Pregnancy and becoming a parent are huge undertakings and a complete paradigm shift. Understandably so, some parents find themselves experiencing denial about pregnancy.
If you’re experiencing denial, you may be trying to protect yourself from the truth about pregnancy and what it means for you long-term.
Sometimes a brief stint of denial can be an OK thing, allowing for time to adjust to what’s to come. If you’re unsure about how much denial about pregnancy you’re wading through, this post is for you.
(Take heart, at least you’re not one of those people that didn’t know they were pregnant until delivery, the ultimate form of pregnancy denial. You wouldn’t be reading this blog post if that were the case! Yay!)
10 Signs You’re in Denial About Pregnancy
During the first trimester, many women take an initial pregnancy text, get a positive result, but continue to take additional pregnancy tests despite getting the same result. No matter what the test says, they cannot accept the truth. This is one of the first and most classic examples of denial about pregnancy.
My advice? Get a First Response Early Result and call it a day. Congratulations! You’re pregnant.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Other women, simply skip the pregnancy tests and continue to pretend that they’re not pregnant despite experiencing signs and symptoms of early pregnancy.
Waking at night to pee, insomnia and vivid, intense dreams are all very early pregnancy symptoms. Head on over here to see the full list (and maybe then I can convince you to take a pregnancy test).
“I know what to expect. I read the book AND watched the movie!”
Another sign a parent is in denial about pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum is that they haven’t read a single pregnancy book. Well… maybe they read books like What to Expect or Belly Laughs, but not a real pregnancy book that educates, motivates and empowers.
For book lists to peruse through, start here. Have you read any of them yet?
PS – Don’t forget the breastfeeding books!
At this point, denial about pregnancy gets a bit silly. Many women, for whatever reason, refuse to buy or wear maternity clothes. Some say they still fit their pre-pregnancy clothes, some say they don’t want to spend the money and others implement Pinterest hacks to adjust the clothes they already own to make it work.
But guess what? The belly isn’t going to get smaller. In fact, contrary to pregnancy denial, it continues to grow until delivery. In the second and third trimesters, there’s no way to avoid maternity clothes.
My advice is to purchase maternity clothes as you go, picking out a few cute things that you’ll love. A pair of skinny jeans, a few tops and dresses will go a long way!
Have you heard of those people that don’t announce pregnancies until after the baby is born? I have a few of those friends and I often wonder if they’re experiencing denial about pregnancy rather than social media superiority.
If you have delayed announcing a pregnancy on social media well into the third trimester (or longer), you may be in denial about what’s coming your way. As they say here in the South, things are fixin’ to change!
Check out some of my awkwardly patched together pregnancy announcements for some inspiration to tell your frands!
I even did a gender reveal for my second pregnancy and my third. There’s so many possibilities! Celebrate with your friends and family. It can be great fun!
A more troublesome sign that a woman is experiencing denial about pregnancy is when she ignores red flags while working with her care provider during her routine checkups.
Sadly, if a woman is ignoring red flags, she is likely not thinking to the near future (labor and delivery) when these red flags will rear their ugly heads. If she were not in denial, perhaps she would give her experiences more weight or even contemplate changing care providers.
Common red flags women experience prenatally are…
- Dismissing concerns about labor and delivery because “It’s so far away. We can talk about that when it gets closer.”
- Discouraging the desire to take a childbirth class and/or hire a doula
- Rushed appointments with little or no time for small talk and questions
- Defensiveness and/or hostility while discussing a written birth plan
For tips on asking questions, getting information and making decision with a care provider, check out this post. It’s one of my favorite topics to discuss in my childbirth classes. You’ll love it!
A more light hearted sign that a woman is in denial about pregnancy, labor and delivery is when she hasn’t packed a hospital bag for birth. Packing the bag can be symbolic that “things are getting very real” so it makes sense when parents put it off. Also, having a packed bag in the house can sometimes feel like there’s an elephant in the room saying, “your life is about to change in a dramatic way but I’m not going to explain how!”
I get it. You’re busy and having a baby is mind blowing, but on a practical level if you’re unprepared for the big day, you’re going to want to kick yourself. Trust me on this.
At minimum, make a packing list so when the time comes you can put things in a bag quickly, but still make sure everything you need is there.
“No, no childbirth class. I just plan on showing up and getting an epidural.”
