Truth be told, I hated being pregnant. Like, hated it so much that The Beau and I still go back on forth about whether we will have more children. I know we’ll have at least one more–probably–but not yet–maybe–of course–well, who knows. And yes, pregnancy is just one small detail to a lifetime of joy from a child, but our child is also 2.5 years old. She is yelling at me at this very moment, because the Roku from which I am streaming Sesame Street keeps pausing to reload–the end of the world for a toddler. So yes, a “joy.”
Inspired by the many conversations I have often with my friends–those who do not want children, those trying for their first, or those well into growing their little families–I am sharing my four categories of motherhood**–at least in my perspective.*
You are actively recovering from the very recent birth of your child and just trying to stay awake and keep the tiny human alive. This could technically apply to all the stages, but in this instance you truly fear this is your only duty each and every day, with complete disregard for brushing your hair, doing the laundry or caring whether you’ll ever fit into your favorite pair of jeans again.
In this stage you are filled with anxiousness, panic, fear and complete worry over whether you will ever again will be a normal functioning human being, capable of an adult conversation.
You are gearing up for the birth of your next child or actively trying to create more–whether it be your first or your fifth.
In this stage you are filled with hope, joy, excitement and anticipation. You either have not experienced the turmoil of pregnancy or labor,* or have actively forgotten to consciously procreate.
You are now pregnant and glowing, or have just given birth in the most miraculous of fashions. The difference for those in this category is that you were granted the experience of a beautiful, blissful child-bearing adventure and cannot even begin to imagine how someone such as me could say something so offensive as, “I hate pregnancy.”
It is after all a beautiful, magical experience and those of us tortured by the experience must either be horrible beings, or super weak in dealing with morning sickness, being uncomfortable, or the agony of birth and labor. Chances are you are also someone who had newborn photos taken in the hospital, and somehow look better now than you did before 5-10 hours of pushing out that 7-pound bowling ball of love.
In this stage you are filled with complete happiness, ecstatic with the miracle of life, and overwhelmed with joy by God’s gift. There is a very good chance you have not gained a tremendous amount of pregnancy weight, are loving the changes to your body, and find you are more beautiful now then ever before. …Bite me.
If you are in this category, there is a very good chance you were either blessed with wonderful baby-making genes, were really lucky with your experience, or had a very tortured experience trying to conceive or give birth to a healthy baby, and so are happily overwhelmed, rightfully so, by the joy and miracle of birth.
You are in between babies, haunted by your last experience. You politely smile when people ask if there will be news of another child, soon on the way. Secretly, or not so secretly, you love not being tortured by the agony of trying for another child, politely pretending to enjoy baby-gender guessing games, listening to endless stories of “When I was pregnant,” and fearlessly enjoying raw fish or that second martini.
In this stage you are happy and content, but you live behind a mask of pretending that pregnancy and child-raising is your sole purpose in life. You find yourself politely nodding when others ask if you cannot wait for more children, and sigh with relief when your significant other helps you out to say, “We’re waiting”–allowing you to take a break from appearing once again as the heartless, evil woman you must be in the eyes of fellow mothers eagerly preparing for a child.
And though you fully support your friends who both want more children or no children at all, you awkwardly and inappropriately blurt out with laughter when someone tells you she is expecting. Of course, you follow it immediately with “How wonderful and exciting!” But on the inside you are still laughing–as a subconscious response to your own moment of panic and fear at the thought of more children.
It’s not that you’re a terrible person, but rather the experience was so terrible the first time that even a glimpse into the idea of more children is revolting–thus causing you to laugh inappropriately at those actively hoping to pursue such torture. So next time your one-child friend laughs when you bring up children, smile politely as you relish in knowing that your experience has [probably] been far less terrible. After all, laughter is often used as a defense mechanism and in this instance, just an extra layer of birth control for some.
*Today’s post is meant to be light-hearted and entertaining and in no way is meant to demean those whose experiences have been far more challenging or heartbreaking.
**There are potentially 20 categories of motherhood. I’m sure in due time I will write about the remaining 16+ categories I have chosen to ignore for the sake of brevity.