To all the women I’ve met who claimed to love every moment of their pregnancy, I have this to say: You lie. You like like rugs. Or maybe you just weren’t nine months pregnant smack dab in the middle of winter? Or maybe you just don’t know what it feels like to truly feel well – I suppose that’s a possibility. Regardless, while I am over the proverbial moon about this little girl of mine, I don’t feel ashamed in admitting that this last month of pregnancy has been a humdinger, and I am unabashedly looking forward to labor.
Probably I was spoiled with how well the first 7 1/2 months of the pregnancy rolled along. I admit I possessed a bit of hubris – while I experienced nausea typical of the first trimester and one scary bleeding incident that placed me on a week of bedrest, for the most part I tripped my way through the majority of this pregnancy with a lot of luck – I benefited from the increased pregnancy metabolism and didn’t gain too much weight, I didn’t suffer from back pain and thus wore high heels daily, as well as cute pregnancy outfits like navy dresses and short sweaters, and I felt, on a day to day basis, quite well and found myself baffled when the main question everyone asked me became “How are you feeling?” instead of ” How are you?” It almost seemed, at times, that people wanted me to feel poorly – or maybe just wanted to be let into my pregnancy a bit – and so I would honestly say that I found myself more tired than usual, but otherwise fine.
I think things first took a turn for the worse when I stopped exercising except for walking. I found anything besides a walk – from prenatal yoga to swimming – a trigger for terribly uncomfortable Braxton Hicks contractions and, since I am on my feet quite often for my job, I decided to cut myself some slack and take a break from workouts until after the baby is born. Probably a sound decision for my physical health and the health of my baby but also the first in a series of steps that has led me to feel more “not-me” than I ever thought possible.
I’ve already written about the second mishap – breaking my metatarsal bone at the beginning of month eight – so I won’t recount that incident again except to say beyond taking away my mobility for a couple of weeks it took away my shoe collection, which was a huge blow…now for comfort and safety I stuff my feet into my well-worn Uggs, either pushing my pant legs up or pulling them over the boots, neither of which is a particularly attractive look given how short-legged I am. This new development has also eliminated my sweater dresses as viable clothing options since obviously, the sweater dresses NEED the high heels to be a complete look.
In addition to stealing my shoe collection, the break also meant instead of running my usual errands I had to stay off my foot for several weeks. Since I wasn’t going to work because of doctor’s orders I thought it would be pretty unprofessional to keep my highlight and waxing appointments for this month, and obviously getting a pedicure was entirely out of the question, and so now I have dark brown roots practically down to my ears (because the hair, it is growing like gang busters), eyebrows so bushy they rival my dad’s and rough, unpolished feet. That I have to place in stirrups. Weekly. Only to have my doctor sigh and say I could have this baby tomorrow or two weeks from now, there really is no way to tell.
Yesterday, I awoke with a head cold, and a puffy red eye ( this happens occasionally – it’s not pink eye – just really really dry eye). Instead of contacts, I’m wearing my glasses. I’m blowing my nose approximately every second. When I am not moisturizing my mid-winter dry skin with cocoa butter I’m squeezing eyedrops into my drippy eye while my daughter does hand stand on my cervix without showing any intention whatsover of vacation the premises. I think she is holding on with mad glee to her due date of Super Bowl Sunday so she can steal attention away from the Steelers.
Women who tell you they’ve never felt better than when pregnant? I will say it again. LIARS. I haven’t even been cursed with some of the more routine pregnancy disturbances like heart burn and, well, other unmentionable discomforts but I am here to tell you late-stage pregnancy isn’t a cakewalk. The sad thing is I realize women in third world countries do this all the time, with absolutely none of the comforts my first-world lifestyle allows. I realize women have babies without receiving adequate nutrition, water, healthcare – women have babies without proper roofs over their heads, and here I am complaining about shoes and sweater dresses.
I know I should probably feel ashamed of myself for allowing these shallow concerns to influence my last few days carrying my daughter. What I look like – what I feel like – should pale in comparison to the fact that I am carrying a full-grown baby inside me. And sometimes, it does. I cannot wait to meet this little girl. But others? Well, as I limp along in my worn out Uggs, pulled up over leggings or some other just-as-bad fashion decision, my bushy eyebrows beating against the rims of my glasses, my hair morphing from blonde curls into brown dreadlocks no matter how much conditioning and coming I do, well – I think it’s okay to admit that how I look, for better or worse, does affect how I feel, and it’s okay to begin thinking about the time, the time beyond this pregnancy, when my baby is physically here and I maybe I haven’t yet gotten back to blonde or returned to my high-heeled way of life, but perhaps my nose has stopped running and my eye has stopped dripping and I am able to perform a few sun salutations in my living room and during those salutations I will form an intention, and that intention will be this: to never, ever tell another pregnant woman that being pregnant is the best she will ever feel.