Get a group of ladies together and you are sure to eventually hear talk of having babies. And as sure as you will hear talk of having babies, you will hear talk of what pregnancy was like for each woman. Many of these stories sound like something out of a war memoir. In fact, if you stay long enough, they will begin to try to outdo one another.
“My back hurt so bad, I had to sleep with 5 pillows!”
“Well, my back hurt so bad, I had to sleep in the recliner!”
“Well, my back hurt so bad, I didn’t sleep at all!”
“My morning sickness was so bad, I lost 10 pounds!”
“Well, my morning sickness was so bad, I took anti-nausea meds!”
“Well, my morning sickness was so bad, I lost 20 pounds because I couldn’t keep the anti-nausea meds down!”
It’s not that we mean to get into this little competition of sorts, it’s just that we are certain no one had it as rough as we did and somehow we must prove it…even if we have to embellish just a wee bit. And honestly, there are some of us, who don’t need to embellish a single bit to have quite the war, I mean pregnancy, story to tell.
But, is all this dreary exchange of the worst “this” and the worst “that” really a constructive use of our time? Does it help us in any way? Not really. In fact, I would submit that it actually makes things
Case in point…
With my first baby, I spent the last 2 months wishing it was over. Let me tell you that was a LONG 2 months!
With my second child, I had horrid, awful morning sickness. I was terribly depressed because of it, an emotional train-wreck. In fact, I nearly went through with having my tubes tied so I would never, ever have to do that again.
Then, a 3 year gap in babies. During that unexpected time, I learned much. One thing I learned was from a friend who was carrying her first child. She NEVER complained. Even when she went long overdue, she NEVER complained. Some of the women who knew her would whisper about how she was too good to be true and they didn’t know how she could possibly be content and be that overdue. Her answer to their incredulous looks of pity sounded something like this, “I don’t mind. Baby will come when it is time.” However, as her friend, I knew she hurt. Her hips were creaking, her back was always out of place, and she had endured the same horrid morning sickness that I had. However, she was bound and determined to enjoy every second of growing this new little life.
What I gleaned from her contentment was a new outlook on handling my own pregnancies. And when I became pregnant just a few months after she gave birth to her son, I CHOSE to adopt a positive outlook despite the difficulties that lie ahead.
In fact, looking back, I KNOW my pregnancy with our third child was by far, the most difficult. The morning sickness kept me on the couch until 20 weeks, the anti-nausea meds did nothing to help. I had horrible Restless Legs Syndrome to the point I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning bouncing on my birthing ball until with legs so exhausted and weak, I would literally fall into bed. I had hemorrhoids that required pain meds, and a host of other “issues” that need not be mentioned here lest they embarass the writer beyond recovery. Had I not worked very hard to stay positive and happy, I could have tumbled into the miry-clay of self-pity and really, no one would have faulted me one little bit.
But, instead, I made the best of everything. I even performed in a Broadway Revue where I sang “Broadway Baby” in all my 8 1/2 months of glory. I kept a smile on my face and happy words on my lips. If nothing else, I was convincing myself that this was a good pregnancy…an easy pregnancy. By golly, I could do this again!
And that, my dear readers, is the true moral of this story. What good does it do us to wallow in our aches and pains? Does it truly help to recount every awful moment of our pregnancy to anyone who stands near us more than 2 seconds? What do our other children learn from our belly-achin’? Mama hates having babies? Babies are horrible little parasites? Pregnancy is nothing but pain that ends in pain so we can bring the little pain home to live?
Not that I think it is wrong to share and empathize and occasionally vent, but to spend our entire pregnancies lamenting every single aspect of growing a baby doesn’t show a whole lot of gratitude to the Giver of Life. These little blessings aren’t just blessings once they get here, they are blessings from the very beginning. So many people forget to enjoy their pregnancies. From the positive test to the first push, they are just itchin’ to get it all over with.
But, what would happen if you actually tried to enjoy your pregnancy? What would happen if you put a smile on your face and looked for the good instead of dwelling on the bad? What would happen if when someone suggested you must be miserable you said in return, “Oh no! I LOVE being pregnant!” No, there wouldn’t be a long exchange of war stories. No, you couldn’t let them know just how horrible you actually feel. But, imagine your testimony. You feel BLESSED to be carrying a child, not BURDENED! When the whole nation sees children as a pain to be endured, you see them as a privilege to be held…inside as well as outside.
Drink those moments in, ladies! Consider all the beauty of pregnancy. Stop dwelling on every single ache and pain. Treasure those kicks. Enjoy the fringe benefits of being pregnant…the naps no one questions, the best seat in the house, the ready-made tray table, also known as your belly! It truly can be a beautiful time in your life, but you have to resolve to practice a little mind over matter…or in this case, mind over belly!