Ok, seriously, as a childbirth educator this particular flavor of denial bothers me the most.
A big mistake a first time mom makes before labor is to fail to learn coping mechanisms (pain coping practices) – especially those that plan for an epidural.
Using pain medication in labor is not a “get out a jail free card” for birth.
Even when planning for an epidural, women still have to cope…
- before arriving to the hospital
- throughout triage
- during the admission process
- after the initial request for pain relief
- during the placing of the epidural
- while the epidural is taking effect
Even when the epidural is working most women still feel lots of pressure and discomfort. Some women even report an epidural working only on one side. Or not at all! If that’s the case, you will need to know how to cope through a “re-do” of an epidural (or it never working at all).
It is imperative to learn coping mechanisms no matter what type of birth is planned – natural, epidural, cesarean, whatever. Take a quality childbirth class to get you started. You can do this!
TIP – Ladies, if you are contacting me in the middle of your third trimester looking to sign up for a class, it’s likely too late. And if it’s too late, you are missing out on some of the best information, amazing friendships and new experiences pregnancy has to offer.
Now, of course not all childbirth classes are alike, but do yourself a favor and devote your first trimester to researching and choosing a quality childbirth class. If you sign up for a class by 20 weeks and start it so it’s completed by 36-38 weeks you will be golden.
Do me a solid and sign up for a quality childbirth class! Trust me on this.
“My mom had all her babies at home so I know I’m going to be fine doing the same.”
“I’m NOT having a c-section. My body was made to do this.”
Another sign that a woman is in denial about pregnancy, labor and delivery is that she is over confident about what’s to come… to her detriment. Don’t get me wrong, confidence is an essential part of childbirth preparation, but confidence without education and preparation is just naivety.
For example, women planning for a natural childbirth don’t typically also prepare for a cesarean birth. However, most women who’ve had cesareans, while they were pregnant, thought “oh, that won’t happen to me.” Other women may even think that preparing for a cesarean might make a cesarean more likely to happen (which simply isn’t true)… and so they did nothing to prepare.
Be confident, but prepare for a variety of possibilities as well. You got this.
Finally, another sign that a women is in denial about pregnancy is that her home has remained untouched by baby gear. There’s no baby room, no crib, no carseat and no baby clothes. In fact, her home is so “baby free” that you start to wonder if she’s even aware she’s pregnant.
“Where is the baby going to sleep?”
“Have you bought a carseat? You know they need to be installed by 37 weeks, right?”
“You do know you’re about to have a baby, correct?”
I’m not saying you need to buy unnecessary baby gear, but the basics – carseat, crib, clothes, diapers – are essential.
10 Signs You’re in Denial About Pregnancy
What sorts of things have you found yourself doing to pretend like this baby is not on its way? Leave me a comment and tell us your story. You’re not alone!
Friday 1st of February 2019
I took a pregnancy test, it was negative. One month later i have my period which is good, now this month its a bit late, but i still am not sure. Ill ride the wave, i know my guy pulled out. I may be indenial.
Friday 18th of January 2019
Took a test at 12dpo to rule it out. That fucker was positive. I hate my boyfriend now and find him repulsive instead of irresistible. I deserve so much better. I feel dirty, nasty, like I'm a good for nothing whore. I've already started therapy and decided adoption is the way to go. I'll go thru the motions with Dr appts but that's my only gift to baby before he leaves.
Tuesday 17th of November 2020
You’re not a good for nothing whore! I took 2 positive tests at home and am in denial. I’ve always had doubts about my boyfriend but he’s actually a really good guy; I’ve discovered that I have relationship anxiety and try to sabotage my relationships because I’m scared of long term commitment. If you found him irresistible at one point, maybe you should explore if there is some underlying anxiety. I wish you the best of luck! I’m petrified of all of this :’(
Thursday 14th of December 2017
Do yourself a favor and sign up for a newborn parenting class in addition to the childbirth class. Not saying that the labor and delivery part doesn't need prep, but so many parents I've talked to said they took birth classes, but then realized they had no idea what they were doing when it was time to leave the hospital with an actual baby. Having the "stuff" helps, but that baby bath won't teach you how to do it, and the fancy changing table won't teach you how to change a diaper; the crib won't teach you how to put baby to sleep and prepare you for the 24 hour cycle of a newborn. :)