We’ve all received the news at some point of a loved one being pregnant, and while the whole experience is meant to be exciting, there are things about it that can make us nervous, too.
For some women, the whole experience is far too overwhelming to enjoy, confided the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor tolddaughtermytruth shared her pregnancy story with her daughter when she became pregnant, but her discomfort during pregnancy was misunderstood as a lack of enthusiasm.
When she realized she’d hurt her daughter’s feelings, the Original Poster (OP) wondered what she should do next.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my daughter the truth of how I felt about being pregnant, and why I have no photos of me pregnant with her?”
The OP was pleased her daughter was having a positive pregnancy experience.
“My (52 Female) daughter (28 Female) is expecting her first child with her husband in June. I am very excited to be a grandmother.”
“My daughter is very, very excited and can not wait to be a mother. She already has the nursery all picked out, started buying clothes, getting toiletries such as nappies and wipes organized, the works.”
“We have a very close relationship, and she texts me about her first kicks, baby’s heartbeat (she has this thing called a doppler?), potential names, etc.”
“I am thrilled she is so excited and happy, because in all honesty it was the very opposite of how I felt.”
The OP’s own pregnancies had been more overwhelming than positive.
“The truth is I hated being pregnant, with both my children.”
“Pregnancy honestly scared me. I was anxious all the time, every movement and lack of made me scared.”
“I hated the feeling of being so heavy and limited in movement, on top of all the normal pregnancy symptoms of fatigue, nausea, swollen ankles, hemorrhoids, sore back, and feet, etc.”
“And then don’t get me started on the childbirth which was next level.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I was very excited to become a mum and I love both my children, they are my absolute world. I just didn’t like the process to get there.”
The truth about the OP’s pregnancies came out during a recent visit.
“One thing she bought was one of those baby memory books and has already started by putting some photos of her bump and ultrasound photos in them.”
“For fun, she dug out the baby books I had for both her and younger brother, and we looked through them for a trip down memory lane.”
“For both books, I started at the newborn stage. The pages for ’20-week bump’ and ‘First ultrasound,’ etc are blank for both.”
“My daughter asked why this was the case. She always thought maybe it was the lack of technology of the time (for you youngin’s out there, yes we did have cameras and ultrasounds in the 90s).”
“This is when I told her the truth: that I hated being pregnant, it made me scared and anxious, and I didn’t want any memories of it.”
“Pregnancy and childbirth terrified me, even for her younger brother when I had a bit more of an idea.”
“I also explained why I was so happy to see her so happy, because I didn’t want her to feel like I did.”
Her daughter did not take this well.
“She got very quiet and didn’t seem very engaged the rest of the time looking at the books.”
“When she left to go home, she seemed a bit distant.”
“Later that night, my son-in-law (SIL) called me to say my daughter was very upset about what I said. Apparently, I made her feel unwanted, like she was a burden to bear.”
“I was shocked and upset to hear that myself, because that was the opposite of how I felt and told my SIL that.”
“I explained I love my daughter (and her brother) very much and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I just didn’t like being pregnant, but that doesn’t mean my child was not wanted.”
“My SIL understood, but still said my daughter is upset.”
“AITA for confessing my feelings?”
“I feel very guilty and the last thing I wanted to do was stress my pregnant daughter out, a time when stress and feeling upset needs to be kept to a minimum.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP was right to be honest with her daughter.
“NTA. I think the disservice that women have done to each other is not being honest about what pregnancy is really like. We have created an environment where women feel as if they are horrible human beings if they don’t enjoy their pregnancies.”
“Pregnancy can be extremely difficult and uncomfortable. Some people are fortunate to feel that their pregnancies were all butterflies and rainbows, but that is not everyone’s experience.”
“Being honest about not enjoying your pregnancies doesn’t mean that you don’t love your child or that you wouldn’t have done it all over again just to get the end result of having them. Your daughter asked you a question and you were honest with her.” – Fickle-Willow4836
“Women should be honest about pregnancy and motherhood. Take breastfeeding for example. Many women can’t or simply do not want to breastfeed.”
“My wife hated breastfeeding and only did it a little bit with our first child before she gave up (although she did pump with our 3rd because of the passing the virus vaccine antibodies).”
“It drives her nuts and I know it hurts her when all these women act like breastfeeding is the greatest gift a mother can give her child, and any mother who chooses not to doesn’t share this ‘special bond only women who breastfeed have with their babies.'” – Johnny_mayhem00
“My sister broke her damn foot during one of her pregnancies from the extra weight. She snacked on bran cereal and farted like the Bog of Eternal Stench.”
“None of that was enjoyable or magical for anyone involved, and there’s no reason to pretend it was. That doesn’t mean she loves her kids any less (even the one that broke her foot). Let’s keep it real with each other, ladies!” – i–make–lists
“A girl I know absolutely hated being pregnant. I’m seriously not surprised there is a nearly 7-year gap between their kids because that’s how much she hated pregnancy.”
