I’m normally a positive person.
When Micah lost his job a month ago (after a full-on hysterical crying episode on the kitchen floor and a trip to Labor and Delivery for stress-induced pre-term labor…followed by a couple of days of spontaneous anxiety attacks and crying bouts…I was surprisingly upbeat and genuinely content.) I knew in my heart of hearts that there was a greater plan in the works and that we would be taken care of. I trusted in God to give us what we needed to provide for this baby on the way. And so far He has. The point of this vignette is that despite my tendencies to be sarcastic and cynical, and despite my propensity to inappropriately laugh during dramatic scenes in movies, deep down at the core of my being, I truly am a look on the bright side, accentuate the positive kind of girl.
However, if one more person tells me to “enjoy this time” before the baby comes…my response will undoubtedly be SUCK IT! (and by suck it I mean thanks for the great advice, it makes me feel so much better.) I mean for real. Apparently once you get the baby in your hands you instantly forget how MISERABLE you felt prior to your little bundle’s arrival. I’m not trying to pretend that I know what it feels like to be a new parent. I have never had a string of sleepless nights due to a crying baby. I haven’t had to do round the clock feedings. I haven’t battled poor latching, breast infections or sore nipples from breastfeeding. I haven’t recovered from an episiotomy, natural tear or c-section. I haven’t had to squirt a water bottle in my lady bits as I pee to avoid the apparent stinging/burning/pain that comes post-baby. I’m not going to pretend that I understand or can even begin to comprehend how scary, challenging, exhausting and difficult the newborn phase can be for new parents. I know I will find this out with time…BUT I really don’t see how that is supposed to make me feel better right now?
It’s like having a conversation with the world’s most infuriating one-upper. You know that person. The one who you call to vent about your bad day and instead of acknowledging how rough it must have been or empathizing with your frustrations decides that the obvious response is to try to make you feel like your day wasn’t that bad by telling you about how much worse theirs was. They have an inherent need to “one-up” your misery, ultimately both belittling and infuriating you all at the same time. So to the one-uppers I say this: I get it (but suck it). Parenthood is tough. Or maybe I don’t get it cause I’m not a parent quite yet. I’m not trying to say that things will be easier once this little one comes out of my belly and into my arms. I am however saying that right now, in this moment I feel quite helpless and miserable. While some days – like today actually, I feel quite honky dory…most days are terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. (yes, I am referencing children’s books) I am swollen and achy. I can’t get comfortable no matter what position I try to be in. Sitting is uncomfortable, laying down is uncomfortable, walking is uncomfortable (sensing a theme?) I haven’t slept from the hours of 2am-6am for weeks. I have been up most nights this week with contractions that make me nauseous, get regular, close together, last about an hour and then magically disappear. I want to simultaneously punch something and cry at the same time. I want to be alone; yet, I am bored out of my mind and want to be around people who can take my mind off of the fact I’m still pregnant. I am anxious and want to get out of the house, move around, stay busy — but also I really just want to curl up, eat chocolate and sleep. I have had a great pregnancy up until about a week ago. I was glowing, active, happy, relatively ache/pain-free and feeling great…and then this happened. Like the surge of a sudden tsunami, I instantaneously was overcome with the worlds worst PMS, swelling, aching pain and bitter misery overnight.
In short, I’m over it. I’m over being pregnant. I’m ready to face some new challenges. I’m ready to not need a forklift to get off the couch. I’m ready to not have to scoot, slide, grunt and roll to get out of bed. I’m ready to be able to put on my own socks and shoes. Hell, I’m ready to see my toes. I’m ready to have my feet resemble human feet again. I’m ready to put my beautiful wedding band and engagement ring back on. I’m ready to wear clothes with real zippers and buttons. I’m ready to eat sushi, drink coffee and enjoy a glass of wine.
So…thanks for the advice. I know you mean well. I know things don’t get easier. But telling me to “enjoy this time” is like telling a little kid that they will “understand when they are older”. It’s a lame bit of advice. Perhaps you are right and after the birth all memory of this feeling will magically disappear like some sort of vague dream that I will only recall foggy, rose-colored glasses bits and pieces of. Perhaps it will be superseded by the stresses of being a new parent and I will agree that this time wasn’t that bad in hindsight. Or better yet, the feeling of holding this amazing miracle in my arms will make it all worthwhile and allow me to recall this time as “not that bad” later on. But, I’ll find that out for myself. As for right now…I don’t feel like myself. I don’t think you did either. Although perspective changes with time and experience…in this moment…if you tell me to “enjoy this time” I will have to respond with SUCK IT.