Confession

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.

23 weeks

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.

25 weeks=Muppet face

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.

Come here.

Go away.

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.

And uncomfortable.

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.

14 thoughts on “Confession

  1. Amelia, this is really great writing. It’s been more than 10 years since I felt all these things, but this brings it back in a visceral way… You should submit to a national magazine!

    • Courteney, you flatter! I was just talking with a friend who is in her 60s last night and she said that she can still conjure up her pregnant days in a flash–it really does stay with us! xoxo

  2. All I could think when reading this was “remember your old lady self.” She’s in there somewhere and she’s waving her cane on a street corner, shouting “I AM GROWING A BODY IN MY BODY, HOLD MY HAND AND HELP ME CROSS THE STREET DAMNIT!” with soup stains all over her paisley-printed smock.

    Also, I’m pinning the following passage to my soul:

    “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.”

    Beautiful, indeed. xo

    • So, so, so true. Somewhat related, I’ve always said that the gift that Asher have me was learning how to ask for help–this one is taking that to a new level. Turns out we might be able to have it all, but not if we’re trying to DO it all!

  3. I just had my 3rd baby 8 weeks ago. There is a 10 yr gap between number 2 & 3 ( yikes!) & as much as I really really wanted this baby I was not looking forward to being pregnant. My first two pregnancies were not fun. Lets just say I didn’t ” glow ” but this last one was great! I loved it & whadda ya know ? I glowed! Just goes to show each time is different…and now he’s here, as much as I am loving his divine perfection being in my daily life I do miss the big belly & the kicks from inside…

    • 8 weeks!? Congratulations!! So I am the caboose on one side of my family (also by 10 years–your little one is super lucky to have this place in the family line up, I adore it!) and I also really appreciate the reminder that it’s different every time, as I’m not 100% convinced that this will be my last pregnancy, until I spend a day in my body and then I think, oh yes–this is definitely the last one. 😉

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  5. You describe it so well, 10 years ago for me with my last baby but you brought a lot of the feelings back. With my 2nd I really wasn’t sure it was the last time I would be pregnant, with my 3rd I was certain!

  6. OH this made me SO, SO happy to read. I’m 27 weeks into my first pregnancy and while I do feel those moments of joy and wonder that everyone talks about. Most of the time I’m cursing every pregnant woman I’ve ever known for not mentioning, “oh, by the way, this is the hardest thing you will ever do”. I felt so alone, because everyone I know always talks about their stretch marks as a “badge of honor” (I cried for 3 days about finding my first stretch mark which ended up being a scratch, crisis averted for now) or how they loved this time in their life so much. But your post has made me feel that it’s ok that I’m not enjoying every single second of this journey and I’m not alone. Thank you for your honesty, I loved it!

    • Oh Louise, you are SO not alone, sister! I recently (and somewhat regretfully) watched What To Expect When You’re Expecting, and I’ll spare you the 2.5 hours of your life that you’ll never get back and just say that the only highlight was Elizabeth Banks’ character. She owned a breast feeding store (??) and couldn’t wait to get pregnant only to find out that a lot of the physical sides of pregnancy completely suck. It is and will always be a miraculous time, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not without some less-than-miraculous feelings. Hang in there, all the knocked up ladies of the world are right here with you! 🙂

  7. This is fantastic. Thank you for describing, and quite sanely, the insanity that is inside the head of every woman, especially when pregnant. This was beautiful.

  8. Wow, this post brings back memories. I hit a big wall at 31 weeks and I can’t complain about my pregnancy – it was stinkingly easy. And then after this wall it was fine again but there was a day (week!) where I was sooo tired of being pregnant already. = )

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