My first pregnancy was wonderful. Truly. Jang & I had been married a year. I was an avid runner and worked full-time at a local law firm. Throughout the entire nine months, I kept busy, active and fit. Sure, I experienced the odd bout of nausea, but it was manageable. The nausea was only proof to me that I was “really” pregnant. To be honest, I felt a little bit like this:
Now I’m pregnant for a second time. When I got pregnant, my husband and I had been married four years. I was an avid runner, and somehow balanced work with taking care of a very active toddler. I kept active and fit.
But oh, how this pregnancy has changed things.
I haven’t been active in months—nausea, weakness and headaches have kept me homebound. I’m lucky if I can manage a few hours at work every week. Morning sickness? I wish. All too often, I have to stick close to the comforting closeness of my toilet—for the entire day.
If I had to put it into picture form, this pregnancy would look something like this:
This time, I can wholeheartedly say that pregnancy sucks. It’s really, really hard growing a human being.
There have been many times these past few months when I’d sit and think, “How long can I keep this up?” And at those moments of depression, vomiting and woe, I have this thought:
It could be worse. I could not be pregnant at all.
For anyone who’s ever struggled with becoming pregnant, only you will truly understand how terrifying this thought can be. Jang and I tried for a year to get pregnant this time. To some, that may seem like a laughably short amount of time; but it seemed so long to us.
All last year, serious health problems kept me from being able to conceive. Sometimes, I’d be in bed the entire day with fever, headaches and nausea (a good primer for pregnancy, but still very discouraging). And every time I’d get a little better, and we’d start “trying again”, I’d relapse, and our plans would get put on hold for months while my doctors tried yet another course of treatment. It was frustrating, disheartening, and stressful.
For much of the year, I didn’t tell a soul about our struggles. It was too private and personal to share; especially in a community that considers gossip to be good Christian behavior. I just didn’t want to be one more topic of discussion for them.
Because no one knew about our struggle, during this time several people in our local congregation would often ask me, “Isn’t it time for another one?” “When do you think you’ll try for another one?” Or, the most blatant comment, “It looks like Kisan wants a brother.” Most of the time, I’d just smile and make up some excuse. I couldn’t get mad at them—although the comments were impertinent, they weren’t meant to be hurtful. But privately, with Jang, I would vent my frustration at their thoughtless words.
And knowing that people really were watching me and wondering at my infant-less state only added to the pressure I already felt to conceive.
Finally, at the beginning of this year, I’d been well enough that Jang and I thought it might be time to try again. I didn’t want to get my hopes up; I already had so many times. Imagine, then, how we felt when we found out I was pregnant. We were happy, excited…but most of all, we were relieved. It had been a very, very had year for us.
So now I’m pregnant, and it’s been a wretched experience at times. That’s not to say there isn’t a glimmer of light—recently, the nausea has gotten a lot better. I’m starting to get back into a regular work schedule. I even manage to drag myself out of the house for outings with my son. I’m starting to feel like myself again—rounder, more tired, but essentially me.
I still get pretty ill sometimes. But during these times, I always remind myself, “It could be worse. I could still be trying. I could still be uncertain. This is better.”
To anyone who’s trudging along the long, disheartening road of preconception, I can only say this: It sucks. Trying to get pregnant is really, really hard.
I only wish I’d found something last year to help me feel more optimism. Please, if you’re struggling to conceive, find something that gives you that hope. And then write me and tell me what that is. Because even though pregnancy is hard, I’m pretty sure I’ll try for another. And Lord help me when I do.