When Life Happens



A bit more of a personal update to share, in case you are at all interested: I am currently “with child” (as the lady in my building’s mailroom so sweetly put it when she refused to let me carry my own packages back up to my apartment.)

I have had lots of thoughts over the past 4 months (since I figured it out — took a month to cop on to what my body was doing, so I am 5 months along now.) I haven’t yet managed to organize them, perhaps because I’m still processing this very bizarre and also very natural thing that has happened, so here are 25 errant thoughts on being a pregnant writer (and woman):

1. Writing more frequently than usual has really helped me maintain a sense of normalcy and self.

2. I feel like my cats know what’s up. One likes to sit directly on my tummy and purr, while the other seems to like to poke at me there with her paw.

3. When you can’t drink all the wine, eat all the baked potatoes (my only real craving so far.)

4. Please don’t comment on my body, unless it’s to say, “You look great.” I know I’m getting bigger, I don’t know if I’m “big enough,” I know my stomach isn’t the only thing getting larger, and I don’t like the attention.

5. People on public transportation give up their seats to pregnant women about 50% of the time. 9 times out of 10, a woman will get up before a man. 10 times out of 10, the man who gets up will be a man of color. I’m serious; not a single white man has gotten up for me throughout my pregnancy.

6. Pregnancy pillow are huge and cumbersome and 10000% worth it.

7. Going to the beach isn’t the best confidence-booster for me, but swimming in the ocean makes it all worth it.

8. I am terrified of giving birth. But also looking forward to not being pregnant anymore.

9. I am also terrified of what having a child will do to my writing time. That sounds selfish, but it’s the truth.

10. I am also terrified of breastfeeding. It’s supposed to be hard.

11. But I’m also kind of enjoying rearranging my little apartment to make room for a third person. TBD how the 1 bedroom apartment situation (with no bedroom door) works out with 3 humans and 2 cats.

12. I really hope people don’t gift me tons of bulky stuff I don’t need.

13. I really hope this baby is a decent sleeper.

14. I really hope this baby likes to read.

15. I really hope this baby is healthy.

16. I really hope I stay healthy.

17. I really hope I don’t mess up being a mom.

18. I want to read to my baby in French. What books should I buy (other than Le Petit Prince, of course)?

19. I miss France. I want to go to France before the baby but am having enough stress every day on the Path train. I don’t think I could handle a flight right now.

20. God, how I miss bourbon. And scalding hot baths. And owning more than 5 dresses that fit.

21. Then again, it’s kind of nice to not have a lot of options in the morning. And also not giving a shit that my coworkers see me wearing the same clothes week after week.

22. Then again, it would be nice to have a few more things that fit. Where can I get clothes that work on petite, short, pregnant women, that are not form-fitting, but don’t make me look like a little blimp?

23. I do not understand women who say things like, “I love being pregnant.” Don’t get me wrong; I’m grateful I was able to do this, and I don’t mean for this to be disrespectful or hurtful to anyone out there struggling. And I do want a family. I know that. But for me, it’s a means to an end, not an experience I particularly like. I think it’s the general discomfort, my anxiety and hypochondria acting up every time I get a weird sensation or pain or errant “what if THIS goes wrong?” thought, the aforementioned things I can no longer do (drink, take baths, fit in clothes), and the weird amount of attention you get from both friends and strangers when you walk around looking pregnant.

24. To ground and comfort myself I have found myself sticking to old faves: rereading favorite books, rewatching favorite shows. And not letting myself feel guilty about not “trying something new.”

25. Drinking enough water every day is ESSENTIAL to feeling good(ish). Just put up with the number of times you have to get up and pee.

… how about you? Have you been pregnant? What helped you get through it? Are you a writer who is also a parent (who also has a full-time job?) How do you make the time? Give me alllll your advice!

Photo by Nynne Schrøder on Unsplash

4 thoughts on “When Life Happens

  1. Congratulations!!

    I lived my life “backwards” having a military career first and then having my son at age 41. You really can’t prepare mentally. The thing is, having a child changes who you are. That little person will make you feel things you never dreamed of. This coming from a person not known for her nurturing skills! (I was always the tough, non-sympathetic one at work.)

    I was prepared for a long labour, ended up with a short not so bad labour but delivery took forever. I thought it was going to be 20 – 30 minutes of pushing, turned out to be 3 hours! Every person’s story is different, I didn’t let people tell me their’s because it will not help. Take the natural birthing class because even if you plan on the epidural you will get good information. (And just in case you can’t get the epidural, it happens.)

    Breast feeding is really hard and from what I found your best chance for success is to a have a lactation coach or nurse help you from the beginning. Wish I had done that.

    My motto to live by is ‘women can have it all, but they can’t have it all at once’. So focus on your new baby the first few months (at least until they sleep through the night) and then decide how you want your life to be. Your life will still be there but your baby will grow up and you don’t want to miss those first few cuddly months. Once they start walking and talking you will be glad for short breaks from them! That’s when you get your partner to take them to the park so you can write for an hour. Or you get up a little early on Sat morning for writing time. The hard part will be making the writing time sacred and not getting sucked into doing any of the myriad of other things there will be to do (laundry, dishes, clean up will never be done!)

    Hope this helps.

    Liked by 1 person

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