Pregnancy is Hard

I realize that I haven’t posted much about this pregnancy and there are a few reasons for that.

One is that my pregnancies are fairly typical.  I generally experience between 16-24 weeks of morning sickness and exhaustion followed by a time of relative energy and then head into the last trimester with the normal discomforts that any pregnant woman experiences carrying  a growing baby inside.  Then the last month or so of the pregnancy, I cry.  A lot.

Another reason is that I don’t wish to complain when over the last several months I’ve had some very good friends who have experienced losses that I can’t imagine, both through infant deaths and miscarriages.  In light of that it somehow seems petty to talk about the trials of pregnancy.  I know that they wish that they could be doing what I’m doing right now.

I also realize that since this is my tenth pregnancy, there are probably many out there who have no sympathy.  I understand the, “She brought it on herself” mentality.  That issue, however, is much bigger than this little struggle.  Mark and I did not choose to accept the children that God would send us because it was the easy choice, but because we believe it to be the right one and simply because we struggle and sometimes stumble, it doesn’t mean that we’ve chosen foolishly.

All of that said, I’m going to talk a little bit about pregnancy and the struggle and sacrifice that it can be.  I want to talk about it because I want you to know that I’m real, I’m not perfect (or even close) and I want to encourage others that they are not alone in the struggle.  It’s  interesting that often people assume that I have easy pregnancies and births, since we are expecting our 10th child.  Neither of these things are true.  I would say that my pregnancies are average to difficult and that my labors and births certainly fall on the difficult side of the spectrum.  🙂

Perhaps the most frustrating thing for me is how little I’m able to accomplish during pregnancy.  I want to do all of the fun things with the kids.  I want to plan and execute fun, hands-on activities, prepare nice, beautiful meals, be hospitable, accomplish neat do-it-yourself home decorating projects and make sure that Mark is able to relax once he gets home each evening.  These things do not happen consistently while I’m pregnant.

Read the above paragraph again, “I want”, “I want”, “I want”.  It all boils down to selfishness.  I want to feel good, have energy and do what I want to do.  Obviously accepting what God has planned for me and doing it cheerfully didn’t make that list.

However there is hope,

the woman being beguiled hath fallen into transgression:  but she shall be saved through her child-bearing, if they continue in faith and love and sanctification with sobriety.

How much of that selfishness, how much of that ugliness is worn off, slowly, sometimes very slowly over  years of pregnancy, getting up at night, caring for sick kids and pouring your life into the children that God has given?  Here I am walking through my tenth pregnancy and I still struggle with cheerfully accepting God’s perfect plan for my life, but can you imagine what I would be like if I hadn’t had this much practice?

Children are a blessing in many more ways than we consider, even before her birth this little girl is helping me to learn patience and contentment.  Thank you Lord for allowing me to be a mother.

You may wish to read Rejoicing in Morning Sickness.

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38 Responses to Pregnancy is Hard
  1. Smockity Frocks
    May 18, 2010 | 8:43 am

    Thank you for this, Kimberly!

    I have these same thoughts. Not wanting to complain, yet there are some very difficult challenges. And that leaves the impression that my life is all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows which I think discounts the sacrifice in large family living.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you Connie. Praying for you today as you finish this race!!!

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  2. Renee
    May 18, 2010 | 9:30 am

    Reading this I feel like you were in my shoes!!!

    Mind you this pregnancy is not our 10th one but our pregnancies are similar in lots of way (your pregnancy complaint are same as mine, and probably for most women, I think just a handful of women experience the “I never felt better in my life” experience during pregnancy)

    So I do and most of your readers will to understand the hardship or pregnancy. But wait I also know that this pain is part of our curse LOL

    With that all said, I agree pregnancy pains bring my selfish nature out (yes more often that I wish) but I have learn to humble myself and ask for forgiveness to my love one, it’s has been a great teaching tool for me to be able to learn this.

    Thanks for your honesty and taking time to share with us!

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  3. Elizabeth
    May 18, 2010 | 10:37 am

    Thank you so very much! I really needed this. You have said much better than I could just how I think & feel. We are expecting our tenth child (a daughter, too) next month.

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  4. Alison
    May 18, 2010 | 10:48 am

    Thank you for this post! I felt the same way about my pregnancy as you mentioned in the beginning of your post: I have so many friends who have miscarried or had stillbirths or just can’t even get pregnant, and there I was complaining about being put on bed-rest (again!).

