Comments that you didn't ask for can rob your parenthood of its joy, from "Are you so in love?" to "Prepare to never sleep again." They're unsolicited, unwanted, and drag you down. Here's to celebrating YOUR experience, YOUR story, and YOUR parenthood, all on your terms.
Lessons in Losing Control
There is a fullness to the complexities and process of pregnancy I find, or don’t find, people really discuss. You are carrying a miracle, and for most, a miracle that wasn’t easily achieved. So, you have to be thankful, and graceful, and glowing, keep working and post your blissed-out photos. Essentially: thou shalt not complain. Because God forbid, I mean, did you forget? YOU’RE CARRYING A MIRACLE.
Well, sorry, but sometimes it’s hard to remember what a miracle it is. This does NOT take away from the joy or love for the experience and the child, but you are a human with human feelings that are real and they deserve to be acknowledged.
Almost instantly, this thing happens—ah yes, morning sickness. You have achieved your goal, you have become pregnant, you have cried, some of you have shared and you just can’t believe it. You are on CLOUD 9 and then BOOM – you feel like shit. It’s a good sign! And apparently, it’s another one of mother nature’s brilliant mechanisms to protect us (pre-civilization us) from eating something that can harm our child.
But after a couple of weeks, it’s exhausting. And you can’t tell anyone why you’re behind on emails, falling asleep on Zoom, or even vomiting, because most women don’t share until the second trimester. So, once the shock and excitement wore off and the sickness set in, I had a very real realization that nothing would ever be the same. The morning sickness would end, but the ability to have control is officially gone forever.
The physical changes of pregnancy have plagued my thoughts since I was a child. My biggest desire has always been to be a mother, but with weight issues starting at 12, to say it hasn’t been a fear would be a lie. My plan, since like forever, was to get in my best physical shape before I started trying. Considering we were going to start after the wedding, I figured I was chillin – I was in my best bridal shape (which I worked my ASS OFF for). Well lesson one in losing control: it doesn’t work like that. It took many months to get pregnant, which was followed by a miscarriage.
After another six months of trying, I was told I can’t conceive naturally and needed IVF. Long story short: I’m taking copious amounts of DHEA, I’m sad, I’m lost, it’s Covid, I’m drinking like a pirate, working out is a funny concept, and I decide to take some pressure off and stop everything to relax for a few months before we start IVF. Then I’ll work out, get physically and mentally back on track. Which brings us to lesson two in losing control: at my heaviest weight, without “trying,” I become pregnant.
My boobs. Whoa. Who knew that would happen so fast? My perky implants became like pancakes as my nipples slowly expanded. My stomach was much bigger than my fellow peers early on, and the melasma on my face showed up fast and furious, taking over my face with no abandon. The botox I was planning on getting right before implantation didn’t happen, so my face quickly sank to its natural position, and one I haven’t known appeared. At six months people were saying “any day now!”, by seven months telling me it must be twins. Eight and half months and nothing fits me. It’s hard to walk, breathe, sit, or stand.
Looking in the mirror naked last night: a vagina I haven’t seen in months, thighs that cannot be separated, cellulite from knee to top of ass, a belly that truly could hold twins, a chubby face with wrinkles and a wide range of colors I’ve never seen before, my husband looks at me and says “this is the most beautiful you’ve ever been. And he’s right.
Lesson three in losing control: you abandon your ego, shed years of false societal pressure, think of the work your body is doing, and you remember that YOU are a miracle.