i cannot tell you how relieved i am to finally be out of the pregnancy closet.
if it's not glaringly obvious (it is), i am not a private person. i am an open, bleeding heart. i process outwardly. i feel empowered by sharing, by finding similarities in my own experiences with others', and by simply and constantly being vulnerable to the whole wide world around me.
i've known i was pregnant for almost ten weeks now, and they were unbearable, not only because of how my body felt, but more so, because of how my brain felt.
i was not excited when i found out i was pregnant. we had been trying for all of two months. when it didn't happen within the first 45 seconds, i convinced myself it would never happen (the fatalist girl full of teenage drama still rages on in my brain sometimes...). i think i was mostly protecting myself from disappointment. after a lifetime of trying to not get pregnant (clearly not really a lifetime. definitely less than half my current lifetime), it's strange to suddenly TRY. despite being a very responsible sexually active person, and thus having no reason to have previously been pregnant, it still seemed like it probably just wasn't a real possibility. i seem to have cultivated this ugly idea that i am somehow a terribly unhealthy person and am only kept from imminent death or permanent disease by my frequent exercise, reasonably healthy diet, and commitment to an excess of water and sleep. when, in fact, i think the only unhealthy thing about me is my belief that something must be wrong with me.
so in my mind, that girl could clearly not get pregnant.
regardless, i kept bucketfuls of pregnancy tests around, because that's just what neurotic people do. pee on sticks and then pee on more sticks, obsessively checking google to see if whatever rogue feeling passing through my body could be a very early pregnancy symptom. (note: it is. whatever feeling you feel has, at some point, been attached to a pregnant person and thus exists on google. it doesn't mean you're pregnant)
anyway, all two months into it, i'd given up. i'd resolved it might take forever or not happen at all. the day my period was supposed to start, i felt particularly horrible. my boobs felt weird and sensitive. my back hurt. it kind of burned when i peed. my period hadn't in fact started, which wasn't strange at all, but i just felt... weird. in between episodes of something or something on a lazy netflix evening with nic, i had the passing impulse to pee on a stick. i did. and it said i was pregnant.
i had expected to feel thrilled. i had expected to cry with joy. i'd expected to look like any movie scene in which a person discovered they'd willingly become pregnant. instead i felt total dread.
i walked into the room, shaking, and showed nic, and he, in his joking/ not joking nic way, said, "what have we done?"
and that was that. i was pregnant.
and thus ensued the most agonizing two months of my life.
i have literally never been so tired in my entire life. each day at school, i felt like i had consumed an entire bottle of nyquil and then was let loose in a building full of shrill, small children. i felt impossibly short-tempered and totally out of my body. then i became nauseous. every smell was magnified five thousand percent. i went into kroger one day and the wafting smell of fish from their sushi bar nearly keeled me over. i ate a slightly strange piece of chicken at a friend's house one night and gagged in my mouth. my previous world of protein and vegetables disgusted me. i wanted to swim in bowl of cinnamon puffins and then fall asleep on the uneaten ones. gratefully, i never actually threw up. but i hated everything.
now that i don't feel like death, i can clearly see how awful i felt. i was miserable. and to add to the miserable was my constant expectation that i NOT be miserable in any way. i beat myself up for having a hard time. despite the fact that every woman ever says the first trimester is rough, i couldn't let myself just want piles of dry bread and to go to bed at 6:30. i felt like i was setting my baby up for failure by creating a womb full of gluten and anxiety.
i wanted to talk it out. i wanted space to relate, to share with women i trust, to write about it, to get sensible love and input, but there is this looming taboo surrounding announcing your pregnancy too early. i shared with some close friends, of course, but even just the idea surrounding it. the secrecy. the secrecy, in fear of some great collapse of the magic happening in my uterus, that wrecked my brain.
that was the first of the no's.
don't tell people you're pregnant until the second trimester.
and then i let them infect me. in my sleepy haze of misery, i searched the internet, the books, the blogs for every validation i thought i needed.
