Pretend it’s post-pandemic. You’re going on vacation & packing your suitcase. Halfway to the airport & the impending doom sinks in-
You forgot something.
You don’t know what it is because you triple checked that there’s enough underwear to survive the unlikely chance of daily food poisoning & you’re positive that you slid your toothbrush in the front pocket after your morning routine. You reassure yourself that whatever it is you can buy when you get there, but the thought still lingers in your mind the entire journey.
As of late, this is how my brain feels minus the suitcase, vacation & food poisoning.
I’ve spent most of my pregnancy feeling like the pieces of me that I identify most with were stolen. My motivation, desire, creativity all robbed as this shell of a human who typically thrives off of productivity + creating spent most days barely being able to get off the couch. It made me take a deeper look at where I find my worth when every place I had put it previously was wiped away.
It made me realize that there are more important things than crossing tasks off a to do list, feeling busy & beating myself up to accomplish big goals. But most importantly- that those things don’t dictate my value as a human. All realizations that I’m thankful to have discovered & even more thankful for the timing of their discovery. A majority of the way through, & I’m finally starting to feel the way I thought I’d feel throughout this whole process. Grateful, excited, rockin’ the bump & maybe even a little glow-y?
Must not be detectable through a computer screen though, because no one has complimented me on the sort via Zoom & I haven't been in public enough (#thankscovid) to receive advice or half-hearted compliments from complete strangers. A connection I thought I was missing out on until a dear friend reminded me that NOT interacting with unknown humans means not having to craft a true, yet socially acceptable answer to, "How are you feeling?" And although I've denied my instinct to disclaim or justify most other things in this text, I will say that I APPRECIATE every single person who has asked me that question because it shows that you care even if my snarky reply goes unappreciated. I know that you mean well, & just like me, I'm guessing that you had the same preconceived (pun not intended) notion that this time of life tends to be something fairytales are made of.
So KEEP ASKING. Just don’t be shocked when you receive an answer like, “Physically? Good. Emotionally? A mess.”
Throughout this journey I’ve been careful about what I say for fear of offending or more likely fear of bombarding friends sans children with boring pregnant lady woes. But not sharing this may be what’s missing from my proverbial suitcase.
So here I am saying it in case someone else needs to hear it. That not enjoying pregnancy doesn’t make you a horrible human or a terrible mom. And that maybe this process (good, bad or indifferent) can teach us more than we ever expected.
I’ve heard stories of loss, heartache, euphoria & pure bliss, but never the struggle of everything going “right.” I had never heard the term “pre-natal depression” & of course imagined my world to be turned upside down post-baby, but not beforehand (besides the possibility-turned-reality of my head in a toilet for an extended period of time).
Perhaps one day I’ll forget about all these feelings when I’m in the midst of what everyone has tried to describe as the bliss that comes with parenthood, but at the moment all I have to compare it to is owning a dog that I love so much it’s stupid. Besides, at present there’s still a tinge of looming fear of how life is about to change & it stops me from enjoying the freedom I have now to its full extent. A freedom I am well aware I’ve taken advantage of since forever.
Regardless, I’m thankful for finding a silvering lining & oh so grateful for the friends who’ve kept it real, shared the hard shit & made me not feel so alone in this.
If YOU have a similar story, I'd love to hear it.