THIS IS PREGNANCY
If you know me, you know I’m brutally honest and unapologetically open. As of late, I’ve realized my social posts and general conversations have not been a representation of all of me, but simply just a part of me. In an effort to ward off unsolicited opinions both personally and professionally, I chose to just nod, letting things peacefully slide under the radar.
And down the rabbit hole we go, painting a pretty picture of everything’s fine and I’m always happy. A huge issue facing today’s world - social media giving us a 4x4 look into other’s glamorous lives, comfortably leaving out the 99% of moments that might not be so perfect. We’re setting bars that can’t be met and expectations that aren’t lifelike.
So I choose to break my own hypocrisy with this truth of mine…
It had been awhile since we got frisky. I was sick with an upper respiratory infection, 16-weeks pregnant and both of us working around the clock. When I straddled him on the couch, it had probably been a couple weeks since we connected this way.
It felt good, both physically and emotionally to be intimate again. Not to mention the second trimester makes everything feel heightened and intensified!
I’ve found throughout my life, most feel uncomfortable talking about sex and intimacy, some even considering it taboo. I of course am not of this thought. It is a basic primal need and connector between humans. The less we talk about it, the less comfortable we feel about it. Sex and intimacy is an expression of self, source of pleasure and continuation of life. It is what creates a relationship beyond a friendship and establishes healthy means of connection between partners. To act as if it doesn’t exist or shouldn’t be acknowledged is to disregard a major aspect of adult life.
As I started to fade into our mutual trance, I peered down and was startled by a body that did not resemble my own.
My belly swollen.
An immediate tear filled my eye and heat pulsed my body. Have you ever felt ecstasy and sorrow at the same time? Without hesitation I allowed all emotions to flow and moments after our highest point, I sobbed.
Goodness, it’s hard to explain to a man how a woman feels as her body, mind and identify is shifting.
A man will never see his body expand as it creates space for another life to emerge. He will not look in the mirror and wonder who he sees. He will never experience the rush of hormones that leave you feeling on top of the world or at your darkest point - sometimes both in the same 2 minutes. A man will never need to redefine himself. He will not need to relearn the workings or functionality of his own body. His ability to move freely will not be altered. He will not mourn the person he was to become the person he needs to be.
Interject the commoner…
“You are creating a new life, it’s magical!”
“Your body will go back to normal eventually.”
“Don’t be so negative.”
“You don’t look big, you’re glowing!”
“You should be enjoying this special time.”
“You have to sacrifice yourself for your baby.”
“Pregnancy is beautiful.”
All leaving me with the ladylike response of please, f**k off.
I was never the type of woman who dreamed of becoming a mother. It’s certainly something I want and something I’m ready for but not my end-all be-all dream. It is absurd, and unrealistically challenging, to lay the heavy weight of expectation on women that they should be happily OK with the changes experienced throughout pregnancy and beyond. Change in general is not tolerated well by most people I know, let alone the type of change that labors a new identity.
I’ve spent 32 years getting to know and strengthening this body and mind. Admitting that I struggle with the fast approaching shifts and upcoming challenges is not a weakness, nor a sign of negativity. It’s a sign of being fully alive and human. Since when is the only emotion we’re comfortable expressing and engaging with, happiness?
I believe a transition of any sort, especially that of becoming a mama, constitutes the type of situation in which we allow all emotions, without judging them to be positive or negative, bad or good, to present themselves. I, and all women, will be healthier if we process this transition rather than hide from it. To get through it, we must go through it. When we disguise or repress our truths, we lose out on some of the best experiences on earth. For, it is those truths that make us who we are, imperfectly human.
I know the outcome of this transition will be magical and I know I will soon forget the feelings I am having now. But, I refuse to not admit to them simply to please or make comfortable those around me.
This is me. This is pregnancy. And it’s all part of our beautiful human experience.