It’s amazing how much I DID NOT want to write or post this, how much I don’t want to be identified as pregnant, and how desperate I am to avoid the subject, or frame it like I did in this post highlighting only the quaint, and sweet, and charming parts.
I guess I hit a turning point the last week or so. We attended a cousin’s wedding, and after the twelfth person asked to touch my belly, inquired after the baby’s gender, and wondered whether or not I was excited (I honestly contemplated the answers, “can I touch yours?” “genderless” and “of course not” just to change it up), I realized
I'M PREGNANT A.F. I mean, duh. But, really. It’s real now, the subject is unavoidable, and there are so many feels. So, here we go.
The bottom line is, as much as I don't want to talk about being pregnant, I need to talk about fear. And control. And shame.
See, I don't want to talk about my pregnancy because honestly, I'm scared of what you think. I'm ashamed of my own thoughts and feelings, embarrassed by my own humanness, and so desperate to just mindfuck my way out of this sometimes.
I’ve been in the camp that judged the belly bump pics. I’ve also been in the opposite camp with the gals secretly trying to get pregnant, longing to take their own belly bump pics while they cried in private over every negative pregnancy test. I’ve been the hater on the mommy blogs. And I bitched for a whole week after attending my first prenatal yoga class because I couldn’t stand being identified with the "expecting mommy club" talking about every cramp, weird odor, body fluid, stretch mark and nipple cream. I’ve judged so hard on both sides of the fence.
The truth is, it’s humbling to actually be here, now. It’s humbling to sit in bed at night, and instead of reading a thrilling sci-fi novel, I’m researching GBS (don’t ask) and learning about the thrilling anal/vaginal swab test coming up in the next three weeks. I’m getting shots in my ass cheek, and answering questions about hemorrhoids. My body is not my own, and I don’t get to walk away. These are real parts of my experience, and others’ experiences, and while I’m embarrassed to talk about them, I understand why other women do. The shame I feel about grossing people out, and not wanting to feel weird, or be isolated as a freak, probably motivates a lot of women to band together over shared symptoms.
I don’t want to talk about ANY OF IT because I don’t want to be judged. I don’t want to be recruited into any mommy clubs, and at the same time don’t want to be excluded by the “normal” people. I want to put on the baggiest clothes I have, and hide out in my apartment writing about tea, and fresh flowers, and the cute shit I’ll wear sometime in October. I want control.
Of course, I can’t control how people will respond to me talking about being pregnant. I can’t control my health or the health of my little dude. I don’t know how labor or delivery will go, and yes I’m scared. I don’t know how to be a parent, and reading the books doesn’t reassure me as much as I wish it would. I’m not in control of anything—my body, the pregnancy, or his precious life. I’m not in control of what other people think about my experience. I’m along for the ride.
I don’t even want to acknowledge it. When I do, I’ll have to surrender to all the unknowns. The dam will break, and I might not stop crying.
I remind myself, this is what I want. I don’t want the scripted life. I don’t want a life I can control, and predict, and manipulate. I don’t want safety. I don’t want comfortable or easy. I want to feel alive. I want the most overwhelming, powerful love I can experience… *and the dam breaks* …let me tell you, that’s what I’ve got. It’s terrifying, and overwhelming, and it’s reducing me to my most raw, messy, and vulnerable self. I can let the shame take over sometimes. Shame about not being good enough, about being able to have a baby when other people can’t, about the days I hate being pregnant. I can let fear and shame drive that need for control, and again and again reality is there relentlessly withholding it.
This is what I want. To surrender. To lose this self to find the Maddie whose heart is even bigger, whose life is filled with more love than this self could ever contain. I’m an ever-expanding package of skin, bones, and a shocking amount of pumping blood that can hardly contain all these feelings. I’m being broken wide open.
So, if you ask, I may talk about weird symptoms and joke about my big belly, or try to change the subject to try to convince you that there’s more to my life than being pregnant, a desperate attempt to convince you and me that I’m still in control. But the most honest answer is:
My name is Maddie, and I’m learning to surrender. I’m on the brink of a transformation there’s no coming back from, and I will be someone different on the other side. This Maddie’s days are numbered. On my best days I rest gently on the sea of uncertainty, and on my worst I’m drowning in it. I chose this. I’m thrilled. I’m overwhelmed by love. I’m humbled. It’s the most beautiful, terrifying, uncomfortable, intense thing I’ve ever experienced…thank you for genuinely caring, and yes, you can touch my belly.