I’ve mentioned before that my sisters had essentially symptom-free pregnancies. Which is why I expected mine to be similar.

And I’ve also mentioned that I haven’t had the easiest pregnancy so far.  I had morning sickness from week 6 until week 15 that involved only 30 minutes of real relief about three times a day.  The first 12 weeks, my sleep patterns were completely whacked out. My round ligament pains at week 18 were so severe they’d bring tears to my eyes. At week 20, the heartburn kicked in, as did the nighttime leg cramps. And at week 23, I got mid-back pain so bad I couldn’t maintain a seated position for more than an hour (I’m seeing a physical therapist for that; apparently lower back pain is normal, but mid-back is weird).

But to complain about all this, publicly, feels wrong. Wouldn’t it be the ultimate sign of ungratefulness? Because I tried so hard to get to this point, and I know so many others would kill for the lousy side effects of pregnancy, I feel disloyal and selfish for complaining about the hard parts.

Or maybe I can just accept the fact that yes, I tried really long and hard to get pregnant. And I’m really happy to be pregnant. But dammit, this is not as easy as I had expected.  Being pregnant hurts more than I thought it would. Physically, it’s really really hard on your body. At least for me.

But now that I’m 24 weeks along, I also have some really fun parts.  Peanut moves constantly now, and last night was the first time I was able to look at my bare belly and watch my skin bounce, as if a tiny boxer were inside my belly, practicing her jabs and hooks. (I do think we have a future kickboxer on our hands; while watching The Avengers on Sunday, I think she was acting out the fight scenes.) I grab my husband’s hand and put it on the spot where I can feel her; “Right there! She’s punching me!” Inevitably, the placement of Daddy’s hand on my belly makes her as quiet as a church mouse. She’s the size of an ear of corn and already knows how to mess with her Papa.

(Yes, I call her “she,” even though the gender is a total mystery. More on that later.)

So I guess I am going to give myself a bit of license to complain. When something hurts, I’m going to bitch about it, so I’m apologizing in advance if I offend someone who would rather be experiencing excruciating nighttime leg cramps over nightly 1.5-inch needles in the ass.

But trust me, I’m not ungrateful. Pain is no fun no matter how much you invited it in the first place.