Don’t you love watching pregnancy play out in the movies? A girl gets knocked up. She’s in the middle of a momentous occasion in her life (i.e., a job interview or big speech) when she awkwardly vomits into a conveniently placed garbage can. A fun soundtrack starts playing as we see the next nine months scroll by with smiles, ultrasounds, an adorable burgeoning belly, and poof, a baby in her arms!
There are some truly magical moments in pregnancy. And certainly there are times when it feels like you’re living a Hollywood moment when the baby starts kicking for the first time or you catch sight of that angelic mug on the ultrasound.
But there are less-glamorous moments in pregnancy, too—things Hollywood wouldn’t dare bring up, your friends with kids suspiciously fail to mention, and even the pregnancy books like to gloss over. But the truth can be ugly. Here are five symptoms of pregnancy that no one wants to talk about:
1. Hormonal Rage
Wow, pregnancy can make us nasty! Short of my high school days, there is no other time in my life when I recall being this emotionally unstable. I am a raging bitch most of the time, and a weeping fool for the rest. Everything makes me angry, like the Hulk angry. And sometimes I’m so close to getting set off, I can practically picture the surveillance video that will go viral and accompany the headline “Distraught Pregnant Woman Starts Brawl in Target Shopping Aisle.”
2. Gastro Disaster
Why do our intestines decide to stop functioning properly once we become pregnant? All of a sudden, everything down there starts to operate at a snail’s pace. Constipation, gas, bloating—how’s that for a Hollywood subplot?
When you’re early in your pregnancy, this provides a fun little preview for what your baby belly will soon look like. My sister-in-law actually outed my pregnancy at week 8. According to BabyCenter, my baby was the size of a grape, but my stomach was so bloated, it looked like I was housing a cantaloupe in there. I laughed off her pregnancy accusation by telling her I just had severe gas, which aside from being such a gross thing to say to someone, was technically true and it ended the conversation, so mission accomplished. But she will probably never look at me the same again.
It’s lonely being pregnant. No one can share in the joyous feelings of baby kicks, hiccups, and bouncing around the belly quite the same way you can. It seems like every time I put my husband’s hand to my belly, the kicking stops. While I look forward to each new week and the developments they bring (He has eyebrows! He’s producing meconium!), others don’t share the same enthusiasm. In the same regard, no one can share the lonely nights of worry and self-doubt. Wondering if that cramping is severe gas or early labor. Googling “signs of miscarriage” and “pelvic pain during pregnancy,” as you psych yourself out yet again over the terrifying what-ifs that go hand-in-hand with pregnancy. As supportive as your significant other and family may be, you are largely alone on this journey.
4. The Sleep Dance
My Fitbit says I woke up 14 times last night. No joke. Four were to actually get up and pee, the rest were the usual pillow dance I like to perform, where I flop from left to right and back to left like a beached whale.
But seriously, insomnia sucks. I’ve experienced it a few times in my life. The difference with pregnancy insomnia is you totally could be sound asleep if you weren’t so damn uncomfortable. It seems really unfair because you are so damn tired. But everything’s against you when it comes to bedtime. First, you have to follow the rules. No sleeping on your back, and try to sleep on your left side whenever possible. But then you have to weigh in the hourly pee breaks, and shifting your weight when you lose blood flow in your hips. Throw some heartburn into the equation, and voila, you’ve got pregnancy insomnia.
5. ‘Are You Ready for the Delivery?’
OK, this isn’t really a symptom, but the closer you get to delivering the baby, the more doubt, anxiety, and fear begin to take over. And this isn’t all self-inflicted—the whole world wants to comment on what we need to be worried about during delivery, or what not to do at the hospital, or “let me tell you about my birthing horror story.” Seriously, why do people think now is the time to tell us about how they almost died delivering their child? Have some tact, folks. And if this is happening to you, cut them off mid-sentence by saying you have to pee. You don’t need to hear their horror story, and chances are you probably have to pee anyway.
Despite the ugly symptoms that no one conveniently mentions when you start planning for a baby, pregnancy truly is a magical period in life. In fact, the joys of pregnancy far outweigh the discomfort. But unless you’re a Duggar, most of us aren’t hoping to make a career out of baby making. It’s important to remember more than just the ultrasounds and belly flutters, but the uglier stuff, too. Because when the days are warm and the kids are extra cute and cuddly, we may need these reminders not to whip out the ovulation calendar.