about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    For general inquires, contact: EmilyBMalone@gmail.com.

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    A Look Back.



The Guilt of Pregnancy.

One of the things most commonly associated with pregnancy, along with cravings, morning sickness, and the growing belly – is the roller coaster of emotions that pregnancy brings.  I was expecting to become more emotional and a little more weepy (both of which have happened), but I have also been surprised by some of the other emotions I have experienced in the past four months. 

I expected to feel overly emotional – crying at commercials, sobbing through birth stories, and tearing up often for no reason (check, check, check!).  I was also prepared to feel a little more irritable and more easily annoyed.  Considering we’ve also thrown a cross-country move into the mix, I’ve done my best to keep my cool.

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But there have been other emotions heightened by pregnancy that I wasn’t really expecting.  Things like intense fear and worry, overwhelming gratitude, and perhaps most surprisingly – guilt.

I have found that my pregnancy guilt has come mostly in two forms…

1. Guilt that I was able to get pregnant.

I have shared my journey to getting pregnant here before, so you already know that it wasn’t a walk in the park for me.  But even so, I can’t help but feel guilty that despite my year-long wait, I never had to resort to fertility treatments, artificial hormones, and all of the emotional strain that comes with the struggle.  For whatever reason, my body seemed to simply find it’s way back to it’s natural cycle.

Prior to getting pregnant, I shared my struggles with a few close friends, some of whom were struggling with similar issues.  When the time came to share my news, I felt uncomfortable and guilty telling them that my story would soon have a happy ending.  Everyone I told reacted with nothing but love and support for me and Casey.  But just as I had feared, I also felt some people start to pull away. 

I can’t say that I blame them.  I know how hard it was for me to hear of other’s pregnancies while I was still having 60+ day cycles with no end or solution in sight.  I felt the same way – jealous, angry, and resentful.  But having struggled myself, and knowing how deeply it hurt to learn of each new pregnancy that wasn’t mine, it made me sick with guilt to think I was causing that feeling in others.

I don’t think there is any way to avoid these feelings on either side.  But because getting pregnant was not easy for me, I try very hard to be sensitive to others and not assume anything about anyone’s fertility or plans.  I never ask couples if they plan to have kids, because I remember how tough that question was for me.  And I never ask friends with fertility struggles how their treatments are going – when they are ready to talk, they know I am there to either celebrate or cry together.

I feel so incredibly blessed to have been given the opportunity to grow a life inside of me.  And to be honest, I am thankful for the year-long wait and worries that I endured, as it has made me realize that pregnancy truly is a miracle not to be taken for granted.  And for those reasons, I struggle with the other side of guilt…

2. Guilt that my pregnancy is far from perfect.

As someone who builds her life and career around fitness, nutrition, and health, I have always thought that I would be my most healthy self while pregnant.  I quickly learned that it is one thing to read/talk/learn about pregnancy, and it is an entirely different thing to physically experience it.

The first two weeks after finding out I was pregnant, I tracked my protein intake, gobbled down greens, and ran on the treadmill.

And then the sickness hit, and left me feeling humbled and helpless.  It turns out I was not quite the superhero pregnant woman I thought I would be – instead I was throwing up every few hours, keeping down around 500 calories a day (all bagels), and exercise involved moving from the bedroom to the bathroom. 

Even now that I am feeling better, I have found that my body is entirely new, and can’t do all the things I had hoped it would do through pregnancy.  I’ve had to readjust my expectations for exercise, and come to terms with the fact that my appetite is much more limited than it used to be.

Even though I know that this is all normal, I still feel guilty.  Guilty for not running, when I know others have run through their entire pregnancies (and that many had high expectations for me to do the same).  Guilty for not eating salads and greens, when I know how good they are for me and for the baby.  Guilty for not being able to offer my baby the perfect environment, after being so blessed to finally be able to conceive. 

So what does one do with all this guilt?  I am considering it to be one of my first lessons in parenting.  For as much as I wanted my pregnancy to be perfect, it isn’t.  And looking back, it was silly for me to ever think that it would be, as I am by no means perfect myself.

Pregnancy isn’t perfect, and parenting won’t be perfect.  I am going to question my decisions.  I am going to feel like I have failed at times.  I am going to make mistakes.

