Glowing skin, rapidly growing hair and nails, the cute waddle, warm and adoring smiles from strangers; ahh, the beauty of…apparently everyone else’s pregnancy but mine.
For me, pregnancy is like taking a driver’s education class: it’s something you have to do, it’s tedious, it often smells and you’re surrounded by strangers who give you creepy leers. BUT once you pass, your life will totally and completely change in a hopefully wonderful way.
Please don’t misunderstand me: I am so, so grateful to be having a child and I know that having a child is a little bit more work than getting your driver’s license, (I have one kid already). And, there is not a moment that I don’t thank God for the gift of conception. Even when my head is hanging over the toilet and I want to feel self-pity, I remind myself how lucky I am that my husband and I had no trouble conceiving and so far, the baby is healthy.
But maybe that’s part of the problem. I’m so busy reminding myself to feel grateful that I’m terrified that the second I forget and allow a wave of self-pity to wash over me, some evil karmic retribution will come back and bite in the, well, butt. There are so many times I wish I could say, ‘you know what? I am sick and tired of being sick and tired,’ but I am afraid to admit that for fear of others recoiling in anger or judgment. Maybe I’m also afraid to admit that because it sounds incredibly selfish.
So I bottle it up, visit a dermatologist in a desperate attempt the locate that glowing pregnancy skin I’ve heard about that MUST be hiding behind the teenage acne I seem to have recovered, hold my water in one hand and dream of a mask that would eliminate all smells so that I didn’t have to spend every twenty minutes hunched over a toilet, AND pretend like my back isn’t screaming in agony for carrying a child that may or may not be the second coming of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Yes seriously, I’m still puking on a regular basis. And I’m less than three months from giving birth. So, how’s that for size awesome?
In the first three months of my pregnancy, I lost twenty-five pounds and was sent to the hospital for severe dehydration multiple times. I was prescribed a variety of anti-nausea pills that didn’t make me feel much better because I spent countless hours researching and worrying about what I was putting in my body, and would that harm the baby? When I could finally eat again, around four months, my stomach had shrunk to such a level that if I ate a normal sized meal (meals I needed to gain weight and strength), I would get nauseous and vomit. At six months pregnant, I can only eat small meals and I haven’t even gained back half of the weight I lost initially. Of course, if I weren’t pregnant, I’d have great trouble losing even a pound over the course of a month. This will inevitably be the case when I gain all that missing weight in the last month and then don’t take it off for another, oh, three years.
Life, you saucy minx.
As a mother to a toddler, I struggle with the fear that I am not giving her the proper food and attention because smells revolt me and the hormones and lack of nutrition leave me weak.
Of course, as my body grew, I DID develop that waddle. I also developed severe sciatica and extreme heartburn, two lovely gifts that pounced upon me simultaneously, leaving me unable to move my legs without severe pain when I lay down or sit.
And yes, so much of this I never say. Even reading it makes me embarrassed because I have spent the bulk of my life being strong, never complaining, constantly smiling and cracking jokes. Admitting I am in pain feels selfish, even though I’d be horrified to learn if one of my friends felt as though she couldn’t share her struggle for fear of feeling selfish. Of course, it’s amplified when pregnant because I am constantly reminding myself of all the women who struggle with infertility. And it is usually during these times that my hormones kick into overload and I wind up either in a sobbing mess for their struggles or in a rage for life’s unfairness.
The bottom line is: I hate pregnancy. I think it is a necessary evil. I hate the backaches and the vomiting. I hate the food limitations. I hate that I measure every food to make sure I’m not going over my caffeine intake. I hate feeling like I have to limit my activity, that I can’t move this chair or that box. I hate feeling helpless. I hate the troll/self-important lunatics that populate Internet message boards and scare the ever-living crumb out of paranoid pregnant ladies by confirming that everything they are doing is going to harm the baby. I hate that I masochistically visit those sites despite knowing better.
Also, I miss wine. Sweet nectar, I miss you. Sparkling apple cider does not have the same effect on the psyche against insufferable/perverted relatives at the holidays.
I miss being able to try a food without worrying that it’s going to harm my child; hell, I miss doing most any activity without fearing that it’s going to harm my child.
I hate that the only sparkly glow doesn’t emanate from my face, but my toilets. That’s what happens when you spend so much time together.
And I HATE when people give me that look that says, ‘you really, really need to take it easy,’ as though I’m a damsel in distress. Even though I know they’re right, not about the damsel part, but about the whole, ‘take it easy’, part.
So that’s my anonymous confession. As a mother to a toddler, I know life is filled with tiny anonymous confessions we only admit to ourselves and our best friends for fear of judgment.
I do truly wish I didn’t hate it so much, because I absolutely love children and certainly want more than two. My husband and I have discussed adoption in the future and that might be, if we are fortunate enough, the route for us.
Besides, I know there are always those who have it worse; hell, I don’t have hemorrhoids…yet.