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Baby on Board ... But Am I?

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Jessica Katz: You're having a baby! It's supposed to be the happiest time in your life -- especially if you're a mama who tried long and hard to conceive. But when a friend called me last week to tell me she was nine weeks along, I wasn't shocked to hear how miserable she was.

pregnant woman

"I hate this and I feel like I want out of my body. I am not sure I can do this," said my friend, who is 40 years old and has been waiting to be pregnant for as long as I have known her.

People are afraid to talk about it, but more often than not, women hate being pregnant. How can you say that out loud, you wonder, when so many people can't have babies? You should just feel lucky to be pregnant -- even when your body is invaded by what is medically known as a "parasite" (yes, the baby will take everything from you). There's a lot less bliss and a lot more misery than some expect, leaving women to say, "Baby on board ... but am I?"

I got pregnant at 31 with a very planned pregnancy that I felt like I waited a lifetime for. But as soon as I saw that plus sign, I was puking -- and puked for nine long months. I was exhausted, miserable and questioned if I emotionally and physically could really carry this pregnancy. I was so miserable that my mom told me that I better decide if I could carry this
baby before I saw my first ultrasound.

I would rub my belly, wishing I could be that cute pregnant woman who glowed as she walked down the street buying baby bobbles. Instead, I was stuck at home, depressed and anxiety-ridden that something terrible was going to happen to my baby because I'd even thought about not going through with the pregnancy.

Then another friend got pregnant, and at 4 months along, she was crying to me that she was so ill and unhappy she could never have another baby again. She was emphatic that she would never, ever do this again. "I am not a good pregnant person," she would tell me, with a bit of guilt. "I hate being pregnant." 

No one warned any of us how hard and bad it would be. In movies, people get pregnant and it is wonderful news followed by a montage of scenes of a growing belly, ice-cream binges and big underwear. They don't show the hours spent vomiting, the sciatica, the depression and the constant anxiety that you could lose the baby at any time. It is by far the hardest thing I have ever done, and of all the women I know who have had babies, only 10 percent actually liked being pregnant. The other 90 percent hated it. In fact, a few women I know only plan on having one child because it was so hard.

Not to mention the toll it takes on your relationship when the man you are with just can't understand how you feel. How could he? But women should not feel bad about their feelings toward pregnancy -- they are all perfectly normal. The good, the bad ... and the unsure.

next: My First (and Last) Day Back to Work
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