There’s one thing every pregnant woman entering into her third trimester can understand: Once that baby gets big enough for strangers to start rubbing your belly, pregnancy becomes a little less fun and a lot more like a waiting game.
If you have been there before (or are there right now), you may appreciate Norwegian mother and illustrator Line Severinsen’s pregnancy comics Kos og Kaos (“Cuddles and Chaos”) more than most.
Severinsen began drawing her offbeat pregnancy cartoons in 2012 when she was pregnant with her first child and continued illustrating during her second pregnancy this year, starting a Facebook page and slowly building a following on social media.
Why are they such a hit? Because they perfectly capture what every pregnant woman will inevitably face. At least once in those nine long months, you’re going to think to yourself: Pregnancy kind of sucks.
These comics are funny because they’re true. Focusing on pregnancy frustrations — and leaving out the message that growing life may be one of the most magical things you’ll ever experience — falls under the “unpopular opinion” category in most mommy circles. Severinsen is hardly the first pregnant woman to wish that gestation was shorter and easier, but she’s one of the few brave women to post about her pregnancy angst in such a way.
The reason so many women remain mum about the not-so-joyous parts of pregnancy — like stretch marks, bloating, and awkward pregnant sex — is because these preggo complaints aren’t normally well-received. A few months ago, Kim Kardashian was once again raked over the coals by her fans for saying that pregnancy was the worst experience of her life. Many thought her comments implied she didn’t love her baby. But on the contrary, Kim was only telling the truth — her health problems and body image issues made it almost impossible for her to enjoy carrying both of her children.
In a recent study on BabyCenter, of 1,500 moms, a surprising amount of women fell in Kim’s camp. 42 percent of the women said that while they enjoyed being pregnant, their body changes made them uncomfortable. And 14 percent said they disliked their bodies during pregnancy. Add to that the fact that three in 10 women surveyed said they felt pressured to look good on social media while pregnant, and you can see why most moms are hesitant to talk about the downsides of pregnancy.
Severinsen’s comics are a valuable voice in the pregnancy conversation because they creatively capture the common pregnancy struggles no one’s posting about on Facebook. Finally, expectant moms who are irritated that they can’t drink, or are freaked out by their alien belly, or are ashamed of how much they’ve been eating, can feel understood.
Severinsen tells Babble:
“I hope that my drawings show that you aren’t alone! The reason why I made the comic and why it is resonating with so many people all over the world is that we all go through some pretty weird stuff that you won’t find in the regular mommy magazines and books.”
Every woman is going to experience pregnancy in a totally different way. Some of us are going to love how it feels to grow another person in our body, and some of us are going to hate pregnancy for that very reason. But the more we talk about it and the less we judge, the easier we make the process on every mom-to-be.