Recently, conversing with an acquaintance about her last pregnancy, I admitted I was so unaware of her even being pregnant until she had strolled with her newborn past my house. I’d thought, “Wow that was quick”. She said wryly, “Yeah, your pregnancy is going really well for me too”. I bet my pregnancy is going really well for everyone else too.
There’s great irony in describing pregnancy as a delicate condition. There’s absolutely nothing dainty about the state I’m in. The sound of my footsteps when ascending stairs is like the stomp of an attitudinal elephant. As the floor has gotten further and further away, my verbal utterances to attempt to reach objects landing there are louder and are occasionally profane. You may say my body is in the midst of a beautiful and natural process. I say I‘ve been reduced to a messy and odoriferous machine.
Between the multiple trips to the potty to pee and a possible need for an extender arm to properly finish the other job, I surely smell like a homeless person (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Underwear has become problematic too. A shortage of clean underwear on a recent vacation had me “freewheeling”. Although I was happy not to have the waistband digging into my belly, my bodily cleansing process made me wish I had some fresh undergarments even on the drive home
The unconstitutionality of my constitutionals is like the instability of a third world nation. Despite the multiple products I ingest daily to ensure a smooth transition of power, these constipational bowel coups and dictatorships can stop the nation’s democratic process and I just continue to swell, hoping for imminent Red Cross relief.
I am finally finding it easier to compensate for the extra ballast on the front of me but getting out of bed in the morning is a sideways roll and stand. If I try sitting up normally, my stomach muscles prove to be non-existent and I’m like Humpty Alexander Dumpty, legs flailing.
I was also horrified to discover the now protruding belly looks like a marble with my translucent skin laced with a tangle of blue veins. Husband casually said it did that last time too. I’m now awaiting the racing stripe known as the linea negra to form from my belly button southward.
The effects of the multiple hormones are fascinating, if you’re not the one being affected. These encompass random nose bleeds, bleeding gums, morning sickness, reflux, and constipation. I don’t even want to be reminded of the inevitable post partum depression as the hormones steer you towards an emotional train wreck as you are also suffering sleep deprivation. And the actual loosening of all your bone joints is the body’s allusion to your destiny as Pretzel Girl, the star of your own freak show finale coming to a birthing scenario near you.
Pregnancy and childbirth are full of disgusting body fluids oozing forth in undignified ways. The latter is a horrifying ritual fraught with scary side notes of excretions to be cleared away, gristly umbilical cords to be cut, and gelatinous globs of placenta issuing forth asking to be dealt with.
And everyone, including myself, needs to just get over it because those are just the gritty “natural” by-products of the gift of miraculous life emerging and taking his or her first promissory breath. “What happens in the delivery room stays in the delivery room” is what I told my spectators the last time. And I allowed a full house and a once in a lifetime opportunity for the grandmothers.
At the dinner table the other night, my 7 year-old said “our baby” in passing conversation. Music to my ears. I willingly do it all again because the details will quickly fall away into funny stories. Not forgotten, just forgiven. What I’ll be left with, in addition to scar tissue and a screaming baby, is the unexpected expansion of my capacity to love. And that sneaky joy I am apt to feel when I see the recycled love within the connections of my family as I love them more for loving each other.