He Won’t Ever get to be Pregnant

I used to envy my husband.

Maybe envy isn’t even a strong enough word.  Let’s start over.

I used to nurse a precious little nugget of contempt for my husband.  Because he…he will never have to be pregnant.  He will never have to endure morning sickness or the feeling of a human’s head pressing firmly on his bladder from the inside.  And don’t even get me started on labor and delivery and the lovely fourth trimester known as postpartum recovery from said labor and delivery.  How terribly, horribly cruel it seemed to me.

And then something crazy happened.  We bought this dilapidated fixer-upper and we started fixing it.  And oh, it was so hard.  And it lasted so long.  And some days we were so tired that it seemed impossible to move forward, but we had to.  We had no choice.  There was simply no turning back.  And those days…well, those days were not nearly as hard for me as they were for my husband.  Because I felt like we were in labor.  And I knew there was no way out but to have this baby, and having this baby was going to be hard and it was going to suck.  But someday it would be over, that I knew.

My poor husband had no such frame of reference.  He had never looked down that tunnel of sheer exhaustion and not been able to see a light shining for him at the end.  He had never really gone past some mysterious point of no return and wondered if he’d ever get to be human again.  So there he was, exhausted, overwhelmed, teetering at moments on the brink of hopelessness, and for the very first time I felt so, so, so sorry for him that he had never experienced the frustrations of pregnancy.  Or endured the pains of labor.  Or felt the all-consuming void followed by instantaneous euphoria of delivery.  That light at the end of the tunnel that doesn’t appear until you’re basking in it.

I felt bad for him.  And finally I was thankful.  Thankful that I had experienced all of those things so that at least one of us could say “It’s going to be fine.  This is going to work out.  Just one thing after another.  That’s all we can do.  We’re doing great.”

Now, as we prepare for the impending arrival of baby number five, I realize that he sure did have to suffer through morning sickness- mine.  He did every bit of cooking and cleaning and child care.  He ran all the errands.  He brought me just the right blanket at the right moment when I was immobile on the sofa.  He catered to every ridiculous food or beverage request.

And in exchange for all that, he doesn’t get to feel the baby move or get to know her so intimately before she’s even born.  No one asks him how he’s doing or feeling after Mass on Sunday and no one will ask him how he’s feeling after the baby arrives.  He gets no bragging rights and no birth-story glory.  Yet he’s going to be there for every excruciating moment, wishing there was something he could do.  Trying to take on some of the pain himself.  Wanting to share as fully as possible in this partnership with God.

I am in a partnership with God.  Can we take a second to revel in that?

He picked me because He knows I’m the woman for the job.  He chose me for this.  Every woman who ever gets to carry a child in her womb has been chosen by God to partner with Him in the creation of a whole new life in this particular, incredible, exhausting way because she is the perfect one for the job.

I’m sorry…remind me again why I was envious of my husband?



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Dwija Borobia lives with her husband and their four (soon-to-be-five!) kids in rural southwest Michigan in a fixer-upper they bought sight-unseen off the internet. Between homeschooling and corralling chickens, she pretends her time on the internet doesn’t count because she uses the computer standing up. You can read more on her blog house unseen. life unscripted.


Dwija Borobia lives with her husband and their five kids in rural southwest Michigan in a fixer-upper they bought sight-unseen off the internet. Between homeschooling and corralling chickens, she pretends her time on the internet doesn’t count because she uses the computer standing up. You can read more on her blog house unseen. life unscripted.

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  • It is the kicks I miss the most. I really liked reading this–great perspective on pregnancy/childbirth AND remodeling a home! 😉

  • bywordofmouth

    Look at you all glowing like Mama Earth!  Just gorgeous … and the words.
    They are both lucky to have you xxx

  • Dwija, this brought tears to my eyes.  I love your writing.

  • Aw, thanks Paula.  Love you!

  • Mary @ Better Than Eden

    Love this.  Such a great perspective!  Praying for you during these last few weeks!

  • wow! You look gorgeous!

    poor husband….he probably doesn’t have the ‘glow’ either! 😉

  • I love this. I really am blessed that I enjoy being pregnant, but everytime a girl tells me that she hates being pregnant, I sort of marvel at that. This is the moment – when you are as you say, chosen for this very special mission. You are indeed holding hands with God – you are helping in His creation. How on earth could it get any better?

  • I find myself in the awkward position of hating being pregnant but being simultaneously so appreciative of the fact that I get to be so.  Early in the pregnancy, when I’m so incapacitated that I can’t take care of the kids I already have, I hate it a lot.  And then, when we all survive, and I realize what’s about to happen, I can find a way to be thankful.  It’s a strange cycle that I’m only just starting to come to terms with…. 🙂

  • Paige

    Perspective. BAM! Now I have it. 

  •  Glow.  Thin veil of sweat.  You know, whichever… 😉

  • Mnh82

    What an awesome post! My husband bears a lot of stress that I don’t understand i.e. being financially responsible for our whole family by working sometimes up to 18 hours a day, God bless wonderful husbands/fathers!

  • Micaela

    I absolutely love being pregnant. Except the huge part. And the sick part. And the weird pains in weird places part. Ok, I guess what I love is 1) knowing I am growing a human (working with God to do so), and 3) feeling the little kicks, flutters and rolls that remind me of that precious fact.

    And now you’ve got me all inspired to buy a house sight unseen and move there a d fix it all up. What’s that you say? It’s not all adorable kids and sweet goats and spring flowers? Well, you could have fooled me. 🙂

  • Claire

    Men aren’t the only ones who don’t get a chance to be pregnant.  Some women (like me) apparently aren’t the perfect ones for the job either.

