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.

Why stop now? Keep reading, friend.

  • Resolutions for Year TwoAugust 20, 2013 Resolutions for Year Two 365 days of being a parent have taught me much. I have a few ideas of things I'll do differently in Peanut's Year #2.
  • Congrats! Prepare to suffer.January 28, 2012 Congrats! Prepare to suffer. Parents are now warning me how hard babies are -- and the misery I'm in for. What they don't understand: the warnings aren't really necessary. I'm already terrified.
  • Not in the brochureJuly 17, 2012 Not in the brochure I've heard women say they were ready to be done with pregnancy toward the end. Now that I've reached the "sick of being pregnant" stage, I can finally empathize.
  • First trimester, how I loathe youJanuary 12, 2014 First trimester, how I loathe you Nausea, barfing, bloating, gas, stomach cramps, messed up sleep, and a diet consisting of 100% carbs. Yup, sounds like the first trimester.
  • It’s So Easy (and other lies)February 25, 2013 It’s So Easy (and other lies) My expectations of breastfeeding were way off base. I underestimated how hard it would be, especially at first. This is my warning to the mothers-to-be: it sure ain't easy.