Depending on who you are or how well you know me or what time of day you read these posts, your feedback vis-à-vis your perception of my overall pregnancy experience has ranged from me suffering utter misery to me enjoying ecstatic bliss. You are all 100 percent exactly accurate. I was completely unprepared for what to expect during pregnancy, so in that way, the see-sawing from good to bad to ugly is all going very much according to plan. I didn’t know how much or why I would miss some foods (eggs benedict) but not others (why haven’t I missed red wine? what is wrong with my BRAIN??). I had no idea that “pregnancy sciatica” actually meant “the inability to move your own body without excruciating pain until you’ve stood in one place for a minute or 20 and reminded your parts how to work, meanwhile you’ve probably peed yourself because you didn’t get to the bathroom in time and also because you forgot to do your Kegel exercises before bed, so, this is what you have now.” And I was in no way prepared for the way my heart would open to other moms and moms-to-be; I have, like, so much love for these women, almost inexplicably.
The only two things I thought I knew for sure were that A) having lived with some level of depression or anxiety my whole life, my mental health would probably take a beating, and B) I would probably get pretty big, as pregnant women do. Those two things have happened, but as with the rest of my pregnancy, the experience was far from what I expected it would be.
We’ve mostly handled the meltdowns I’ve described previously with the awareness that this too shall pass and that I don’t actually mean the hateful things I say in a fit of hormonal rage, or that everything is healthy and normal even though I can’t stop crying over the fact that the baby hasn’t moved in 30 seconds so obviously the world is ending, oh wait, ouch, the baby is, ouch, ok, I don’t think we needed baby to hook its foot into my ribs to prove it’s still there, but thanks for your attempt at humor, baby, it is well received and you can, ouch, stopitnow. We’ve taken these episodes in stride and somehow managed to escape unscathed.*
*By “we” I mean Randy, because I have mostly forgotten they even happened.
No, aside from those few instances, my overall mental health has actually been great. Possibly better than ever. I feel strong and good and right in the head, like I can take on anything and make it work and everything is going to be better than fine, it’s going to be great. I feel very even and Zen and chill. I feel like I could probably solve world hunger if I remembered to think about it long enough. And not only do I feel great, I’ve gotten accustomed to feeling great, so much so that when I falter from greatness, it’s surprising and upsetting. And these days, faltering happens almost exclusively on the days or minutes that I step on the scale, because I. Am. So. Gigantic. And. Enormous. I. Barely. Recognize. Myself. As. A. Human. Person.
Feeling self-conscious about my pregnant body is so out of left field because obviously I was going to gain a lot of weight. I’m pregnant. I’m growing a real live baby person inside my body. And yet, damn, is this baby actually a grizzly bear? Because that wouldn’t surprise me at all. I had no context for how the addition of several dozen pounds recommended by my doctor would look or feel on my 5-foot frame, but if at the end of this we welcome to the world an adorable baby humpback whale, I will be like, ah yes, of course.
And here’s the thing about struggling with pregnancy weight gain: none of you assholes is making it any easier. To help us all avert a situation where you say the wrong thing and end up headless (oopsie), here’s a quick primer on what not to say to a pregnant woman (or any woman … or any person .. and probably not even a Kodiak bear) ever.
- “You look like you’re about to pop!”
NO. STOP SAYING THAT. IT’S MEAN AND IT SOUNDS LIKE IT HURTS.
- Lord, girl, how much longer are you going to cook that bun? Should be any day now, right??
YES, ANY DAY NOW I WILL PROBABLY ALSO KNOCK YOUR BLOCK OFF.
- “You WALKED all the way HERE??”
This was my personal experience with a neighbor who was shocked to see that I, at 30 whole weeks pregnant, am still independently mobile and managed to cover the entire two blocks from my house to the post office ALL BY MYSELF ON MY OWN TWO FEET despite being so obviously made of glass.
- “When are you due?” “November 2.” “But you’re already so….”
I GUESS YOU CAN’T FINISH THAT SENTENCE SINCE I CUT YOUR TONGUE OUT OF YOUR FACE, HUH?
I am usually able to bounce back from these encounters with the help of Randy, who legitimately and sincerely thinks I’m even more beautiful today than I was yesterday, and will be more beautiful tomorrow (WHEN I AM MUCH HUGER) than I am today, and with the help of women friends, other moms (probably why I’m so inclined to love them so much) and, actually, new dads (well done, dads, I’m impressed), who are always effusive in their compliments while also reminding me to turn all these conversations back on the inquirers, like my neighbor, by deploying the tried and true taunt, “I’m pregnant, what’s your excuse?” BAM. OH YEAH. TAKE THAT, FAT MAN.
So anyway, here I am, in all my enormous glory, being deliriously happy, even though everything hurts and I am probably hungry.