Google: is it okay to only want to eat cereal and sleep forever during the first trimester? [enter]
google would assure me that it was okay to hate my life for many weeks, but there were always warnings in tow. and eventually i let them bury me.
don't eat deli meat.
don't drink the unpasteurized orange juice.
don't sleep on your back. don't pick up the kids. don't exercise too hard. don't not exercise. don't eat sugar. don't get a massage. don't touch the cat litter. don't take too hot of a bath. don't gain too much weight. don't gain too little weight. don't do hot yoga.
don't don't don't don't dont.
i really needed some community and i went to a prenatal class at a local studio. i left pretty depressed. they, too, told me not to twist this way or that, not to put too much pressure on my uterus, not to lie on my back.
it's not that the warnings were so bad. they were well-intentioned. but the language killed me. all the nos.
i felt like the whole world was screaming at me: DON'T KILL THE BABY!!!
i had this sudden revelation one day: pregnancy is negative. pregnancy is scary. pregnancy is a BIG FAT NO. as a pregnant woman, you're fragile, and everything around you is a threat.
finally, one day, i said, fuck it.
i am not a no girl. i don't live in the no.
i recognize that there are real, scientific things that impact the well being of the child growing inside of me. but i also recognize that i am an intuitive being, who has spent the better part of the last 3 years, figuring out how my body feels, what it needs, and how to best nourish it emotionally and physically. it doesn't mean i'm perfect, but it does mean that i should ask myself first, before i ask google or the lady behind the counter at kroger or anyone else.
i started to do my quiet yoga at home. i gave up thinking i'd have the energy to get back to the studio. i gave up thinking i needed my physical practice and exercise to be one version of some previously successful so super healthy thing to be okay. i moved slowly. i breathed. i went inside.
i acknowledged that i know what i need. i know sweet potatoes make me feel like superwoman and apples make my stomach feel like it's going to explode. i know i feel best when i get at least 8 hours of sleep. i know a warm bath relaxes me and i never stay in quite that long anyway. i know i have to move intentionally a little every single day or i felt like a piece of cardboard. i know caffeine makes me jittery. i know gluten doesn't really bother me, but dairy does. i know when i've had too much. i know when i've had too little. i know how to breathe so i calm down. i know how to make space for myself. i know that the more i worry about doing it right, the less right i am doing it, because i let the worry take over.
i know that i am in charge of the small creature, growing inside my body (i can't get over it). i know that i'm intuitive and powerful and positive.
i know that i'm okay. i know that we're okay.
then one day, i heard the heartbeat. i cried immediately. i felt full of joy.
finally it was our baby. it was my baby with my nic. it was no one else's baby. we get to decide and make the rules and know what's best. it was no longer negative.
it's not that i don't want input. i feel so lucky to be a part of this world of women now. brave, beautiful women, who carried children in their wombs, whose bodies instinctually nurtured and then expelled small humans, whose hearts continue on carrying them emotionally, buoying them up with their care until the little ones are ready to slowly, incrementally do it on their own. there is infinite wisdom in that. in each woman's story, in her experience, in her body.
but that's what i want to know. i want to know what she felt. what moved her, what worked for her, what helped her, what empowered her, what was hard for her, what her guts felt like, what she craved, what she loved, what transformed her.
i don't want a rote list of things to terrify me.
i want to be a yes.
it is not a refusal to believe that there are things that can harm us. it is a conscious choice to look at life as full of possibility, even where there are constraints.
i am growing a human.
i wasn't trained in it. most of us weren't. but my body knows.
my body knows what i need. and if i listen to it, my brain will know it too. it is literally one of the most astounding things that i am just coming to understand.
now i am thrilled to be pregnant. i rub my tiny puffy belly like it's buddha's. i move with ease through my slow yoga. i wonder at all that's quietly, constantly, organically unfolding right inside of me.
it feels like actual magic, when, in fact, i think it might be my first real moment of acknowledging how much wisdom i've had all along. i was just finally, endlessly no'ed into recognizing it.