[This post is in response to the blog blast you can read about here]
I suppose that’s not phrased in the form of a question, but well-meaners usually say it after asking, “How far along are you now?” Seeing as I have had three first trimesters in one year and my (successful) first trimesters have been marked by extreme nausea, exhaustion and moodiness, you might think I am happy to be here, where I am at the moment, at week 17. You’d be right in thinking that I am grateful to be pregnant and that I am glad I can now subsist on things beyond Puffins cereal and ginger tea. So I might be in the honeymoon phase, you see, if only I had a different answer to this question, “How many children do you have?” Because the answer is, we have zero living children. For my three first trimesters, we have earned one miscarriage, one funeral plus burial plot and a new status: scared and grieving.
At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I’ll tell you that this supposed “honeymoon period” of pregnancy sucks, royally. I’ve traded my frequent nausea and vomiting and exhaustion for frequent tears and anxiety. I began this wonderful trimester with surgery. When I reached week 16 I discovered a new treat, weekly progesterone shots. In terms of accepting where I am and desperately wanting to bring home the new baby inside me alive, I am grateful for this chance and grateful that relative to my fears, the cerclage and progesterone are non-events. But the experience is no honeymoon. In fact as I told my blog friend Julia, since I am fortunate to be fertile, the only moment in this pregnancy that has resembled a honeymoon was the very first one, way back I think on cycle day 14. And since the doctors told me to begin “pelvic rest” soon thereafter, there haven’t been many such moments since.
For me, the second trimester is a horror. Last time, our son died at the end of it. I spend every moment of every day now alternatively trying to work, not snap at my very sweet husband, not have an anxiety attack, keep the cat from having a nap on my belly, and still monitor myself for any feelings or changes that might indicate labor or a shortening cervix. And I try to do all of this while fielding inquiries from real life well-meaners who want the personal scoop on how I’m doing. This means that at any moment I might be reminded of both a past and possible disaster by the guarded phrase, “How are you?” That’s why I prefer to communicate my feelings via blog – it’s here when I need it and won’t sneak up on me during the short periods every day where my mind manages to be somewhere else. I might think that the third trimester will be like a honeymoon, but there are no promises then either. I think, though, I will start to feel better if I pass week 28, and at week 32 I’ll be feeling really good.
I’m not going to submit this to the blog blast that inspired it. I think that given my particular situation, no pregnancy book can tell me what I need to know about my soul. That’s why I like this book. The midwife at Dr. K’s practice gave it to me. A reviewer on Amazon.com has complained about it being too mainstream and treating women as patients. I like it because it is concise. I don’t need to be told how to feel about pregnancy and impending motherhood. I don’t need the guidebook narration of pregnancy. And I am a patient. An informed one, certainly, but still I’m not an obstetrician any more than Dr. K is an historian.
So my snarky response to that statement about a honeymoon phase would be….Uh, actually I don’t have anything snarky to say that’s appropriate. A honeymoon in Baghdad comes to mind, but that doesn’t really fit.
I guess because as unenviable as my position seems, many women wouldn’t mind being in it. And because I’m fully aware that while I didn’t choose to need this, I made the choice to do it anyway.
I want to participate in shutting up people who ask annoying questions. I so do. But I just don’t find many questions on this list to be all that annoying. Some of the responses are more so. (Oh, except for the ones commenter #4 listed, which gave me a hearty sardonic laugh.) I’d LOVE to be in the position of having someone ask me when I’m going “to pop” or why I don’t get the “booger” out of my baby’s eye. They’re both kind of crass questions, but harmless. At least from my perspective.
I’m not sure where the kind of statements and questions that cause me discomfort fit into a Body, Soul & Baby: Campaign Launch. I certainly don’t think I’ll get an Ipod and autographed book for sharing my experience. Nor will I quite capture the “snarky” tone that is meant to make the happy pregnant reader laugh.
One woman wrote about being asked if she wanted more than one child within days of announcing her pregnancy with her first. Granted, that is a bizarre question. Can you imagine my answer to that? “Oh well assuming this pregnancy doesn’t kill the baby or me, we’ll see.” Woo hoo hoo! Wasn’t that funny! I’m so witty. Just hysterical.
Mommy Wars, you say? Hell, I’ll sign up for them right now. I don’t even care whose side’s recruiting. I’d just like a chance to stand on wise mother hill lobbing insults at the clueless. It has to be better than where I am now.