The Unexpected Sisterhood of Pregnancy
by Erin Bagwell, Founder of Feminist Wednesdayedited by Diana Matthews
On Mother’s Day Sal and I told our families I’m pregnant.
Aside from being a really emotional day full of joy and tears there was also an unexpectant shine of sisterhood.
Every woman in our family who we told immediately asked about my symptoms (of which there are plenty) and then recounted her own.
They told me to eat crackers.
They told me about their nausea.
They told me about the extra rest they needed.
They told me about their cravings.
It was magical. Like it happened to them just yesterday. One by one, they shared their own unique (and yet universal) experiences of what it felt like for them to be pregnant.
So much so that when we told the men in our family, their uniformed responses seemed glaring.
They were shocked I had any symptoms, let alone knew what they meant (excluding, of course, my best friend John who predicted my morning sickness would give us a big healthy baby).
I knew I would feel joy and excitement in sharing the news, but I never predicted I’d feel so seen. It was like I was joining the ranks of a special tribe called Motherhood that knew just what I was going through.
I felt calm, and most of all not crazy- which was profound since I’ve been feeling really alone in my symptoms.
One minute you are fine and the next minute you feel hungry and nauseous at the time same, all the while choking back tears because you feel like you could cry at a moment’s notice. I can’t predict when or how or where I’ll be when the symptoms hit. There isn’t any rhyme or reason to it, so I just keep surrendering to the unexpected exhaustion.
But telling the women in our families how I woke up at 4 in the morning to throw up (side note- you can have morning sickness all day AND night!) felt more like a badge of honor than one of shame. The chorus of women holding so much joy for this blessing feel right there with me.
I’m sure my husband and I could do our research, read the baby books, and try to figure this process out alone.
But I’m thankful I don’t have to.