Friday, September 3, 2010

Enjoying Pregnancy

I have a confession: I enjoy being pregnant. You probably wouldn't guess it by the amount of whining that I do here, but I really do enjoy the overall state of pregnancy. (Yes, the details leave much to be desired, but I'm talking Big Picture.)

True, the fatigue sucks. As do all the little aches and pains. The Top Ten List of annoying symptoms, for me, include fatigue, itchiness, swollen wrists and ankles, insomnia, muscle cramps, digestive issues, heat sensitivity, constant paranoia about food, physical awkwardness, and the inability to wear the same bra or shoes for more than 2 months in a row. During the first trimester, I tend to get a small set of those that stick around for weeks at at time. During the second trimester, I generally experience all of them, 4-5 at a time, rotating on a daily basis. (As soon as the digestive issues disappear, the muscle cramps come back, that sort of thing.) During the third trimester, they're pretty much all there all the time, if I remember correctly. And yep, that sucks.

But in exchange for the miserableness, there's so much to enjoy. I love the anticipation of it all. The sense of a new beginning. The realization that you're doing something that you're only going to do for a few short times in your entire life, if you're lucky. Feeling the kicks and knowing that you're enjoying something that nobody else at that moment knows exactly about -- the private kicks of your future child. The daydreaming about the future. It's all really rather lovely. And I know that there are people who freak out about the weight gain and spend nine months convinced that they look like a fat cow, but I'm actually the exact opposite; I'm normally fairly self-conscious about my body, but during pregnancy, I almost feel like I have an excellent "excuse" to not have an hourglass figure, and all that self-consciousness disappears. (After LL was born, it almost immediately reappeared, but still.)

I remember being physically miserable during my pregnancy with LL. Those last two months or so, from weeks 34-42, seemed never-ending. I reached the point of "Holy cow I really just cannot go on like this!!!" a good week or more before I actually gave birth. I remember being that miserable. But I also remember missing it all when LL was just a few months old. At the time, I convinced myself that my mind was playing tricks on me, that I wasn't really remembering what it was like, that if I was ever lucky enough to get pregnant again I would immediately be consumed by thoughts of, "Oh, that's right, this sucks! What the hell was I thinking, doing this again!?!" But now that I'm here again... nope, it's good. Really.

The things that sucked before (see the Top Ten List) still suck. But they don't suck with the ferocity that they sucked last time. This time around, I seem more in control of the fact that the miserableness is short-lived. That the aches and pains come and go. That the whole experience really is rather fleeting, even if it doesn't always seem that way in the moment. I feel like I spent my pregnancy with LL trying to "get through it." There were things that I enjoyed, and I spent much of that pregnancy in total awe of what was happening, but I still treated it as a trial that I needed to suffer through (including labor, the big final exam) in order to reach the payoff of a real little baby. This time, I'm much better at viewing the pregnancy itself as a life stage to be enjoyed like any other.

I wrote several weeks ago about how I was sad that this pregnancy felt so abstract. I'm starting to realize that my sadness came mostly from a place of feeling like I hadn't enjoyed those first few months the way I should have. And now they're gone. This last month or so, though, things have been very different. I'm definitely "in the moment" now with this pregnancy. Taking note of the changes, marveling at Kermit's development, keeping perspective on the bad stuff. And having twinges of sadness that I may never do this again.

2 comments:

  1. I love this post and am so glad to hear that you are enjoying this phase. I also very much enjoy the 'secret' part of pregnancy - things happening to me that no one else knows about (first just being pregnant, than movement, etc.)

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  2. I like being pregnant too. Being pregnant back to back wasn't so fun and it made the second time around more difficult. But there is nothing quite like feeling your baby move around inside of you. Hayden is most likely my last baby, and so it is all so bittersweet.

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