“She was MAYBE 3 months in on the first one and was already saying how she could not wait for the baby to be born because she was already over being pregnant.”
“My partner and I aren’t planning on kids, but he’s already said if do end up having one, he’ll probably have to be on Xanax or something to deal with me.”
“I know too much from growing up in a medical family, and pregnancy and childbirth terrify me.” – pillowcrates
Others agreed and said the daughter could have communicated her feelings.
“To OP, NTA. You had every reason to believe your grown and mature daughter would accept your feelings surrounding your pregnancies and childbirth.”
“If she was upset with you, she should have talked to you about it and listened to all that you said. It seems she stopped listening at the point where you said how frightened you were during your 2 pregnancies and didn’t hear you say how very much she loved her and her brother.”
“Try and call her and ask her to let you explain again and more fully what you went through. You will need to really talk up how much you loved her from the moment she was born.”
“Good luck and best wishes to you and your daughter for a wonderful pregnancy and birth.” – Muted_Caterpillar13
“I knew from a young age that children at least PROBABLY wouldn’t be for me. I hated my peers. My closest friends were much older than me. Kids my age were soooo annoying!”
“Before my mother got sick with her first brain tumor, I asked her about pregnancy and motherhood. I was 6, maybe 7 years old. She told me how each pregnancy was pretty d**n bad, and she only went through them to have me and my 2 brothers. I remember looking at them and wondering why in the world she even wanted them…”
“That conversation stuck with me, though. She passed away when I was 25 due to a second brain tumor, and at 37, I have never even had a pregnancy scare. I am so thankful for that conversation, because children never would have fit into my life.”
“My dogs are cute though.”
“And OP, totally NTA. Once her emotions calm, she will see it.” – pyrenees21
“I was talking to my children tonight and we told my youngest that she is the last child. I told them we have no plans to have further children mainly because I don’t enjoy being pregnant and small babies don’t allow much time for parents to sleep.”
“I told them I love them all very much and love being a mother, but pregnancy wasn’t something I enjoyed. They all understood. No one seemed upset. If they later have problems with what I said, we’ll talk about it.”
“We all know how much I love my sleep, so it seemed to make sense.”
“This might be an issue with her hormones. I know my mom didn’t enjoy pregnancy either. Hyperemesis gravidarum with my oldest brother. That doesn’t mean I think she hates him. She had additional kids.”
“I’d go with explaining things. Reminding her how much you love her and how happy you are to be her mom, might help. Hopefully, though, she’ll eventually just move past this.” – Born_Rhubarb5317
“My mom was super sick when she was pregnant with me. Puking every day all 9 months, had to be hospitalized for dehydration, although she is Wonder Woman and still worked full time as a vet tech the whole time.”
“She has always told me, ‘I would do it 100 times over just to get YOU but I would never do it again if I wouldn’t get you.'”
“It’s never been a secret and it’s never been a ‘you made me sick thing, because people react differently to everything and hormones are a b***h.”
“I feel like, and I say this as the most emotional person I know, that OP and her daughter are just feeling a LOT of feelings right now and they maybe aren’t showing how either of them intended or wanted.” – igalexidk
After receiving feedback, the OP shared a thoughtful update.
“Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences and stories. The support has honestly been overwhelming, I have even teared up at times.”
“I didn’t have all this ‘back in my day,’ and I am so grateful and happy for all women out there present and future that they have all these resources to share their experiences, both positive and negative.”
“I just want to say this, and what I wish I could say, and what others could freely express, nearly 30 years ago when I was pregnant with my first:”
“Ladies, you are your biggest advocate. If you are having a wonderful time with your pregnancy, like my daughter is, you should be super proud of that and continue to experience the happiness. After all, it leads to one of your biggest joys in life!”
“But for any women out there struggling: that is ok too. Pregnancy is tough. It is hard. It is ok not to like or enjoy it. But we are tough. If you have any concerns or are struggling, speak up. As you can see here, you are not alone.”
“I will be talking to my daughter this weekend, after giving her some time to cool off. My biggest guilt stems from her feeling unwanted and like a burden.”
“I will sit down with her, as a mother talking to her adult daughter, and explain myself and clarify my position. I’ll echo what many are saying here as I share the same sentiment: just because I didn’t love pregnancy itself, doesn’t mean I didn’t love being pregnant with her.”
“And I am genuinely happy for her that she is loving her pregnancy and embracing every moment. It means she isn’t feeling what I felt, which wasn’t very pleasant. I want to encourage that feeling, but also assure her if she does have any issues, they are perfectly valid.”
While the OP felt guilty for the misunderstanding and her daughter’s hurt feelings, the moment may have opened a door to a conversation every woman should have at least once in her lifetime, about societal expectations and the struggles their body might go through, unique from everyone else’s.