Feeling so out-of-control of everything the past few weeks has really brought to light some secrets buried deep in my heart. Dark, ugly secrets. Like, how prideful I am as a pregnant woman.
I see this picture I posted on my Instagram feed some months back and cringe. The heart of it was so braggy…so self-centered.
You see, secretly, I felt that the easiness of my first pregnancy was all due to me. I ate good, tried to stay active, and purposed to stay positive through it all. My feet barely swelled, heartburn was non-existent, and I delivered a healthy baby boy at 40 weeks, 1 day with no Pitocin, no epidural, and a less than 10 hour labor. Motherhood ended up being far more challenging than I expected, but I loved it and eventually thrived as a stay-at-home mom.
Then I became pregnant with Baby #2. I expected nothing less than the easy pregnancy I’d had before. I planned on staying healthy and active, keeping up my garden, being an amazing mother to my toddler, and babywearing until the very end, when I’d go in and deliver another healthy baby with a short, easy labor. I would be even more prepared this time. I knew what to expect. This wasn’t my first rodeo.
As the weeks of my pregnancy went on, I found myself slowly losing more-and-more of the “control” I thought I had. First, one of the ventricles in Baby Girl’s brain was slightly enlarged (which, thankfully, resolved itself). Then, excessive contractions and cramping almost landed me in the hospital at 25 weeks. I found myself having to go much slower than with my first pregnancy. We had to turn down outings with friends, for fear that the heat and walking would be too much for me. I tried to pace myself, but still found myself pushing…perhaps too much. Heartburn and breathlessness plagued me incessantly.
Still, I had some control. I was going to be ready. I had lists made of what all needed to be done before baby came. They included everything from deep cleaning the house to making freezer meals to packing everyone’s bags to being stocked up on paper plates.
Every shred of control was lost when I found myself hospitalized with preterm labor at 35 weeks, 3 days. I was sent home to face the daunting challenge of strict bedrest for the next week and half. All of my best laid plans went down the tubes. At night, I’d hear my son crying for me and just ache, knowing that I could not go to him…that someone else would have to. I found my independent self having to rely on others just to bring me water, change my son’s diaper, or find the extra box of cereal in the kitchen. I had time to think…and I thought a lot.
I thought about how prideful I had been. I thought about how nothing, as it turns out, had ever been in my control…nothing was due to my superior actions as a pregnant woman. This had been a hard pregnancy, with unexpected twists and turns, and it was okay to admit that. It was okay to embrace that, knowing that nothing I had experienced this go around made me less or more of a woman or a mother.
Right now, my baby carriers are collecting dust, my garden lays fallow, and my son is having to learn that Mama can only do so much today. At 37 weeks, 2 days, I wait in limbo…waiting for the arrival of my so very wanted baby girl. I no longer have any expectations of what her birth will be like. At this point, my once decidedly-pro-natural-childbirth self would even welcome a C-section, if it meant that I would have my little girl in my arms at last and that this pregnancy and everything that comes with it would be over.
Today, I know that I’m not “Super Pregnant Mommy”. Today, I feel very out-of-control. Today, I know that that’s perfectly okay.