Pregnancy and the Wee of Disappointment

pregnancy symtoms

Imagine running through a train station because you need a wee. Let’s say it’s Euston station in London, for argument’s sake, because if you get off at the far platform it’s about seven miles to the loos. Anyway, you’ve been on the train for two hours and the loo was out of order, which wasn’t so much of a problem when you were comfy and semi-napping in your seat, but now you’ve stood up, you’ve exited the train, the cold winter air has hit you and you’re absolutely desperate for a wee.

So you’re running through the station and it’s quite possible that you might wet yourself – the faster you run, the more you need to go. You can see the toilets – the sign is in sight! Where’s your twenty pence piece and your ten pence piece for the entry fare? (Is it still 30p? Haven’t been there in a while.) You find them. Relief will be yours. But hold on – what’s this? A sumo wrestler is standing in your way. Now he’s throwing you to the ground and now he’s sitting on your bladder! Will it burst? It’s quite possible. He rolls off after ten seconds when a policeman shoots him with a taser gun (true story) and you get up and finish your hobbled race to the finish line where – oh – the relief will be so joyous. You must have about ten litres of liquid in your bladder it’s that full – your whole abdomen is distended, there are shooting pains through your groin area – will you make it into the cubicle?

Inside the ammonia stink of the station toilets, a cubicle becomes free. You have undone your jeans before you even make it through the door, you sit on the loo (hygiene out of the window in this situation) and lock the door at the same time, in some unlikely expert move. Here it is: blissful – near-orgasmic, in fact – relief. But what comes out?

I’ll tell you what comes out! The Wee of Disappointment! A thimble-ful of urine, if that much, and it trails out in a little hot trickle. A hot, disappointing trickle.

The Wee of Disappointment, Ladies and Gentlemen. Characteristic of most pregnancies (according to my research), especially in the first and second trimesters. You think you need a wee, but in fact there is about as much liquid in your bladder as the dregs in your Costa cup. It’s trickery of the worst kind – there’s absolutely no correlation between how much liquid your brain thinks is in your bladder and how much liquid is actually in your bladder. It’s sort of like having cystitis, but without the burning sensation – just, as they so politely put it in medical terms, the “urgency”.

Read the Early Pregnancy Diaries…

And all of this in early pregnancy, too, before there’s even any real weight bearing down on the old wazzing organ – at twelve, fourteen, sixteen weeks I was uncomfortable enough in the wee-wee department to draft this post, but at thirty-five weeks I have the added stress of a gigantic baby head resting on my bladder. Now, at this late pregnancy stage, things have progressed from Wee of Disappointment to Wee of Absolute Necessity – the baby churns about and twists around, probably (it feels like) holding my bladder in its hands like some holy chalice. There have been a few tense moments when I’ve thought that my bladder was actually being ripped from its moorings, but everything seems to be reasonably in tact. So far.

I’ll tell you what, too – bladder capacity is at an all time low during pregnancy. I swear that from the first few weeks I become like a Tiny Tears doll. In one end, out the other, all in a matter of minutes. It’s as though my entire urinary tract, with all of its bendy tubes and winding pipes and so on, gets replaced with a short length of plastic drinking straw. No ability to retain liquids whatsoever. Though – weirdly – if I’m sitting at my desk, I can go for hours even whilst drinking copious amounts of water from my flask. It’s only if I’m out and about that things start to go wrong. Show me a walk in the countryside and I’ll show you five good, secluded places to stop for an emergency tinkle. Show me any journey on the London Underground and I’ll name you the nearest department stores with clean facilities. I’m a veritable wee-wee expert.

Anyone else suffering with Wee of Disappointment Syndrome? (WODS)

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  1. Gem Johnson
    January 9, 2017 / 8:20 am

    Ansolutely! 28 weeks pregnant now and I keep making the most emergent pit stops everywhere and anywhere for the smallest of wee’s… super disappointing!!!
    Please do a post on insomnia if you have struggled with it, that is also driving me nuts.

  2. Evie
    January 9, 2017 / 9:24 am

    Hahaha, you described this hilariously and perfectly, Ruth! I’m at 14 weeks with my first one and have just started discovering this… ehm.. wonderful phenomenon. Glad I’m not aloneXD

  3. January 9, 2017 / 9:29 am

    I did throughout my pregnancies, but it has been replaced by the Missed Wee Syndrome now. I go for hours, drinking lots and lots, and then go to the toilet just because I feel like I need to go at least visit it without the slightest sense of urge.
    But then, after you sit down, it is as if a river has broken, and there are litres of fluid making its way, so much that you winder how on earth you still ahd been able to breath the whole time. I guess my bladder has taken up residence where the babies used to reside, which explains why the belly never fully went away.

  4. Jane
    January 9, 2017 / 9:33 am

    I’ve so been there, when pregnant with twins, and I was living and working in London then so I also knew where the loos were, which ones required an entrance fee, and how much. Here is the thing. People who aren’t self employed / freelance would, around now, start taking maternity leave, and not having to do the Euston station loo dash. Maybe the thing to do is to to give yourself some time off? Stay nearer home and near your own loo!

  5. Wendy Brady
    January 9, 2017 / 9:34 am

    I completely understand! 7 months pregnant and rarely can I do a good wee! My baby also.seems to know when I am desperate and rolls around more. Travel plans have to be carefully designed around toilet locations and I know it is probably only going to get worse! Oh the joys!

