Monday, December 31, 2007

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Things they tell you about pregnancy BEFORE you get pregnant:
  • "It's magical."
  • "It's the best experience you'll ever have."
  • "It will change your life forever."
  • "Everyone loves a pregnant woman."
  • "Yeah, you'll get bigger, but you won't mind when you realize what's happening within you."

Things they admit about pregnancy AFTER you get pregnant:

  • "Yeah, there are parts of it that actually suck."
  • "Truthfully, your body's never the same again."
  • "Someone was hurt or jealous when you told them you were pregnant? There's usually one person like that, for every pregnant woman."
  • "Oh, your feet have gone up a shoe size? Yeah. That's permanent. Hope you didn't like your shoe collection, 'cause you'll need all new ones."

Things they never tell you at all:

  • That the moment you become pregnant, you develop an immediate and nearly fathomless capacity for fear. Basically, take the "floor" of your fear capacity and drop it into darkness. The idea of what can happen to your child, your spouse, your little family -- it can paralyze you if you let it. So you can't. You just have to think it, experience the terror or paranoia for a minute, and then put it away. It's the only way to stay sane.

  • That sleeplessness starts long before the baby arrives. I haven't had a good night's sleep since about week 9. It was the peeing-every-hour thing at first. Then it was the can't-seem-to-stay-asleep thing. Now it's both. Oh, AND the there's-absolutely-no-comfortable-way-to-lie thing, not to mention the severely-messed-up-natural-sleep-cycle thing. Fun.

  • That waddling is not a result of weight gain. It's the result of intense pain. Look up "pubic symphysis dysfunction." Then have the nerve to joke about it to a pregnant woman.

  • That, towards the end, it actually hurts when the baby moves around. It's still fun and reassuring, but the kid gets strong, and large. And somehow very pointy.

  • That, even if you haven't been moody before, the end of pregnancy brings all sorts of delightful hormonal shifts. Last night I cried because the kitchen trash bag had fallen into the container and collapsed on itself. I really cried. Hard.

  • That morning sickness comes back at the end. (Welcome back, old friend. I'd forgotten how delightful you were the first four and a half months. You didn't wear out your welcome *then*, or anything.)

  • That despite all of this misery, you can look forward and imagine that after the baby arrives, you might actually miss the sensation of carrying your child within you.

  • That an understanding, loving and patient husband is to be cherished and nurtured, and as much as possible, protected from your mindless blow-ups. He's now seen me truly at my worst to date. And amazingly, he still not only loves me, but takes care of me every time I fall apart, no matter what time of night or day. Plus, even though I don't believe him when he tells me I'm beautiful, I can see he actually means it. And that's phenomenal to me. So even when I'm irrational or half-crazed with hormones, I try very hard not to take it out on him. He's my lifeline.

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