Yes, I am jumping the gun. I am still pregnant. Very pregnant – of the ripe, round, can’t-fit-into-shoes, full-term variety. 38 weeks today! But in case I don’t get around to blogging again before the tornado of post-baby fog/elation/mayhem swoops in and sweeps me off my feet… I wanted to pause and give this prenatal phase of my life the proper send-off it deserves. I’ve been debating about the best format in which to do this. A love letter to my pregnancy? A poem? A series of lists to recap my experience? Making lists is helping me feel like I am a somewhat organized and capable person these days, so I am going to go with that…
Top Three Things I’ve Loved about Pregnancy:
1. The rock-hard, go-big-or-go-home pregnant belly has been so much easier to embrace than the typical jello-y, vague mid-section weight fluctuation many women (myself certainly included) struggle with. There is no gray area here, no sucking in, no hiding it, and really – best of all – no guilt involved with inhaling brownies, mac & cheese or Ben & Jerry’s and worrying about the results. The bigger you get, the cuter everyone thinks you are! It’s fantastic! I may reflect on this differently over the next year as my body curses its way around Green Lake, attempting to “bounce back” from said indulgences, but for now, ignorance is bliss. And bliss tastes really good.
2. OB appointments. I really do love them. Is that weird? Aside from the obvious reasons of getting updates on my baby, hearing his heartbeat and tracking his growth, I love that these are mini work-day dates for me and Aaron. It’s been so cool to come together as a couple and learn about what the human body is capable of – creating a little life! Quite a bonding experience, and I’m thankful to have a partner who wants to be at every appointment with me, learning and growing (well, not literally….) right along with me.
3. How the experience of pregnancy and parenthood connects you with others. Some people warned me about all the unwanted advice, judgment and know-it-all mentalities I may face while pregnant. There have been maybe a few tiny tidbits of this along the way, but they have paled in comparison to the overwhelmingly positive bonding experiences this season of life has provided for me to have with other women. I’ve reconnected with old friends who are now pregnant or parents, developed deeper bonds with acquaintances, and have even been able to offer some guidance to those just starting out on the pregnant path. I’ve gained so much respect for fellow mothers, and have been amazed at the level of connectedness and vulnerability that exists through this bond – it’s been a great season in which to form and deepen friendships. I look forward to doing even more of that once baby is here!
Top Three Surprises about Pregnancy:
1. How hard it has been to decide on a name! Yep, we’re still undecided… See my “What’s in a Name?” blog post for details: https://writeasrainblog.com/2012/12/26/whats-in-a-name/
2. How truly amazing and indescribable it is to feel your baby moving inside of your body. I am thankful to have been born a woman if for no other reason than the chance to experience this brilliant phenomenon.
3. How fast the whole thing has gone. This has been one of the biggest surprises for sure. I thought I would feel painfully impatient waiting for certain “milestones” to arrive, like first ultrasound, getting through the first trimester, finding out the baby’s sex, reaching the second trimester, then the third… I attribute the uniqueness of each stage of pregnancy for how it has flown by. With each new week, month and trimester, there was something (many things, actually…) new to learn, survive, experience, anticipate and adapt to – no two stages were the same, and that kept me constantly on my toes, in the moment, yet moving forward all at once.
Top Three Things I will not miss at all about Pregnancy:
1. Interrogating every restaurant server, flight attendant, barista, pizza delivery person or Whole Food deli worker I come into contact with about proper cooking temperatures, pasteurization, safe meats and cheeses and alcohol content. If I never say the word pasteurized again in my life, it will be too soon.
2. My wedding rings fitting like this:
And my shoes fitting like this:
3. The epically strategic physical task it has become to roll me and my extra 40 pounds over in bed, bend over (I just leave things on the kitchen floor now), rise from the bathtub (I so want one of those stainless steel handicap stall bars), or put on/take off shoes. I feel like I should receive an Olympic medal each time I successfully complete one of these motions.
Three Things I Now Know for Sure…
1. You can deeply love someone you’ve never met.
2. Life absolutely begins at conception – of that I am sure. The separate issue of when or if abortion is justifiable is one I would never presume to have all the answers to – I respect that it is a deeply personal, far from black-and-white issue. I can only speak from my personal experience in saying that from the first time I saw my child via ultrasound at a mere 10 weeks post-conception, he was undeniably alive. My body may be his vessel for now, but his life is his and his alone. It is an honor to carry that life into this world. That is all I know for sure.
3. I continue to be amazed at both how fragile, and how resilient the human body and human spirit are. It’s the ultimate yin-yang dynamic. We are both stronger and weaker than we know. Having faith in a God who loves me and has more control over my life than I ever could – is the only thing that keeps me from going mad at the outrageousness of this seeming contradiction.
And that is my first pregnancy in a very condensed nutshell. Crazy to think that although I’ve completed 90+ percent of the time involved in being pregnant, I may have yet to encounter 90% of the pain, effort, blood, sweat and tears that is pregnancy’s grand finale: labor and delivery! Scary! Surreal! Exciting!
Praying for a smooth, healthy delivery for all involved…and praying I have the mental capacity to continue to write after baby brain and sleep deprivation really set in…
For now, signing off for the last time as a pregnant woman, from a baby-free house, and as a mother without a name for her baby…and looking forward to all three of those things changing soon.