New Moms

Pregnancy Sucks

| by Suzanne Venker

Admit it: When you envisioned being pregnant, you thought it would be fun didn't you? Not fun as in -- okay, party time! -- but fun nonetheless. For one thing, you get loads of attention. Second, you feel like your life is finally settling into place, which brings a tremendous feeling of contentment. Then there's all that wonderful planning you get to do: picking out what you'll need for the baby shower, decorating the baby room, choosing the baby's name, seeing your baby on the monitor and so on. Sure, you knew there'd be some morning sickness to contend with -- and the birth itself didn't exactly excite you, but overall you thought pregnancy would be lovely.

Pregnancy sucks.

I admit I know a handful of women who had a relatively easy time of it. A few even loved being pregnant. But they are the exception to the rule -- especially today. After all, women are delaying childbirth and as a result are having all kinds of problems just getting pregnant -- which simply adds to the already trying experience of being pregnant. Then, to top it off, the number of C-sections today -- many of which are NOT necessary -- is off the charts.

What women are mostly prepared for, or warned about, is morning sickness. But no one tells them it goes on all day, not just in the morning. Or that it can last for months and months. For these folks, pregnancy is akin to being sick. There's nothing enjoyable about it.

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Then there are the miscarriages that occur -- I had two -- that mothers in previous generations didn't talk about. They might have mentioned whether or not they had one, but they didn't discuss the accompanying emotions. Like the fact that women blame themselves. Or the amount of emotional suffering that can occur. Nor do women know that most women have miscarriages, that it's extremely common and not some odd event.

Third, there are the pressures women face today that make them feel like the slightest little thing will damage their baby. Like smoking and drinking. I think about our own mothers who smoked and drank throughout their entire pregnancies, but I can find no research that proves that for generations the children of these parents suffered chronic problems as a result. I admit we know more about smoking than ever before, and it's just bad news any way you look at it. So to smoke during pregnancy does seem to be colossal error in judgment. But the fear that our country has instilled about drinking during pregnancy has created a nation of young mothers-to-be who fear that if a DROP of alcohol touches their lips, their babies will emerge deformed. This is ridiculous. You have to be a bona fide drunk to cause this kind of damage.

The reason the health industry has created this alarm is to cover their butts. If they tell a patient it's okay to have a drink every now and then (which it is) and the expectant mother happens to be an alcoholic who uses her doctor's advice to exonerate excessive drinking, she can come back later and sue him. So if you have an alcohol problem, then I would abstain entirely, yes. But it bothers me to no end when I'm at a social gathering and see pregnant women having to defend themselves if they want to enjoy a glass of wine. It's not just right.

And what about the idea someone came up with to expose babies in utero to classical music or Baby Einstein? Hello??? That's all great when you're having your first child and all giddy and whatnot, but after you've had your first child you ain't gonna be so interested in that idea. And if you think you're making your child smarter or more musical, you're pretty gullible.

Pregnancy is not what it used to be; that's for sure. The pressures women face are insane. Some of it is of their own doing -- delaying childbirth, for example, causes more problems than it solves -- but much of it is not. America needs to lighten up when it comes to pregnancy.
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