    I found your blog just a couple days ago and I’ve been reading through your archives like a fanatic. Thank you for this wealth of wisdom: parenting, homeschooling, tips and tricks. This is a treasure trove! I can’t wait to read more!

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  5. Annie Harbert
    May 18, 2010 | 10:51 am

    Kimberly, I thank you for your straight -forwardness although I never once thought you ever came across as being one who knows all and does all- a “Super Mom” if you will. I believe, though never having met you, that you are a woman who desires to love and serve the Lord and this is evident through your blog. I have learned so much from your posts! I look forward to it every morning☺
    I admire your family’s decision to honor the Lords calling to be fruitful and multiply especially in a society that has such a negative view of the sacredness of life.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Annie,

    Thank you for taking the time out of your day to encourage me. Your words are appreciated.

    [Reply]

  6. Alene
    May 18, 2010 | 10:53 am

    “…I cry. A lot.”
    I’m into menopause now, which still seems to come complete with hormonally induced emotions. And tears. 🙂
    What I teach my daughters (I have six children and they are all boys except for five of them. 😉 ) Anyway, I have taught them that they aren’t responsible for ‘experiencing’ hormonally induced emotions – it doesn’t make them bad people that they ‘feel’ all these weird, unbalanced emotions at various times in their cycle. They are, however, responsible before God for what they DO with those emotions. Slamming doors, snapping at people, walking in the ‘centre of the universe’ mentality is unacceptable. Compassion is given for the struggle – oh, how well I know what a struggle it can be! – but no quarter is given for pity parties or unkindness.

    So to you, Kimberly ~ I commend your attitude, that this is yet another opportunity gifted to you by your Father, and for choosing to embrace this dying to self ~ not perfectly, I know that (and I pray for your weariness as you walk through this struggle today!) yet consistently picking yourself up when you fail and again choosing the direction of the Cross in this area.

    You go, girl!! The great cloud of witnesses is cheering you on!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you Alene.

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  7. Lisa
    May 18, 2010 | 11:58 am

    Wow! What a blessing this was to me! Thank you for sharing!

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  8. Maureen
    May 18, 2010 | 1:32 pm

    “Perhaps the most frustrating thing for me is how little I’m able to accomplish during pregnancy…”

    That’s me. That’s me right now. Thanks for the perspective.

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  9. Sandpiper
    May 18, 2010 | 1:40 pm

    It is hard not to complain sometimes, especially when you huff & puff just going up the stairs. I struggle with not being able to ‘do’ things. I look around the house and see things that need doing and I just don’t have the energy. I wonder how I’m going to make it through the next few weeks and then I have to take my eyes off of myself and get on with the day before I sink.
    Thanks for sharing, it’s been an encouragement to me!

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  10. Katie
    May 18, 2010 | 1:43 pm

    Anther “thanks!” Your post is well written. I was raised to see children as blessings and to want a large family, but no one ever told me how hard pregnancy was going to be (and I have “normal” ones). A little warning that it was hard, yet still worth it, would have been nice.

    One benefit I encourage myself with to having a large family – by the time you are on your 3rd or 4th pregnancy, you have learned what works for you. It doesn’t make the pregnancy and labors easy, but you know what to expect and what you can do to help yourself better.

    ~ Katie
    Mother to 5 littles

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  11. Jessica Hilliker
    May 18, 2010 | 1:54 pm

    Thank you so very much for blogging the “real,” stuff–the hard stuff–wow. I have tears in my eyes; that was what I needed to hear today!

    My husband I just recently made the decision to put our family planning in the Lord’s hands and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off, I LOVE children and family! …but at the same time, I am SCARED! My two pregnancies included bedrest and 2-4 months of braxton hicks. I had a three day labor with my first and went through a year of physical therapy with him b/c he couldn’t use his muscles properly. Our second, just like our first, was born purple and not breathing; neither could nurse; and I have had major physical complications from each labor. so, I’m scared to get pregnant again in many ways, and that “feels” like a good excuse to take the control of whether or not I get pregant into my own hands….but what you wrote is the Truth, and your encouragement today has impacted me beyond words. thank you, thank you…

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    May God bless you as you seek to honor Him in every aspect of your life.

