Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The "Weaker Sex" Could Never Pull This Off

There are some subjects begging to be written about. I've got some gripes with real estate, in general, but more specifically, the whole agent issue, which I think is a racket. I know, every business is sort of a racket. Anyway, that's a topic I want to dissect further. I also want to dissect the pointless nature of higher education in the U.S. It's pointless because it's totally socialized, yet . . . not. I'll have to go into that further later.

For now, what's really bothering me is how hard it is to be pregnant. I haven't written much about it here, saving my real gripes for Facebook statuses, you know, plaguing my "friends" with my complaints. Don't worry, they love it. It's why they hang out with me, on Facebook, because they enjoy my witty insights and biting retorts.

If you've never been pregnant, you have no way to imagine how rough it is. If you're a man, you're even more in the dark about it. But if you're a man with a wife who's done it, you know better than a single woman who's never done it. That's the hierarchy I've worked out. It goes further, but there's no need to go into all the intricacies of how I judge others who've never been pregnant.

The Venus of Willendorf really captures how it feels to be pregnant. Huge breasts. Huge belly. Huge thighs. In a word, huge.

I'm sure it will pay off in the end and after all, it was my choice. I'm not bemoaning the fact that this just happened without my consent. That'd be sheer stupidity. I'm sure there are people in that boat and my heart goes out to them, but that's not my boat. I'm in the boat of utter shock at how this is completely unlike anything I could have imagined. That is to say, really really hard. And as I understand it, it doesn't get easier.

Stoker keeps saying things like, "You're a miracle." I reply with, "What do you mean?" Because sometimes I'm not sure. I think, "Is he talking about how cool I am? Or something else?" I think he's talking about how I'm carrying his baby, but I don't know for sure, so I ask for clarification. Sometimes, I admit, I just want him to explain himself so that I can hear more about how awesome I am. I do that often, actually.

Like if I say something that I think is funny and he begins to laugh, I'll ask, "What's so funny?" The other day he said, "Another joke I just thought of." He knew what I was going for and out-maneuvered me. Truthfully, sometimes it shocks me that he ever thinks I'm funny. That's his job, right? And he does keep me laughing, but I really don't expect to get that kind of response from him.

In any case, I don't feel like a miracle. Any woman could do this. But his acknowledgment that I'm doing something difficult helps. Somewhat. Some days I want to give up. I wish I could, you know, stay at home in my pajamas and sleep this part away. Maybe it would go faster. Yes, yes. That would defeat the purpose of the exercise. Right? But it would be nice. Kind of.

I keep thinking, one day at a time. One day at a time. One day at a time. Over and over again, so I don't get ahead of myself and then become despondent when I realize that I have seven weeks left or what have you.

When I was a kid, my mom had my youngest sister (my protege, Cassi), and so I remember, if only vaguely, her being pregnant with Cassi and how she seemed to just take it in stride. It didn't seem difficult or uncomfortable. I remember when Cassi was born—it was the last day of school and my dad came to tell me. My due date is around Cassi's birthday, though I doubt that will work out perfectly (though it would be cool and I'm sure she thinks it would be fitting, also). But I confess, I'm a little mad that my mom didn't warn me better how ridiculously difficult this would be. That's her job, right?

But no. She let me walk blindly into this. In fact, she pushed me. Shoved me toward it, as though I'd find fulfillment in it. Her punishment is, of course, listening to me complain. There are some days when I'm full of beneficence and I pontificate on the calling of women and how I'll be a more amazing woman for having done this sort of thing, and how I'm learning patience and how I'm doing what I was made to do and blah blah blah.

The walrus does better in water than on land. I know how he feels. 

And some days I share that stuff with my mom, but usually I'm saying things like, "I can't breathe. I get heartburn just thinking about food. I can't sleep. Coughing is sheer torture. I know it's good for the baby to move, but my liver feels like pate. I can't move. I was ready to have the baby months ago."

And then I explain to whoever will listen, my desire to be one of those adorable pregnant women you see walking around in cute skirts and comfy tops that look perfectly natural, and who smile and appear to be the very picture of joyful motherhood. You've seen them. They're angels. And I hate them. While, admittedly, loving them for being so content and decent, rather than grim-faced grouches with thunderclouds following them around, like me. That's what I look like. Give me a black cloak and scythe and I could be the pregnant grim reaper.

Another Nicole. She does pregnant WAAAAAAY better than I do. I could never pull off this look. But a girl can wish.

There are days when I feel really strong. They probably correlate to the days when I get enough sleep, and those are the days when I want to apologize to Stoker for being grumpy or for behaving as though this is a difficult task. I feel magnanimous and big-hearted and want to tell him that it's not that hard and baby, I'm sorry for being grouchy last night . . . I'm sure I don't say baby like that, but it's funny to write it here as though I'm a real cad normally and that apologies come naturally to me because I'm so terrible all the time.

Well, I probably have been. Understanding my hormonal cycles when there are none is rough. I tried to explain this to Stoker but I think he kind of thinks that I'm moody constantly, even when I'm not pregnant. Maybe I am. But at least it corresponds to a calendar. The moodiness of men is unpredictable. Like me. Right now. Ha!

I think I just described what is normally understood to be bipolar disorder. So pregnancy has turned me into a bipolar monster. But don't worry. I'm dealing with it just fine. No, I don't need medication. I just need more sleep, understanding, and an Italian cream soda (raspberry or blackberry) and maybe some pancakes. Or French toast. I could really go for some French toast right now. Also, I could really do with one of those chairs the fat people use in Wall-E. That'd be fantastic.


Carrie said...

I HEAR YA, sister! It is amazingly worth it but truly something only to be understood after having experienced it.
I was at a Christmas concert once where Michael McClean was thanking his wife and he mentioned how she had always taken care of everything and it all seemed so effortless . . . I DON'T understand that because motherhood, in so many ways, IS difficult and REQUIRES effort.
It does seem that nobody every admits that until AFTER you've had children. Perhaps because they bring so much joy to life and one truly cannot imagine life without them once they've arrived, it isn't worth dampening someone else's expectations who is so looking forward to obtaining what you, yourself, are so truly grateful for.
I found the birth of my first child to be transcendent in a way difficult to describe. But it was also the most exhausting thing I've ever done.
And here I am doing it for the 3rd time. I wouldn't change it but I sure am ready for a baby in arms, rather than a baby in utero.
Hang in there these last weeks! You ARE strong and, indeed, miraculous.

Nicole Grotepas said...

Thanks for the comment, Carrie. I've heard from enough people that being a parent sucks that I'm pretty sure I'm not having unrealistic expectations about that part of it. But I never really go into commitments with delusions of paradise. The only thing I didn't really get was that pregnancy would be hard. I only remember one pregnancy that seemed difficult from an outside perspective, and that was my sister's last baby. But typically either women keep it to themselves or I forget their complaints. It's probably both.

Anyway, I think being a parent will be hard, but I think difficult things are the ones that pay off. I want to experience life. And I think I'd be neglecting one of the most important facets of life were I to not choose to become a parent. In some ways it surprises me that highly educated women who profess to love learning don't have children. I would think experience a far better teacher than merely reading about it in a book or interpreting information from a study.

Anyway, Michael Mclean's wife must be really poised and silent about her struggles. I'm not. Haha!