  •  You are the perfect person for a different job, Claire.  In God’s time, He’ll reveal it to you!

  • Claire

    Thanks Dwija.  He actually has already, and I wouldn’t trade my blessing for anything.  But the feelings of  failure, for my inability to stay pregnant longer than 5 minutes, still rear their ugly head from time to time.

  • I don’t think we can fail at things that are out of our control, friend.  You are not a failure.  You’ve submitted to His will.  That’s the biggest show of faith, and success, that anyone in this life can manage.  Cling to that!  You’re in my prayers 🙂

  • Megan,

     I’m going to guess you don’t have debilitating morning sickness and feel pretty good during pregnancy.  I hate being pregnant. I hate the constant nausea and the throwing up several times a day. I hate the vomit that goes up into my sinus cavitites and burns and the smell that lingers all day. I hate vomiting into the bathroom sink because brushing my teeth triggers nausea. I hate that I have strong aversions to all my favorite foods and that eating becomes a chore. I hate being so exhausted that I can’t pry myself off the couch even when the baby is crying that he’s hungry. I hate when I can’t go into the kitchen because the smells in the refrigerator send me running to the bathroom to throw up again. I hate being sick. I hate feeling helpless.

    It’s not that I have a reduced appreciation of how wonderful it is to cooperate with God in the wonderful act of the creation of a new immortal human being, but that like any sane human being I hate suffering. Sure, I appreciate that suffering is a cross and that we are privileged to carry our crosses; but that kind of appreciation is small consolation during the desolation of the first trimester when I’m too tired to pray more than a feeble cry, “Help me, God!” For me pregnancy is very much a cross and, no, I don’t love carrying that cross. I only love having carried it– very much in retrospect.

    And I don’t even have it that bad. Just look up hyperemesis gravidarium and read the stories of the women who get so sick that abortion starts to seem like a really good option.

    Dwija, I love this piece! Perhaps my favorite yet!

  • I am similarly sick for the first 20 weeks, Melanie.  I feel your pain.  I remember this time thinking “I’m so glad no one will listen to me if I tell them to put me out of my misery because I’m pretty sure I would prefer death to this agony.”  I couldn’t remember what it felt like to feel good or even regular and I was quite certain I would simply never feel good again.    That’s why I wrote that “I Hate Being Pregnant” piece on my personal blog.  I didn’t want other women in the same position to feel alone!

  • Claire

     Thanks for the prayers Dwija.  And blessings to you on your latest addition.

  • Lydia Cubbedge

     I loved this piece! Like Melanie, I couldn’t go into the kitchen, and it’s still hit or miss on days when I didn’t get the dishes done the night before. I was really sick for the first fifteen weeks with this one. I’m now on week three of limited nausea (tooth brushing on an empty stomach is apparently a bad idea). I’m also experiencing pretty excruciating ligament pain. The first trimester and the first two weeks of the second were, frankly, horrible. Unlike with my first, there wasn’t time to sit and rest when I needed to, because there was a little one to care for. I was insanely grateful for this baby-after four years of subfertility, you’re willing to put up with an awful lot-but those months were terribly hard, and it was a challenge to remain conscious of God’s graciousness to me in allowing me and choosing me to carry this child. I don’t think any of that takes away from the truly awesome awesomeness of being pregnant. It just makes you realize more that we are very much creatures of heaven and earth, It’s wonderful and spiritual and intimate…and it’s also hard, hard work. Kind of like life.

  • Amen!  

    Also, re: toothbrushing.  I have to use just plain baking soda on my toothbrush for the first 2 trimesters or I will hurl instantaneously.  Try it!  It might help!

  • Annie

    I am new here but I was very sick also, but #1 I had to do AI to get pregnant so it seemed easier to bare and #2 I was just so grateful for not throwing up because I had cancer. I felt I had to see things with a positive outlook; although, I didn’t really want to have to express out loud too often or I would get cranky. Funny thing is when my husband and I worked on our house and he complained of being tired I would say “well let me put a 10 pound baby inside you, then you’ll know what tired is”. Great piece!!

  • I LOVE this post, Dwija. 

  • You just HAD to take away my right to a pregnant pity party, didn’t ya? 😉 Awesome post!

  • Oh Chaunie, you know I’ve still been complainin’ it up over here 😉

  • TmwillIams

    So beautifully written, and so true. Your third paragraph brought tears to my eyes because it described perfectly, perfectly, my stages of labor and delivery. Thank you for putting into words so well. Indeed we are so blessed.

  • Stsmurphy

     Gosh, this is me too.  I have felt so alone, suffering so greatly.  I could really relate to your post.  For me, too the horrible hg tends to taper off a bit by 20 wks – less vomiting, and then by perhaps 25 wks or 27 wks, it’s more like 1 x day and then gradually down to a couple times a week, and then gradually down to 1 x a week and then down to 1 x every 2 wks or so.  When it’s down to 1 x/ wk, I feel pretty jubilant, as 6 or more times per day and constant gagging/heaving is just pretty darn rough on the system.  I never knew that I had hg until my 5th pg.  I mean the dr. always minimized it, and I just struggled and suffered along.  I was offered things that were pretty ineffective and useless.  Blessedly, I do not get as wretched as some of the women do, but even so, it is a very rough go of it.  I always mark the days off on the calendar.  Even so, I still want more babies.  I can never really seem to enjoy pregnancy w/ all of the sickness that comes w/ it, so I can really relate!  I think you should start a Catholic hg group because we have such a different perspective on the suffering.  I think prayer is the only thing that gets me through it!

  • The second-to-last paragraph made me cry. I love your perspective!