    Thank you!

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  12. Mrs. White
    May 18, 2010 | 2:14 pm

    I haven’t visited your blog in a long time. I am getting your posts via email and keeping up with you that way. I wanted to say that I love that you are sharing how hard pregnancy is. Very good thoughts, and so true!

    And… since I am here… I LOVE the new look!! It is so much easier to visit here now.

    Blessings,
    Mrs. White

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  13. Mama Rachel
    May 18, 2010 | 2:26 pm

    Thank you for this post today!

    I’m 36 weeks into my 11th pregnancy, and what you said resonated loud and clear for me. I feel like such a big baby– I CHOSE this, I should be used to this, I should be grateful, etc.. Thank you for beautifully stating how I am feeling.

    We truly can do this with the Lord’s help! 🙂

    Hugs,
    Another Mega-Mom

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  14. Christin
    May 18, 2010 | 3:13 pm

    I can relate to your post in many ways. We are expecting our fifth, and yes, it is hard. Yet, I try to keep perspective because so many women don’t have it as EASY as I do. My pregnancies and labors/deliveries are for the most part, typical and excellent. I still experience morning sickness, fatigue, heartburn, back pain, and the like.

    I totally get this, too:
    “there are probably many out there who have no sympathy. I understand the, “She brought it on herself” mentality.”

    And completely agree with this:
    “[We]did not choose to accept the children that God would send us because it was the easy choice, but because we believe it to be the right one and simply because we struggle and sometimes stumble, it doesn’t mean that we’ve chosen foolishly.”

    And just like you there are many things I “want” to do. I find myself frustrated at all that’s NOT being accomplished and then find myself cranky. 🙁 And things are only going to get harder before they get “easier”, as the baby wakes up several times each night.

    I feel you, Kimberly!!!! I do!

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  15. Trish H
    May 18, 2010 | 8:15 pm

    Thank you! Your truth is a relief to my heart. I fight with “I want, I want, I want” all the time. I made myself miserable through my pregnancy with my 4th. I whined and cried through most of it, until I read Amy’s be a quitter post. Then God hit me in the forehead with THIS IS A BLESSING! I relaxed and finally started to enjoy the pregnancy at the last month and half when you are in the worst.
    Thank you for sharing your heart.
    ~trish

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  16. Amy
    May 18, 2010 | 9:19 pm

    Just wanted you to know, your post was a blessing to me. Thank you!

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  17. sarah
    May 19, 2010 | 8:04 am

    Wow. I really appreciate your sharing this blog post. I’m on my third pregnancy right now. Sick for months and months, throwing up, low energy, aches and pains and I wonder…. could I ever do this again? I am so tired of it! Like you, I want to have energy to put into my kids and husband. I wonder, am I doing them an injustice?
    Thanks for being real in this post and for baring your heart.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    When I was pregnant with our 4th or 5th, I was talking to our pediatrician (and father of 8) about how concerned I was that my pregnancies put such a burden on Mark and the children. I still recall His response. He said to me, “Kimberly God did not only call you to be the mother of 4 (or 5), He also called Mark to be the father of 4 (or 5) and He called your children to be siblings to many as well.”

    That was precisely what I needed to hear at the time. I wasn’t requiring this of my husband and kids, God was.

    Keep on keeping on.

    [Reply]

  18. Serene in Singapore
    May 19, 2010 | 8:29 am

    I can so relate, even tho I am not pregnant – for now at least! I just find that the more children I have the more I realise how much my fleshy self hasn’t really died. Thanks for sharing this! And all the best as you approach D-Day!

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  19. chantelle
    May 19, 2010 | 9:04 am

    Thank you for the great post. It was just what I needed today. 🙂

    [Reply]

  20. Ruth Adams
    May 19, 2010 | 3:46 pm

    Thank you for this post. My due date is July 15th, and this is baby number five. I’ve felt fairly miserable throughout this whole pregnancy even though I try to not show it to those around me. I LOVE having babies, but pregnancy is very difficult for me. We’re in the middle of a big move, and I’m just tired and hurting. Thank you for such an honest reminder that I’m not the only one. Also, that God is using the inconveniences and discomforts to mold my character. 🙂

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  21. Carole
    May 19, 2010 | 6:55 pm

    yes yes yes to everything. I sympathize empathize and cheer you on you are almost there only a few more weeks and a very big hill to climb will be over once again with a beautiful vista to view and all the lessons you have learned “this time around”. (granted the last part can be the scariest and the hardest I find the very last 50 feet and the hike back down to be the worst.) We climbed Chimney Tops yesterday in honor of our 16th anniversary and I think pregnancy is a lot like that hike.Keep on hiking!

