When considering getting pregnant, I did a lot of research. I spoke with my friends who had kids, browsed the Mayo Clinic website and babycenter.com and even tried to read What to Expect When You’re Expecting. I found long lists of pregnancy symptoms, including vomiting, gas, heartburn, and loss of bladder control. Every source made sure to mention that not every woman experiences all these symptoms and each suffers to her own degree–except they didn’t say suffers. Outside the laundry list of disorders your baby could be born with, they used no negative language at all. And there were pictures of babies. Hundreds and hundreds of babies.
Now, I’m not blaming any of the women I spoke to for playing down the discomfort of pregnancy if that’s what they did, for wanting to seem tough. I also expect that some of them forgot how bad it was. And I’m sure I know people who didn’t suffer at all. My mother, for example, told me that there comes a point during pregnancy when you feel healthier than you’ve ever felt before. I’ve heard women say they loved being pregnant. I believe them. I also believe that between the passage of time and the hormones that supposedly flood a woman’s brain to make her forget the pain of childbirth, many women truly can’t recall the bad stuff. Even now, as I move into my second trimester, I’m starting to forget exactly what my stomach felt like for the past three months. I mostly have the description I kept repeating to my husband: My stomach felt like a wet paper bag. All. Day. Long.
But I knew from the beginning I might have “morning” sickness (can someone rename that, please?). I expected the bathroom would become my most frequented room in the house, and I was right. What I didn’t expect was this feeling of uselessness.
I’m slower than I used to be: my gait, my wit, my decision-making. I’m clumsier and sleepier and I can’t carry heavy objects without hurting myself, which is especially tough since my husband and I are moving into a new house. Heavy boxes give me heartburn, gas, and seem to have strained a muscle in my buttocks. I carry small things to the car one at a time, like a child. Come Saturday, when we have the moving truck, I’ll barely be able to help at all, and yet I’ll most likely be as exhausted as my husband and the friend he rooked into helping move the furniture. And at the end of it, I can’t even have a beer.
But somehow, I find all this fascinating. It’s a part of the human experience I never knew much about before. I feel like I’m doing research as well as gestating life. No one ever told me what a relief it is to see your baby move during an ultrasound, to know for sure before you can feel it that it’s really alive inside you, or how nausea can be a comfort because it’s a sign the pregnancy is going well. For the first time ever, I want my belly to grow. I don’t really care that I’m fat.
I am feeling better now than I was in my first trimester, and maybe soon I’ll be feeling that kick-ass, Wonder Woman glow I’ve been hearing about. I’m excited to find out.