With all of the additional emotions (that I imagine will) come with parenting, I don’t need to continue to bog myself down with unnecessary guilt.  There is no reason to feel bad that I was able to get pregnant.  Instead, I will continue to simply feel forever grateful for the gift inside of me.  And I’m going to stop worrying about what I should be doing, and focus instead on what feels right.

I wished for so long to be pregnant and now that it’s finally here, I’m going to do my best to relax and enjoy it, ignore the guilt, and cherish the experience.

Calling Cincinnati friends/readers/bloggers!  If anyone is interested in getting together for some frozen yogurt on Saturday afternoon – send me an email – emilybmalone @ gmail.com

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112 Comments so far
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Samantha     at 5:30 pm

I had a very easy time getting pregnant with my three girls, and I always feel a bit guilty as well when so many of my friends struggle. But you can’t control how others feel. As long as you are still available to listen, and your friends know that you are there for them, that’s all you can do. You have every right to enjoy your pregnancy and delight in it. In fact, it is healthy for your baby for you to feel that happiness – both for the chemicals it produces and the bonding it allows. Also, your relationships with your friends will change – it’s inevitable – once you have kids. And you may drift from some of them, but you will make many more as you bond over having kids. That’s just life. As for the diet guilt, your body knows what it needs, and it will take what it needs for your baby. So if you can only eat bagels, know that your body will feed your baby first, and will eek out each and every nutritious thing in those bagels. It will also steer you away from things, and that’s ok! I couldn’t stomach any cooked green thing during either of my pregnancies, but my body got what it needed to make three extremely healthy babies. It may make you feel a bit less guilty though to think, when you have a craving, what does my body/baby really want? If you want a cup-o-noodles, maybe what you really need is a sodium fix – your body needs it to build your blood and retain water – so try a pickle first, or maybe some sardines in mustard. Brownies – maybe try a glass of chocolate milk to get the calcium/magnesium/etc. If you still want something specific, eat it and know that the journey is 9 months long, plus (hopefully) many more months/years of breastfeeding, and as long as your getting the essentials, your baby will get what it needs. Your body was meant to do this, and you need to trust it!

[Reply]

Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » Week 18: My Pregnancy Journey.     at 3:38 pm

[…] The Guilt of Pregnancy « « Previous Post: A House in Progress. […]

Veronica     at 6:17 pm

I so enjoyed reading your heart felt “true to thyne own self” post. Thank you for the normalcy and honest emotions. We as women put so much pressure on ourselves to do the right thing, say the right thing, be what others need us to be but it’s the grounded women that bring us back to reality. Inner peace is beautiful and I congratulate you. You will be a wonderful mother…your child is very blessed.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Veronica! :)

[Reply]

Steff     at 7:49 am

I agree about the guilt thing..
1. I already love my little girl and can’t wait to hold her in my arms. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me and a blessing to my life even before she is born. Despite all of that, it’s safe to say that at 21 years of age, single and planning to join the police force- I was in no way planning to have a baby, nor did I want to at that stage. (now every part of me is do glad I am :)). And yet my older sister who was married, settled in a nice job with savings in the bank and a house almost paid off, struggled for 6 years to get pregnant only to miss carry before having a successful pregnancy. Talk about extreme amounts of guilt explaining to her that I had ‘accidentally’ done what she had tried so hard for whilst doing my best not to! (I was on the pill!!)

2. At this point in time, it is safe to say I have not had an easy pregnancy. Severe morning sickness in the first trimester saw me in the hospital on IV fluids. Random spotting in the second trimester saw me on modified bedrest at home. And I was lucky enough to welcome in this last and final trimester, admitted in hospital for what is now 15 days! Random bouts of painful contractions, prematurely ruptured membranes, sciatica and all of this to end in a guaranteed premature bub. Don’t get me wrong, I’d go through a thousand times all of this for my little one but I am weary. I honestly just want this pregnancy over and done with.. And that makes me feel like the worst person ever!’

[Reply]

msg-65468     at 9:28 pm

Your ex is setting you up for a few days or weeks later, when you find out he has a
new girlfriend. Darkening of the areolas: Your areolas could darken and increase in diameter during
pregnancy. You must use 2 separate forms of effective birth control because any method, including birth
control pills and sterilization, can fail.

[Reply]

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