You know those women who say being pregnant was one of the most amazing times of their life? I’d like to know which prenatal they were taking because that is certainly not me.
The famous pregnancy glow, the luscious model-like hair, everyone giving up their seat for you. Those are all great perks, but after having my own child, I relate to the “one and done” moms more than ever. I chalked up my aversion of pregnancy to being young or not having met the right person yet. I figured once I was ready for a baby, I’d enjoy being pregnant. Wrong.
I love my son with every fiber of my being, but I don’t miss a single day of being pregnant.
First Trimester – The Little Secret
Those two little pink lines show up and just like that you’ve got a secret! At this point, only my husband and I know I’m pregnant, and I have this amazing buddy I literally get to carry with me everywhere I go! No one knows I’m glowing, but inside I am!
I am also terrified though, trying to balance positive thoughts with the reality of possible miscarriages and being both excited and nervous for every small hiccup, every weird noise my body makes.
I have morning sickness with a complementary side of post nasal drip. I can smell everything…EVE-RY-THING. I have three-day-long headaches. I fall asleep on the couch at 7:30 p.m. every night; I can’t control it. In all honesty, I feel like I can’t control anything.
I’m worried all the time. Googling what to do, what not to do. I’m trying to come up with ideas about what I would say if I have to run out of a meeting sick. I’m unsuccessfully avoiding social situations where there is alcohol, building my artillery of lies from “I had food poisoning last night” to “My dermatologist put me on this weird medication” (yeah, I don’t have a dermatologist!).
In between it all, I am joyous, knowing that today, right now, I am a mom!
Second Trimester – From Bulge to Bump
Finally past the golden 12 week mark, we are all clear to tell friends, family, and work. Enter the daily game of 20 questions. Every day, at least five different people ask me how I am feeling. FINE, I am feeling fine, and if I’m not, I don’t want to talk about it. Please treat me like a normal human being…I’m begging you!
If they aren’t asking me how I feel, they are telling me how cute I look. I don’t feel cute; I feel round. I don’t even look pregnant yet. I just look like I am wearing the wrong size of pants. Every morning, there’s me desperately trying to squish into my regular clothes, avoiding my first trip to the maternity store.
After seeing all the fashionable mommy-to-be clothes online, I quickly decide I’m going to be that pregnant lady, the one who totally pulls it off…until the price tags reveal themselves. $85 dollars for one dress I’m only going to wear for five months? Every day I remind myself, “Relax, you’re growing a baby!,” but I feel body conscious, insecure, and definitely not sexy. Who are these women who feel sexy while they’re pants wont stay buttoned, and they are craving Funyuns? Don’t even get me started on maternity photoshoots. I don’t want to look at myself…what makes anyone think I want someone photographing this?
Third Trimester – Beached Whale Sighting
Now there is no hiding it. This is clearly an invitation for anyone and everyone to talk to me like they are my best friend. The lady at CVS wants to know if it’s a boy or a girl. The homeless man outside the cupcake place tells me he, too, is excited for our arrival. There are high-fives on the street and free orange juice from the servers. Then, the advice begins; it seems like all we talk about is my impending labor. I would love to talk about the weather or the Lions’ failing season or the construction on I-75…please!
When I’m not playing real-life minesweeper with questions, I’m crying. Yes, sometimes it’s the dog food commercial, but other times it is because of fear, anxiety, loneliness, uncertainty, happiness, excitement, and even the fact that my burrito was so good! I feel like a crazy lady.
My nose won’t stop bleeding. They don’t tell you about that one, ladies! If my nose isn’t bleeding, my fingers are swollen. I can’t bend down to tie my own shoes. The doctors say to walk an hour a day to help alleviate my SPD pain, so we drive to the nearest mall to stroll; my wide-load self sways from side to side as my husband stops every 49 seconds to let me catch up.
Just when I think it can’t get any worse, my belly runs into one of those food displays in the grocery store, and it all comes cascading down (yes, just like in the movies, folks!). All the while everyone keeps telling me how cute I look. Super cute. Like a beached whale? Especially during my baby shower, sweating all over myself as everyone looks on while I open each gift with parched enthusiasm. There is not enough water in this galaxy for this pregnant porpoise, and if there was, it certainly isn’t cold enough.
It’s OK to Not Love Pregnancy
Pregnancy is like training for a marathon, running that marathon, and coaching someone else to run it all in the same day. Why would anyone want do this more than once? For the same reasons anyone does it in the first place. The ability to have a baby is an honor. Every day I was “over it,” I still always felt deeply grateful. There are so many women in the world struggling with infertility, and I would gladly go through the nausea and the pain if it meant having a child.
The truth is though, I envy those women who enjoy their baby bumps. I also accept that pregnancy is difficult, and it’s OK to not feel pretty or confident. Not enjoying those 40+ weeks doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby. It also doesn’t mean you won’t be a good mom. It just means you’re human.