I’m pregnant! Yahoo! Yippee! God is good!
My enthusiasm here is real, although the exclamation points might be a little much, considering I’ve been puking for more than a month now.
I am happy and exceedingly grateful though. Yet, there remains a nagging question in my heart: How come, as in my previous two pregnancies, I’m not basking in baby bliss?
When I first found out I was pregnant back in early August, I was thrilled. I shared the news with my husband, and we hugged and celebrated. There was no ambivalence coming from him. He was clearly thrilled. When we told Madeline, her face lit up. “I can’t believe it,” she said. “This is awesome.”
And it was. And it still is. But right now the best word I can think of to describe my overall feeling is blah.
I’m not trying to be negative. Actually, I’m trying to be positive. But that’s the problem: Why do I have to try to be positive about something as miraculous as another baby?
Is it because I have no hope of ever looking like a pregnant-with-twins Angelina Jolie? (If I try wearing slinky, black Lycra topics, I fear I’ll look more like a killer whale than chic.) Is it because this was a surprise pregnancy – a direct result of Baby Rae’s sudden five-day nursing strike that kicked my fertility into gear? Or is it because I feel like I’ve been flattened by a Mack truck – that’s how tired I am – or that I have all-day sickness that leads to heaving several times a day?
Pregnancy is supposed to be a time of excited anticipation and while I don’t think I necessarily glowed during my previous pregnancies, I didn’t find myself unexpectedly crying at the weirdest moments like when my preschooler and I are dancing to Tingo Layo. Instead of wondering if the little, beautiful shrimp that’s floating inside of my womb will grow up to be a Broadway showtune crooner like her older sister or if she’s really a he, I find myself wondering how will I possibly be able to manage three kiddos under four in a townhouse that’s about to turn into major Sardinesville?
What’s worse is these less-than-blissful-feelings lead to guilt. What’s wrong with me? Babies are always, always blessings and something to be celebrated.
And what about all my friends who have struggled with infertility for years and are praying for a surprise pregnancy? They’d pay to throw up every day if it meant they had a chance to bring a child into the world. Or my other countless friends who have suffered the loss of a miscarriage. How can I question this gift?
I can’t really explain why I’m feeling this way, but I’ve decided I have to be honest. I’ve been avoiding sharing my news and more specifically, my ambivalence with others because I don’t want to come off as ungrateful or solipsistic, but then I thought about my maternal malaise and how I’m so desperately trying to rid myself of it or hide it from others (besides my husband and mom whom I always reveal my true self to), how I’m trying to fake that glow and smile through the vomiting, and I realized that if I’m feeling less than joyful during a time of my life that’s supposed to be, well, joyful, then chances are, there’s another mom-to-be out there who feels (or has felt) the same way. And, like me, she’s probably afraid to admit pregnancy is making her feel anything but full of life.
Fortunately, I have found there are times when I’m able to wade through the sludge that’s weighing me down and to see the other side – how in a few months, I’ll be holding another tiny treasure, gazing at the wonder of him or her – a miracle of soft breaths and hummingbird heartbeats, a vessel of hopes and dreams.
All daylong I feel sick with nausea, but there are many, many moments when I feel sick with love, too. It’s this love for my kids, including my smallest one growing inside of me that gets through me the day. That same love wakes me up when I’d rather be sleeping. It forces me to eat something nutritious and high in protein when I’d rather be chugging Ginger Ale and noshing on Saltines (or dark chocolate). It’s my love for my children that makes me a better mom and a better person.
So, to my little surprise, thank you for shaking my life up a bit and reminding me of what’s really important. Now, could you please stop making me feel so queasy? I love you and am already counting the days until you fill my arms.