Tuesday, October 23, 2012

On Being Pregnant

Note: This blog entry was written while still pregnant so some of the verb tenses and such may be off slightly.

Pregnancy treated me very well and I really have very few complaints. I’m especially grateful because I’ve appreciated the energy and mobility amid the home renovation.

The following is a list of things I’ve observed in myself during my pregnancy.

I first noticed my body changing when the folds in my belly button became less deep. “That’s interesting, I thought.” Now, they are non-existent. I had no idea.

I first noticed my mind changing when Rob observed I have pregnancy-induced ADD. I left the room on a quest for a hammer from the garage and Rob found me pressure-washing the siding. Yikes.

Over the pregnancy, I have gained empathy for those with an ADD mindset (Rob included). Formerly, I was frustrated with others’ lack of linear thinking. “What do you mean you can’t trace your train of thought??” NOW, I get it. Thought is NOT linear to those with ADD, it’s like thought bubbles coming from all sides.

Having possessed a powerful ability to focus throughout my life, I must now make a concerted effort to keep my mind from being pulled into a curly-q by the assault of thought bubbles. But I can and do overcome with practice!

I continued to notice my body changing as my attempts to bend over and reach something were thwarted by a beach ball under my shirt that is far less squishy than an actual beach ball.

My mind never absorbed the transition from pregnancy to baby will happen and I constantly forgot that baby will be on the OUTSIDE of my body soon. For example: “Oh, we’d love to go to your destination wedding in in Hawaii in September!” “Uh, McKay, we’ll have a newborn baby.” “Oh RIIIIIIGHT!” Or… “We can’t bring kids to Alabama for the training in the fall.” “Why is that a problem? Oh. Riiiiight….” 

The baby in utero is really very convenient. He eats when I want to eat. He’s quiet. He doesn’t need any toys, soothers, or special equipment. It’s really a nice situation.

And now a note on what I’ve observed from others.

People LOVE a pregnant woman - total strangers will strike up conversations with me and ask sometimes rather personal questions about me and the baby. Why? That is so weird.

People compulsively touch my belly. I don’t mind as I’ve not been too picky about my personal space, but it’s just so amazing to watch – they actually can’t stop themselves.

Normally, I like researching and getting lots of information about places I’m about to go, etc. But my minimal reading (a lighthearted little book from my SIL – The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy) was so terrifying I wanted to put it in the freezer. Rob would frequently see me thrust the book aside with a look of horror on my face after reading about yet another awful symptom of growing a human. And this was lighthearted reading. I decided it was better not to know and just wait to learn about things as they affected me. I am much happier.

I noticed that women love looking at me with this all-knowing look that says “YOUR life is never going to be the same” and I honestly can’t tell if they mean it like a good or bad thing.

On that note, sometimes mothers trying to give me advice only make me never want to be a mother. “You’ll never sleep again.” “All the intimacy with your partner will be gone.” “Pregnancy brain doesn’t go away! Just wait for baby brain and motherhood brain.” You’re not selling me on motherhood, ladies.

Once it began to show that I was pregnant, I very often got looks from women (in the 50-65 age range) of a condemning nature. I receive these looks while lifting “heavy” things. Apparently, there are some people who believe VERY strongly that pregnant women will harm the baby if they do any of the following: lift more than 20 pounds, lift one’s arms above one’s head (seriously – people think that!), participate in any sort of strenuous activity, or linger outside in ANY kind of sun or heat.

By the way, I checked with my doctor and a pregnant woman can participate with peace in any activity she was doing prior to becoming pregnant… and she can CERTAINLY lift her arms above her head.

And the following are some things I vow never to do as a mother (although no guarantees).

I vow to never say the above awful things to a pregnant woman who clearly can not reverse her decision to be a mother and to only provide her with encouraging words that she might actually WANT to hear (NOT about getting no more sleep ever!).

I vow to NOT share with relish and delight, like a scary campfire story, the tales of 30-hour labors, tears from end to end, and awful complications in delivery.

I vow NOT to share with gloating and pride, tales of 2-hour labors and completely painless deliveries.

I vow to never put those family stickers on the back of my SUV. You know the ones I mean - the stick figures with the dad, mom, three kids, and a dog. Even though I heard they came out with Star Wars ones…. still never.

I vow to keep my facebook profile about me and not ALL about my baby. I scroll through my friends and at least 60% of them have their offspring as their profile pic. (Don’t worry, grandparents, you can learn all the details about baby’s life through another venue).

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