I was never one of those women who loved being pregnant. First trimester? Full of queasiness and fatigue. The second? Full of relief to
no longer be a nauseous zombie, but knowing there was so long yet to go. The third? Enormous and uncomfortable, with heartburn and
There was a point in each of my pregnancies (I've had three) when I could not imagine I would ever not know the feeling of having a giant, seemingly cement ball
in my midsection, which altered the way I moved, slept and sat still. I didn't keep a journal, because I assumed it'd be carved in my memory forever. I didn't take photos, because I thought I looked awful.
And during my first pregnancy, I was stubbornly trying to keep my being pregnant from interfering with anything else in my life at the time. My strategy was to
pretend nothing was really any different about me. I didn't bother my
colleagues or friends much about it, as none of them was pregnant at the time
and I felt like it would just be so dull for them to hear about.
I didn't want my pregnancy to dominate all the conversations
I had or limit what I still had the energy to do. I didn't want to bore
everyone around me or be perceived differently. I avoided maternity clothes for
as long as I could. I took pride in still having the energy to stay out late,
even when I might have preferred a night in bed with a book.
It wasn't until late in my third trimester that I really
started to embrace it. I couldn't help it: it was all anyone could notice about me. People, strangers, reacted to me solely
as someone who was pregnant. I told a friend once that I noticed people smiling
at me more, granting me the right of way in supermarket aisles and approaching
me more frequently for directions on the street—as though they felt safer
around me for being pregnant.
My friend said that's because they didn't know my belly was actually filled with the wallets of unsuspecting strangers.
The night before my first child was born, I was awakened by
a strong tightening of my uterus. Here's the thought that came to mind: Toni Braxton
Hicks. I love a good band name pun—Daisy Chainsaw, Kathleen Turner Overdrive,
JFKFC—and, at the time, I thought I was a comedic genius. Who was, I realized, playing to a very select audience:
heavily pregnant women roaming the house in the middle of the night, exhausted
but too uncomfortable to sleep, loopy with expectation.
Pregnancy, on my last day, had finally taken over my psyche.
And I was completely OK with it.
It's surprisingly easy to forget the sensation of having a
baby growing inside you. The
idea for me—my youngest just turned two—is already as vague as it was before I
started having children.
It's cliché to tell a very pregnant woman to enjoy the time—even when you're uncomfortable, anxious, fed up—when the baby is pushing both your bladder and your lungs. But now that's it's behind
me, I understand why people say it. I don't miss it, but I do wish I'd been more appreciative of what a wonder it was.