As I get ready for birth and get closer and closer to my due date I get a lot of compliments from friends and comments from strangers. It still amazes me the idiotic things complete strangers will say to pregnant women about their body.
“You must be ready to go into labor any second!”
“Woah there must be two in there!”
“You look like you’re ready to burst.”
“I bet you’re ready to be done.”
“When is your due date? It must be today!”
Really? Really people?
Let’s just say that if you see a pregnant woman and she looks
large HUGE (which is still the most common word I hear when I go to the grocery store) she probably doesn’t need any comments made on the size of her belly or questions about when she’s due. I mean, when is it EVER okay to make comments to someone’s face about the size of their body?
Throw in hormones and exhaustion and you’re just dealing with fire. So can we please all just stop with the comments to pregnant gals? If you MUST say something, how about…
“Best wishes for your birth.”
“You’re doing a great job, keep up the good work!”
“I hope things go how you want them to when your baby arrives.”
I fortunately have a thick skin and have yet had to burst into tears to make the comments stop but I did take out my annoyance the other night to a Fred Meyer clerk.
Her: “Wow you’re big, are there two in there?”
Me: “Nope. But thanks for telling me I’m fat.”
Her: “You’re not fat, you’re just really pregnant.”
Her: “You’re due any day, right.”
Me: “Yeah about three weeks to go.”
Then there was more back and forth about whether it was a boy or girl and how she was jealous because she wanted a girl and just had boys. Had I picked out a name yet? Maybe I’ll wait until the baby is born and then decide. Blah blah blah.
I walked away totally annoyed and frustrated. I just wanted her to shut up and ring up my stuff so I could get out of there. My mom was with me and talked me down a bit. I wasn’t really offended, just amazed at how clueless people can be.
And somehow in my brain that is tied to my upcoming birth. How you can give birth and make peace with your own journey and then you hear about a friend’s birth and it dredges up all this stuff you thought you were at peace with in your own life.
I’ve been doing a lot of re-reading of my own blog this month and when I came across my post about what happened to my body during the last pregnancy I was just amazed. I just did what I needed to do to get to the end of my pregnancy and since it was my first time I didn’t really know any better. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and tried not to wallow too much. I look at that picture of my foot all puffed up and then look down at that same foot now and realize how well this pregnancy is going for me. I’ve had minimal swelling, I can still sleep laying down in bed at night and have had absolutely no complications to deal with. Sure I had horrible morning sickness and a few trips to the ER when I had high fevers but nothing compared to what other moms go through.
And then I think about my emotions those first few months. How I had a c-section and would hear of how other moms had vaginal births. I would be happy for them but I would cry for myself too. No matter how your birth goes, there’s always some adjustment to how you thought things would go to how they actually end up. Sometimes there’s a mourning period to be at peace with how things are. To let go of what you wanted and be happy with how things turned out.
Even in preparing for my OWN birth this time, I’ve had to deal with things I thought I was okay with from giving birth to Graham and Miles. My ignorance over being induced simply because “it was time”, not trying harder to wait to have an epidural (or avoid one all together), how those two hours of trying to push out Graham’s big head went. How stupid traditional coaching during pushing is. My anger with my doctor afterwards when she told me to stop breastfeeding when I told her I was having problems with postpartum depression. There are so many little things. Things I am ultimately at peace with but have been revisiting as I prepare and think about how I want things to go this time.
I don’t expect this birth to be perfect, I don’t expect this birth to replace my experience with how things went with Graham and Miles. They are two different chapters in my life. Different babies, different circumstances, I’m a different age and in a different condition.
But I do want to say to my mama girlfriends and other mother’s reading this blog that it’s okay for my journey to cause feelings to surface in your own life. I understand. I know what it’s like to think you’re at peace but to realize there’s still some doubt or sense of loss there. If you want to talk to me about it please do so, I won’t judge. I won’t feel like you’re raining on my parade. I will still want to be your friend. I will still want to laugh with you and share stories. I want us all to be at peace with our lives, with where things are headed and where things have come from.
And don’t worry, some day the emotional exchange can get cashed in when we’re all going through menopause.