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  22. Melissa
    May 19, 2010 | 11:38 pm

    I have long thought that pregnancy is clearly designed to prepare a woman for motherhood. Think about it – the care for diet, the slowing, the lowered productivity, the frequent bathroom breaks and night wakings – by the time the baby is born you’re already used to moving slowly and awkwardly, stopping to take care of bathroom needs every hour or so, and waking two or three times a night!

    Your point about our WANTS is well made, and one I’ve been considering recently. A friend of mine has called it quits after baby #2, redirecting family finances to attend college for an indulgent and impractical degree (meaning, I don’t see how she plans to get a financial return from this shockingly expensive investment). In between chastising myself for judging her, I’ve been having fits of jealousy. Why can’t I pack my kids off to the earliest available preschool, yank money out of savings, and spend hours every day developing my talents?

    The answer in that case is clear, but there are the more shaded questions – am I unjustly diverting time and resources from my husband and older children to have more babies? I believe that I have a greater responsibility to the family I have now than any additions we might have in the future, but that doesn’t negate the responsibility… Last year I was blessed to have twins, but I feel like I lost the whole year to morning sickness and exhaustion like I had never had before. Is that fair to my older boys? Can we ever recover or replenish the time lost there? On the other hand, my older son learned, at four years old, to help take care of me and a kind of responsibility he almost certainly would not have been allowed had I been energetic and able-bodied. Just because I WANT to give my children a certain experience doesn’t mean they will suffer for it. I think that if God wants us to live a certain way, then the effects of that path are the ones he meant us to feel.

    I’m still learning. I’ve been blessed to have 4 beautiful boys (5, 3, and two 6 month olds) and I’m constantly learning new lessons through the process of motherhood. This last pregnancy taught me to accept and even ask for help from others – something I’m not particularly good at even now – and reinforced the perfection of God’s timing. For example, I was bitterly disappointed before my pregnancy because I had wanted to start trying to conceive our third child about six months earlier and we physically could not because my husband was deployed. Then we found out we would be having twins and I thought, “Gee, I’m sure glad that I have a little extra space between kids this time. It looks like you knew best again, Father!” Thank goodness I keep getting reminded that He knows best for us, or I’m sure I would forget, and it is the most comforting thing in the world.

    Well. This is almost an embarrassingly long entry to leave my first time commenting, but I wanted to say that I find your blog inspiring as I try find ways to incorporate the Gospel into the academic education I provide my children. Thank you for writing!

    [Reply]

    Serene in Singapore Reply:

    but there are the more shaded questions – am I unjustly diverting time and resources from my husband and older children to have more babies?… Last year I was blessed to have twins, but I feel like I lost the whole year to morning sickness and exhaustion like I had never had before. Is that fair to my older boys? Can we ever recover or replenish the time lost there?

    Melissa – I struggle with this too I tell myself that God *knows* what will happen when I get pregnant and/or have a high need baby. I just need to do my best and He will cover up the gaps I leave.

    Hope this encourages me.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Melissa,

    I’m copying and pasting my response to Sarah.

    When I was pregnant with our 4th or 5th, I was talking to our pediatrician (and father of 8 ) about how concerned I was that my pregnancies put such a burden on Mark and the children. I still recall His response. He said to me, “Kimberly God did not only call you to be the mother of 4 (or 5), He also called Mark to be the father of 4 (or 5) and He called your children to be siblings to many as well.”

    That was precisely what I needed to hear at the time. I wasn’t requiring this of my husband and kids, God was.

    [Reply]

  23. Serene in Singapore
    May 20, 2010 | 5:53 am

    Sorry, I was typing with a wriggly baby on my lap. I meant I hope this encourages YOU! 🙂

    [Reply]

  24. Cindy
    May 21, 2010 | 1:48 pm

    I just had my 7th baby a couple weeks ago and throughout my pregnancy it was rough going with sickness right up to the night before I had him and then back issues, but after having him it was all worth it! Keep going ladies…the end is coming when you will hold your beautiful baby in your arms. I thought I wouldn’t make it and it was hard caring for my other children, trying to homeschool and being a wife. This baby was a true gift from God for us as we were done at 6….a real gift he (Callum) certainly is!!

