KELLY MCCARREN: I'm so grateful to be pregnant, but I've never been more miserable.

I think I always romanticised being pregnant.

I wasn’t sure how long it would take after my husband and I decided we were ready to start a family, but I was sure I knew what would happen after I saw that extra line on a pregnancy stick. 

In my mind, I’d turn into an insufferable wellbeing warrior, fueling my body with only the most nutritious of foods and taking my baby for gentle daily walks and yoga classes. 

I’d be productive AF; I would have so much more time on my hands, not partying and being hungover! My skin would glow, and I’d be brimming with positivity over this delicious little human I was growing.


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For over two months, I’ve wondered every single day why more women don’t talk about how shit being pregnant is. 

Not for every woman, of course. But for so many women, they only tell you after you start complaining about your own symptoms. Otherwise, it seems to be this big secret no one wants to admit.

I know why. It’s because women are just fundamentally nice. They don’t want to complain about being pregnant in fear of upsetting, hurting or insulting women who are struggling with their own fertility. It can seem really disrespectful to complain about something that many women would do anything for.


But I’ve always been someone who will share, even when it’s something that might be a bit uncomfortable. And I’ve also always been someone who thinks that two things can be true at the same time. 

I am so grateful to be pregnant and to have this healthy baby bouncing around inside me; not a day goes by where I don’t acknowledge this. But I also have never been so sick and miserable in my entire life, so sit back and get ready for some real pregnancy truths to be unleashed.


I thought ‘morning sickness’ was something that happened in movies. None of my friends had ever mentioned much about it before, or they made jokes about it while being functioning humans, so I didn’t ever take it seriously. 

And of course, I’d heard about that horrible condition that some people get where they vomit the entire way through the pregnancy, but I didn’t ever stop to consider what might be ‘normal’ and happen in between these two extremes.

For the first two weeks of my pregnancy, I felt FINE. I wouldn’t have even known if I hadn’t peed on that stick. I carried on with my life as normal; I just stopped downing bottles of wine most nights. 

Then I came home from a hens weekend, and that Monday, it’s like a switch flipped. And I turned into a completely different person.

I felt physically sick ALL THE TIME. Not ‘morning’ sickness. It lasted all day and would come in stronger waves, where I’d have to just curl up in the fetal position and wait for it to pass. 

I was tired ALL THE TIME. I needed more naps than a toddler and then got the bladder control of one too. I’ve always peed a lot, but my goodness, now it's damn joke.

It felt like things got worse each day: nausea turned into vomiting, slight vertigo turned into spells of intense dizziness, and tiredness turned into depression.


The depression hasn’t surprised me at all. It’s the worst it’s been in over six years, but as I’ve explained to my doctor (while she looked at me in alarm after I dismally failed a mental health check), it’s entirely situational. I was a busy human. I was always working, catching up with friends, going to the gym, planning fun things, visiting family, and just enjoying my life. 

In the space of days, that person turned into a sick blob who could do nothing but mope around the house. 

I’ve hardly been working over the past two months, I’ve gone for two walks, and before lockdown, I cancelled most of my social plans anyway because I was too sick. 

That sort of change and loss of identity is enough to give anyone a shock to the system, but add in the intense pregnancy hormones, and you have a recipe for a real wild ride of horrible lows.

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Speaking of hormones, here are a few other things that have completely blindsided me about being pregnant:

How completely irrational I would become.

One night, I threw a tantrum a three-year-old would be proud of when I couldn’t find a McDonald’s delivery partner to bring me the only thing I could stomach eating - a cheeseburger (bearing in mind I’m also vegetarian). I continuously refreshed my apps and then pressed my face into the corner of the couch, sobbing inconsolably over… fries.

The emotions.

Another time, my emotions got the best of me when I was driving. I had to pull over on the side of the road because 'Innerbloom' by the band Rüfüs Du Sol came on. It was about the six-minute mark that did me over, as I wondered when I would ever be partying and free again. Thank goodness I have tinted windows.


My nose told me I was pregnant long before the stick did. 

I honestly think it must have been from conception, but I walked through the house every day, bellowing at my husband Luke that something was rotten or dead in our apartment. Given it’s still relatively swollen from my snout surgery earlier this year, I hate to imagine what clear passages would bring me. It was bad enough the day a poor delivery man came in, and I had to run to the loo and violently throw up because I could smell his body odour.


I’ve now officially passed the first trimester, and while (unfortunately) a magic switch wasn’t reset where I felt like myself again, I’ve definitely gotten better at managing it. 

I eat ALL THE TIME. Because having an empty tummy, and those acids, mixed with the pregnancy hormones, is a recipe for disaster. 

Even during the night, I have alarms set on my phone so I get up and eat every few hours, because I know the alternative is far worse. 

I take my anti-nausea medication every eight hours, and yes, I’m on every natural vitamin known to humankind. Hell, I even tried those motion sickness bands for a while.

I guess the point of this (very self-indulgent) word dump, is that I just wish more people had been more open about how much I would change. About how much my life would change. About how I’d feel like I'm completely losing the person I was. 

Pregnancy is a miracle. Growing a human inside a body is a miracle. But pregnancy itself sucks. And I wish I’d known. So I hope that you now know. 

I don’t want to scare you - it’s for the greater good. And I wouldn’t change it for anything. But with knowledge comes power, and even if you one day get pregnant and sail through it, prepare yourself mentally and physically for the changes.


Because maybe I just didn’t pay attention, or maybe I’m just naïve, but my word has it hit me like a ton of bricks.

This post originally appeared as a newsletter and has been expanded and republished with full permission.

Have you experienced similar feelings while pregnant? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Feature Image: Instagram/@kelly_mccarren

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