When you’re visibly pregnant, you cannot escape the rhetorical question of –
“Isn’t being pregnant the best?”
And you’re supposed to nod along and squeal in glee how it is truly the best thing that ever happened to you.
Now I’m not saying it wasn’t one of the best things that happened to me. It sure was! But whenever I was asked this question by all and sundry, I couldn’t help but spend a moment or two in silence. Biting my lip as I blurted out a meek yes with an awkward smile to boot.
And every time I said that, the same thought swirled around in my head – What is wrong with me? Why didn’t I love being pregnant?
When I announced I was pregnant, I was quickly welcomed to the club of have-been pregnant women – from my mom to her friends and my sisters. Jubilant belly rubs followed a ton of advice on breastfeeding, and I was excited! I’d finally be in on the secrets of the pregnancy world – knowledge on things like morning sickness and stretch marks that are passed only from one pregnant woman to another.
Every day my friends and friends would recount the story of their pregnant days with misty eyes and a serene smile. All I could gather from their tales was pregnancy was a state of absolute “awesomeness.” An “awesomeness” I wasn’t convinced existed while I was sitting there, losing control of my bladder and cramping so bad, everything felt like a Herculean task.
And it only became worse! The growing of my belly brought more pregnant-lady side effects – constantly blocked nose, swollen hands and feet, rapid heartbeat (in a non-threatening way), and mystery rashes that made their presence felt everywhere. I felt like I was in somebody else’s skin, not comfortable with my body anymore. All in all, nothing about pregnancy felt awesome to me!
Throughout my interactions with fellow mums, I hadn’t come across a single one who didn’t thoroughly enjoy being pregnant. That’s not to say I wasn’t grateful to be able to carry my baby; I didn’t know that it would be this uncomfortable! I kept waiting for my pride pregnancy moment to come. And honestly, I was terrified it hadn’t yet! This couldn’t be right. It’s not how normal mothers behave. I felt like I was already on the path to being an inadequate mom. And my baby wasn’t even born yet.
I tried real hard to find something about being pregnant that I could wholeheartedly love. Maybe even joy. And then one day, it happened. I loved the baby growing inside me. Unconditionally.
I felt a deep connection with my baby.
Sitting on the couch during the final months, watching and feeling her move inside me fascinated me to no end. I couldn’t believe that I was home to somebody. Something so tiny. At that point, I could finally get why every mum I know looked back at pregnancy as one of the best times of their lives. Maybe this is the “awesomeness” of pregnancy. Not the discomfort, the tiny life budding inside of you.
Five years later, I remember my pregnancy very differently from what I felt when I went through it. Wanting to be spared of the discomfort it brings does not qualify me as a bad mom. It just makes me human – a woman who doesn’t love everything about it but still loves the things that count.
Now I’m ever so grateful for the times my baby and I shared as one. And I love being a mom! I’m proud to have carried her within me and to have given birth to something so beautiful.