I think there are three different groups of pregnant women: 1. Those who love pregnancy and feel better than they have in their entire lives, 2. Those who are counting down the days for it to be over because of swelling, nausea, bed rest, preeclampsia, or any other ailment, and 3. Those who see pregnancy as a means to an end. You love some things and there are some things you don’t love.
I fell into that third category with both pregnancies. I spent the first trimester (and some of the second) getting sick all day every day. When I was working, this was extremely challenging, and often awkward. But around 19 or 20 weeks, I bounced back! I had more energy than ever and I actually felt great!
The countdown, for me, started at the beginning of the third trimester. Something about the day that baby bump pops and seems to double in size overnight makes you realize, “Oh my word! That’s a little person!” My bump got really big really quickly.
Those doctor appointments in the last weeks were challenging. My bump got in the way every week when I went to the restroom to give a urine sample. Seriously, how awkward is that? I’d dread the moment when I had to get on the scale every week. I removed my shoes, of course, but how much did my shoes actually weigh? Three ounces? That’s nothing in the grand scheme of 45-pound weight gain.
I would waddle around and strangers would stop me to talk to me, for no reason other than to congratulate me or ask me when I was due. Men and women would hold the door open for me when I was entering buildings. There is just something about a pregnant woman. And it’s good that they do this. It made me feel pretty. It made me realize just how special this time was. And people just love a baby.
You know how I’m an introvert and hate small talk? When you’re pregnant, small talk is easy! You have a guaranteed topic. People want to ask questions and you can answer. Now, of course there are the people who ask the completely inappropriate questions that make your face turn bright red and you have to sit there and wonder how long you can pretend that you didn’t hear the question.
But the attention does make you feel pretty, and that is wonderful because, for me, that wasn’t at all what I was feeling when I looked in the mirror. I was swollen. My cheeks had swallowed my face. I didn’t have ankles anymore and I saw the size of my hips and wondered if they would ever return to normal.
But in that final night before we brought Hudson home, I realized that none of this was about me. This was all for Hudson. He was going to come home and he is ours! We get to love him and raise him and teach him. So before when I was freaking out about weight gain and heartburn, then I started to get extremely emotional. A baby. Our baby!
I started imagining the first time we’d meet him and what that would feel like. Would it be instant, all-consuming, make-your-heart-ache love? Of course it would! Of course, before he was born the only books I read were baby-name books and pregnancy books. I didn’t read a thing about what to actually do with a baby when he came home.
So then I really started to worry the night before. Because, I mean, one day I’m not a mom yet and then in an instant I am? I’m just all of a sudden someone’s mom? I realized in that night, as I lay awake thinking about the day ahead of us, that I would remember every single detail about the next couple of days for the rest of my life. I knew that the next day I was going to meet the person that would change my life forever. So, no matter what the previous nine months were for me, none of that mattered anymore. It was all about Hudson.
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