I’d obviously hoped to not get to this post. I’d hoped my next post would be “LOOK AT MY WRINKLY PINK BABY!” but I am not that lucky. I’m headed towards 41 weeks, with no end in sight. This period of a woman’s life should REALLY have a name. It should start at 37 weeks, and go until the baby is born. A word that combines MISERY, HOPE, FEAR, WEAKNESS, ANGER, EXCITEMENT, PARANOIA, ANNOYANCE, EXHAUSTION, LOVE, HIBERNATION, PLANNING, PREPARATION, and PATIENCE. What is that word? What is that feeling? That feeling only women who are at the dire end of pregnancy can truly understand. How you can both love and hate your whole life, all the time.
I’d say the hardest thing for me is the physical pain. And the emotional pain of feeling so weak. My body feels like I ran a marathon. Everything hurts, and nothing is comfortable. I am so tired, and so awake. My wrists, knuckles, shoulders and elbows ache all the time. They feel swollen and sore from the time I wake up, until I fall asleep, and then they hurt in my dreams. My hips feel like a cinder-block is sitting on top of them, roughly wedging itself between them. They cripple me, and make me waddle, and toss and turn all night long. The hip pain is like nothing I have ever experienced. If I lay on the couch for more than 20 minutes, when I get up I feel like I am 200 years old, like my legs will not hold my body and I cry. My tail bone hurts to sit on, hurts to lay on, hurts all the time. I hurt all the time. I have never felt this sore, this beaten up in my life. I am 100% miserable. My nipples ache, my stomach aches, lungs are crushed, my food comes back up. My vagina feels like a bowling ball is pushing down on it. I’m disgusting and sad and feel like a loser. I sob and sob into my husbands arms all day and night.
It feels silly to write this down, like anyone actually wants to read about this. It’s my experience, and if I have learned nothing about pregnancy, it’s that you should not compare your pregnancy to others. They are all different, they are all challenging, some more than others, and they are all very personal. There are women who absolutely love pregnancy. I use to think they were lying, or crazy, or even simply stronger than me, but that’s not true. They just have a different experience. My body can carry a healthy baby for 41 weeks without any real complications. My body keeps a low blood pressure, only gains about 30 pounds, and has zero signs of baby distress, need for bed rest, or early labor. I don’t have gestational diabetes, Strep B, or Preeclampsia. My body is GOOD at making a healthy baby. My body is NOT GOOD at doing it in a smooth comfortable way. My body hurts, I get sick for months and months, I get depressed and feel physically and emotionally tortured through the entire process. That is my cross to bear, and I should feel lucky. My body was able to get pregnant, and stay pregnant. Many women have perfectly pleasant pregnancy, no morning sickness, no pain, that end at 27 weeks, or 30 weeks, or 36 weeks, and their babies have to go live in the NICU. Many women can not have babies at all.
I have battled with the hatred of this experience the entire way through. I have cried and wanted to give up many times. I have struggled with focusing on my baby and not resenting it for this torture. I have worried about my connection with my baby, my love for her. I fear her arrival, and fear her staying inside. I have questioned my own strength and abilities to bring her into the world, and raise and care for her. Pregnancy has without a doubt been the biggest struggle of my life. I have never found anything that beat me down quite like this. I think the hardest part is that the moments of joy during this process have been so small and fleeting. It takes so long to get your “prize” at the end.
I also feel alone. I mean I have my husband here to support me, and he is so good at it, but I feel alone in my feelings towards pregnancy. I don’t personally know anyone who has hated pregnancy quite like I do. Even the ones who have a difficult pregnancy GUSH about the love of their unborn child. Say things like “it’s all worth it” and “feeling her move inside me is so amazing” etc. I don’t feel that way. I feel cold-hearted, and maybe I am. Listening to other people’s stories, opinions and advice is a battle in itself. I joke that my baby may be an only child, but it’s not a joke. I am actually afraid to ever go through this again. I will have to REALLY REALLY REALLY love motherhood in order to ever do this again. I am angry that this experience has robbed me of my future plans. I am angry that I do not feel safe or strong or confident that I could add to my family. I hope to god I forget this all, that I have no memories of the last 10 months, that I am baby-drunk with love for her that I dream of more babies. I don’t have much hope.
I’m taking each day one at a time. I’m not even that anxious for her to be born, I am anxious to not be pregnant. Childbirth does not feel like just bringing new life into the world, it feels like I am returning life to myself. I will be giving labor my all. I will take all the pain and anger I felt over the last 10 months, and channel it into getting my life back. I will be strong and confident and I will be thankful for the contractions and the energy and the experience to save myself from this. I want my baby to be healthy and safe, but I want her to have a mom that is strong and secure and not weak and sad. I need to get my heart and soul back, and at this point childbirth is the only way to do that. I am prepared. I am not scared. I am strong. I know I have the fire in me to push through this.
COME ON BABY!