First off, let me say that no, I am not pregnant. But lately, Matt and I have begun discussing when and if we want to increase our family size. I’m a planner (or at least I try very hard to be). So this is a major decision in our lives and requires a significant amount of conversation.
I did not enjoy being pregnant. There was nothing terrible about my pregnancy. I didn’t have a lot of morning sickness- a good bit of random nausea but nothing severe. I didn’t gain a ton of weight, there were no health concerns, and I like to think that I was rather pleasant to be around. But I absolutely could not stand being pregnant.
The main reason is that, despite all of my efforts, when you are pregnant you have zero control of your body, zero control of your emotions, and you lose any and all sense of self. All of a sudden, your body is no longer yours.
Now, for a control freak like myself, this is a nightmare. And, to make matters even worse, everyone and their brother feels that they have the right to comment on your belly size, your weight, your due date, your restaurant choices, your moodiness, and anything else that apparently is no longer private or personal. And, on of the hardest parts for me is the fact that strangers feel the right and responsibility to touch you. People come out of nowhere, people you have never met before, and touch your belly. I had to actually come up with my own personal mantra to repeat to strangers on a regular basis because I don’t like it when people touch me without permission.
Because I know you are wondering, my mantra was, “Oh, I’d rather you not touch the baby. My belly is a little sensitive today.” This created enough awkward discomfort that the person usually skulked off without any further unnecessary conversation. It was much better than, “I don’t know you and I sure as hell don’t want you to touch me! Go Away!”
In addition to the loss of control, pregnancy symptoms suck- or at least mine did. I had heartburn non-stop for the last 6 months of pregnancy. I had to start sleeping sitting up because whenever I laid down flat, the acid reflux made me throw up. All I wanted in the whole world was a giant leather recliner to sleep in but, because I was a poor pregnant graduate student, it was not possible.
My hair got even curlier than it already is. And while some women love the fact that your hair stops falling out when you’re pregnant, it was awful for me. My already fluffy and voluminous hair was twice as big and curly. And no one tells you that, a few months after you have the baby, all that hair that never fell out suddenly all falls out. I could pull chunks of hair out for months. I thought I was sick! Then, after that finally stopped, all of it started growing back and I had stupid little short hairs sticking out all over my head. I never read about any of this in the 19 pregnancy books I read. This is the stuff women need to know! Plus- imagine a giant pregnant lady, tons of curly, fluffy hair in the middle of summer in 90 degree North Carolina. Not exactly the most pleasant experience.
And then there is this huge part of me that feels completely guilty for even complaining about pregnancy because there are so many women out there that cannot get pregnant. I am sure they would kill for all of the hormones, nausea, and weird bodily functions. And then there is the fear in me that, even though the first pregnancy came relatively easy, what if the second pregnancy is not so easy? What if we can’t get pregnant again? Can I be happy with Noah being an only child? And then, heaven forbid, what if there are complications with the next pregnancy? Noah had a perfect bill of health when he was born. What if we aren’t so lucky next time?
So, with all that I know now that I didn’t know then, do I want to be pregnant again?
But when? When is it the “right” time to bring another baby into our almost-perfect family (written with extreme sarcasm)? How do we know if we are ready to do the newborn thing again? My friend says that there comes a moment when you only remember how wonderful the good parts were and it makes the bad parts seem not so terrible. Not sure when that time will come for us… soon (maybe).