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  25. Diane
    May 25, 2010 | 3:45 pm

    Ladies, I am the mother of 8 and the youngest sibling of 12. You are not depriving your children of anything as long as they have love. I know. Someone told me once “there is no way there is enough love for everyone in a large family.” My response was “we might not have had everything the neighbors had, but love is multiplied and not divided and we lacked for nothing.” Never did I wish for less brothers and sisters, but felt sorry for those that had none. Pregnancy is hard, I always wonder “what happened to the stork?”
    but remember, there is nothing in the world like holding that newborn in your arms.

    [Reply]

  26. Steve
    May 28, 2010 | 2:25 am

    I just had my 7th baby a couple weeks ago and throughout my pregnancy it was rough going with sickness right up to the night before I had him and then back issues, but after having him it was all worth it! Keep going ladies…the end is coming when you will hold your beautiful baby in your arms. I thought I wouldn’t make it and it was hard caring for my other children, trying to homeschool and being a wife. This baby was a true gift from God for us as we were done at 6….a real gift he (Callum) certainly is!!

    [Reply]

  27. Camille Duckworth
    March 7, 2011 | 12:59 am

    As much as I appreciated reading this and seeing women that continue having babies even when pregnancy is hard, I can’t help but get past the feelings of me continuing to be pregnant and sick and tired….leaves other children less cared for. I’m nearing the end of my 5th pregnancy….and I would have 10 more if it weren’t for pregnancy! They get worse and worse each one, the sickness and tired lasting even longer. Yes they could be MUCH worse…but at what point do I say I can’t do it anymore because I have to care for the children I already have? I have been of course praying a lot to know if we are done or not….but sometimes the worldly feelings of wanting to be able to care for and continue homeschooling my children that I have….are louder than the still small voice that guides me through life! Did you ever feel that you weren’t able to care for all those children in your care when you were SO tired and sick with pregnancy?

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    This is a difficult topic but I think that it comes down to what we believe about God’s sovereignty and provision. We believe in God’s complete sovereignty over every aspect of our lives and we believe that whatever task He calls us to He will give us the ability and strength to accomplish.

    So have I ever felt that I’m not able to care for the children in my care because of being sick and tired with pregnancy? Yes, but I don’t believe that I’m dependent upon my own strength or on my feeling of whether or not I’m able to do something, my help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth and I know that He is able to accomplish that which He has ordained from my life.

    I post more about the question of trusting God with pregnancy and children in this post.

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  28. Renee
    September 22, 2011 | 9:55 pm

    I just want to thank you for this post. I am 20 weeks with baby #2 and struggling with those “I want” feelings. I want to spend more time with my daughter. I want to be able to have more fun with her. Instead I keep finding myself needing rest. Thanks for the reminder for the correct perspective that I need to be practicing instead.

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  29. Chris
    November 27, 2011 | 7:31 pm

    Hi, I am 45 years old and just found out I am expecting my 8th. Searching the web for some encouragement and found just what I needed. Thanks for your honesty and sharing. Blessings to you and please pray for me as I am struggling with fear due to my “advanced maternal age”…

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  30. Danielle C
    February 16, 2013 | 3:10 pm

    Kim,
    Over and over I could thank you for this article. You are such an encouragement to this mom of six (10, 8,6,4,2,5 mos) trying to still do it “all”, and struggling with discouragement when I don’t. We live in a very rural area, go to a very small church with no other “large” families or homeschoolers, and a husband who works a lot of 16 hour days outside our home. I often feel alone but have to quickly confess… God never leaves us alone. He gives us everything we need “according to His riches”. You are right. I know their are lots of ladies who long to be in our shoes and I have to confess again and rejoice, especially when I want to quit. Your transparency in sharing your shortcomings was a blessing, because God uses stories like this to gently remind me I’m not alone, and to praise Him again. It is such a privilege to mother this crew, and you reminded me of exactly what I needed to remember. Thank you for your godly example:)

    [Reply]

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