So you’ve peed on the stick and gotten the little blue line. But it’s a private celebration because NO ONE GETS TO KNOW. You’ve got to keep that crazy life changing news to yourself for at least 6-8 weeks, until you’ve made it through the “miscarriage danger zone.” You feel like shit, you’re exhausted, all you want to do is sleep, or puke, depending on your brand of pregnancy symptoms. It doesn’t take long for people at the office to start to notice. “Jane, you ok? You don’t look so well today.” You do your best to rally, “No I’m fine, just a bug or something.” You run to the restroom about 10 times a day. It’s obvious.
It’s so ironic that the toughest part of pregnancy, aside from birth, is one you can’t really share. You don’t get any sympathy, not yet. You have to tough it out. You’ve got your partner there with you to come in for the assist, but he’s not there for the long hours at the office.
And what about drinking? That’s the WORST. There’s literally nothing you can say to excuse you from drinking around friends. “I uh, drank a lot last night and can’t really drink tonight.” Works maybe once or twice, that’s about it. Especially when you’re known to have a casual drink or two, and now you decline? Hmm, something’s fishy. Friends can smell that a mile away. Once my husband and I met two friends at a restaurant for some dinner, and while we waited for a table they suggested, let’s all get drinks! “Shit,” I thought to myself. “Yeah you guys go for it, I probably won’t have anything.” My husband, trying to support me, said he didn’t really want to have anything either. The festive mood couldn’t have been killed quicker. After a completely awkward few moments, I blurted “I’m pregnant.” I couldn’t help it. Next time, we’re getting takeout. So after some thought, I’ve decided the best thing to do about pregnant-can’t-drink-but-can’t-tell-anyone mode is just AVOID it altogether. Just don’t go out. Then you have no one to make excuses to. Instead feign an illness and stay home. Easy. That or your dog is severely ill and is barfing everywhere. Can’t argue with that one.
Little baby: thank you so much for not causing a terrible amount of illness while I was in the morning sickness phase. I definitely felt gross, but it was completely manageable. I hope you’re enjoying your little home and are growing healthy and strong. I apologize for all the spicy and strange food I’ve been eating, but I want you to have a chance to try everything. It will open up a whole world of foods and tastes for you when you get here. Also I’m trying to keep coffee to a minimum, but I honestly need it sometimes. Thanks for your patience. Keep growing little one!
PREGNANT. It’s icky. It’s clunky. It’s a giant awkward balloon that stalks you. It has the same looming icky presence of your period. Women spend years of their lives avoiding it. The pill, condoms, IUDs, pulling out…it’s all a game to avoid getting hit. With pregnancy. And I got hit. But it’s not necessarily bad. It wasn’t a one time thing with a guy I barely know. It wasn’t a teenage accident. I’ve just married a man whom I love deeply. We always wanted to have kids. But later, not this soon. It happened when I least expected it.
So I’m right on the cusp. I’m post pregnancy dread, but not quite pregnancy ready. It’s a grey area of “well yeah, I guess so.” The excitement of trying for a baby is nabbed away. Instead you’re left with a dry “yes” or “no.” It’s the same frustration you feel when you’re rushed into something you wanted. Like “Hey that party you’re hosting next month? Let’s do it RIGHT NOW.” There’s no time to plan, or clean or prepare. You just have to accept that your place is a big ugly mess and you hope no one judges you too much for the pile of dishes in the sink and the clumps of dog hair creeping along the baseboard. But life isn’t always neat. It’s pretty messy. And while I may have missed the excitement and magic of trying, I do get to skip those haunting months of unsuccessful baby-making that stretches the excitement thin. The big fat ugly question of “can we?” that looms bigger and bigger, threatening to ruin your baby dreams. Nope, skipped all that. Which is a small relief. Instead I’m just getting on for the ride. I’m washing those few dishes and doing a quick sweep while everyone enjoys the party. And what matters is the party anyway. No one cares how clean your house is or even where the party is. It’s the company that they cherish and love. It’s the friendships they come for.
And so I write to you little baby, to share with you this journey I’ve found myself on. You’re a little piece of me and your dad. A little manifestation of our love. We get to teach you all about life. And why not start now. You’re already here, sleeping inside my belly. Hopefully one day you get to read about this part of the journey that came before you arrived. The preparations parents make inside their hearts before they’re catapulted into full blown child rearing. As you grow, so will I. What kind of parent do I want to be? What are my faults that could do with some improvement? I know that once you show up my world will get messy and crazy and tired and so much less organized, so I’m going to practice being ok with that now. You can’t really enjoy the ride when you’re operating it at the same time. So I’m surrendering some of the control that I have now, so that I can make room for the crazy wild love that I hope to experience soon with you.