I am the first woman who has ever been pregnant.
This is the last time I will ever be pregnant.
The exact minute your period is late, you and your partner take a pregnancy test. You stare at it, anxiously, for what feels like two hours, and when you see the faded pink “positive” line show up, your excitement is beyond anything you’ve ever experienced before (and also beyond anything anyone else has ever experienced before).
You’re pretty sure your period is late. You dig up an old pregnancy test from the first go-round (since you bought approximately 7 different brands to ensure accuracy) and you take it during the 12 minutes of silence you get while your 2 year-old watches an episode of Paw Patrol.
The positive line shows up right away. You text your partner the happy news and move on with your day.
THE FIRST WEEKS
As the first few weeks of your pregnancy progress, you really begin to sense the symbiotic connection between you and your growing child.
You hold your hand firmly, and with intention, on your growing tummy.
You are an earth mother goddess, and the embodiment of creation, bounty and love. You just feel as though you understand the universe at a completely different level now.
You begin carrying yourself with a soft and effortless grace, and omitting a quiet aura of divine wisdom. Being pregnant is such a spiritual journey.
The first few weeks are a special kind of hell. You look like you are 4 months pregnant within days of finding out. You feel sick and exhausted all the time.
The double chin that made its appearance during the third trimester of your first pregnancy has already returned, but this time, it’s exponentially worse – you look, and feel, like Jabba the Hutt almost instantly.
You also feel a looming sense of terror at the thought of caring for two small humans at once, so your aura is just a blurred clusterfuck of panic, confusion and blatant fatigue.
KEEPING TRACK OF THINGS
You immediately download a pregnancy app that tracks everything from your baby’s movement and growth to exactly how your bowel movements should look. From now on, your every experience will be noted, and reported in detail to your OB-GYN.
Somehow, you have forgotten virtually everything you learned the first time around, so you download the pregnancy app, again, as a reference tool, mostly so you’re prepared when people ask you questions about the baby.
The only real thing you can remember, without fail, is your due date.
DIET & HEALTH
You fill your medicine cabinet with a variety of prenatal vitamins, and an array of other pregnancy products that are absolutely essential to yours and your baby’s health. You also manage your diet with a steadfast commitment to eating only the most wholesome, organic foods.
From this day forward, every molecule that enters your body will be beneficial to the baby’s development.
You find some left over prenatal vitamins from the last time, and when they run out, you begin taking your toddler’s gummy vitamins instead.
You’re also suddenly thankful that your toddler has managed to survive on bread and cheese alone for the past year, because it proves you can, too. It’s the silver lining that keeps you going, because not only is it less work in the kitchen, but PBJ is life for you now.
INFORMATIVE READING MATERIAL
After some considerable research, you begin reading an assortment of books that will guide your intuitive care for your baby. Your selections cover all the crucial topics, including: natural labor and birth, exclusive breastfeeding, baby meditation, baby yoga, and of course, baby dream interpretation.
It’s imperative that you connect with your baby at the deepest and most intimate level possible.
Your only source of information for the past year has been Google, and you plan to keep it that way. Why would you waste your precious time reading a book, when you can just type your questions directly into the internet, and filter through answers based on what’s easiest, and takes the least amount of time?
Plus, you already know exactly what type of hell to expect in regards to labor, birth and a newborn – that’s some shit you can never forget.
CONVERSING ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY
As your pregnancy progresses, so does your inability to not talk about it:
A family member will ask how you’re feeling, and you’ll give a detailed 30-minute response listing off all the “unique” pregnancy-related symptoms that have troubled you, to date.
A co-worker will ask how your weekend was, and you’ll tell them about your latest ultra-sound, your baby registry and how the nursery is coming along.
A stranger will glance your way, and you’ll smile, pat your belly, and let them know you’re 33 weeks along, and due in seven.
All this, plus the weekly updates you’ve been adamantly posting on social media.
The only time you talk about it is when somebody asks you something, which, so far, has mostly just been your OB-GYN, or family members pretending to care.
The only other time you bring it up is to your toddler, who needs constant reminders of the baby, and an explanation about why they can no longer drop kick you while you’re resting on the couch.
THE BABY REGISTRY
You’ve never taken anything more seriously in your entire life than your baby registry. Every item on your list is hand-selected after keenly researching its cost, quality and safety statistics. You also read through hundreds of customer reviews, just to make sure.
