in eating, I hate it to be starving half of the time.
    I hope I will reincarnate in a man next life!

  197. “We actually agreed to stop trying for a while for the sake of saving our marriage. I never thought that trying to get pregnant would tear us apart.

    Yeah, meanwhile I’ve got everyone cheering me on when I miscarry (but you can get pregnant! That’s great news!). And giving me advice like “relax” and “try folic acid” and “now that you bought a house, your body knows it’s time!””

    Thank you for this! The obscenely idiotic things people say to those with fertility issues never ceases to amaze me. By far, I’ve never wanted to slap someone more than when I received the “isn’t miscarrying better than not being able to get pregnant at all?!” “Nope, it’s a daily hell reminder that your body is fucked, thank you very much.” And then having marital issues, people look at you like you’re crazy. Shouldn’t you be so in love? You’re (trying hopelessly) to make a baby!!! Thank you for being so honest, I could hug you.

  198. Oh my goodness the stitches. I had an almost 10 pound baby and tore like a mother (HA!). Don’t forget about the raging hormones that make you feel like a cross between a rapid dog and a crying fool. The first PP poop was awful…like terribly awful. It hurts like crazy. And also don’t forget about the god awful cramping you get after you give birth because your uterus has to shrink back to “normal” size. Ha. like it will ever be normal again. Having a baby is no joke people. That’s why when people make it seem so wonderful and awesome…who are those people? I was fairly lucky because I had a pretty easy pregnancy. I had little to no morning sickness or any other of the “normal” pregnancy symptoms. Granted, I had to be induced three days after 40 weeks and was in labor for 40 (yes, 40) hours with the most horrific back labor on the face of the planet. Buckle up future parents. :)

  199. This is the best thing about pregnancy I’ve read. I’m 13 weeks pregnant and have been so miserable for the past 6 weeks. First it was a head cld, then never ending nausea, then bronchitis, the na yeast infection from antibiotics. Then there’s the tired alllllll the time despite sleeping 12 hours a night. It doesn’t help that I don’t have health insurance despite working 40+ hours a week. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard ” you don’t have health insurance? But you’re pregnant!” As if being pregnant gave you some magical access to health insurance. The sad part is, if I wasn’t married, I’d have more options.
    But enough of that. It is comforting to know that I’m not alone in hating being pregnant, and it doesn’t mean I won’t love being a mom. I think anyone who felt this aweful would like being pregnant.

  200. I was pregnant when I was 19. Gave birth at 20. I didn’t have any nausea/vomiting, no smells made me sick, no swelling in my lady parts and I didn’t poop while giving birth. Didn’t have many pains either. My feet swelled at 8 months, tired, and peed a lot were my only problems. After birth- very sore but I wiped(dabbed) and used the squirt bottle. No issues pooping after either. Only complaint is my body doesn’t look quite the same. Not bad compared to a lot of other women post pregnany, but still not great.

  201. Great article Elyse, I may have missed it, because it did bring back some memories and I did wander off down memory lane.
    My wife was pregnant with twins, and while our daughter was locked down and ready to go, our son was snuggled up to her heart and wouldn’t budge so she didn’t dilate and had to have a C Sections instead.
    What no one warned us about was that there would be a bloody plug that came out afterward. Apparently this is natural with C Sections, and even with some live births as well. Well it scared the ever loving crap out of the pair of us, we thought she’d unknowingly had had a third child hiding in there.
    Also, Gallbladder Stress. Everyone woman I’ve talked to on the subject, from my wife, to my mother, to my step mother, ad infinitum has told me that their gall bladder gave out due to the stress of the pregnancy and had to have it removed. Only my friend Dawn didn’t have that problem, well she did, but she didn’t lose her gallbladder because she chose to rehabilitate it by corrective dieting. I don’t know the particulars, but I wish I’d known about it as well, a year after our twins were born, I had my gallbladder out too. Not having a gall bladder can complicate your life some what.
    Again, thank you for the wonderful and informative article

  202. As a middle school teacher (you know, those hormonal, bat-shit crazy preteens/young teens?), I strongly believe this information should be part of the Sex Ed curriculum. STDs are scary but many (not all) are treatable and most (not all) don’t ravage your body like pregnancy and childbirth. I think this type of info, along with the sterile “use a condom” message, would help prevent a lot of teenage parents. Now to get the School Board on board…

  203. I’ve been looking up like-minded opinions on my pregnancy status and really happy I found this article…well, mostly unhappy with pregnancy, but happy to know other people don’t think it’s a rainbows-and-ice-cream-joy-ride either. Last week, someone told me that the glorification of pregnancy is a modern thing after the invention of advanced medical care and 1 in 8 women are no longer dying from the condition. I’m up to my ears with research on the subject, so, there are a few points I’d disagree with. I’m saving those research papers that have shown that drinking is actually okay so long as its not to excess or just a few glasses of wine/beer per week, so I can present them at the bar if needed. I have about 1/2 to a full glass per week (not to mention all the “tasting” I do from my husbands beer). You know, I’ve even found one peer-reviewed journal that has shown mothers who do drink in moderation have children that are better behaved and more focused than mothers who abstain completely! On the subject of shoes, I’m not sure where to begin. I’ve spent a long enough time in my dream Malono’s and other medieval-torture-shoes to put me on the operating table for misshapen feet. After those surgeries, I’ve been an advocate for smarter footwear for women (and men). I don’t think promoting a fancy shoe that appeals to foot-binding fetishists is a good idea. But, I suppose we still have a long way to go before changing the way popular shoes of all types are shaped (even on a website with strong feminist overtones). Since I started running marathons, my feet have spread out a little over one full shoe size (no pregnancy required) and I’m quite proud of my hobbit-like feet. I only wish other women could take some pride in their hobbit-footed potential as well.

