I hate being pregnant.
It’s true, and I’m not shy about shouting it from every proverbial rooftop I can reach. I am almost half way through my third pregnancy, so I feel completely confident in saying that I’m never going to be one of those women who revels in the miracle of pregnancy. I wish I were. I wanted to be, but I’m never going to bloom, ripen, glow, shimmer, glitter, or any other girly adjective people use to describe glorious women who are with child.
The closest I ever came to a glow or a shimmer was the thin sheen of sweat that formed on my forehead immediately before I was about to pass out or vomit. Sorry.
The truth is, I make a terrible pregnant lady: I gain too much weight, require way more sleep than is physically possible with two other children, turn into a weepy blob of hormones, and become suddenly and irrationally angry. I mean really angry. Picture Walter Matthau from Grumpy Old Men, but with cankles. It’s not pretty.
The only part of pregnancy I am even remotely good at is the end. I can bear down and squeeze out a baby like nobody’s business. My second son was born with a single push. While I’d like to attribute this feat to my Amazonian warrior-esque strength, I think it’s more likely a testament to my uncontrollable and overwhelming desire to GET THAT KID OUT.
When my second son was born I didn’t ask any of the standard questions: not whether he was healthy, whether he was a boy, or even whether he had hair (which was what I asked when my first son was born). The only words I could utter after my arduous one minute of pushing was “Oh thank God” and then collapsed onto my front on the hospital bed. In fact, the nurses had to poke me several times to get me to turn over and hold my hard-earned child. I was just so happy to be done.
So no, it’s not hyperbole or dramatic license: I really hate being pregnant. However, despite this irrefutable fact, I’ve been plagued recently by a new, odd, and particularly disturbing sensation of pregnancy nostalgia. I can’t help but wonder in the deepest, darkest, recesses of my nausea and migraine-addled mind, what if she is my last?
What if she is the last person I will ever meet at the moment she appears on this earth?
What if she is the last truly unique and beautiful thing I produce during my life?
What if this is the last time I feel another creature living and growing inside me?
What if this is the last time I watch as a part of my body, no less connected to me than my arm or my heart, detaches itself and lives on independent of myself?
What if she is the last person to truly need me to survive?
What if hers is the last voice that will pull at my heartstrings like a familiar song even though I’ve never heard it before?
What if she is my last?
Then the hormones kick in and I’m overcome by a sense of longing and a need to savor every moment of this hellish experience that five minutes before I was cursing evolution for screwing up so royally. Most of the time I can’t imagine why anyone would be stupid enough to put herself through this ordeal for a fourth (or second, for that matter) time, but sometimes in the spaces in between, I entertain the idea.
Pregnancy is awful, painful, agonizingly long, and filled with unnecessarily cruel symptoms, but it is also an experience I will never regret as long as I live. The wonderful, novel, heartbreakingly cute, and disarmingly helpless people you get to bring home with you afterward are just a bonus.
I don’t know whether this little girl will be my last or whether my hormones and nostalgia will get the better of my good judgment, but either way I have to admit that being pregnant isn’t ALL bad. There are some incredibly beautiful and meaningful experiences that come along with it that I will be sad to say goodbye to, whenever the time comes.
I just hope I find enough time among the diaper changes, preschool drop-offs, stolen naps while my kids watch tv, aching backs, sciatica, and swollen hands (just to name a few) to appreciate the significance of creating a new life…and also to do Keigels, because peeing oneself is not an experience I wish to savor.