I have a few pregnant friends right now. It makes me happy. That I’m not pregnant.
I’m happy for them. I’m even excited at times. But I’m glad it’s behind me. *knocks wood*
It took us three years to achieve a successful pregnancy, since we did it the old-fashioned way. Since Bubba and Sissy were six and four when we got married, we didn’t want to wait too long to extend our family.
I had pretty easy pregnancies. Bottom-down breech baby gave me sciatica and back labor. They turned her. She turned back. That was a cue from the universe that I WAS NOT IN CHARGE. That’s it. That’s all I got. No dangerous complications, no scary shit, just some breech baby pain. With both of them, I had some mild anemia, followed by textbook C-sections and quick recoveries.
But on the inside? Pregnancy was not how I thought it would be. That was a cue from the universe that MOTHERHOOD WOULDN’T BE WHAT I THOUGHT, either. The “I have a miracle growing inside of me,” coupled with the “What a blessing this is” faded quickly, when at four months, after vomiting again, I stood in my closet wondering what the hell I was going to wear. I was tired. I was so tired. I wondered what I had gotten myself into and why I had wished this terrible affliction upon myself.
When I went to register at the hospital, for the seven vials of blood they like to take all the time, the clerk asked me how long I had been ill. I said, “It’s not an illness; I’m pregnant.” She smiled, being an older, wiser woman. That was my cue from the universe that PREGNANCY WAS A SICKNESS.
Inducing selective vomiting was Sassy’s first talent. The second talent she acquired was kicking my right hip. My right hip has not yet recovered.
All the women around me thought pregnancy was the healthiest, most beautiful time they ever experienced, which made me feel like a freak, because I enjoyed very little of it. I’m a comfort creature. Being able to sleep on my tummy is important to me. Peeing fewer than twenty times a day is important to me, in addition to not peeing when I cough, sneeze or laugh. Have you ever tried to pee in a cup when you can’t reach your own genitals? I prefer my food leaving my body when my ass is on the toilet, instead of my face. I like being able to sit down and get up without moaning, and I like walking like a person instead of a duck. I couldn’t wait to get that baby out.
The joke was on me, because apparently Moo couldn’t wait for her sister to get out, either. She was in the womb before her sister was three months old. That’s right, back-to-back babies, fourteen months apart. Did we plan it that way? Um, no. But that’s how it went. Moo was in a hurry I suppose.
So if I didn’t experience horrible complications, and all of my problems were common, why did I suffer so? Because when you’re pregnant, the entire world likes to tell you what you should do, how it will be, and of course, how enormous you are. I lost weight with both pregnancies, which made other people question whether I was starving my babies in an effort to stay thin. Thin? I hadn’t been thin since high school.
Like anyone entering into this unknown frontier they call Parenthood, I had
delusions pre-conceived notions. Advice began to feel like a burden. I got overwhelmed. I started to have serious feelings of self-doubt. I had so much experience with children; walking, talking children. I’d never taken care of a baby, and I was scared to death. Fortunately, The Mister had well-developed baby skills.
It was toward the end of my first pregnancy that I realized simply choosing anything meant that someone would be upset by my choice. What will we name her? Who can be in the room? Who will hold her first? Bottle or breast? Cloth or disposable? Cow or soy? Mittens or not? Crib or Co-sleep?
Yes, people have opinions about ALL THESE THINGS and more, and they’re not afraid to tell you all about them at length. They don’t seem to notice that pregnant women are emotionally unstable and already feeling more vulnerable than they ever knew was possible.
I sometimes say things to pregnant women. I say things like, “You will know what to do,” “Consider this before you decide,” and “Can I get anything for you?” I always think the same quiet thing, though, “Better you than me!”
My firstborn was, of course, one of the best things that ever happened to me. I did not lose my identity. I came to realize that your personality is tremendously amplified and even defined somewhat by each person you care for, including children.
By the time I was pregnant with Moo, I didn’t suffer from fears of inadequacy. I shrugged off all advice with a nod and a smile. I was still emotionally unstable, I still puked all the time, and I still didn’t like being pregnant. But at least I was no longer at the mercy of the unknown.
I always say I’da had more if the stork had brought them. I really feel that way. Bubba’s in college, Sissy’s graduating high school, Sassy’s in the midst of her tweens, and Moo’s learning what she likes to read. With them, I’ve suffered sleeplessness and worry, sure. I’ve been through the diapers, car seats, illnesses, rebellions, potty training, teething, weaning from bottles, breasts, sippy cups, thumb-sucking, hair-pulling and pacifiers, biting, bullying, therapy, growing pains, dramas, tears, failures, worries, braces, glasses, bras, entitlement, lost children, temper tantrums, fights, trips to the ER, teacher conflicts, acne, acts of vandalism, break-ups, sex talks, life-threatening accidents, suspensions, what feels like constant chaos and mess, embarrassing moments, power-tripping, apathy, F’s, ADD, allergies, defiance, and more eczema and sunburn than you can shake a stick at. I still conclude that for me, pregnancy has been the hardest part of parenting. May I never be proven wrong. *crosses fingers*