“I don’t like being pregnant,” says Prue Corlette. This isn’t so unusual. Most of us have had moments, or months, of bad feelings during difficult pregnancies. And let’s face it, even easy pregnancies can feel pretty damn difficult sometimes. But for Prue, letting loose with negativity about pregnancy feels a lot more loaded. Because for a long time, she couldn’t get pregnant. Her road to pregnancy was grueling and costly, involving years of infertility and rounds of In Vitro Fertilization.
During these four years of effort, Prue Corlette bonded with other women who were trying. While undergoing IVF, Prue used to “hate on any pregnant woman who complained about morning sickness. I was so ready for it and couldn’t wait to experience the heaving and upchucking, secure in the knowledge that it was all for a good cause.”. And then, Prue got pregnant. And sick. Not just run-of-the mill “morning sickness”, but hyperemesis that had her vomiting 7 times before breakfast.
Add that to severe migraines and I’d say there’s plenty to complain about. But Corlette says that a woman who goes through the pain and effort of infertility and IVF gets “Branded an “IVF Forgetter”… considered a traitor to those who are yet to conceive or have made the decision to live childfree, but not by choice.”
Take this comment, left on Corlette’s blog:
“I think one moment spent NOT enjoying it, NOT revelling in it, NOT drinking in being pregnant with not one BUT two babies, well it would be wasted and a bit of a slap in the face to those of us who read you who for whatever reason, can’t get pregnant OR can’t stay pregnant in my case.”
“‘Thegalwho’, I would LOVE to be able to enjoy this. I have wanted it for so long and I envy those women who have happy, trouble free pregnancies, but please don’t take my lack of enthusiasm over my pregnancy personally. I’m not being pathetic, and I’m not forgetting for a second the pain and longing during the journey to get here, but sometime between the seventh and tenth vomit of the morning, I have, to my shame and absolute horror, wondered if it was all going to be worth it. Physically, IVF was a walk in the park compared to this. Even being admitted to hospital in agonising pain after complications with an egg retrieval is preferable to going in with hyperemesis. This will be my only pregnancy, and I am angry that I haven’t been able to enjoy it. The Gods could at least smile on the sub-fertile after having such a struggle to get here in the first place.
Everyone tells me that it will get better, and I bloody well hope so, but for now, I keep focused on the prize at the end. It can’t come soon enough.”
What Prue Corlette is going through is actually pretty common in IVF pregnancies. After the mammoth effort of hormones and injections and obsession with just GETTING PREGNANT, the actual experience of being pregnant can be a large letdown, to say the least. Depression and anxiety are extra-common in IVF pregnancies, and the big buildup is thought to be one of the reasons. Women who have worked incredibly hard to become pregnant feel extraordinary pressure to stay pregnant, and to ENJOY it. But pregnancy is simply not all that enjoyable sometimes.
In these situations, perspective is key. With so much focus on getting pregnant, it can be easy to forget that pregnancy is a means to an end, not the goal in itself. When you’re desperately longing for something, any potential discomforts that might come along with the goal feel irrelevant in comparison. But once you’re there, vomiting or on bedrest or in pain or whatever, how could your perspective not change? I can see how a person struggling with infertility would hate to hear complaining about pregnancy. But I also think pregnancy can be a pain. And that’s true whether it happens by accident or whether you’ve been pouring everything you’ve got into the effort of getting there for years. Not liking pregnancy doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate being pregnant. It might just mean pregnancy isn’t your favorite part of the process of becoming a mother. Which just means there’s more for you to look forward to!
Read more of Prue Corlette’s story here. And if you’re feeling bummed out about not liking being pregnant, check out Ceridwen’s post:
photo: Torsten Mangner/flickr