In Defense of Post-Infertility Pregnancy Complaints

I know.

Trust me… I know.

I spent five years rolling my eyes and just WISHING I had pregnancy issues to complain about.  I swore up and down that if I was ever lucky enough to be pregnant myself, I’d NEVER complain, and I’d enjoy every last second of it no matter WHAT!

So what’s changed?

Nothing, really.

And yet… everything.

I actively appreciate every day of this pregnancy.  I thank God for what he’s given me, even though things have been difficult, and could be even more difficult down the road.  Every stressful, uncomfortable, painful, spectacular moment – I send up a “thank you”.

I want to acknowledge a small belief, however, that seems to stem from one of the more bitter corners of the Infertile Universe, though.

The belief that once an Infertile conceives, that she is never allowed to utter so much as a whine about morning sickness, heartburn, swollen legs/feet/hands/face, or fears of impending childbirth.

This belief is rather widely accepted in some circles, and while I understand where it comes from because Sister?  I’ve been there!, it’s still a little unfair.

If anything, being pregnant after infertility affords you a bit more slack perhaps than those who conceived accidentally while on birth control and drunk in a hot tub.

If you’re like me – pregnant after years of suffering the trials, tribulations, grief and bitterness of infertility, then sweetie – I’ve got some advice for you:

Bitch about whatever you want, lady.

You’ve earned it.

Don’t take pregnancy for granted – like that’s even possible – but give yourself a break and understand that your past doesn’t make a difference in how pregnancy will impact your body.  Physically, you’re undergoing one of the biggest transformations a person can make – you’re literally MAKING A PERSON – and that’s going to come with some pain, discomfort, stress, panic, and a lot of really gross shit.

Complain if you need to.

Ask for help.

Search out those who understand and don’t judge – those folks are going to be the most supportive people to have in your corner.

Sometimes those people will be members of your Infertile Circle…

But more often than not?  They won’t be.

Which brings me to another point:  When you’re pregnant, you obviously don’t want to alienate your fellow/former Infertiles, but maybe not-so-obviously, you really don’t want to alienate the Breeders in your life when going through infertility either!

You’re going to need them one day, and if you’re lucky, they’ll have stuck around and will still be willing to support  you through your early pregnancy freak-outs, guide you through your midnight acid reflux horrors, advise you on the best granny-panties to pack in your hospital bag for maximum lady-bits comfort, and come over to hold your baby while you take your first shower in a week once you’re home from the hospital with a screaming armful of infant.

Moral of the story is this:

We all need each other. 

Don’t screw it up. 

Life is hard, and complaints are allowed. 

Give a little slack, and get a little in return.

Infertility sucks, you guys.  We all know that.  We all aspire to grow out of infertility and blossom into pregnancy as gracefully (and as SOON) as possible.

Pregnancy can be beautiful, and as much as we want to think it’s going to be all glitter and rainbows when we finally achieve that dream, sometimes the cold, hard truth is that pregnancy sucks, too.

And, as much of an optimist as I am most of the time, I can tell you for a fact that going through either of those things without a strong, understanding, judgement-free support system will also suck.  Big time.

So don’t be so hard on the complainers out there, even if they are former-Infertiles who “should know better”.

Throw them some slack, because you’ll  need some yourself one day…

Also, you’ll need someone who won’t judge how greasy and smelly you are after a week with no sleep and being brainwashed to respond to a tiny, wiggly pink creature’s every whimper and snuffle.  You’re going to be gross, you’re going to need clean laundry, and you might need help applying various ointments to your cracked and destroyed nipples.  You may also need help feeding yourself, washing your own hair, and doing the small, basic personal maintenance tasks like changing your underwear that keep a husband in the house…

So, you know… Complain at will, but just don’t alienate the supportive folks you have around that you can trust to help you with those things and NOT post photos of it on Facebook.

Trust me.  I’m already putting aside bribery money…


A Bit of a Post Script

7 comments on “In Defense of Post-Infertility Pregnancy Complaints

  1. mevsinfertility
    October 20, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    Thank you for writing this. I struggle with my own blog, wondering after I’ve published a post containing a pregnancy gripe or two if I’m alienating my readers who would give anything to be where I’m at now. But you’re so right. The complaints don’t mean I don’t appreciate every day of this pregnancy. They mean I’m human like everyone else. I need to remind myself of that more often.


  2. Kristen
    October 20, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

    This post is everything I have wanted to say and didn’t have the words for!! My poor blog had sat lonely and ignored for almost my entire pregnancy for many reasons.. This being one of them. I’ve wanted desperately to be pregnant for over 6 years, but honestly pregnancy sucks a good portion of the time, and that was a surprise to me.. But that doesn’t mean I’m not beyond grateful to finally be here. The end goal is what makes it all worth it 🙂


  3. Mandy
    October 20, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

    I also struggled with the fact that I didn’t enjoy being pregnant. The end result worth it and I knew it, but being pregnant itself was a means to an end. I always felt guilty being honest when anyone asked because we had worked so hard to get there.


  4. gsmwc02
    October 21, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    While I agree with you that going through infertility doesn’t mean people who go on to have children shouldn’t be able to complain about pregnancy and parenting, we shouldn’t assume that everyone in the infertility will go onto to have children in some way. There will be those who won’t have a happy ending to their infertility journey. Those people shouldn’t be forgotten about. They are just as important in the infertility community as those who go on to have children.


  5. Michele
    October 21, 2014 at 8:33 am #

    Thanks for writing this, Tracy. I’ve struggled with this through both of my full-term pregnancies (and wrote about it last week). Infertility, miscarriage, and pregnancy are all HARD in different ways, and it’s ok to acknowledge all of that.

    Thinking of you and your little girl!!


  6. rebeccarich
    October 21, 2014 at 10:10 am #

    This post is seriously amazing. My 33rd birthday was September 30th, my first birthday in 7 years that I was pregnant and didn’t hate life because of my barren womb. Except, I did hate life, because I felt like complete shit. I had gotten a flu shot and it made me feel awful, and I just wanted to yell at someone and take a nap, but instead I was stuck at work. And I hated myself for feeling that way when I should be celebrating my pregnancy. And then I went to my small group that evening, filled with fertile women who had been through multiple pregnancies, and while they didn’t get my infertility, they DID get feeling like shit. And it was so comforting to me to know that it was ok to feel awful.

    And I think it’s even harder dealing with a difficult pregnancy after infertility, because we know too much to be sure that things will end well and give us a real live baby, so it’s hard to think “this will be worth it”. Because that might jinx it. And so we are stuck feeling miserable but feeling miserable because of the misery, and oh it is just not fun!

    So, thanks for giving voice to my thoughts in this post 🙂


  7. A Morning Grouch
    October 21, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    Haha, yep. Pretty much everything in life is hard, in some way, so commiserating with others definitely is needed. Although there’s a huge difference between blah-de-blah complaining and just “damn this is kinda hard!” venting. Time, place, and frequency are all factors that need to be considered, for sure.


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