    • Liv
      January 9, 2017 / 4:18 pm

      When I was pregnant my daughter had her hands right behind my bladder and I swear anytime I drank more than about half a glass of fluid she would start trying to push it out of her way, (this is what it felt like, and when she was born via c-section the surgeon said she was bunched up against my bladder) and sometimes I could only actually get any sort of flow going by giving her a good poke to make her shift over a bit!

  6. January 9, 2017 / 10:12 am

    22 weeks pregnant with twins and I am transitioning from the Wee of Disappointment to the Wee of Absolute Necessity, which is also exceptionally disappointing! I think I might just have to stay at home, close to the comforts of a nearby and vacant toilet, for the next few months…

  7. Cathy
    January 9, 2017 / 10:13 am

    It’s one of the things I remember from my 2nd pregnancy. We always went for a drive on a Sunday, when I got past 20ish weeks. Husband would give me the map and let me decide which way we would go, I was deciding every time we approached a crossroads or a junction which way to go by the blue W.C icons on the map. It’s awful because really for all that comes out you could get away with a tena lady, but each time it feels like you will wee like can elephant. Have you ever seen an elephant wee?

  8. Elise
    January 9, 2017 / 11:17 am

    OMG, it’s not just me!

    I’m currently 16 weeks pregnant for the first time and I swear, as soon as I stand up from the porcelain throne, I need to go again. This is soooo annoying! It keeps me from falling asleep because it’s that uncomfortable.
    Your blog post is a little comforting, at least I know it’s not just in my head, we’re all going through it 🙂

  9. Sarah
    January 9, 2017 / 12:29 pm

    Oh yes! And I’m a kindergarten teacher, so now it’s become a running joke been my aide and the teacher next door. Now when I stand up, it’s an almost inmediate sprint to the door with a call over my shoulder, “watch the children, I have to phantom-pee!” Even the children laugh when they see me do my funny speed waddle out the door. But to five-year-olds, pee is always funny.

  10. Gillian Pidler
    January 9, 2017 / 1:17 pm

    I remember when I was pregnant with my first daughter (now 25.5, wtf?!) Mum & Dad took me and my brother to the Natural History Museum & I swear I hit up every toilet in the place during our visit, some more than once!!
    I’m now 48 & a Mum of 3 & I never let a toilet opportunity pass me by, I also know the location of every one in each place we regularly frequent!!

  11. Jo.C
    January 9, 2017 / 2:23 pm

    Oh, it doesn’t stop there. When you start toilet training little A, you will KNOW where EVERY toilet is because once they know they can go, they will want to see every toilet on the planet. The words ‘I need a wee wee’ filled me with dread and when they sit on the toilet, the tiniest amount of wee comes out. I live in toilets (not literaly lol) and it’s always in the most inconvenient time, in the car, out for a walk, just sitting down for food, and even when you’ve just sat down on the loo. Ha ha I still love my girls though.

  12. January 9, 2017 / 2:32 pm

    OMG yes! This post made me laugh SO much! The damn wee of disappointment haunts my nightly sleep, daily dog walk and Eastenders watching pleasure. It’s the most devious, rage-inducing bodily function!

  13. Julia
    January 9, 2017 / 4:42 pm

    I feel your pain. I am 21 weeks pregnant have been sitting one and half hour in a seminar today, waiting to finally get on the loo and than- sound of silence. Two little drops and five minutes before I thought will explode

  14. Jessica
    January 9, 2017 / 7:41 pm

    This is totally my life. 28 weeks and the disappointing wee are a regular.

  15. January 9, 2017 / 7:58 pm

    Haha! I remember this and I do not miss it AT ALL! Good luck, not long now!

  16. Ro Mo
    January 9, 2017 / 9:03 pm

    Erm….am I the only one that’s thinking…I need to know the Sumo story?!

    • January 10, 2017 / 9:06 pm

      No, no – me too!! Thank god you said something. I was starting to wonder whether I was the only one who could see that bit! Ruth – sumos? Tazars? I get it may not be baby related but seriously! You can’t leave us hanging…

  17. Aims
    January 10, 2017 / 12:33 pm

    Ha ha… so true. I have just sent this to my ante-natal group of girls and they are loving it. Currently 37 weeks so really enjoing your posts and blog. My little man seems to enjoy doing a little shoulder/head dance on my bladder. Good luck with everything! x

  18. Una T. Tuna
    January 10, 2017 / 10:09 pm

    Time to put all your field research to practical use: Pitch someone a story called, “Where To Go In London”.

  19. Michelle
    January 24, 2017 / 8:05 am

    OMG Ruth, you are so funny. I am not pregnant but have 3 sons and I know just what you mean. And let tell you, it hasn’t gotten any better since having the 3rd. My bladder is the size of an egg cup and I am constantly looking for the nearest loo. xx

  20. Christina
    February 5, 2017 / 10:33 pm

    Such a great post! I found your blog today while looking for reviews of the Snuzpod and so glad I did. I’m 17 weeks with my first baby and currently having about 10 wees of disappointment per day! Great to read such an honest and funny blog. Love it!

  21. Gilliam b
    February 23, 2017 / 10:11 am

    I am crying with laughter .

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