"But you were so great pregnant. You were happy and healthy, you always worked out and ate really well. You took care of yourself."
This is how my husband remembers my pregnancy — the same pregnancy that I always depict as being plagued with denial and darkness. And the truth is, we're both right.
The beginning of my pregnancy was hard, man. Emotionally hard. And maybe that emotional trauma got singed into my brain — it's what connects me to your emails and comments about our shared "WTF this isn't happening to me" moments.
But that's the thing: They're moments.
I know that when you email me, you're in desperate need of venting. I know how conflicted you feel (because you flat-out tell me how conflicted you feel), and I understand that it will pass. It always does.
Honestly, I did have a great pregnancy. My body seemed to be made for it — I felt at peace with myself, even if I was really in a deeper state of denial about what was happening. But it wasn't the kind of denial that made me ignore the pregnancy or pretend it wasn't happening. Quite the opposite. Going through the motions meant finding a midwife practice (after getting health insurance, of course — we can discuss that stress another time), obsessively eating healthy and balanced food, regularly exercising, researching baby stuff, contemplating baby names, making a scrapbook that — to this day — I never finished. But now, looking back, I realize that there was a teeny tiny voice in the back of my mind that reassured me with lies: This isn't really happening. You won't really have a baby. This is all pretend.
Don't get me wrong though — I still enjoyed most of the pregnancy. I was in love, newly engaged (ahem), with all sorts of nervous energy that flip-flopped from scared to anxious to excited. I got my tush out of bed every morning and hit the gym — for the baby. I tracked his weekly development and spread the news about what size fruit he was (a peach! he's a PEACH, you guys!). It was an exciting transitional phase.
Looking back or looking forward, things always seem harder than they actually were/will be. That's because when we're in the thick of it — when shit is real and happening and in the moment — it becomes the only normal we know.
"How did we do it?!" I asked Justin. I was referring to the scramble for jobs during my pregnancy, the last-minute moving to accommodate a new person, the doctor's appointments and daycare hunting and breast pumping and long sleepless nights. HOW DID WE DO IT?
"We just did it," he said, casually.
And that's about all there is to it.
It's so tempting to freak out about all of the "what ifs" in the future and dwell on the hardships in the past, but the truth is, you'll just do it.
It will be normal. It will be temporary. You'll get through it all.
You'll just do it — and you'll be grateful that you did.