Last week I had lunch with my lovely friend Annie, who is about halfway through her first pregnancy. (SO exciting.) She and Will and I had pizza downtown and, among other things, talked babies and pregnancy and all the life changes that accompany them.
One thing Annie asked me that stuck with me later was, “What do you wish you had known, halfway through your pregnancy?”
The first thing I thought of was that I wish I had known not to be bothered by my weight gain. It took a while for me to adjust to how much I was gaining, but I tried hard to take my sister’s advice and just let my body do what it needed to — whether that was gain six pounds in a month or just one. I wish I had known that it just wasn’t going to be that big a deal.
Even Teaker tried to tell me that.
My pregnancy, in general, was a very abstract concept to me up until about the last month. I had a hard time conceptualizing anything about it as real — that the baby I felt moving around inside me was a real baby and that I was going to be someone’s mother. And now that I can look back over the last year (somewhat) objectively, there are three other things that I wish I had known back when I was pregnant and anxious about it all.
The first is that … I wish I had known that I wouldn’t miss my old life at all. Sure, there are aspects of my pre-baby life that I miss. For example:
Spontaneous wine tastings with friends [side note: this is where we later held our wedding reception!]
My dream job
Being able to attend as many yoga classes in any one week as I felt like
But on the whole, when I think back on my life pre-Will, I don’t miss anything about it. I would gladly trade all the freedom and spontaneity that I had then for the joy that I have now. (I have done it, actually.) Spending my days with a crazy drooly baby is somehow so much better and more fulfilling than a lot of the things with which I used to fill my time. That’s not to say that my life before was meaningless — not at all. Just that my life now is every bit as meaningful.
I get to see this face every day!
The second thing I wish I had known was that … really, it was all going to be okay. I had no idea what my life was going to look like after April; every time I thought about it, I just saw this giant black hole of uncertainty. What was motherhood going to be like? And would I still recognize myself?
I knew, intellectually, that I would still be me; just like when I got married, I was still the same person, just living a different life. I knew motherhood would be the same way, but I couldn’t feel it, simply because I hadn’t yet arrived there. And now that I am on the other side, I wish I could go back and tell my pregnant self that I do still feel exactly like myself — maybe even more like myself than I ever have. I’ve found that being a mom has helped me to have some more clarity in my life, and to understand myself a bit better than I did before.
The last thing I wish I’d known? That I would often find myself having to hold back when I tell people how we’re doing. It feels like bragging when I say that I’m so happy.
But it’s true. (I can only assume that Will, despite his unenthusiastic expression, agrees.)