(Aside from, you know, the baby, which is end of the rainbow fantastic, and goes without saying.)
These last few months have been horrid, so as an act of gratitude to this most magical time, I thought I’d share some things that actually make it pretty good. I’m going to skip over the stock-standard eat everything you want/not worry about wobbly-belly/well-trodden topics, and focus on some things not so widely discussed, things that matter to me.
I used to be a massive crier. I would cry, as in properly cry, at least once a week. Not in a mournful, something to be concerned about way, but in a that movie was so emotional! That kid in the ad, gah! This book, argh! Why can’t they just talk to each other?! way. But then, over the years, that ability to tap in and open the floodgates got less, life grew up and got busy. I started watching things like The Walking Dead and shows about vampires, which don’t exactly lend themselves to that sweet, soft how will I ever be the same again? gut wrenching type of feeling. But with pregnancy? All of a sudden it’s like I’ve got a direct line back to that part of me. Everything makes me cry and it feels so good. I’m completely serious.
2. Blooming Kids
There are two incredible things that happen to little ones when mama is incapacitated on the couch/bed/head over a toilet/lying down on the kitchen floor having lost the will the function. First of all, their relationships bloom. My boys have been learning to help each other out so much more than they were naturally inclined to before. Now that mama can’t help as much, big brothers get the little ones milk from the fridge, little brothers help the big ones in their own ways too. Secondly, their own capacities grow, doing more for themselves, taking on more responsibility and well, growing up, I suppose. It’s empowering for them, understanding they are capable, and has a knock on effect, too: both between one another (if he can do it, I can) but also within themselves (if I can do that, then maybe I can do this too).
3. Better Friendships
Mostly, in that first trimester I become incredibly insular, and stop seeing people. However there’s also something pretty special that can happen with our friends and family when we’re not at our best. When offered help or support, I think a lot of us are quick to decline, brushing off the gesture as nice but unnecessary. Particularly as mums, as we’re used to (and skilled at) managing many lives. The thing is our friends want to be there for us. They want to pick up the slack and make us tea because it feels good physically loving those we, well, love. When we let someone care for us, there is a special kind of understanding and intimacy exchanged, and it brightens even the most exhaustingly nauseating days.
4. Beautiful Strangers
That invisible veil that normally hangs between us and others all of a sudden disappears and opportunities for connection, shared moments and stories, and compassion are everywhere. The world is a little warmer. I know for some the unwarranted advice and touchiness can feel invasive, but on the whole I feel pretty grateful to be invited into someone’s world for a moment, or let them in mine.
5. Less Energy
What I mean by this is that with my diminished physical and mental capacity, it also means that my ability to cope with everyday nonsense goes, and I have to let things go. Sometimes it’s a conscious choice, but mostly, I just can’t be bothered with it. If someone gets nasty in traffic? I’m not taking that energy on! It also means that what’s important is quickly reevaluated. Sure school is meant to start at 9am, but the occasional 9:15 start is nothing to stress over. Come to think of it, it’s a pretty good way of thinking to carry you through parenthood in general.
So these are some of the silver linings around the heavy cloud of nausea, exhaustion, heartburn, ligament pain, sleeplessness and sciatica that accompany the joyousness of growing life. FYI, I love the run of the mill yay pregnancy (!) stuff too. Like food. Food! Not that I don’t normally love food, but suddenly that love is intense and consuming (and sometimes complicated).
So any you want to add? There’s nothing quite like being thankful to remedy those hard days.