Now, in the final weeks of my pregnancy, it is very obvious that I’m expecting. Because of that, I’m constantly receiving big smiles and questions from strangers. “How far along are you?” and “Is it a boy or a girl?” are a few I get the pleasure of answering almost daily. Every time I visit family I also get the good ol’, “How’s everything going?” and “How’s baby?” questions, and of course I answer with something like ,“We’re good,” or “Everything is going great”.
Although I appreciate the enthusiasm from strangers and the concern from family members, it becomes exhausting after nine months of the same conversation time and time again. Especially when what I really want to say is what I don’t.
If you asked in the beginning, I would’ve told you that I was so sick every morning that my kindergartener had fruit snacks and Nutri-grain bars for breakfast because that’s what he wanted, and I felt too sick to fight him. I would’ve told you that after my nausea subsided sometime in the afternoon, that little kindergartener got as much screen time as he wanted because I was so exhausted I could barely muster the energy to put clothes on. Our days didn’t “start” until around 3 PM most of the summer.
After my nausea finally passed and I felt well enough to stop by a friend’s place to visit, I would have told her that I felt self-conscious about how chunky my face had gotten and that my sex life was in shambles. I would have told her that my husband, who tried his best to convince me of my sex appeal, was suffering from the loss of my sex drive. I didn’t want to be touched, I didn’t want him to see me naked, and the idea of being intimate made me cry because I felt so uncomfortable with my body. I would have also confessed that our lack of sex was putting a lot of strain on our marriage, and we were feeling the pressure from it.
Along with my libido taking a hiatus, I was dealing with depression, which was making me miserable to be around. A pessimistic cloud hung over my head and all I wanted to do was cry or sleep. Everything had become a task for me, and then my depression led to guilt because I knew that my sad state wasn’t a healthy environment for my baby to grow in.
I would have told you that this pregnancy was really taking a toll on me because I had finally gotten to a place in my life that was stable, and an unexpected little one on the way through a wrench into that stability. I wasn’t excited when I found out. I wish I could tell you about how I selfishly didn’t want to quit smoking, and that I did not want to attend adult functions only to watch everyone else drink. You could never know how lonely and left out I felt because of this pregnancy, and that even just feeling left out made me feel juvenile and silly.
I didn’t want to live in limbo for nine months waiting to have my life back. I would have told you that I don’t enjoy being pregnant and that I’m not cut out for such a thing. They claim that dads aren’t fathers until they hold the baby for the first time and unfortunately, I felt the same way about my first pregnancy. I wasn’t a mother until I held my son, so pregnancy is a nuisance and inconvenience for me rather than some beautiful process.
I would have told you that my back and my feet kill me every day, and I can longer sleep comfortably or through the night. I also would’ve mentioned how much I hate when people ask how my pregnancy is because I could never answer honestly. I could never tell this to that stranger who asks how it’s been, or my grandma who asks how “we’re” doing. No one ever really wants you to be honest, and they certainly don’t want to hear you complain about how miserable you are. And if I were to bombard someone with all of these things, what could they possibly say? That it will get better? That it will be over soon? That I need to stay strong? As if I haven’t tried to tell myself the same things.
The point is, as much as I love being a mom, I’m not cut out for pregnancy. It’s not something I’m good at coping with. So maybe before you let your face light up as I waddle passed you in public or before you vomit your excitement and enthusiasm all over me, you take a step back and consider that perhaps I’m going through a difficult time. Maybe you could give me a break from asking how I am every time I see you since my answer is always the same. Maybe you could consider that I’m not “experiencing the most wonderful thing in life” and just let me be. Because soon enough, all of this will be my answer when you ask “How are you holding up?” and I’m certain you really don’t want to hear it.