The day we saw our baby’s heartbeat for the first time, I was six weeks pregnant, on the dot. We’d been trying to conceive for a full year, and it had been hard — with lots of emotional ups and downs, tons of money spent on pee sticks, and one fairly heartbreaking miscarriage. So catching a glimpse of that surprisingly strong thump-thump-thump made our hearts sing (and our inner type As loved hearing the doctor call this fetus an “overachiever,” as it’s not always possible to detect a heartbeat so early). We took the rest of the day off to celebrate, bopping around a sculpture park and the Noguchi museum in Long Island City, then heading to Astoria for a dinner of our favorite Greek food — and almost as soon as we sat down to eat, the nausea began. I could barely touch my food, and the taxi ride home was fairly excruciating. Considering I hadn’t had morning sickness during my first pregnancy, I was sort of comforted (it is, after all, a good sign) — but also filled with a bit of dread. Was I about to embark on 34 weeks of misery? Would all the pregnancy clichés turn out to be true?
In a word: No. In fact, a bunch of pregnancy side effects (both fun- and shitty-sounding) skipped me over completely, much to my surprise.
There’s a weird disconnect here — on the one hand, it’s almost a cliché in itself by now to say that no two pregnancies are alike; but on the other hand, our cultural depictions of pregnancy (and the questions we cannot stop asking pregnant people) still make it feel like there’s basically just one very specific pickles-and-ice-cream way to be pregnant.
Whether you’re pregnant and feeling… I don’t know, excluded from the narrative — or you’d just like to get a taste of truth regarding what pregnancy can actually be like, read ahead to discover 9 supposedly normal symptoms I have not (yet?) experienced over the course of 38 weeks of pregnancy.
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.