First on your list is a 5-inch HD video baby monitor with two cameras, sound and motion detection, room thermometer, heart sensor, oxygen level detector and WiFi. The other 127 items are of equal importance and wide-scoping ability.
You accumulated enough baby gear during your first pregnancy to accommodate quadruplets, and used approximately 10% of it. So as far as that goes, you're unconcerned.
The only new thing you have your eye on is a $1,500 all-in-one bassinet, which not only mimics your “walking and rocking” motions, but swaddles, vibrates, rotates, reclines, makes soothing white noise, and essentially tricks your baby into thinking you never put them down.
However, the only way you could possibly afford it, is if you sell every other piece of baby gear you own. The thought is intriguing, terrifying, and reliant on more time and energy than you could possibly devote.
Babies are also hard to trick.
Regardless, it remains a serious consideration.
Planning the nursery is a full-time job. It also illuminates the obvious fact that you should have been an interior designer.
You obsess over theme and color palate options. You look into which colors will best promote learning and creativity, while also considering which will offer your baby the most soothing, and stress-alleviating environment.
Once it’s finished, it looks so perfect, that you question how your baby could possibly cry from such a lovely room. You envision all the delightful memories you’ll create in there.
The nursery looks exactly as you originally designed it… had a toddler-sized tornado semi-destroyed it.
Everything is still “there,” but it’s all slightly crooked, out-of-place and worn-down looking – like many hectic, sleepless, tear-filled nights have taken place in there.
You shudder with the flashbacks, and pray your next baby has a higher chill level... and can live in an environment where everything is stained and partially broken.
You sleep whenever you’re tired (which is all the time), and during your restful slumbers, you dream of the type of mother you will be: patient, but not a push over; fun, but still sensible; firm, but never overbearing; wise, but not all-assuming; calm and composed; and of course, always, always exceptionally loving.
Whenever you wake, you feel relaxed and revitalized – ready to continue on with your magical pregnancy journey.
You’re tired 100% of the time, but quality sleep has become almost impossible thanks to a combination of reasons that work against you like some sort of menacing alarm clock.
If one thing isn’t keeping you awake, than another thing is, and they alternate with an accuracy that’s infuriating - nothing EVER happens at the same time, it's always one after the other.
Items preventing you from sleep are: extreme discomfort, your partner snoring, heartburn, you have to pee, you get a leg cramp, your toddler wakes up crying, your unborn child decides it’s party time, you have to pee (again), your partner has to pee, your toddler has to pee.
Every single night is a torturous never-ending cycle that simultaneously flies by before you’ve even had time to rest.
As your pregnancy reaches its end, you begin to reflect on motherhood, and all the wonderful things it entails.
In fact, the more you ponder, the clearer it becomes, and the easier it seems. It’s all so obvious when you think about it!
Why do so many parents complain about it all the time? Clearly, they just don’t get it, because based on what you’ve read, it’s all very straight forward.
You’re confident you’ll create a calm and comforting atmosphere for you and your baby to harmoniously coexist in.
When you omit peace vibes into your environment, the rest will fall into place naturally, it’s as simple as that.
Your original illusions of embodying the perfect mother have long dissolved from your awareness, and been replaced with a single primary objective: sleep. It’s literally one of the only things you will aim to accomplish, aside from providing the absolute essentials of food, clothing and shelter (and clothing is optional).
In fact, when it comes to your thoughts on motherhood, you try not to think of it too often, because you often end up a) confusing yourself, or b) disappointing yourself – you have yet to meet any of your original standards, so the topic is better left avoided, lest you cause yourself some sort of self-induced panic attack.
It’s so much easier to live with the reality of your situation if you just ignore the reality of your situation, which is pure mediocrity. "It is what it is" is your new life mantra.
As different as your outlook is, one thing remains unchanged: you know you’re going to be head-over-heels, deliriously delighted, tickled pink, over the-moon, on cloud nine, crazy in love with your teeny tiny bundle of joy, no matter how much they tested you during your pregnancy.
You heart will sing with joy, and sometimes lunacy, but no matter what, the love is great, and it will always, always sustain you. As long as there's a little sleep somewhere in the middle of it all...