I was reading an article written by a woman who claimed she loved every moment of all three of her pregnancies. According to her, there was nothing about any one pregnancy she didn't enjoy. Instinctively my brain flipped to skeptic mode. Any time I hear a woman pairing the word "perfect" with the word "pregnancy", I'll admit, I'm dubious. It's true - some people do genuinely have good, smooth, complication-free pregnancies. Some have nausea filled, swollen-ankled, acne-ridden,shitty pregnancies. Some are bed bound. Some seem to breeze through it. Surely none are perfect though.
Me? I was a bit of both. The first few months of both of my pregnancies were beset with nausea (the first) or vomiting (the second) to the point of needing medication. At the same time, I remember also being dizzy with the excitement of first-trimester anticipation when not everyone knows yet and the birth is so far off that things seem not quite real still.
For me there were goods and bads: My skin broke out, but my hair was ultra-glossy and my nails grew strong and fast. I was uncomfortable as hell by the end of the second trimester, but I enjoyed the feeling of carrying my baby and feeling my son's tiny kicks in my belly. I got varicose veins in my right leg, but I loved the womanly curve of my pregnant body.
If I were to describe the way I felt about being pregnant, my response would be something like: "I really enjoyed the part where I met my baby!". And to me, there's nothing wrong with admitting there were parts of my pregnancy I did not enjoy. It doesn't make me a bad mum or an unsuitable candidate for pregnancy.
In the past I've felt something bordering on guilt when faced with mothers who gushed about their sublime pregnancies and their AMAZING births. I wondered why I didn't feel all kinds of gushy about the experience too.
I guess I'm just not the gushy type.
Don't even get me started on those who claim to have had an "orgasm birth".
Just don't even scratch that surface.
I couldn't help feeling that, for some women, it was a one-upmanship to claim to have loved every second of their pregnancy - as though by default they had been selected as a superior being, designed to carry and deliver babies without a hitch.
Of course, these people don't exist.
I suspected that no matter what a woman said about her experience, she probably experienced some amount of trouble during her pregnancy. And so I had a hard time believing those who made statements like "I LOVED being pregnant.". I found myself trying to figure out whether they were joking or simply delusioned.
Some were plain serious.
And then, because I sometimes get these things completely wrong, I remembered something that shook my theory: my mother once told me she had loved being pregnant (with me). And my Mum - often one to join in with my (probably inherited) skepticism - had nothing bad at all to say about it. I can't remember her exact words but basically, the gist was, she loved it.
And though I suspect she went through her share of pregnancy complaints over the course of those nine months (or ten, in my case, because I was late and entered the world at a whopping 9 lbs), she just didn't complain about them.
(Or maybe she did, and years later looked back through rose-tinted spectacles at the whole thing.)
And then, I thought, perhaps I've misinterpreted these women who enthuse about their pregnancies. Perhaps they're not aiming for one-upmanship. Maybe they're just extremely positive about the experiences they have. Perhaps they gloss over the bad stuff because really that bad stuff was fleeting and in the end it's better to focus on the good stuff anyway.
And then I felt even worse that I wasn't that kind of person.
And then I used the word "and" to start a sentence for a fifth time, which was four times too many.
My final point is this: I'm not certain whether women who claim to have "loved being pregnant" are insane, lying, delusioned, smug or simply, telling the truth. Perhaps I shouldn't care. Perhaps I should nod my head and grant cheery congratulations with open arms instead of twisting my head to the side in my instinctively skeptical way and giving them the suspicious squint eye. Maybe I should give them a break.
What do you think?