Being pregnant is weird.
Growing up, I always assumed that being pregnant would be weird but society assured me that when it was me… when it was my child… all that “perceived” weirdness would melt away and I would be overcome with the miracle that I was creating.
Yeah… not so much. It’s weird.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m thrilled to be pregnant. After our previous miscarriage, Adam and I could not be happier that everything seems to be progressing normally and that our little one seems safe, secure, and thriving in there. None of that however, makes pregnancy any less strange.
When you’re pregnant, suddenly, your body — the thing that has been solely yours since birth — now belongs to someone else. Odd kicks and turns become a routine part of your day but I’m not sure you can really get “used” to another being twisting and turning inside of you. It’s a weird sensation. Suddenly, I think twice about everything I eat and everything I do. Was that cheese an okay cheese to eat? Was that bath too hot last night? Am I getting enough sleep? Too much perhaps? I should be getting up more slowly. I should be walking more frequently. All thoughts revolve around how they are affecting baby…
A similar scene plays out each morning in my bathroom when I hop on the scale. Regardless of how the number moves, I simultaneously feel like a success and a failure. If the scale moves up, I have two immediate thoughts: 1) Yes! Grow baby grow! and 2) Crap! How many pounds is that overall? Will I ever be able to lose all of this once baby comes? If however, the scales stays the same or drops below the previous day’s totals, I have two different thoughts: 1) Yay! Less weight to lose when this is over. Way to stay in control of your body Kate! and 2) Damn it! Is baby okay? Did I not eat enough? Did I exercise too much? AM I HURTING MY BABY?!
What’s worse than questioning your own use of your body is how other people suddenly feel free to do the same. Are you getting enough exercise? How much weight have you gained? Are you still vomiting? I just want to curl up in a corner, rock back and forth, and chant, “I don’t know people! I don’t know!”
Even worse than THAT are those who think they can just reach out and touch you… or, in a recent case, “thump” you as if they are checking on the ripeness of a watermelon. Yes. I know I’m getting bigger. I see my pregnant belly every single day… I even get to see it completely naked so I know exactly how fast my belly button is becoming an “outie”. Your running commentary and belly grabs aren’t necessary… or solicited.
Perhaps I should come to terms with the fact that as women, we are all different. For some, this time is magical through and through. They don’t mind being the center of attention nor do they bat an eyelash at the weight they gain. They probably don’t toss and turn at night worrying about exercise, food, and their fears of being an inadequate mother.
But for other women — women like me — pregnancy is different. Sure, it is somewhat magical but it’s also hard. And neat. And life changing. It’s stressful too. It’s very long. It’s tiring. It can be really funny. But more than anything, at least for me so far, pregnancy is just weird. It’s a battle for myself and against myself all at once. It’s a time where I cannot hide my personal life from society and yet, I seek desperately to do that very thing. It’s a moment in time I want to freeze but also one where I hope time passes quickly. It’s a daily battle to see myself, mentally, physically, and emotionally, as a prepared partner for the experience that is coming… parenthood. It’s a time to cherish and prepare but also a time to freak the hell out.
It’s a journey and much like I said when I was a naive teenage, still over a decade away from encountering this beast, pregnancy is just a little weird. I do however, have a bit of new information I did not have in those pre-pregnancy days: Sure… it’s weird, but it’s okay that it’s weird. It’s 100% okay. And more importantly, I’m 100% okay.