I Want To Have Kids, I Just Don’t Want To Go Through Pregnancy

I’ve always been really worried about pregnancy. Considering all the things that can go wrong and the bodily changes that can be permanent, just thinking about it is incredibly stressful. This is what puts me off having kids.

  1. I’m a hypochondriac. I don’t use the term lightly. I literally panic about health problems all the time. If I have a headache, I’ll worry that it’s something more serious. If someone tells me they have a stomach bug, I worry that I’m going to get it and so on. Now imagine throwing pregnancy into all of that fear and it can become a circus.
  2. I’m afraid of what can go wrong. Pregnancy is a wonderful thing, but it’s not without its difficulties. There are so many negative side effects that can happen during pregnancy. It’s not all about a woman glowing all the way to childbirth, even though it would be nice to believe that.
  3. Maybe I’ve heard too many stories. Everyone and their brother has a story about how difficult or stressful pregnancy can be. I remember hearing weird stories from friends who are now mothers, and it did put me off, as well as give me even more fear. Plus, the internet is filled with scary pregnancy stories at the touch of a button. Even more seriously, a few years ago someone I knew died during childbirth and that really shocked and frightened me.
  4. Even the “normal” stuff is scary. It’s totally normal for pregnant women to undergo bodily changes while carrying their children. They can expect things like heartburn, indigestion, body aches, dizziness, lightheadedness. Honestly, the list just goes on and on. Just reading it makes me feel a bit sick.
  5. The changes can be permanent. Some pregnancy changes don’t go away once the child enters the world, and I’m not just talking about stretch marks (which I could totally deal with). There are other changes, such as wider hips, a darkening of the face (known as “the mask of pregnancy”), and bigger or smaller breasts. Of course, these don’t affect every woman, but they are real bodily changes that can happen after pregnancy which many people don’t even talk about. Again, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s not exactly something I want to deal with.
  6. I can’t even handle the flu. When people ask me when I’m going to have kids, I joke and say, “I don’t think I can handle being pregnant. I can’t even handle the flu.” I’m not even joking, though. A case of the sniffles can make me anxious, so maybe I’m just not cut out for being pregnant. This is sad because I think it would be awesome to have kids.
  7. I’m not good with uncertainty. Pregnancy, as with many other things, offers great uncertainty. It can affect women in different ways and you never really know what the childbirth will be like. Some women say it’s easy and quick, while others speak of long hours full of torture. I’m not sure I can deal with the fact that no one can give me a guarantee that everything will be smooth sailing.
  8. I wish I could be like other women. During a recent holiday, I saw a very pregnant woman getting ready to go on a mountain hike. She was glowing and she looked healthy and ready to enjoy the beautiful views of nature. I thought to myself, “If that were me, I’d be freaking out. I wouldn’t go on a hike while pregnant because I’m so paranoid.” I realized that for many women, the focus during pregnancy is on the excitement of having a child. But I just don’t think I’d be able to see the bigger picture.
  9. I’m a bit of a control freak. I feel like pregnancy would make me feel less in control of my life, largely because of the uncertainty it contains which I touched on earlier. I don’t like feeling out of control and I can’t imagine the dread of feeling out of control of my own body. Yeah, it sounds dramatic, but let’s be honest: pregnancy is a dramatic experience!
  10. I don’t want to feel like I can’t do things. I don’t want to feel like I can’t work and do my usual hobbies because pregnancy is holding me back. I know that sounds really selfish, but there’s no doubt that pregnancy will affect my lifestyle in important ways, and I just don’t think I’m ready for that. Maybe I never will be. Some of the changes to expect include cutting out caffeine and not eating soft cheese. Already that puts me off. Then there are things like not soaking in hot tubs and not being on my feet for too long. Ugh.
  11. I have anxiety. I don’t just have anxiety regarding pregnancy, but I’ve got generalized anxiety that I’ve had for decades, in case you didn’t realize after reading this article. Now, the problem with pregnancy is that studies published in the Psychological Challenges in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that some women who already have general anxiety are more susceptible to getting tokophobia, which is a phobia and avoidance of childbirth. So maybe it’s not just me.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.