I have cried twice a day since Friday.
I know this seems to be the overwhelming subject of most of my blog posts lately, but it's true. And I need to keep talking about it.
There are a lot of misconceptions about pregnancy. TV shows and movies show morning sickness for about two weeks, followed by blissful flowing tops and lots of spare time until the baby is born. All the women look roughly the same while pregnant and their bellies smooth out to perfect little toned abs immediately after birth. And that's just the media. Don't even get me started on the tabloids and gossip magazines "she got her pre-baby body back!" (who took it??? The baby???) and the obsession with women losing the baby weight ASAP.
The fact is, some people have incredibly easy pregnancies. It's just in their genes! They gain minimal weight; they don't have morning sickness, acne, or other weird symptoms that pop up and disappear in the span of a few days; they don't get stretch marks; their bellies look perfect on their frames, having only gained weight in that singular part of their body.
Next, there are women who have horribly difficult pregnancies. Medical problems, morning sickness so bad they end up in the hospital, early labors, emergency surgeries. There are many, many ways pregnancy can go wrong and it's impossible to predict.
Lastly, there are women who have pregnancies that hover in the middle. They get morning sickness and stretch marks and are annoyed at everything, but they don't experience any of the more dangerous medical symptoms. They don't breeze through the pregnancy; they clomp through it, feeling frazzled the whole time.
Can you guess which group I fall into?
My lower body is a wash of stretch marks. I find myself staring at them in the mirror, astonished and wondering when, exactly, they got there. "I'm not any bigger!!" I whine to Danny, but I know that isn't true. None of my clothes fit. My underwear pinch. I can't really get behind the wheel of my car anymore. I am a planet. I will achieve orbit any day now. So long and thanks for the fish. I'll try to write from space. I hope to become a satellite or something useful.
"Some pregnant women just puff up more than others," my doctor said on Friday, trying to sound very casual about it. "I call them my Puffy Preggos. I think you're one of them." She shrugged and smiled. I smiled back. Puffy Preggo. That's me. In five weeks, I'd gained more weight than I had in the first five months of being pregnant. And I cried about it, because that's what I do. My doctor tried to assure me that it was probably mostly water retention (my face is roughly 2x the roundness it normally is... and I have a very round face), not all the ice cream I've been eating, and that I shouldn't feel bad. I did anyway because that's what women do: we feel bad about things.
You know when you spend a few hours crying over something and the next day your face is all puffy and bloated? That's me everyday. Except it's as if every part of my body has spent a few hours crying and woken up puffy and bloated and cranky.
I tell myself not to complain about it. Things could be worse, right? They could always be worse. I could find myself in the third group: some kind of medical drama occurring, gestational diabetes or worse.
But then, I remember that I have some kind of sensitive area on my stomach. Remember the early days when I couldn't stand anything touching my lower stomach? A new, surprising spot has developed on top of my stomach: a two inch swath of skin where all the bands of my pants hit, where my bra hits, where the stitching of all my dresses hit. It itches and burns, feels like pins and needles, and generally annoys me all day. Even tank tops hurt it, rubbing all day as I move and sit and type and try to get on with my life.
I mournfully gathered up all my full panel maternity jeans and had a crying fit about it Sunday night, the raw nerves driving me into a frenzy of frustration and pain. The stretch marks and the morning sickness and the annoyance and the overwhelming crushing emotions got to me, but the spot on my stomach... it was the straw that broke the camel's back.
I spent today in a stupor, simultaneously torn between sadness and the utter hilarity of my situation. You wanted a baby!! My brain screamed at me. You did this to yourself!! You could have lost weight first!! Why did you do this?? I cried in the car after work, driving home feeling dreary and miserable, wishing it was already Fall so at least the weather would match my emotions.
I took a bath. I ate two grilled cheese sandwiches. I fretted over Remus and his stupid foot. I thought about cleaning the kitchen, or cleaning my bedroom, or unpacking my suitcase from my Idaho vacation. I did none of those things. I sat and wrote this blog post instead.
Somedays, pregnancy is like this for us in the middle group: it is hard and frustrating and you feel insane for most of it. We know we look like crap, wearing a random collection of clothes we wouldn't have been caught dead in previously. For me, I know my hair is a mess and I haven't put on make up. I know I look tired and angry and roughly like a bread roll wrapped in a napkin. But then, a few days later, everything will snap back into place, like a completed Rubicks cube and you'll survive for another week or two, feeling positive and lovely and happy again. I just have to wait it out.