  204. This is true. My sister said she was big time peer pressured to drink while she was pregnant with her first. The “Tp” section is Terrifying!! I have been on Conceiveeasy for two months trying to get pregnant. I know it sounds crazy but i’d take all this over another month of negative test results.

  205. Great article! It’s good to hear the good, bad, and ugly in my voracious consumption of knowledge beforehand. I’ve heard just about all of these from my dear, candid friends and family. {Real friends talk about poop, blood, and stitches (TSHIRT IDEA)} Also the inter webs tends to love ‘things no one tells you’… This being said, I’ll take it! I’m in! I get that it’s going to be treacherous but hubby and I are totally asking for it. I’m sure I have no idea what I’m getting myself into, but I’m willing to embrace the suck. *Fingers crossed*

  206. Two words: UTERUS RAVE! LOLMFAO!!!!!

    I’m pregnant. First trimester. I’ve had waves of nausea, but never puked until this morning, when I swallowed the wrong way, and whilst coughing to regain my breath, somehow managed to activate my gag reflex, ended up vomiting all over the freshly wet bathtub (I’d just exited after a warm, and comforting shower). There went my entire breakfast, which I had only finished moments before entering the shower. I hadn’t even felt any nausea up to that point, but there it was.


  207. Thank you thank you thank you for posting! It is so nice to feel a little solidarity!

    Some fun stuff you forgot: prolapse. Prolapsed anything. Anything that can prolapse. Nothing is guaranteed to stay put!

    Varicose veins. Did you know you can get them in your vulva? 10% of women do! If you think that looks bad, just imagine how wonderful they feel!

    Pelvic girdle pain, hip, knee, and foot pain thanks to prolactin and relaxin + baby pressure loosening up your joints.

    Meanwhile, you’re still expected to work full time. Your boss will chuckle and slap you on the back, explaining how he is uncomfortable today too, “oh yeah, I had to take a Tylenol today too, little head-ache ya know!?” as you hobble to your desk after slapping some lido on your swollen crotch in the bathroom, try to avoid passing out from the blood flow issues, while your kid pushes his feet as far as possible into your diaphragm.

  208. I am at the end of my second pregnancy. Most of the things you say are true but there is also the fact that not every woman has the same issues and even the same woman can have different pregnancies. My first one was much harder than the second one.
    I found that people talk about being pregnant as some perfect state and about the delivery as hell. When I got pregnant the first time I was surprised to find out many of the never mentioned bad things (by the way, you forgot to mention nose bleeding).
    Also I had a better delivery than expected, even though I did not use painkillers. I found it as something I could stand and it was a good experience that made me feel closer to my husband. He helped me a lot!
    In spite of all the hard things about being pregnant I still wish it would not end so soon. I like having my baby inside me. But I will be happy when I can sneeze without peeing myself!!!!

  209. This is an old article but I just stumbled on it and wow! Lots of false information.
    First thing to come to mind from the article is the pooping thing. Did you know that a Dr can be in seriouse trouble if you poop while giving birth? They even give you stuff in you IV to keep that from happening as getting shit on a baby’s face and head can make them very sick. I had a mirror and guess what, 4 kids, no poop! Not a single one of my friends has ever pooped while giving birth and I’ve been in the delivery room with a lot of them, not once did any of them poop. Having gas, yeah, pooping, NO.
    If anyone treats you poorly for not drinking, get rid of them. I have never even heard of anyone thinking alcohol was okay during pregnancy and it has nothing to do with ADD or ADHD its fetal alcohol syndrom and its medically proven, like wow! Really?
    Your shoes will fit just fine after the swelling in your body goes down. My feet never swoll but I know some who have and their fave shoes fot just fine a few weeks after.
    Not gonna say too much about the swollen lady bits but I’ve never heard of that either. It is a kind of personal thing so maybe its not talked about but mine never swoll.
    You make pregnancy seem like the worst thing ever. Now I agree it sucks, almost every part from start to finish, sucks. I had morning sickness with 2 none with the other 2 and yup, its total bs.
    What you don’t mention though, and for a fair article, you should is the first heartbeat. The first fluttery kicks that feel like little adrenaline rushes and are pretty cool. The ultrasoubds that go from a little bean to an actual person.
    There is a lot of fear, pain, discomfort. You get big, you get sore you experience things that you will never talk about but none of that will matter in the end if you actually want to have children.
    It seems unfair at times that guys don’t have to go through it, its not all roses and daisy’s but NOTHING in life is as cherished as the things we work for and pregnancy is work.

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