I’m about 26 weeks along with this pregnancy which means that I’m closing the gap on my third trimester and getting ready to enter what is arguably the most arduous part of being pregnant. Except for that first part where you’re barfing all the time and the only thing that sounds edible is crackers with mild cheddar cheese. Or you know, a doughnut from that place that you went to on the other side of the world that one time that was sold out of the back of a red van and wrapped in newspaper. Definitely either crackers or that doughnut, but nothing else. Barf.
I’m the kind of person that should be really really into being pregnant. Pardon the double entendre with my food reference above, but I love cheesy things and I get really swept away with the mystical nature of this world and I can’t believe that a human being is rolling around in the depths of my body right now. Someone who wasn’t here is on his way, a little bit of our art to be shared into the world is on his way, and that is mind boggling. I talk to plants, and look up what it ‘means’ when the same Red Tailed hawk keeps flying past the end of our driveway, and wink at the moon when I turn out the lights. I should be all over being pregnant, espousing poetry about in the morning/the curtains are grey skies hanging/but I only see a backdrop for/one more day/between me and you:/the inside coming out. It’s in my very nature to be this way, and I should be all over pregnancy like white on rice.
But ya’ll, if I’m being completely honest with myself, I’m not feeling it like I was the first time. I know that I’ve said this before, but I’m already ready to be at the babe-in-arms stage, ready to not feel lumbering and slow, ready to not have swollen feet and a lower back that feels like a knife block. Somewhere in between the part that should be poetic and right now, I’ve said maybe more than once that I see pregnancy as a necessary evil. I feel huge (blah, blah, blah) and out of sorts and creaky and stinky in weird not supposed to stink places, and I’m not crazy about any of those feelings. As I’m typing this, it feels like my ribs are separating from my skin and I’m having some kind of hot flash despite the air conditioning being on, and although I can tap into the mystical place where I’m connecting with the little life that’s inside of me, it can be hard to hear that conversation over the din of my screaming body.
But even reading that, I’m tempted to delete it. The part of me that’s bigger than separating ribs and fat feet knows that this is a sacred time, no matter how strange it may seem, and one that I will always be grateful for. I’m internally chiding myself for complaining about an experience that so many women are longing for, for one that I spent my own long months wishing for, and know that it will be over and then I just might find myself looking into the tiny face of the next love of my life and thinking, it wasn’t really that bad.
Isn’t this the way with being a woman? We have all of these different contradictory pieces of ourselves co-habitating, lounging around and arguing all day in there, crying into each other’s shoulders, telling the younger bits to stop drinking so much and hang up their wet towels, while the compassionate voice is telling us to take it easy, she’s young–right on schedule, and the complaining bits are storming around and shoving the rest of us off our chairs. The motherly part is offering hugs and here, sit on my lap, and the free spirit inside is pushing her away and turning up the music, while the community organizer is making a list of people to invite to dinner and the self conscious one is saying, no, the house isn’t going to be clean enough. The poet instinctively can’t stop running her hand over the last place that the baby kicked and the vain one is thinking with terror about stretch marks and Nat Geo boobs. The critic says, dear god, don’t publish this drivel, and the self righteous one is nodding along to the sound of clicking keys. It’s a potluck of women in there, a cacophony of all of the things that I am composed of, and adding pregnancy to the table just catapults the whole thing into a technicolor velvet lounge. And honestly, that’s the best way that I can think to describe being pregnant: it’s like being a sloth at an insane opium den party inside my body every day.
And it’s beautiful.
So that’s my confession for today. Pregnancy is hard. I’m the very first person to ever write that, so if you ever hear another woman say it, make sure I get my propers, because no one ever in the history of the child-bearing world has pronounced this before. I love that I’m making a baby in my body, but I’m not really in love with the process. Not today, at least.
I hope that I read this in my seventies and laugh a little (hi!) because even then I’ll know that I’m right. Rising to the challenge of being pregnant and delivering a child will be one of the marathons that I look back on with pride, and I will also know that I took it for granted and shake my head a little at motherly youth being lost on the motherly young. But for now, the 30-year-old me who is writing this just can’t wait until September.