I’m just going to come right out and say it, I don’t love being pregnant. I don’t even like it. In fact, I’m pretty much over it. Even though this baby is very much wanted and long hoped for, and even though I am so grateful and happy that the baby and I have been healthy thus far, I still kind of hate being pregnant.
And why wouldn’t I? It is not fun! It’s not fun to have your entire center of gravity thrown off as if you’re a wobbly Weeble toy. It’s not fun to have an aching back and round ligament pain and nausea and heartburn and trouble sleeping and raging hormones and a constant need to pee. It’s not fun to miss out on beer and sushi and to lack the ability to stay awake past 9pm. Not to mention all the super WEIRD things that happen to a pregnant body that I’m not even gonna go into.
Now don’t get me wrong, it is kind of cool to be pregnant. It’s interesting (even if it’s not the first time around) to witness what the human body is capable of. Pregnancy reminds me of the time I climbed a huge cliff in a California redwood forest. The actual physical act of doing it felt TERRIBLE. I hated it. But when I got to the top and saw the view, I felt a sense of accomplishment and experienced the pay-off of majestic, once-in-a lifetime-beauty. It’s the same with pregnancy and birth. To me, it’s miserable. But when I finally see my baby’s face, I know it will all feel worth it.
What will probably never feel worth it are the insane things people say to pregnant women. At 35ish weeks pregnant, I am basically on the verge of either breaking down in tears or throwing a complete rage-induced fit at all times (or both). I realize that people are probably not aware of this, and yet they say the rudest, most presumptuous things that make me think they WANT me to explode! I search my mind and I am fairly certain I have never said anything like this to a pregnant woman (so come on karma, what’s your problem?) Here are some of the comments I hear on a regular basis, both from people who know me and from people who are encountering me for the very first time:
They ask, “When are you due?” I answer them and they raise their eyebrows in shock at the size of my belly. “Are you sure that’s your due date?” they say. Or even worse, “Are you sure you’re only having one?” Guess what people, THAT’S NOT FUNNY!
Or the very worst, people who have gone a few weeks or months without seeing me will just give a simple, “Wow!” as a reaction to my growing midsection. Ok…thanks? Now I feel even more freakishly huge.
I realize that people are not calling me fat. I realize that I have a very good reason to get bigger every day. I know all of that. But the point is that it never feels normal or okay for someone to comment on your body like this. So can we just stop doing it? Please?!? It would make things significantly less weird. And I do sincerely appreciate that people (even strangers) take time to wish me well and take a genuinely well-intentioned interest in my pregnancy. All I’m saying is that we could lay off the physical comments and that would be just fine.
As I struggle with my aforementioned hormonal fluctuations, I also worry about the anxiety and depression I experienced after my son’s birth. My anxiety is ramping up as the time comes closer for the birth itself, probably in part due to the traumatic hemorrhage I had with my son, but also because of the many, many unknowns that come with any pregnancy and birth (not to mention the whole raising the baby afterward part…)
There are so many things I cannot control about this experience, and for me that loss of control can spell mental and emotional disaster. As a reaction, I often find myself obsessing about minute details that I can control. Arranging and rearranging the furniture in the baby’s nursery. Organizing the closet. Washing and folding the tiny clothes just so. I tell myself that all these tasks make me feel better, that accomplishing them somehow proves I can handle whatever lies before me. But that’s all a smoke screen. What I really know will help are the larger and much more important preparations, which are of course much more difficult than folding onesies. Accepting help and support from those who love me. Being honest with them about my thoughts, feelings, and concerns. Seeking professional help when I need it.
As my imaginary control over this new baby slips away (or can it slip away if I never really had it to begin with?), I feel something else precious slipping through my fingers as well. My time with my son as my only child. I know our relationship as mother and son is destined to changes dozens of times over as we both progress through life. But the addition of a sibling to the mix feels huge for both of us. I find myself trying to memorize the curve of his soft little cheek. The feel of his small hand in mine. The sound of his laugh. As if all this will somehow be lost to me when my daughter is born.
I know it won’t be. I know that the bond I have with my son is strong. And yet, I feel sad that I won’t be just HIS mommy anymore, and I know he is feeling this somewhat as well. As much as a 4-year-old can. I’m trying to honor that sadness by keeping the lines of communication open with him so he will come to me with his worries about the new baby. I’m trying to show him I appreciate my time with him, and I’m giving him as much attention and energy as I can spare. I hope my words and actions are letting him know he is special to me, and that’s something that won’t change when we add to our family.
So come on little girl. We are almost ready for you. As ready as we can ever be. I don’t know what our family will look like a few months from now, but I do know a few things. Being pregnant is weird. It’s weird and hard. And as soon as you’re ready to be born, I’m ready to be your mom. I’ll do my best.
Thanks for reading. I love you all.