I always dread asking for the bathroom when I’m pregnant because, suddenly, I become a cliche.
Oh! She’s pregnant! Of COURSE she needs to pee! Get this girl to the bathroom!
But, actually, I have to go to the bathroom because I’m a human. In fact, I bet you’ve used the bathroom today. Maybe even more than me; you know how bad I am at drinking enough water.
This is the best I can do when it comes to maternity photos. David took it, and I think he did a great job capturing our reality — a little off kilter, a little hazy, and there’s Mary Virginia, always trying to figure out how to get juuuust a bit closer to Mama.
I’m 31 weeks pregnant. That’s well over half-way, but I still feel like I have a long way to go. In that remaining time, I’m trying to make an effort to limit complaints. Yes, yes, I’m already tired when I wake up in the morning and by the end of the day I’m achy. None of my clothes fit and I’m tired. I know I already said that, but it’s worth saying again. I’m exhausted. That’s my top pregnancy symptom. That and the enormous belly.
I’m trying to not complain because in the big wide world of pregnancy I feel great. I’m fine and the baby is fine with no known complications. I have nothing to complain about, not one blasted thing.
If you’ve read this blog for a while or even, say, 30 seconds the following statement won’t come as a surprise — complaining comes really naturally to me. On a spectrum of complainer to cheerful, I’m sitting squarely on the left with the other cynics, rolling my eyes at all the optimists. But just because complaining comes naturally, that doesn’t mean complaining is good or helpful.
In the past few weeks I’ve thought a lot about what a profound privilege and blessing this pregnancy is. And more, how fleeting it is. I’ll only be pregnant with this baby once, then it will be here, then it will grow and the next thing I know it will throw a plate of pancakes on the floor because I cut them up too small or too big or because I cut them up in the first place.
I want to enjoy it, all of it –from the pregnancy to the pancakes on the floor. So that starts now, with the heaviness, the weariness, with all that comes with giving my body over to the life that is growing inside it. The whole process is a privilege.
There are days when I’m so busy I don’t notice the baby moving until at night when I’m still and the house is finally quiet. Then, I lay down and I feel him tossing and turning. The movement feels frustrated, like when you’re in coach on a long flight and you keep shifting and flailing in an effort to get comfortable and get some sleep already…in my belly.
I remember my first pregnancy (I was tired and huge back then, too) when I spent so much time with my hand on my belly, smiling and wondering at the life growing, and what the next few years would hold. I barely do that this time. Instead, I’m so quick to groan about sweeping the floor for the fifth time today, or feel irritated at the effort of lifting my toddler into a swing again. But that’s the wonderful chaos that this baby is being born into. Instead of an over-protective, unsure Mommy, this baby has four people who cannot wait to meet it.
Ever since Tom and I got married, we’ve wanted a family together. And when David doesn’t want to sit at the dinner table with Mary Virginia because she’s looking at him, I remind him, “David, we’re a family. Part of being a family is eating dinner together SO SIT DOWN, EAT YOUR SPAGHETTI, AND BE QUIET!”
When I’m lifting that toddler into the swing, I have to remind myself, we’re a family — a growing family — and this is my role in the family. I’m the mama. Yes, I’m tired and achy and grumpy, but when I look at my belly and imagine the life that will join us soon, I can’t help but think I’ve got the best gig.