i'm going to try to write this in a way that doesn't make me sound like an ungrateful person. but i really really need to say it.
being pregnant is magical and awesome in the original meaning of the word. which is to say, it inspires awe. it really is the weirdest and coolest thing i haven't yet fully survived. however, it also seems to inspire verbal diarrhea from basically everyone.
before i was even showing, i told myself that when random people wanted to touch me/ talk to me about my pregnancy/ share their stories of pregnancy and parenthood that i would consider it an attempt to connect... even if it felt invasive.
i am all for connection.
i am the girl, who talks to the person in front of me in the line in the grocery store or says random shit to the guy desperately trying to avoid me in the elevator. i constantly give in to the impulse to breech the divide that's especially prevalent now that we're all staring at the microcomputers in our hands 95% of the time.
i want to be a part of the worlds of people around me. i want to know who and how they are, even if i'll never see them again. i like their stories. i like the little vignettes of life that are me and stranger you, intersecting just for some small moment in our perhaps vastly different trajectories of life. there is genius in those moments.
i am even more so concerned with the lives of people i do know. i want to know about your hearts, what makes you tick, what you're working on, what you dream about. i want to help carry you if i can. i love making connections. and specifically, i feel like pregnancy is this invitation into a well of hidden wisdom all the mothers around me have held close to their hearts for so long. suddenly, they are willing to share it, to comfort, to encourage, to bless me.
but meanwhile, i also just need to say: please think about how you talk to me.
HOW is it possible that the majority of people whom encounter a pregnant woman can only think to say: you're so big.
it feels vaguely like when you get maybe a questionable haircut, and someone says, you got a haircut. what am i supposed to say to that?
i know i'm growing a baby. i know that, if i had just randomly gotten so much larger so quickly, most people would keep that thought to themselves. that i am supposed to be growing and you are simply noticing. and yet, we still live in a society where somehow big has negative connotations, and, amidst the surplus of hormones blobbing, swishing, crashing around and totally overtaking my body, only sometimes can i muster enough grace to respond to that all-too-frequent statement without tears or shame.
i can barely breathe. i can't see my vagina. god forbid i try to tie my shoes. so don't tell me i'm big. i know i'm big. i am constantly trying to navigate around the orb that has erupted from my torso.
don't tell me how horrible it's going to be. don't tell me how much it will hurt. don't tell me how little i'll sleep, how much my nipples will hurt, how weird sex will be. don't tell me what i'll want. don't tell me how i'll feel.
don't even tell me how much i'll love it.
some women squish their babies out and have severe postpartum depression. some women want to leave their babies at a fire station and run for the hills. some women are so deliriously in love they forget they need to sleep. some women's bodies resume more or less their pre-pregnancy state. some are striped with memories of growth and change for a lifetime. some women have newborns, who sleep through the night. some women have preschoolers and still haven't slept more than a few hours at a time in years.
everyone's experience is so dramatically different.
i have never had this baby before.
i have never had this baby.
i don't know what's going to happen. and you don't know what's going to happen.
i am pretty gosh darn terrified already. i am no teen mom with delusions that having a child means squirting out a breezy sidekick to tote along on spontaneous trips to target or the beach. i am deeply worried about money. i'm worried about not working for the first time in my adult life. i am worried about nic's schedule. i'm worried about sleep, my body, my sanity. i am worried about my entire identity. i am worried about being so far away from my family, about being lonely, about being sequestered in my house with an infant all winter, about never being able to exercise again, about my ability to breastfeed, about how my relationship will change. I AM TERRIFIED ALREADY. whatever concern or warning you want to offer me has likely already crossed my mind. yes, i know babies can be expensive. yes, i know my entire life is about to change. yes, i thought about whether i should drink that cup of coffee or consume that bit of sugar.
i have worried about every possible horrific scenario you want to drop in my lap. don't ask me if i have.
i am working to mitigate all that with patience and trust, with some balance of preparation and ease.
i invite you to share. i invite you to relate your own experience. tell me how you felt. tell me what scared you. tell me what was hard. tell me what you loved. i really do value that.
but don't tell me how it will be for me.
because we just don't know yet.
don't tell me how i look. because i can see myself just fine.
i know i am overly involved in semantics. i know, to many people, one probably doesn't seem that different from the other.
but i carry the weight of each one of the often conflicting assertions of WHO I AM AND HOW MY LIFE WILL BE. i drag them along behind me. i am, as you've said, so big already. i do not need more weight.
i believe we need to connect. i want it.
i am just asking for you to share your own experience instead of trying to narrate or dictate my own.
i think this is all really just to say, this shit is getting really real all of a sudden and i'm scared.
becoming a mother sounds really scary to me.
but i won't learn to be a mother through books. i won't learn to be a mother through advice or warnings or fear. i'll learn to be a mother, as we learn all things, simply through experience. and that won't happen until it happens.
so please help me stay mildly graceful amidst the pool of hormones that are drowning me and share, but don't direct. (i say, directing you...)
i have every and no idea what i'm doing. and i want to keep that for myself. i want to live this experience instead of living out other people's interpretations of it. i want to fuck this up all on my own.
and when i come to you, one day, full of my own supposed wisdom i casually try to dump in your lap, remind me. we all deserve the chance to do it for ourselves. let us do it for ourselves.