One of the first things my mother said to me when I got pregnant was how terrific she felt while pregnant and how it would probably be the same for me. Well ladies, let me just slay that mythical unicorn right now and call it what it is, a big steaming pile.

My mother had Crohn’s disease so she was very sick prior to her pregnancy which probably had a lot to do with her feeling so good . As far as I can tell there wasn’t a whole lot of that during each of my three pregnancies. I’m not trying to scare you first time pregnant Mamas. I’m giving you the gift of truth. Pregnancy is rough. Your body is not your own and I want you to know those glowing, happy, feeling great mamas are NOT the norm.

The Secret Sauce of “Pregnancy Glow”

You want to know what that pregnancy glow consists of – sweat and oil. There’s a reason they say you’ve got a bun in the oven. You feel like an oven. I myself had the misfortune of having two of my babies in the miserable heat of summer (July and August) and hot doesn’t begin to describe it. Near the end of my August pregnancy, there were several occasions when the temperature reached above 70 degrees in the office I worked in and I had to be sent home because the heat made me so sick. Whatever the thermostat says, add at least 10 degrees due to your baby oven. The oil is not much better.

My skin has always been acne prone, but nothing could have prepared me for the horror show that my skin became during pregnancy with my daughters. All that extra estrogen coursing through my veins made literal mountains out of mole hills on my face. Though I did have fabulous skin when I was pregnant with my son.

You Never Forget Having PUPPS

But while I had no acne, I got the PUPPS (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy) rash late in my pregnancy with him. If you’ve ever had this rash you don’t soon forget it. Imagine taking a whip, setting it on fire and striking it all over your body. Yup, that is the horror of PUPPS and for most women the only real cure is giving birth. For me it got worse AFTER I gave birth.

Every Symptom In The Book

I had almost every pain and problem of pregnancy you read about in the pregnancy bible, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” I spent the majority of my time with my head over a toilet bowl or finding concealed places on the side of the road to toss my cookies. I’ve marked my pregnancy territory over much of Orange and Sullivan Counties.

I had pelvic pain like nobody’s business. I had Braxton Hicks Contractions (a.k.a. practice contractions) so painful I couldn’t walk. So if your doctor, friend or your mom tries to convince you they are painless you can call shenanigans on them.

High Risk Mamas Are My Heroes

I count myself lucky that I only had the most common aches, pains, and challenges of pregnancy. Those mamas with high risk pregnancies, on bed rest for months, you ladies are my heroes. You are a testament to motherly love!

So why I am telling you about my pregnancy miseries? It’s not so you run screaming from the pregnancy test aisle at the drugstore. It’s to let you know that it’s normal. There’s nothing worse than wondering where the hell your glow is? Where is this happy go lucky pregnancy people speak of?

Let’s stop putting unrealistic expectations of pregnancy on new moms. Pregnancy and labor suck out loud. There’s no doubt about it.

Pregnancy Is All About The End Game

Pregnancy is the preview for the coming attraction of parenting. They’ll be many days of worry, many nights of misery and many moments of pure heart melting joy like when you hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time or when you meet that little person who’s been using your bladder as a trampoline for 9 months. So breathe deep the smell of their little fresh-from-the-womb faces. That’s what makes it all worth it.

Pregnancy is all about the end game. I look at my kids and think, “What wouldn’t I have gone through to have you?” Most people wouldn’t willingly go through the emotional and physical upheaval that pregnancy puts you through without expecting the reward at the end.

The Real Unicorns

If you know a surrogate who selflessly goes through the misery of pregnancy, knowing they are walking away with the scars and no baby, well then my friend there just might be a real life unicorn in your midst. As for the myth of “easy” pregnancy, consider it slayed.

P.S. If you laughed while reading this post and are pregnant or just gave birth and peed a little let me just say, “Welcome to motherhood!”

Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found writing on her blog The No Drama Mama and Hudson Valley Parent Magazine when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her three adorable kiddos. This frugal, “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow her on Facebook or Twitter for her delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails. Her work can also be found on Money Saving Mom and Mamapedia.